This has happened to me more than once--- more like 50 times. It started back when my boys were still in preschool. Often parents of teenagers would say to me, "Just wait. Enjoy them now, because when they're teenagers they'll hate you." OR....When people ask how old my kids are, and then say (as they roll they're eyes), "Oh, you're in for it now, with a teenager in the house. We all have to go through it."
I decided years ago that I would never say to myself: Okay, my boys are teenagers. They are going to be rebellious, impossible and think I'm dumb. These things could happen---hormones and growing up are a fact of life--but I just wasn't going to EXPECT it to happen. What I wanted to expect was the opposite. I anticipated a growing relationship with my boys and a time when they matured and deepened their lives by serving others and growing closer to the Lord.
In fact, on the day our oldest turned 13, my husband and I put our hands on his shoulders, looked him in the eyes and told him that today, he was a teenager. We explained that to much of the world this meant a time of being carefree, rebellious and irresponsible. (We also told him "teenager"was a term that has existed less than 100 years, but that's a rabbit I'll not chase here.) We told him that what we saw ahead for him in his teen years was a time of maturity, responsibility and having a Christian testimony. That was a year and a half ago. We know we still have a long way before the "dreaded" teen years are over...but so far, we are loving having a teenager in the house! (And plan to keep on loving this stage!)
I say all this to lead up to what I really want to share. I just finished reading Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris. I was soooo excited when my oldest son won this book a while back for answering a question in youth group. (He read the first part of the book, then he told me I'd love it...I'm just now getting it back to him!) I had seen it advertised and had really been interested in the premise of the book---rebellion against low expectations for teenagers. I HIGHLY recommend this book for all teenagers and their parents. (It inspired me as an adult to "do hard things" as well!) The Harris brothers say: "The teen years are not a vacation from responsibility...they are the training ground of future leaders who dare to be responsible now." Can I get an AMEN?
My oldest son and I have a bit of an inside joke when it comes to "Do Hard Things". Just the other night at church, when the youth were helping clean up after a meal, he came to me and said, "Mom, give me something easy to do."
I said, "Oh, no, son. Remember, we 'Do Hard Things'." We have fun joking around, but he gets it. :)
Check out The Rebelution Blog by the Harris brothers for more information and inspiration on how you and your teenager can "Do Hard Things".