Raising Teenagers Feels a Lot like Beat the Clock (Part 2)

IN Part 1, I shared about my oldest turning 14, feeling the pressure of time running out, and wondering if I’ve done right by him.


Discover better questions to ask yourself than, "Have I been a good mom?"

I left off with a sobering revelation.

Now we pick back up with the original question. The one we moms dwell on.

Have I been a good mom?

I can’t do anything about the past, but I can ask, “What does my son need from me now?”  The answer to that  lies in the answer to other questions. Questions having nothing to do with time and decisions gone by, but makes the best of the present I have a say in.


Meaning, loving him the way he perceives love, not how I do. The Five Love Languages pertain to parent-child relationships just as much as marital. But it’s deceptively easy to fall into the trap of loving someone the way you feel loved.

You forget loving well is intentional.

So, ask your child, “How do you know I love you? What kinds of things make you feel loved?” And see where the conversation leads. I feel warm fuzzies when I’m swamped and someone helps me get things done. But my oldest thrives on affirming words. I wouldn’t know that if I didn’t ask him. And he won’t feel loved if I don’t tell him how proud and pleased I am with him.


Like any teenage boy, my son says and does things that boggle the mind. I stare at him and think, “Are you going to make it? Is anything we taught you getting through?” Realizing this is my first experience raising a teenager and wanting to keep “first child syndrome” at bay, I try to respond calmly instead.

And when I don’t, it’s because I’ve put more confidence in words drummed into a teenager’s ears than those uttered in prayer.

So, if it seems like you’re talking to the wall, it’s because you may as well be. Jesus has a way of reaching hearts that we can’t. So, pour your heart out to him about your child and watch your words accomplish much more.


When I step back, lay down my maternal anxiety and look at my son, my answer is yes. Because despite the nagging and railing, and my insecurities, my son’s a thriving teenager who’s occasionally moody and likes sleeping late—go figure. So yes, I’ve made mistakes, but I didn’t screw him up.

God’s grace is greater than my failures and more than enough to see my son through to his destiny.

My privilege is nurturing the seeds Jesus planted in him. To see the Lord moving in his life and supporting that. When I believe that’s enough, the burden to “get it right” lifts, because what I believe about motherhood changes everything about how I mother.

And when you believe God loves your child more than you do and will work things out as you trust Him, you enjoy peace. Peace in the face of a running clock, your teen’s antics, and your mistakes. It’s all good!


MOTHERHOOD is beautiful, but tough. And it isn’t for punks. If you could use perspective and some encouragement. I’ve got some for you here.

Vanessa A. Harris, author of DADDY's Girl Forever and its devotional.
VANESSA A. HARRIS is a blogger and the author of DADDY’s Girl Forever and its devotional.  She’s a physician turned stay at home mom, who’s never lost her NY wit.  She needs it for the three inventive children she raises with her husband in Texas.

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