‘They need your love, your support. But the painting is for them to paint.’: Mom shares advice for parents of teens

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“I am watching my tween and teen with awe as they unfold.

I notice my urge to mold, and I choose differently.

Instead, I access curiosity.

I wonder why she chose that outfit, does it say something she wants to express?

He doesn’t seem to love math anymore, I wonder what direction he will head instead?

She doesn’t have as much passion for soccer these days, I wonder what her next ‘thing’ will be?

I wonder why he loves this song and how does it speak to him?

Take a step back…they are unfolding as they were intended to.

A mom with her teenagers at a skating rink
Courtesy of Kerry Foreman

This is a painting that doesn’t require you to put an ounce of paint on the canvas.

It’s all their paint.

Their vision.

Their dreams and ideas.

You can and should contribute guidance for the painting.

Lessons learned.

Good questions.


But the painting is for them to paint.

Occasionally, they may need to erase the whole damn thing and start over.

That’s okay…they still don’t need your paint.

They need your love.

Your unconditional belief.

Your support.

Notice the urge to paint on their canvas and instead, ask questions about the picture THEY are creating.

Breathe and believe.

They’ve got this.

Trust the job you have done thus far and lean into your new job.

Your new job is to have the paint ready at a moment’s notice.

To supply every color of paint you can.

To be a leader by modeling not by instructing.

To have your own life and your own interests.

To never, ever stop believing that the painting will be finished one day…and it will be the best damn painting you’ve ever seen.

To be present without being needy.

To be loving without creating guilt.

To be THERE without being so THERE!

Nobody said it was easy…and it’s the best job you will ever have the privilege of creating.”

A mom siting cross-legged on a cliff
Courtesy of Kerry Foreman

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kerry Foreman from Colorado Springs, CO. You can follow her journey on Facebook and her website. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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