Parenting teens is one of the most rewarding jobs around. It is also one of the most difficult. As an adult, you see things long before they do. Your instinct is to lock them up and save them from the hard stuff. The stuff that is too difficult and weighs heavy on your soul. The stuff that you have gone through. You know how hard this is going to be. The days on end you can’t catch your breath. The days you just know you will never make it through.
Here is the deal—they have to go through all the junk to get to the silver lining. You know, the frosting on the cake stuff. The wondrous love that life gives you. It is there, you just have to get through the mud and the muck of life first.
The mud and the muck happened this past week for my beautiful girl. The sudden end to what she thought was the end-all and the be-all to everything.
She gave her heart 100 percent and she was planning for all the great stuff to come. She went off to class and when the bell rang, so did the finality of the relationship. The message was clear, the two hearts that were seen as one came undone. Just that quick. It has been so hard. This was three years of her life.
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As parents, the dating thing put us into hysterics. All those things ran through our minds. Was she prepared, did she know what was healthy? Would she get hurt? Our parenting went into stealth mode. Text when you get there, who are you going to be with, you aren’t going to be alone with that boy, are you?
The mud and the muck could have been easier if some things that happened would have been different. The breakup was in between classes, so not only did the worst-imaginable, awful thing happen but now . . . well, now the sobs were in public, the sobs were behind the wheel of the car.
The next phase entered rather quickly. Gather up those personal items that needed to be returned. The mud and the muck would have been better if there had not been love notes returned.
The mud and the muck would have been better if social media was not involved.
The heart could have handled it better if the timing was not what it was.
You see, breakups could always be handled differently, but then I suppose we would use a different word than the word “break.” It is a break.
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Overall, when we really talked about things, my little human who is beyond wise for her age began to see that a lot of the relationship did not fit the definition of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4-8, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”
Let’s break it down. This is a passage that tells us what God’s love is for us. The important take away is to see God in everyone. Your love for one another should never be hurtful. This point needs to be driven home every chance you get with your young person.
Love should never be hurtful.
We all know they will have a few relationships before they find the love of their life. So, as we prepare our kids for this part of their life, let’s teach them to be kind.
When they know the relationship is not working for whatever the reasons are, break it off with kindness. Don’t involve others in the situation. Once things are communicated and items returned, let each other go.
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Hold your head high with dignity and when you bump into one another, just be nice. Simple . . . just be nice.
Keep all of the good from the relationship. As for the bad, learn from it and use it as a compass to guide you through your next relationship.
Parents, I know this is hard, but if we can do some simple things, it will make the bad things go much better.