Dear Teens, I Want You Never to Be Afraid To Come to Me

Dear Teens,

I know you’ve reached a time in your life when telling me every detail of your day not only doesn’t occur to you. And when I mention how I want to hear more about your life, you seem a little repulsed.

I’ve been replaced by friends who are wading through the same life experiences as you are and they are the ones you are looking to for approval. I get that.

Over the past few years, I’ve uncomfortably settled into the background of your lives and while I knew it was coming, nothing prepares a parent for letting their kids detach and make some big decisions without them.

It doesn’t feel natural. I still think I know more about life than you, no matter how much you try and convince me otherwise. And honestly, I’ll never be ready to give up my role as your mother so you might as well get used to me wanting to be in the know even though you are becoming more autonomous by the minute.

I know a lot of my words may be wasted on you, but if there’s one thing I want to stick; if I had to choose something that you’d never forget it would be this: I never want you to be afraid to come to me with anything.

mom with teen daughter
I never want you to be afraid to come to me with anything. Twenty20 @val_bona_vuk)

I never want my teens to be afraid to come to me with their problems.

You may be afraid of disappointing me if you make a bad decision, especially if you’ve done something I’ve warned you not to do, but keep in mind I will be even more disappointed if you keep it from me.

There is nothing any of you can do to make me fall out of love with you. I gave birth to the three of you and we are in this ride together whether you are eight or forty-eight.

So, if you don’t feel that it’s safe for you to drive in order to get home in time for curfew, please tell me.

If you are caught up in something that has gotten out of hand and feel like you have nowhere to turn, tell me.

If you’ve done something you don’t know how to fix, but know in the depths of your soul that it needs fixing, tell me.

If you are trying to protect me from something you think would hurt me, tell me.

If you are out one night and you aren’t where you said you’d be and find yourself stuck there, tell me.

I really do want to know. Maybe in that exact moment, it won’t seem that telling me was a good idea, but in the long run, I will be so much happier you felt like you could come to me.

Because if you can’t be your true self with me, I’ll feel like I am not doing my job as your mother. If you can’t count on me to be your safe space, I know you will search for it somewhere else until you find it and I’m not okay with that.

I not saying you will get out of jail free. I not saying there will be no consequences. I’m not saying we will never discuss it again.

I am saying I want you to know regardless of what happens with you in or out of our four walls, there isn’t anything we can’t try and get through together.

I’d rather have the angst of knowing about something than the ignorance of not.

I’d rather hear things from you first, rather than from Suzy down the street.

I want our relationship to continue to grow and evolve as you pull away. Some days it feels like it’s impossible–you have to communicate  to keep a relationship solid. And when you keep things bottled up and hidden it scares me that you think I’m not available to you in the way I was when you were younger.

But I am.

I know that the situations we will have to get through in your teen years are going to make a diaper blowout or temper tantrum look like a cake walk. I know it, and I still want to do it all with you.

Please know that the privilege of having your back will trump how upset I am in that moment.

And above all else, I never want you to think I will be disappointed with you if you are struggling in a relationship, with your kids, with your job, or with a class. I don’t want you to keep pushing yourself when you don’t have any push left. This is where I come in and take some of the weight on for you. It’s my job, it’s what I signed up for, and I can handle it.

Just remember, I can’t help you if you don’t let me into your world and let me know what’s really going on in your head.

I am your mom, you don’t have to pretend for me and you need to know I am on your side, always.



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About Katie BinghamSmith

Katie Bingham-Smith lives in Maine with her three kids. She is a Staff Writer at Scary Mommy, shoe addict and pays her kids to rub her feet. You can see more of her on Facebook and Instagram .

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