What Our Kids Have to Say

What if someone were to ask our kids this question: What is the one thing you wish you could say to your mom? 

We spend a lot of words on The MOM Journey figuring out our kids–what we should do for them or with them or say to them–or not. Since we talk about our kids so much, I thought maybe it’s time to let our kids talk about us.

So I did it. I asked a group of teens what is the one thing they wish they could say to us. Listen to what they want us to hear:

  • I deserve your trust until I actually do something to break it. Don’t assume I’ll do something bad.
  • I am old enough to take care of myself, but I still need you as a safety net.
  • You are too protective, and I don’t have friends because of it.
  • When you want me to do something, don’t constantly bother me about it or I probably won’t do it.
  • Trust is key, but with too much trust, I don’t feel like you care.
  • You can give me advice. Sometimes I will listen, but sometimes I need to learn on my own.
  • Don’t say what you wish you’d done. Don’t try to make me follow your dream.
  • I’m not trying to talk back. I feel like you don’t understand what I’m saying and I’m trying to explain.
  • I’ve stopped fighting for myself because I’ve learned the opposing side knows better.
  • My attitude is my personality and you helped me form it.
  • Give me space when I need it. When I don’t want space, I’ll come to you.
  • You teach me how people are, so make a good impression.
  • I love you. It’s just hard to express this while being my angsty teen self and look cool.
  • The older I get, the more I value your opinion.
  • Even though I don’t seem thankful for the things you do, I truly am thankful for you.
  • I know I’m cranky sometimes, but I love you lots. Like LOTS.
  • I’ve never stopped wanting you to hold me.
  • You are my whole life. Please don’t doubt that.

Some of these words we expected to hear. Others might be surprising. While it seems our teens have a lot to say to us, I hear one message clearly.

Our kids are caught in a giant tug-of-war. Childhood is one one side, young adulthood is on the other, and they are struggling between the two. And so are we. Sometimes we stand on one end of the rope, telling them to grow up. And other times…we’re pulling them back to us because they’re growing up too fast. What a confusing time for all of us!

So who wins this game of tug of war? Nobody. Instead of being on opposite sides, maybe we need to be on the same side, helping our kids tug. If they pull too hard, we will be their anchor and dig in our heels to keep them on the right side of the line. And when they think we are in their space or that we don’t trust them, we can remind them, “You are my whole life. Please don’t doubt that.”

Let’s end with another question: What is the one thing you wish you could say to your son or daughter? I wonder if it will surprise them.


The MOM Journey News

Although many of you saw my “thank you” on Facebook last week, I can’t pass up another opportunity to express how grateful I am for all the excitement about Waiting for Butterflies! I’m quickly learning that my favorite part of publishing a book is having so many friends to share the experience with! Thank you, thank you for your genuine happiness and so much encouragement. Thank you…

‘Tis the season…Next week on The MOM Journey we’re going to celebrate the only mom who raised a perfect son. Hhhmmm…who could that be?


1 Comment

  1. Laura Marquis says:

    Ahhh man, where was this 20 years ago. Oh yeah, that’s right we were newbies, barely getting enough sleep with our wee little one needing us so much. Powerful words sister and again you hit the nail on the head. I know I tried to do some of these things, sometimes not so well, but it is still a work in progress. I think, as moms, we will always want to protect our babies. However, we do have trust them, love them, let go, and then PRAY we have done enough. Thanks Karen for the awesome words of wisdom and reminders about how to listen.

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