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How Do I Keep Focused when I Get so Frustrated with My Teenager?

Parenting is a challenge no doubt. Thankfully God has equipped us to guide our kids through all the ups and downs that come with growing up. Sometimes it can be hard to keep perspective on the bigger picture when you get into the gritty everyday thoughts, decisions, and responses of parenting. As your teenager goes through the ups and downs of the adolescent journey, it can sometimes be a struggle for you as a parent to take a step back and keep a cool head. So how do you respond in a calm, non-anxious way, when someone’s being incredibly disrespectful or screaming at you? How do you get rest at night when you feel so much worry or anxiety for them? Allow me to give you a gift of a super parenting remote control. This remote has three simple but powerful buttons that will help you, especially when things get tough.

REWINDThe first button is to rewind. To rewind, you go through the baby pictures of your teenager when they were a sweet, little kid. Remember the first time you set your eyes on your child? Maybe that is a newborn baby picture or your first photo after adoption. Find an early picture that really tugs at your heart when you look at it, your response is to say, “Aww!” What you want is to experience a positive memory and emotion when you look at it. Place this picture as your background or place it where you can see it because it will keep at the front of your mind an image of this sweet child you are invested in and committed to for the long run. There will be days when your teenager is simply not fun to be around. They’re fighting mood swings and they don’t know how to deal with life, so they take it out on you. Now don’t hold the picture in front of their face and say, “I remember when you used to be sweet.” Just remember the picture and remember the marathon of parenting. Thankfully God sees the bigger picture with us. He is committed to us and we can be committed to our teenagers even in those tense moments.

FAST FORWARDThe second button is to fast forward. I want you to imagine the 25-year-old version of your teenager when they’re an adult. When he or she is an adult influencing the world, living life with character and passion. Picture them as being married or as a parent.   When you flash forward, you can be inspired as a parent. Imagine the 35-year-old version of your teenager saying, “Thank you.” They may even say, “Hey, thank you for not giving in to me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for being patient with me even when I was stubborn or selfish.”

PAUSEThese help us to use our final button, hitting pause. Taking a moment to pause will help you to  respond in peace and avoid escalating things in anger. When you do that, you’re sending a message that you are a safe place and you are committed to them. Proverbs 15:1 says: A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up anger. 

When you rewind to remember that little child and you flash forward to dream of the adult version of your teenager, it will help you to pause and stay calm when things get heated. Let’s grab those remotes and see the bigger picture together. I hope you will be encouraged knowing you don’t have to be perfect, but you can be REAL. Parenting is tough. We are here to support you and pray for you along the way.