Tween Problems aka Parental Puberty

Heels, check. Coffee, check.  Lunch for the day, check.  Scream at the kids for the seventh time this morning because this time they are fighting over the last granola bar, or literally just looking at the other, or was it breathing, yes, I think my twelve-year-old was flipping out because his seven-year-old sister was breathing too loud…check.  Now insert our daily meditation of Jesus Calling, our family prayer before we walk out the door, because Lord knows we need daily divine intervention, and there you have my morning routine.  I then hit my commute, praying to God for more patience, strength, and wisdom to somehow survive this pre-teen stage and the world war three battleground my home has been turned into.  Following my work day, I rush to pick up my sweet little blessings who have been transformed into highly skilled agents of mental warfare.  I chauffer them to whatever practice, lesson, or event we have on the agenda for the evening, all while playing referee and trying to listen to one, just one song, in its entirety without being interrupted by some completely irrational argument.  In this moment buyer’s remorse of not going with the third row option hits unbelievably hard.  I won’t even candy coat this entire intro with the fact that I currently have a kidney stent in place that makes me feel like I am a walking menstrual cramp of the enth degree, or that I am two days away from my second kidney surgery in two weeks.  I won’t address that at the end of this month I will have put in over 30 hours of overtime, because I have worked exponentially hard in my career and will not let health slow down my progress.  As a human, this would be difficult, as a single mom, there are days that the weight of our little world, seems unbearably heavy.  This is my intro into parental puberty, what in the entire why, and how is this my life right now?

I have talked to other parents until I am blue in the face about raising teens, trying to find some saving grace in their paths already traveled.  Unfortunately, I am met with responses letting me know this is just the beginning of a hellacious hormonal roller coaster ride that neither him or I will be ready for.  Also, the word ass was referenced in various forms, and often, from where their heads were placed to a post puberty and clearly jaded term of endearment.  Awesome. That is the opposite of the hope and comfort I was looking for, in fact I feel like there should be a support group for parents who are beginning this process of losing their once little child and waking up to quite honestly a complete a-hole trapped inside their kid’s body. Hi, my name is Dana and my son has been abducted by this thing that hates me ninety percent of the time no matter what I do or say.  He speaks in grunts and eye rolls, knows more than I do, is always the victim, and by the way, I am ruining his life while not understanding anything about the person I not only created but have solely raised for the past eight years.  He is anti-everything I am for, refuses to talk, loathes rules, believes grounding is corporal punishment, and apparently there was a polar shift in the solar system because the world truly revolves around him.  I am anxiously awaiting his science grade.

So here is my own saving grace.  Even when my trials aren’t life altering such as a diagnosis, or job loss, I have learned one valuable lesson: God will allow us to endure more than we can handle on our own.  And although this contradicts the attempt at comfort even I use to offer, the truth is, He does and He will. For it is in those moments, like the depths of parental puberty when I have fallen victim to the mental warfare of a twelve-year-old Call of Duty pro, amidst the balancing act of life, that I call on Him with genuine need. Knowing that it is only through Him that I can have the strength, peace, and wisdom to do all things, to survive this season of chaos.  “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles” Psalm 34:17.  Without God, I am just a hot mess trying to make sense of a younger hot mess, and as Kevin Hart would say, as a unit we would not be looking successful.  God calls for a relationship with Him, He wants to be in our daily lives, and bless us with an abundance of amazing gifts like peace, wisdom, hope, grace and joy.  But most of the time when life is going good, we just sail on through, forgetting to involve the One who made it all possible.  The struggle, the times when life brings us to our knees, that is when we find ourselves finally looking up. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanks, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:6-9. God doesn’t want you to struggle through life, that isn’t His end-game.  If you involve Him in your daily life, in your struggles, in your morning routine, He can answer you and provide you with everything needed to ride out the storm or simply get through that moment.

For me, God has put amazing people in our life that love and care for my son as their own.  Not just within my family, but from his coaches, to his Youth Pastor, our Pastor and his wife at our amazing church, the youth ministry teachers, and sisters in Christ.  They all rally behind me, next to me, with me and help guide my son in faith, hold him accountable, and remind him how loved he is, by us and more importantly by God.  Being a mom is an honor and a blessing, even on the days when I am ready to rip my hair out, because it is a calling ordained by God Himself.  He chose me specifically to raise my children, and in doing so that comes with great responsibility.  I know that I must call on God to equip me with everything or everyone necessary to move through this season with grace, understanding, and minimal war wounds.  Through Him I can take a step back and remember the season my son is also going through, his feelings, emotions, changes, and the frustrations he must be feeling as well.  He allows me to see him with empathy, as still my little man embarking on a new stage of life, instead of on the receiving end of a hormonal hell storm of nuclear proportion.  Because of that step back, I can have powerful conversations, impactful, directed exchanges with my son, about who he is called to be, the choices he wants to make, and how to help him succeed at both. And although it does not offer him leniency in the consequences of his behaviors when he goes off kilter, it offers his mom a more peaceful presentation, spirit led conversations, God centered discipline, and above all a love that reflects the love of our Savior.  Unconditional.

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