When our kids hurt our feelings
I walk away and close the door behind me.
I'd just tried to talk to my son to see how he’s doing--to see why he seems quiet and upset--and he tells me to just go away. Um...ouch!
This has been happening more often than I'd like to admit these days.
I laid there thinking, "What's wrong with me? Why does this awful feeling inside feel so familiar?" And that’s when I realized that being pushed away by my teenage son felt eerily like being broken up with. Suddenly I felt like I was a dejected fourteen-year-old girl, scorned by a boy she liked.
"Why do I feel this way?" I wondered. This was my son after all--not some teenage romance.
I struggled with these questions for a few days, feeling a bit embarrassed, until I finally decided to open up to a couple of my friends who are also moms of teens. In their wisdom, they reminded me that this feeling isn’t strange at all—it’s the feeling of rejection.
This feeling is so familiar. Oh that's right--it's rejection.
Maybe as a parent of teen you can relate. As my son pushes me away (I understand this is a natural part of boys becoming men, but still--it hurts), I find myself pleading with him to tell me why.
Why? Give me an explanation. What did I do wrong? Why won’t you talk to me?
Naturally his answers are entirely insufficient.
But then, as the worry creeps in and I devolve into a fourteen-year-old insecure version of myself, I’m gently reminded by the Holy Spirit to turn my worries over to God. I remember Philippians 4:6-7:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And I pray…
Dear Jesus, give me rest. Rest in knowing that you have him in your hands, and I don’t have to worry. Rest in knowing that you're strong when I'm weak. Rest in knowing that I'm not alone, that you're with me. Rest in knowing that I don’t have to do this under my own power and I don’t control this—you do. Rest in knowing that even when things go bad, you will use that for good. Rest in knowing that you are holding my hand through this and my job is to follow. Rest in knowing you are also walking alongside him. Thank you for your promises. Amen.
Turning my focus off of me, and even off of him, and turning it towards God helps restore me from the insecurity of rejection. I remember that God gave me my son for a season--to love him, guide him, discipline him, and pray for him as he grows into the man God has created him to be.