We want to be happy parents! We live in our hearts, our minds, our homes, and our relationships. So when we are overwhelmed and unbalanced in one of those areas we feel the reverberations. We intimately feel that disbalance throughout the other parts of who we are. Sometimes it can be so subtle that a person can’t really identify the origin, all they know is there’s an uncomfortable feeling welling up inside. They look around to find something to fix, but no matter what they change or what they control they just can’t seem to find peace.
Even if it’s not right at this moment, I would bet there’s a point in your life where you can nod your head and relate.
In the midst of all those stressors, you are raising children and/or teenagers. You are working full-time (or more). You are paying bills. You are trying to maintain romantic and platonic relationships. You are trying to keep up on housework.
When people get overwhelmed it can be very easy to slip into negative thinking and begin remembering some the ways you felt your parents might have failed you. It starts a whirlwind of negative thoughts and you begin to worry about the ways you might have already failed your kids (and then worrying about the ways we might fail them in the future).
You forget to notice all the positive experiences in your life up to this point because you’ve gotten mired into the stress and guilt of it all. You forget how to be Happy Parents. You can’t see your own sunny days as you sink into the quicksand of guilt.
When it gets to this point, it feels like there is just so much to do, and so much to think about that if seems as if there is no time for joy. You’re just holding it all together and waiting for the day that you’ll finish one of these long, arduous tasks. Sometimes it can seem as if you’re just biding your time until your teenager grows up and you have one less worry (and then that reminds you that your teen is nearly grown and you won’t have them anymore. Oh great, one more thing to worry about).
Yeah. I get it.
But guess what. None of that is real. Yes, all of it is very, very real – but the stress of it is a script that, as parents, we are playing over and over in our heads and it needs to stop. Stop!
How can we teach our teens to grow up into well-balanced adults if we’re so plagued by guilt, stress, and a lack of personal definition that we are “surviving” instead of “thriving”? For our teens we are the Gold Standard. They swear they won’t be like us when they grow up, that they’ll be different and better – and yet, they are subconsciously role playing and modeling themselves after us every single day. Our teens love us.
Oh jeeze, you say. This is heavy and complicated.
While this is all new territory because we’ve never parented teens before – they’ve never been teens before, and on that subject we’re experienced. We’ve been teens – and we survived!
I’d like to discuss six categories that parents need to reflect upon and situate within themselves so they can enjoy these years of parenting their teen. You got through the diapers, two-year-old tantrums, car seats, boogers, and all those pictures they brought home from elementary school. Now they’re teenagers who can think & speak for themselves, and now it’s time to enjoy your hard work – and yet… in a way, it’s so much of a different kind of hard.
Guilt vs. Remorse Compassion Self-Definition
Mission Support/Guidance Boundaries
In Part 2, we’ll discuss Guilt vs Remorse, Compassion, and Self-Definition.
Part 3 is actually broken into three separate blogs: Mission, Support/Guidance, & Boundaries. I started them as one long blog, but it was too long and overwhelming to read all at once and I didn’t want any of the pieces to get lost.
Written by Jessica Wilkerson, M.A.
You can find this, and other articles by Jessica Wilkerson at www.jessicawilkerson.com/blog
If you would like to schedule an appointment with Jessica, you can contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (530) 921-5122.
Jessica works for Chico Creek Counseling as a Marriage & Family Therapist Registered Intern #IMF69783 under the supervision of Joe R. Taylor, LMFT #MFT46406.