I will never ever tell you “If you think it’s bad now just wait until he/she/they’re teens!”
First of all, it’s completely unhelpful to a mom of young children to put dread and fear in her mind of something that is probably a decade away and not written in stone.
Second, a lot of teens are not horrible vile monsters who are out to make their parents lives a living misery.
Many are sweet, kind, helpful, mature-for-their-age young people who blow you away with their mature behavior and attitude.
That doesn’t mean they never do stuff that makes you wonder or want to pull out your hair, but overall they’re not the nightmare that was foretold.
Thirdly, I refuse to do that to other moms, because it was repeatedly done to me; and it was very discouraging!
I remember how discouraging it was for me to hear that sort of prediction when my boys were really little.
When you’re really struggling, the last thing you want is for someone to say “You ain’t seen nothin yet!”
Why don’t we share hope instead of fear?
Now, admittedly, my son is only 15, but he’s a far cry from what I was told I would have in a 15-year-old boy.
This young man, when I was in so much pain I couldn’t put my own shoes on, put my shoes on me every day for a year a never once complained.
He picks up the slack around the house when I’m sick or struggling.
He and his brother a blessing.
It’s possible that things could go awry and he’ll get rebellious or something when he’s older.
But, from where I stand now, the teen years have been nothing but a huge blessing.
I know many, many Christian families who would say the same thing: that it’s not nearly as bad as those fear mongers say.
I actually think some people resent that their teens are so difficult and get some sort of glee out of predicting that a 4-year-old is going to make his frazzled mother even more miserable in 10 years.
Not everyone of course.
Some people use it as a warning of what might be, like “Hey, I just thought you should know it gets worse.”
But does it?
Only time will tell.
I’ve certainly had my struggles with my family, and my boys have gone through rough patches where I wondered what on earth I was going to do with these children.
But, overall, they bring me such joy.
I can’t imagine my life without them.
I don’t have any regrets.
I wouldn’t change a thing (except maybe have more children if that we’re feasible).
So, mama, out there with a screaming 3-year-old who’s determined to have his own way: stay strong.
You can do this.
I believe in you.
I believe in the plan that God has for this child.
I don’t believe you’re powerful enough to mess up God’s plan. (Sorry! You’re awesome, but not that awesome!)
And I will not put the fear of teenagers in you.
Rather, I implore you to pray for that child.
Pray for his heart to be open to the things of God.
Pray for him to choose the path of wisdom.
Pray that you’ll be able to win his heart.
Pray that he’ll heed correction.
Pray that he’ll make good friends.
Pray that he’ll pick a good wife.
Pray that he’ll have a servant’s heart.
Pray that you’ll be the example of Jesus to him that he needs to see.
And rest in God’s goodness.
In the midst of screaming toddlers or even rebellious teenagers.
God is God of the storms.
Sometimes He calms that storm.
Other times, He asks us to believe that the storm is there for a reason.
So rest in Him, mama.
Regardless of what the future holds.