Translating Eye-Rolls And Decoding ‘I Hate You’s!’

Yesterday I posted this on my Twitter

“I hate my life!” -signature words spoken by my 13-year. Annndddd… We’re doing the right thing as parents!

She was mad at us, big time! We were “ruining her life,” so she claimed. But she had herself to blame. Her bad choices led her to the predicament she was in. Later on in the day, that moment, and my tweet, got me thinking…

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I’m pretty sure that if any of you who are reading this have a teenager, or a pre-teen, you have similar experiences in your home. If you are anything like our family, you had this experience yesterday and will probably have it again tomorrow! 🙂

Raising teenagers is super-fun because you get the whole experience! You get the pleasure of having fairly civilized, adult conversations with them about life, their likes and dislikes, and other cool mysteries. And then, in nearly a split second, you get the joy of watching them stomp their feet, roll their eyes, sigh, grunt, moan, and rant over the boundaries you’ve set up for them.

The more I thought about my daughter’s behavior yesterday morning, the more this truth came to life: If she’s going to stomp her feet, and claim that “she hate’s her life,” or that “we’re ruining her life,” because we’re doing what we’re called to do as parents, and lovingly enforcing consequences for her bad choices, we’re right on target!

In that regard, I’m okay if she hates her life! I’m okay if she thinks her world is crashing down around her.

If she stomps her feet because we stepped up and shut down her selfish behavior, so be it!

If she cries and cries because we took her phone away for texting a boy she was told not to text, her life will go on! This is about boundaries.

If she’s mad because I made her change her suggestive clothing and put on something more modest, I’m doing the right thing! It’s about protecting her heart, not allowing her to live with a false self-confidence! (Side note- My daughter never dresses suggestively. This was just an example. If she did, however, I’d tell her to change).

Friends, I’m not sure how you feel about these issues as parents, but in our household we have one goal in mind with the boundaries we set for our children:

To raise healthy, respectful, responsible children who turn into healthy, respectful, responsible adults someday.

That’s the target we are aiming for. That’s our end-goal. We are not in the business of making our children happy by giving in, or satisfying their wants by allowing them to run wild and free. That has the potential for disaster. Sure, we want our children to love their lives, but that doesn’t happen by allowing them to behave however they want to.

If you really are doing the right thing as a parent, and choosing to raise your children with boundaries and guidelines, the eye-rolls and “I hate you’s” are a good thing. It means you are doing what you need to do to raise healthy kids. Stay the course, even when it gets dark and lonely. And believe me, it will! We are in the trenches of this right now.

When you set your sights on a healthy target for your children, they will not be always be happy with your decisions. But they will grow up with respect for themselves and other people.

Question: I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • No Matter What Mom

    Well said and so true. We now have two teens and a tween. The boundaries are even more important for kids from hard places–not because they are so prone to veer off the track, but because those boundaries give them an extra measure of real and perceived safety. They are also a daily acknowledgement that there are boundaries and limits on our behavior as adults and parents. My children spent much of their early life in the care of people who did not accept boundaries or limits on their own behavior. The laws of the land and simple human decency did not apply to them. Seeing that everyone in our family is expected to live within discernable, though not necessarily identical boundaries provides yet another layer of safety and security for our children who have a host of reasons to believe that people–especially parents–cannot be trusted to keep them safe.

    • Thanks for your comment. Good to see there are other parents who believe in boundaries too. They are game changers!