I love my life. I love my husband. I love my kid. But here’s the thing—a gal can only take so much teen angst. I hope you’re not expecting one of those Pollyanna posts telling you why you should cherish these years when your teen is screaming at you. That you should stop complaining about how your kid doesn’t appreciate you, because some day soon they will be grown and you’ll wish you had these years back. That you only have so many weekends left before they move out. Or that your newly minted teen is going through many significant life changes—middle school, first relationships, changing friendships, PUBERTY—and you are your teen’s safe space where they can let out the stress they’ve had to bottle up all day long.
I’m not here to tell you to embrace teen angst.
I’ve seen those posts. I know they’re intended to be inspirational. They’re meant to motivate me to take deep breaths and smile while my teen is yelling that she hates me. Each time I read one, I dig deep and try to find that Zen moment. I try to embrace the angst. But the reality? They usually make me feel like crap.
They make me feel like I’m ‘less than’ because I’m the mom who’s about to blow a gasket the next time my teen screams that she doesn’t know how to add positive four to negative six. And for those of you who might suggest that she may NOT actually know how, and I should just be patient and have an open mind—the kid knows how to add positive four to negative six. She just doesn’t want to. At least not until I take away her phone and then, magically, she’s back to algebra-level math skills.
This is for the parents who struggle with their teens.
Sorry, but I’m not here to tell you to cherish those moments. This is for all those parents out there who crack molars in their Herculean effort to not scream right back at their teen. It’s for the parents who get migraines from rolling their eyes too hard each time their teen screams and cries that taking their phone away is “not fair” and that they’ll lose their all-important Snapchat streaks.
It’s for the parents who have to spend a few minutes hiding out in the pantry or the bathroom until they feel they are once again in control. It’s for the parents who fall asleep crying because they don’t know how they failed to raise a polite and grateful human being.
I was a teen once. I know it’s hard. I’m sure I screamed “I hate you” a fair amount of times. (I recall one particular situation with my brother. I’d say I was sorry, but I’m sure he deserved it in that moment.)
I know that her screaming those dreadful words means I’m probably doing my job. It means I’m engaged in her life and redirecting her to a different path-one that may be difficult for her to choose on her own. And, yes, I know she doesn’t really mean it. Well, she probably meant it for those few seconds when she felt compelled to utter the words. But as a whole I know she doesn’t really hate me. I know she’s just mad or hormonal (or both) and doesn’t know how to express it any other way.
But it still hits like a punch in the gut. I’m human. I’m breakable. And I’m tired.
I know I’ll survive these teen years. I just hope I can hold on to my sanity along the way.
So, to my fellow teen parents reading—congrats on surviving another day. You are not a lonely island in the sea of teen-angst. You’re also not “less than” just because you can’t find a way to cherish those angst-filled moments when your teen is screaming that they hate you.
Have heart that your teen will turn into a well-adjusted adult. I mean, we were once those angst-filled teens, and now we’re loving ours despite the lack of appreciation we receive. That means somewhere along the way we somehow did learn how to love unconditionally. And they will too. Just probably not until we’re old. And then we can take revenge through our grandkids.
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Carrie Beckort has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University, and an MBA from Ball State University. She spent seventeen years in the corporate industry before transitioning into her writing career. She has published three novels in the past six years (KINGSTON’S PROJECT, KINGSTON’S PROMISE, and SHATTERED ANGEL) and has recently finished the manuscript for her forth novel. She can be found on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.