“When I was a child…When I became a man.” 1Co 13:11 NIV
Do you sometimes wonder if your teenager is ever going to reach maturity? Welcome to the toughest phase of parenting! A teenager can go from optimism to pessimism, excitement to boredom, self-confidence to self-doubt, happiness to despair, sociability to reclusiveness, tranquility to volatility, cooperation to opposition—in a head-spinning second! And when you ask them, “What’s wrong?” they say, “Nothing,” or, “I don’t know.” And the truth is, they don’t! Bombarded by changing biochemistry, your child is navigating between the worlds of childhood and adulthood, needing your understanding and patience. For them the odyssey of adolescence can feel freakish, embarrassing and perplexing. Children know the roles and rules of their world, adults know theirs. Children are expected to act like children, and adults like adults. But teenagers have traits of both worlds, yet belong in neither. When they’re in child-mode, they’re forbidden to be childish. “Will you ever grow up?” we ask. When they’re in adult-mode, they’re denied adult privileges. “Of course you can’t…You’re just a kid!” The worlds of adults and children are relatively distinct, stable, predictable places. But it’s not so in the fuzzy realm of your teen. They alternate between two worlds, never certain whether they’re fish or fowl, adult or child. So they gravitate toward peers who share but also don’t understand their experiences. What do they need? Parents who understand and assure them, “When I was a child, I spoke…understood…thought as a child, like you do. But when I became a man [or woman] I outgrew the confusion, and you will too.”
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