Oh the silence.
The silence of teenagers can be brutal. I refer to it as the loud silence because it feels so loud, so blaring in its absence.
Sometimes the silence hurts. It cuts so deep. It doesn’t let us know if we’re making a difference or all of it. It doesn’t tell us we’re important or that we’re needed. The silence can feel like a giant schism in the middle of a home.
When they were little I felt as if I was always saying, “shhhh…not so loud…” and now there are moments where I’m desperate for just a word, a sound, a voice of “hey mom, thanks.”
But so much of the time I’m met with silence.
And the silence, it can feel lonely, like I’m the only one.
I’ve felt it cut deep. I’ve felt myself wondering, “does anything I’ve done matter now?” or “how can you be so quiet when you used to be afraid to cross the street without holding my hand?”
And yet, it’s there.
Not all the time. Each of my kids are different. But still, there are those moments, those loud moments of lack of noise, that make my mom heart ache for those days of me being the best thing in the world.
I forget my own teenage years sometimes, I think. I forget the conflict inside, the wanting to grow up but being terrified of growing up. I forget how I thought my parents didn’t have a clue. I forget how I didn’t even know how to articulate my own emotions and thoughts. I forget how I didn’t want others to know I struggled too.
And in the remembering of the forgetting I have this moment of breath. This thought of that it’s not me, but just a season. And in that second the isn’t quite as there.
So instead of taking it personally (which is so so so so so hard times a million) I just am grateful for that person, that mini-adult to be, sitting in the room with me. I’m thankful that they walk into the kitchen and eat the food and wear the clothes I wash. I am thankful that I pick them up and drop them off. I’m thankful that they need me even if I don’t hear it.
In the end, it matters.
Because today, the silence of my 14yo, was met with words when he was sick. They were words of needing me.
They need you, sweet moms, even when they are silent. Don’t take the silence as an indicator of love. Instead, we have to band together and accept it as part of the timeline of childhood (and give each other shoulders to cry on). Some kids are loud and some rebel and some are silent. You are so important, right now, in their lives. You matter, you are their constant, you are their rock. Even if you don’t hear it.
Teenagers need love. They need you.
So sneak in the hugs when you can and be grateful for the words you get and keep on being there.
This is so foreign to me. I have a 14 year old daughter we have homeschooled since they 1 with her two siblings (12 and almost 8) and she is quite engaging with me (and them and dad) and also very loving. I couldn’t imagine the silence or the lack of embrace. We hug daily and talk about real life stuff often and laughed, and cook together. We also play tennis together and I know her friends.
I feel teens are misunderstood because perhaps the ones who are silent or absent and non available are the parents. Then, the bad reputation are the teens who become……
I hope the relationship I have with my 14 yo daughter changes only for better and we will be like now best friends until the day I die. While she has been a very independent learner and likes her quiet and alone times since toddler years, as you says; I clearly sense her deep need for love and physical touch. She loves hugs and words of affirmation. She enjoys our quality time playing games and as I listen to her play the piano. Or when she looses a tennis match, she runs to me and dad to be comforted or listened to. Teens are beyond beautiful.
Some parents have to work so don’t start the blame game! I have a 14 yo daughter myself and it’s a struggle! I have and always will always be there! I have a 13 yo son and it’s smooth sailing! Each child has their own way and I don’t think that it matters what kind of parent you are!
I’m just starting on this journey with my 15 yo. But I remember a friend telling me that she and her husband were so happy that they had escaped the “teen years”. Then their 19yo came home for summer break from college and all the challenging “teen years” exploded into one condensed summer!
parenting is a unique adventure for sure.
Agree. All teens are different and all develop at different times. Just because a child is 13 or 14 and is open now doesn’t mean they won’t clam up 6 months from now or ever will. All children are different. I have always told parents that children who get used to seeing them at school and activities just learn to know you’ll be there. They usually are still stiff around there own parents but their friends will enjoy their friend parents!
I feel so seen here, thank you. I needed to read this today, to be reminded that this is a season, and this too shall pass. Ugh. The silence and closed doors of my two daughters, 16 and 14 is not something I’m used to and your article comforted me greatly, thank you.
I am a father of 3 grown daughters. 2 that I had the pleasure of seeing grow up into caring and loving woman.my wife and I encouraged them to take part in many activities that we attended and supported.Through these times we were able to bond with them and earn their trust and love. We know we were fortunate to be involved and attend the many performances they had. Sometimes I would attend alone and others my wife would go. We shared our feelings every chance we could with them. I have no false thoughts that there were times when they really did not appreciate us but cultivating the connection as we grew we were able to maintain our love and respect for each other.