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C'est la Vie: Delusions of Teenage Years

My daughter was musing over how much older she is than her cousins. We were scrolling through some recent photos and her mind was doing some math.

"How old will I be when my cousin is 8 years old?"


"Well," I said, "You are six years older than he is, so you'll be 14."


"Fourteen! I can't believe it!"


"I can't believe it either. It's going to be here before we know it," I lamented.


"Don't worry, mom. I'll still love you when I'm 14," she promised.

It was as if she was reading my mind. Oh, I know she'll still kind of love me some of the time when she is 14 years old. It's all of the other times that I'm worried about. I think it's precious that she is so fond of me that she can never imagine not liking me. I hope it lasts longer than usual. But I've been around teenagers enough to know that even if they still like their parents, they certainly don't want to spend time with them and rarely think they are any version of "cool."

The conversation made me wonder if I'm doing all I can to build a relationship with my kids that will be one of admiration and respect through the teen years and into adulthood. One thing I know: it needs to be mutual. Kids need to know they are loved and respected as individuals in their home - home is the place where they should feel safe and encouraged! I am absolutely not suggesting that our kids should be objects of our worship. What I am saying is that love needs hands and feet. Love needs words and actions.

Love also means putting up boundaries NOW, not pulling the rug out from under them when they are thirteen. Love means asking questions and knowing their friends NOW instead of suddenly becoming interested when you're worried about them getting into trouble. Love means setting aside time to spend just with them (my husband and I each try to "date" our kids a few times a month) NOW, so you've already set a precedent.

I'm not delusional. I know the teen years are fast approaching and I know they will be hard. All I can ask myself is if I'm doing my best. How about you?

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