Help! I Have Teenagers. . .

Help I have teenagers...and I think they hate me. For reals. They really do.

I have turned into a complete dunce overnight and apparently, I now know nothing. Absolutely nothing. And to top it off, I am sooo uncool. Downright embarrassing, I am. Who took my confidence? I am afraid I have utterly failed as a parent. They.Hate.Me.

The endless goodnight kisses, snuggles and bedtimes stories have become painfully this scenario:

“Goodnight, I love you.” I say to my teen in a sweet loving voice.

(no response)

“Hello? Did you hear me? I said ‘Goodnight, I love you,’” while I attempt to hug what I thought was my darling child, but must have mistaken them for a stiff board.

Finally I hear an obligatory “Uh-huh” accompanied with a sigh and shoulder shrug. And probably an eye roll. And did she just push me away? No, she did not. She did. I’ve been shunned.

<Ouch> I sting with rejection as a little knife pokes my heart. Whose rude teenager is this? Oh, right. It’s mine. MINE! The one I love like crazy. That one. The one that no longer wants me to love them, it seems. The one who pushes my love away, like it’s a disease or something.

Consoling friends will say “They will love you again in a few years, just hang in there.”

But, will they? Are my friends just saying that to be nice? Will my teens ever love me again?

At a glance, I won motherhood. I taught them the three non-negotiable life skills: how to cook, how to clean and how to swim. Those were easy.

Did I win? What do I really want for my daughters? I want them to know that I love them relentlessly, and that their Creator loves them relentlessly. If they know that, I mean KNOW that deep deep down, then they will be set for life, both on this earth and eternal.  

I love them unconditionally. That is a mama’s heart. I can’t help it. I can’t stop it. I can’t change it. I wouldn't even want to try. I love loving them. And nothing they do can make me stop loving them. Even when they are very difficult to love.

They are practicing to be adults, and they are not very good at it yet. I hear there is a scientific reason for it, like their frontal lobes shut down for a few years or a decade. I don’t understand it and can’t explain it. However, I do see some similarities in me, to be honest. I wasn’t very good at being loved by my heavenly Father either. It took me years (decades?) to understand and accept His unconditional love for me.  And to be honest, I still roll my eyes at God sometimes. (You know it).

And you know what? He loves me just the same. He always has and always will.

And my teens know that I will love them just the same. Regardless of the eye rolls.

Did I fail as a parent? No. Even if it sure feels like it.

How can I win? By living like I know I’m loved myself, and by loving them relentlessly.

Romans 8:38-39 (MSG)

“None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”

And model it. Love them relentlessly.

And I say this about my teenagers:

“This teenager stuff won’t faze me. Because I am absolutely convinced that nothing—ignoring me, hibernating in their rooms, claiming not to know me, eye-rolling today and tomorrow (multiple times), logical or illogical and unreasonable (and undeserved) arguments, snarky comments and them thinking I’m idiotic—absolutely nothing, can get between me and my love for my daughters, because God loves me and He gave me my ridiculous love for them.”

My teenagers might not like me, and maybe even hate me a little, but I am gonna love them anyways.

Because Jesus loves me anyways. Even if I roll my eyes.  

Crystalyn Tadano

Crystalyn lives in Sandy with her teenage daughter, Lynneah. Her older daughter, Eliyana, lives in Eugene where she attends the U of O, works in a cafe and is applying to law school. Crystalyn knows well the single mom struggles (she calls in ‘double-parenting’).  Though her real job is in Human Resources, her passion is periodically getting to be a birth doula and attending births. She enjoys art and is always up for a good laugh.

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