A teenager faces many significant changes both physical and emotional. The most important thing you can do for a teenager is to take the time to understand their struggles and to guide them rather than dominate them. Yes, boundaries are very important and you should not waver in this area as they will try to push the boundaries but will respect you more for putting your foot down.
The teenage years can be very confusing, especially for girls who have to learn to cope with hormonal mood swings. As the mother of a teenager you will need to continue to be loving and patient but at the same time extremely firm and direct about what is acceptable and what is not. Being their best friend is great but not at the expense of losing your authority as a mother. You are a mother first who enjoys a close friendship with her teenager. Keep that clear and you should do well.
Early teens (from about thirteen to sixteen) still need firm boundaries in place even though they think they are grown up. Late teens (seventeen to nineteen) need to be shown trust as young adults but still need reasonable boundaries. Early teens who rebel need to be disciplined and have consequences for their rebellion. Late teens who rebel need to be set free after being told that the consequences of their rebellion are on their own head – do not bail them out of the consequences that they might suffer no matter how much you want to. Finding the balance with your teens in the most difficult thing to do but don’t give up on the boundaries you have set.
Having your children leave home can either be very rewarding or very painful. There are many factors that will determine whether you have rewards or pain but the biggest key is preparation. Don’t be ignorant in this area. Have a plan in place from their late teens so that when the time comes, possibly sometime in their twenties, you will be well prepared. Here are some ideas that you could put in place towards the end of their teens or the beginning of their twenties – each child is different so you will be able to determine how long they will stay home although don’t leave it too late or you might end up surprised. Don’t wait until your children have left home; begin preparations before that day comes.
Titus 2:3-5 has some wonderful advice for older women, “the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behaviour, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”
A grandmother should be an example to all and should teach her children and grandchildren how to do life well. It’s a wonderful privilege to have reached this final stage of being a mother and this stage should be embraced.
Take time to invest in your grandchildren, teach them from your years of life experience and build a good strong relationship with them so that they have someone other than their parents to talk to when they have problems. Most importantly, enjoy being a grandmother.