Don’t Despair, Weary Parents of Teenagers: This Too Shall Pass

Mother and daughter sitting on bench at park, with some distance, talking“Don’t let yourself become so concerned about raising a good kid that you forget you already have one.” —Glennon Doyle Wambach

Dear parent,

This too shall pass. That sentiment has become my parenting mantra. It is the sentiment I repeated to myself at 4 in the morning when I was trying to soothe my crying newborn for the fourth time that night. They are the words I tell myself when my toddler is having a meltdown in the middle of a store and everyone is staring. It is the phrase I hold onto when parenting gets tough, and oh, does parenting get unbearably tough!

There are periods of parenting we prepare for, periods we have been warned will challenge us to the core. Despite this warning, we are rarely ready. Instead, we are often left to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Adolescence is one of those periods.

This time in a family’s development comes with big responsibility and big decisions. You will worry about your teen’s success in school and how it may impact their future. You will stress about the choices they make and pray those choices don’t lead to lifelong negative consequences. You will hope you gave them a strong foundation and that they have developed a moral compass to guide them in the right direction. This period will bring sleepless nights. But know:

This too shall pass.

The adolescent years are often characterized by pushing boundaries, rebelling against the rules, and challenging the system. While this fight for autonomy is normal and a sign of healthy development, it is likely to come with family tension, arguing, and mood swings that may rival those of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You may come to both admire your teen’s efforts toward independence and loathe the way they go about it. This period will bring anger and frustration. But remember:

You may come to both admire your teen’s efforts toward independence and loathe the way they go about it. This period will bring anger and frustration.

This too shall pass.

Adolescence is often a period when time with friends takes precedence over time with family. You may long for those afternoon chats about school or reading stories before bed. You may miss family game nights or watching your favorite shows together. Their bedroom door, now closed when they are home, may become a visual reminder of the emotional divide between you. This period will bring sadness and loss. But remember:

This too shall pass.

And when it does, if you were able to keep true to your values and goals as a parent, then your family will come out the other side healthy, happy, and maybe a bit stronger. You may even look back on this time and laugh at its ridiculousness. You will now have a young adult with whom you have a new type of relationship. And this period will bring great joy.


A child therapist and fellow parent

P.S. If you ever need support during your parenting journey (and who doesn’t?), help is available.

© Copyright 2018 All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Katelyn Alcamo, LCMFT, Topic Expert

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • elisa

    April 11th, 2018 at 9:11 PM

    A girlfriend of mine shared this with me Good reminder. Can be hard raising 2 teenagers have to have hope

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