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My 13-Year-Old Son is Annoyed By My Nagging, So I Tried a New Approach

Other moms must be as tired of nagging, preaching, processing, lecturing, and plain old talking to their teenagers as I am. Like my mother and all mothers before me, I have the privilege of being the perpetual lesson distributor of the house. As often as possible, I find the teachable moments but then I walk away wondering if they are rolling their eyes as soon as I’m out of sight.

I’m tired. I adore my children and would take a bullet for them. But they exhaust me.

And I never ever thought I’d say this — I despise my own voice.

Then, in a flash of brilliance while enduring the repercussions of a complete meltdown by my 13-year-old, I decided to write a letter to my angry son. My son needed to be dealt with for his behavior and, quite frankly, I knew he was not in a space to hear any sounds much less my sermon. After several breaths and some soft music of my choice, I wrote the letter (below). I silently walked upstairs and hand-delivered it to his lap. His eyes grew big with surprise, as well as relief, when I said nothing and simply walked away.

It took only 20 minutes for him to come out of his room and acknowledge me in a loving fashion. No words, just one hug. I am not suggesting that writing a letter to your teenage son will turn him into a love-bug. My particular 13-year-old is a major handful; however, he is also fueled by sweetness and affection. Giving him a chance to regroup without the additional stimulation of my harsh, stern voice worked wonders for both of us. I got to de-stress through a journaling-type process and he received this important lesson without needing to sit up straight, look me in the eye when I speak, and acknowledge that he understands what I’ve said. Whew! I can breathe!

Letter to my Teenage Son (from Mom)

Dear Son,

I have one job. It is to be the best parent I can be. That includes:

  • Making sure you are respectful.
  • Teaching you how to try your hardest even when things aren’t easy.
  • Showing you how to have manners.
  • Teaching you how to communicate your emotions.
  • Requiring you to be the best student you can be.
  • Helping you to be the best human being you can be.

You have one job. It is to be the best teenager that you can be. That includes:

  • Learning the lessons that are most difficult.
  • Being a good student.
  • Going to school every day.
  • Trying your hardest.
  • Using your words and behaviors to help the world be a better place.
  • Learning from your parents.
  • Being respectful to adults.

I could let you do nothing, eat junk food for every meal, text to your friends all day, watch too much TV, do nothing to help out around the house, mouth off, curse, think everything is a joke, ignore your homework, skip school, stay out late with your friends, get no sleep, treat adults with disrespect, say mean things to people, and be a bad citizen.

I could do that, but I won’t. Instead, I will continue to push you to be the best you can be. I owe it to you to be the best at my job. Even if you don’t like it. And you may not thank me now, but you will one day when you are an accomplished young adult who has a strong, powerful life full of opportunities.

I think you are capable of doing something amazing with your life. You are that special.

I love you,


Wendy Wolff is a frequent contributor to Your Teen.

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