teen walking-ruin lifeTeenagers should come with a warning! “For the next 3-10 years,  I will fight you on limitations, healthy boundaries, legitimate concerns, and good parenting…Basically, every time you say “No!”

It’s okay if your teen hates you!  (In fact, it probably means you are doing something right!)

I promise you will survive their teenage years!  The goal is for them to do so as well. Eventually, your kids won’t hate you. (Eventually took a looooong time to arrive at my house! -that should give you hope!)

One of my favorite tips for both you and your teen surviving the teenage years is:

Post a toddler age photo of your teen in a prominent place where they will see it often and be reminded that inside their angry, emotional, hormone filled, gangly, “you are ruining my life” teenager lives the toddler, who once was a CUTE handful instead of just an energy draining, wrinkle and gray hair producing handful!

Parenting isn’t easy. From they day they arrive screaming, till the day they leave… probably still screaming, our bundle of joy offers a roller coaster ride of epic proportions.  The teen years being some of the most challenging, defeating and deflating.

I used to be a sane women, who didn’t yell, pull out my hair, or need regular infusions of self esteem boosting conversations with my girlfriends… but teenagers have a way of undoing all our “I am woman hear me roar confidence and poise.”

Tension filled evenings, loud silence, pierce our hearts as we envisioned the teens years differently.  It is easy to give up, give in, and give out. Sometimes, I did whatever was necessary to keep the peace and not have the same argument for the zillionth time. Sometimes sanity won out over sound parenting!

Other times, I braced myself for the barrage and backlash, knowing it was important to not back down.

*What  if  you  stood  your  ground  the  next  time  your  teenager  is  frustrated  with  you  because—well,  because  she  is  a  teenager!  Pick  a  reason:  You  refused  to  let  her  go  to  a  party…  You  made  her  change  an  outfit  you  deemed  inappropriate…  You  limited  her  cell-­‐phone  use…  censored  a  movie  choice.

She  is  mad  because  you  said  “No.”

And  in  spite  of  a  very  loud  barrage  of:  “You  don’t  understand!”  “It’s  not  fair!”  “You’re  a  prude”  “I  hate you!”  and  “I’m  never  doing  this  to  my  kids!”—there  you  are  still  standing  your  ground.

Picture  that  moment…  Wouldn’t  it  be  amazing  to  feel  confident  in  your  parenting  choices,  and  gratified  because  you  don’t  need  your  kids  to  like  or  approve  of  your  decisions?  After  all,  you  aren’t  out  to  be  their  friend;  you  are  their  parent!  You  don’t  need  them  to  like  you.  (It  would  be  nice,  but  not  a  necessity  when  it  comes  to  good  parenting  or  Loving  Well.)

You  choose  to  Love  Well  because  you  are  willing  to  incur  their  wrath  and  stand  your  ground.

Sure,  you  may  need  some  reinforcement  from  your  spouse,  a  good  friend,  your  mom,  or  a  large  glass  of  wine…  but  hang  in  there  because  you  did  the  right  thing!

Was  it  hard?  Yes!

But  does  it  feel  good!  Yes!

Loving  Well  feels  great  because  ultimately  it  is  the  right  thing  to  do!

Any  time  we  choose  to  put  the  needs  and  interests  of  someone  else  above  our  own,  we  are  Loving Well.  This  is  a  big-­‐picture  skill.  An  “I’m  in  this  for  the  long  haul”  relationship  posture.  Loving  Well  isn’t  easy;  it  doesn’t  come  naturally,  but  it  is  a  valuable  skill,  an  intentional  choice  that  will  significantly  impact  the  quality  of  our  relationships.

When have you made the hard choice to Love Well even if it meant being uncomfortable, standing your ground, or speaking up?  Share your story and let’s chat!

*An excerpt from Listen, Learn, Love: How to Dramatically Improve Your Relationships in 30 Days or Less!

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