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It doesn't have to be that way

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It doesn’t have to be that way.

Don’t buy into the narrative.

They are not all like that.

I am here to tell you that all eyes don’t roll and all attitudes don’t stink. In fact, I’m here to tell you that the teen years can be pretty awesome.

There is so much beauty, love, and laughter in our teen girls. There is joy and wonderment. There is sharing of stories and building confidence. There is boundary setting and finding out what really matters. There are hard conversations and difficult decisions to make. There’s figuring out who she is and who she is not. Tastes and preferences are budding. While some things become clear, others begin to get more cloudy.

But it’s all incredibly beautiful.

Yes, it takes patience, support, and a few minutes to remember what it was *actually* like being a teenager. It takes grace and the gift of time and space. It takes flexibility and humor. It takes encouragement. All sprinkled with the reminder that these times are fleeting — and matter. Possibly more than ever.

It takes boundaries and reminding them that they are not in control and that attitudes matter. It takes reminding them that some days we are called to be a humble servant. It takes reminding them that manners really do matter and the world does not (and will not) revolve around them.

They deserve that from us.

I want to see our teen girls celebrated for their curiosity and leadership. I want to see our teen girls supported for their uncertainty and yet brave navigation of this challenging thing called life.

Please, I beg you. Stop telling mothers to ‘hold on’ or to ‘brace yourself’ because the years of the teen girl can only be one filled with strife and difficulty.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

They are not all like that.

I am incredibly lucky to have a smart, sweet, kind, and respectful teen daughter. I acknowledge that part of it just who she is — but the other part of it is us:

The floor is always open for discussion (respectfully)
All feelings are valid and can be openly shared (respectfully)
We’ve all made mistakes and these are always shared
All opinions are welcome (respectfully)
No topic is off limits (respectfully)
No one and nothing is perfect We don’t strive for perfection — we strive for excellence
We all have bad days
Forgiveness is key (especially for yourself)

Growing up is hard. Our girls need room to grow, to make mistakes, and stretch their own wings. They need reminders that we’ve been there and that they, too will get though it. They need healthy boundaries with a constant reminder that they are loved and never alone. They need fun and laughter.

There is so much beauty in these years, but it’s often up to us to set the stage for it. We are the ones who have been through this — we can set them up to soar. We can give them room to express their feelings, or we can shut them down. We can celebrate their growth or spread an unhealthy narrative.

The truth is, the memories we have of our babies, are ours and ours alone. Why? Because the babies don’t remember those days. But our teens will. These are memories we can make together. And with the right support and nurturing, they might be the best ones yet. And our girls deserve it.

Hang in there, ya’ll. xo

Originally published here:

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