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Thrive Blog

The Pain and Pleasure of a Growing Child

Dear Teary-Eyed Parents of Teenagers:

Remember when your child’s tiny fingers would reach for your arm? Then hand-in-hand the two of you would be strolling down the sidewalk chit-chatting and singing with Broadway musical bravado.

Cut to: Present Day.

What happened to that uninhibited child? Where is your little partner-in-rhyme? When did they let go? Why did they let go? And who is this moody, friend-obsessed, rude, entitled stranger intent on proving that you’re an out-of-touch “boomer” who “doesn’t get how life works”?

Realizing that a self-absorbed know-it-all has commandeered that carefree soul can feel like the end of an era. A heartless rejection. Death. Grieving the good old days is lonely, painful, and self-flagellating. You miss the sweet child they once were and the affectionate parent you were allowed to be.

A secret: your teenager also misses that kid. They may not know or understand it, but they long for simpler times too. Part child and part adult, they miss who they were, but at the same time can’t wait to be who they are becoming.

Growing up is hard. And parents who don’t grow up with their children complicate the inevitable. That means enough with the cutesy nicknames. Allow them to cut their own steak. Stop showing them old photos and videos. And please, no more stories about the “hilarious” things they said and did when they were younger. Save it for their wedding day speeches. Until then, try and get to know the person they are now. Ask questions. Get curious. Be interested. Because, as you know, it goes fast.

Xo Amy & Lisi

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