I don’t think anyone will argue that raising rebellious teens is challenging for even the best parents. I once told my eldest son that since there is no book available to tell parents how to react to every situation, the fact that we were winging it was something he would have to accept. We were doing the best we could with the resources we had.
My youngest son is now eighteen, almost out of the rebellious teen phase. We have to patiently remind ourselves that our two oldest sons have made the transition into responsible adults, so the third son will probably get there too. I am grateful that the rebellious stages we have encountered so far have been quite mild compared to stories I have heard from parents of other families.
My sister was not so fortunate when her daughter was a teen. Throughout this difficult time in my sister’s life she shared many of her worries for her daughter with me. She wondered if she, as a mother, was doing everything that she could to prevent irreparable damage in her daughter’s life. She learned from experience that the line between helping your children and enabling them is often blurred.
The purpose of this post is to prove that rebelious teens can and do turn out to be responsible and successful adults. Although I had heard that my niece had worked hard to get her life under control, I was thrilled to see the evidence last month when visiting my sister in Texas for her BIRTHDAY. That is thrilled and proud of both my niece and my sister for their resilience and perseverance. Married with three children of her own, my niece, now 35 years old, appears to have her head on straight, and is doing a wonderful job of raising her children.
I hope my niece realizes the stress she put on her parents growing up, but also recognizes that her parents did the best they could. No parent is perfect in their parenting skills. No parent does the right thing all of the time because no parent knows the right thing to do all of the time. The lines between helping and enabling do get blurred for parents everywhere. I hope this knowledge and advice, as well as the fact that her well-experienced mother is a valuable resource, will help my niece when her children become rebellious teens…