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Mothering Teens - Your Responses

When a child goes astray, we feel alone and exhausted.

Agency is bigger than a parent. We can not govern agency by force, but can guide it with love. I once was asked this question - Jan, if you were crashing in an airplane, would you put the air mask on you first or your child. I quickly said my child. He looked at me and said - no, you put it on yourself first, so that you can better help your child. I have never forgotten that.

We get in the mode of living as "happy as our saddest child". You can be happy inspite of the down spiral of your child. They need you to be happy. They need to see a reason to come back to the path that leads to happiness.

Parents are not the Savior. The Savior is the one who can carry your childs burdens fully. Take your child (in your mind) and run them to the Garden of Gethsemane. Converse with the Lord that you realize that He atoned for your child. Thou knows them best. That you can not do this alone anymore, and that you need Him to carry them. Express your love and gratitude to Him and for your child. Then assure Him, that you will stand right next to Him and wait for the Spirit to guide and direct your part in helping your child. Then cry and let your child go with Him.

You will go through moments of being the one that gets the verbal hurts from your child. Know that your child realizes that you are safe to take it all out on because you will always be there and still love them. Don't take the verbal hurts personally. Say to yourself - they are taking it out on me because they love me. They do not hate you. You have to be strong and endure this time. Always remember that "nothing is worth losing a relationship over", they will respect you for that someday.

Ignore the judgments and hurt comments from your own peers. Cling to those that fill you up and give support. You can't please everybody. And that's okay. The days and nights may seem like a blur of darkness, but there is always light if we look for it. You will have tender mercies around you. Take them. They are a life line for you. A sign that you are not alone. (hugs)

Jan, from A Crazylady On Road 80


One of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon has to do with the Lamanites who were converted by the sons of Mosiah. Centuries later, Christ describes these faithful people as having been baptized by the spirit, but 'they knew it not'.

My feeling from this has always been that, throughout our lives, we are given opportunities to add to a storehouse of understanding, strength, creativity, and above all faith, which we may not even know exists within us until we are called upon to draw from it.

Parenting young children often provides us with opportunities to add to that storehouse. But if we aren't careful, prayerful, and open to experiences the purposes of which may not be immediately apparent, we risk facing a diminished reserve of perspective and fortitude when we need them most.

Some young men choose not to serve missions. Some young women marry outside their faith. Some teens and young adults, raised in happy, active LDS homes, still struggle with addiction, gender identity, and a thousand distractions thrown at them by the world. Facing these difficulties can feel like a body blow. It breaks your heart. It breaks your legs.

How do you endure, and "endure it well"? I believe the answer lies in seeking opportunities from the Lord to add to that as yet unrecognized storehouse of preparation.

So one piece of advice I would offer to ALL mothers, and particularly those mothers just starting down this road, is to pray for those experiences that will prepare you for the sometimes profoundly challenging and heartbreaking trials your children have ahead.

It is vitally important that we open ourselves to the fortification that a loving Father wishes to build within us, even if it happens so subtly, we 'know it not'. There will be times, particularly when parenting teens and young adults, when the "peace of God, that passeth all understanding" will be the only thing sustaining you.

And that peace comes from a storehouse filled to overflowing with experience and faith.

DeNae, from "My Real Life Was Backordered"

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