What Your Teenager Really Needs to Hear From You

A letter to my teenager,

I want you to know that I want the very best for you and that I love you even more now than I did when you were a baby. You might not always believe that, because it’s not always the message I give you. I can tell you with words, but in times of pressure, my actions sometimes tell a different story.

I’m doing the best that I can, but that’s not perfect because I’m not always as strong as you might think. In fact, there are times when I don’t feel very different from when I was your age. I’m supposed to be emotionally mature and stay stable and secure for you whenever you feel any turmoil. But sometimes I struggle to cover up my emotions, even though I know doing so would be the best thing to protect your feelings.

These are the times when I show my impatience, my frustration, or I lose my temper, and I am truly sorry for that. Please know that whenever I behave like that, it’s because I am not more capable, in that moment, of behaving more appropriately. In that moment I feel unsure, or worried or even like I have failed you in some way. Please believe that my behaviour is not a reflection of how I feel about you.

When I get cross it’s usually about all the frustrations I have with myself for not being able to handle things better. For not calmly knowing exactly what to do to compromise and make you happy. Maybe I should know all this, but you see just like you, I am still learning. Even though you might look at me and think I should know better, I am human and that means I will always be imperfect.

But I want to make a promise to you. I will try my best not to make your ups and downs about me by taking things personally when we disagree. I will try to stay calm and strong for you and I will see you for the beautiful emerging adult that you are. I won’t just listen to you, but I will hear you and I will honour your wishes as far as I am able. I will guide you to protect you, but not control you, and I will love you unconditionally for all the years to come.

I ask that you forgive me if I ever fall short of my promise, and that you always let us start over. I love you with all of my heart, as I always have, and I can’t wait to watch the next part of your life unfold from the side-lines.

Love always,

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