I hate to admit it, but when my kids were little, it was the first time I really felt popular. All the “mommy do it” felt great. It was sort of exhausting, but it was also so sweet and there was so much love from my boys. I also hate to admit how as they morphed into teenagers and started pushing away, I felt so rejected at times. I was surprised at how their teen rejection felt personal and painful when my boys had such disdain for me. Yes, I knew it was a normal part of their development, but it still hurt.
So what to do when we are standing there feeling like teenagers ourselves, facing rejection by our actual teenagers?
I’ve got two ideas for you:
Do a flow of feelings, which means checking in with yourself before responding to their rejection. Take a moment and ask yourself:
“What about this makes me mad?”
“What do I feel sad about?”
“What do I feel scared about?”
“What do I feel guilt or regret about?”
Then scan yourself for the opposite feelings:
“What am I happy about when it comes to this kid?”
“What am I grateful for?”
“What do I feel secure in myself about?”
“And what do I feel proud of myself when it comes to showing up for this kid?”
If we can take a moment and check in with how we feel, we’re likely to respond to our kids better.
Don’t reject them back! I know teen rejection is hard sometimes!
What we need to do is to keep showing up with hugs and warmth and affection and interest in them and their lives. (And yes, we can set limits if they are rude.)
We need to let them push off of us. We are meant to be the sturdy springboard that they bounce off of. If we’re rejecting them back, we’re just being in another teenager in their lives and they don’t need you to be another teenager in their lives. They need loving, supportive parents.
So do your best to keep your inner teen in check and keep showing up as the loving parent that you are. Be interested in them. Invite them to spend time with you. Let them know that you enjoy being with them. Make time for play.
If you practice these two skills, you up the odds of getting through your kids “teen rejection years” with an intact relationship.
Palmer and I are here to support you. Feel free to hit “reply” and share if this resonates with you!