Growth Spurts: Now Entering the Teen Years
It’s official. I am now the parent of a teenager. My daughter Callie turns 13 this month, and I can hardly believe it. Just like every other parent in the world, I find myself wondering where the time went. I know I was here for it, but it certainly has gone quickly.
I confess- there are plenty of times that I sigh and think about how my babies aren’t babies anymore. I sometimes browse through old photos and am in awe at how much their sweet faces have changed over the years (Their faces are still sweet, though.). And every once in a while, I capture a memory–a picture in my mind of what they were like when they were one or two or three years old–and I let myself stay there for a few minutes. But when I get snapped back into the present, I find that I am equally enjoying the years of having older children. And I am even looking forward to the teenage years! (Yes, you read that right.)
It helps for me to remember my own growing-up years and the excitement of all the firsts, freedoms, and movement toward independence. And I see that same enthusiasm in my children. So why wouldn’t I rejoice with them? After all, the goal of parenting is to move our children toward full independence, right? No one sets out to purposely raise a child who will never leave home and who will always be dependent on his or her parents. At least, I hope not.
The way I see it, there are good things, difficult things, fun things, and sad things about every stage. And if we choose to dwell in the sadness that our kids aren’t babies anymore, we will miss all the fun and exciting things that come with them growing up. And let’s be honest–would any of us really want to keep them as babies and change diapers every day for the rest of our lives?! I sure wouldn’t.
What a gift, honor, and responsibility we have been given to raise entire human beings! Let’s celebrate every milestone of their growing up! Don’t dread the day they become teenagers; make a big deal out of it! Because if we do dread it and only speak negatively of the teenage years, they will certainly hear it, absorb it, and quite probably live up to that expectation. Personally, I think I’ll opt for the celebration.
I love what Anne Albritton, Canton mom of three, says about her kids growing up: “I love that our relationship has changed because what they need from me has changed. They don’t need as much physical care now, but their need for me to be mentally and emotionally present is huge. It’s fun to actually know them, rather than just take care of them. I like the people they’re becoming.”
The teen years are coming, and there’s nothing we can do to prevent it. So let’s work hard to prepare our kids and ourselves for it, and let’s anticipate, rather than agonize, over it. Our kids are excited about it, so let’s join them!
Carrie Bevell Partridge and her husband Kevin are incredibly proud of their teenage daughter Callie.