I have four boys~ages sixteen, fifteen (next week!) and twelve year old twins. I have dreaded these teen years for ages, or at least, ever since they were old enough for people to start saying, "Just you wait until they hit the teen years!". Well, we have arrived, folks.
And you know what? It's not that bad. One thing I have learned to do is just to remember that they are still kids. Not aliens. Not sleep-deprived little monster beings who are almost old enough to drive themselves. They are kids. They still need a ton of sleep. (MORE than infants! What?!) More than all of that, even, they need love.
One day last year, when my oldest son was being particularly cranky and pushing ALL of my buttons, I had the thought that I should just wrap him in my arms and hug him with all my strength.
He resisted me at first, but as the seconds ticked by, I could feel him relaxing. He literally melted in my arms, and I could feel all of the tension leave his body. These years are hard on them. I remember, because surely it was just yesterday that I was there. Their bodies are doing strange things, testosterone is kicking in, their voices are changing, they're growing hair in crazy places...I mean, can you blame them? They need love!
Another thing they need is grace. Mercy. I am a God loving woman and if my Savior can forgive me for my past sin (and present and future), then who am I to not extend that same grace and mercy to him (them)?
Love. Grace. Mercy. It takes an attitude adjustment on our parts, but it is so worth everything it might cost. And what, really, does it cost us? Not much, at all, but a few extra minutes to love on them, to extend to them grace and mercy and to remember that though they can be strange and crazy (and weird and loud and sometimes gross), they are still just kids beneath the surface, trying to figure out this thing called life.