Dear Michael | A Note to My Teen Son

30 Dec

We are fortunate. We are blessed with abundance and choices, and we have enjoyed many years together with loads of fond memories. And even though it has been difficult for both of us lately (for me parenting a teenager, and for you being the teen), please remember, you are my son, and I will always love you.

Your wickedly funny and clever sense of humor always makes me laugh. You are smart, capable, and independent. I am very proud of you.

But loving you doesn’t mean enabling you when you veer off course.

Becoming truly independent requires both acknowledging and taking responsibility for our choices. There are always consequences – both good and bad.  Honesty, kindness, and humility in words and actions will always be the best choice . The world will then know you to be a man of your words, a considerate friend, a dependable worker. Trust me, these character traits will serve you well.

I know that I have no control over your choices. But I do have control over some of the consequences. And it is because I love you that I’m not softening the landing for some of your more recent decisions.

I want nothing more for you but to be happy and healthy. And even though it may not feel like that today, remember, you are my son, and I will always love you.



P.S. Mark Twain was smart and witty – I think you would enjoy many of his wise words.

28 Responses to “Dear Michael | A Note to My Teen Son”

  1. AlexandraFunFit December 30, 2010 at 8:10 pm #

    Well put. I might copy this and anonymously leave it on my 16 year old’s bed. Right after he says I NEVER this and ALWAYS that! Your son will cherish this note….in a few years!

    • Kris O'Connor @Krazy_Kris December 30, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

      In a few years – yep – that about says it! At least I can feel like I “said” it – and that’s good for me for now. Because he is not in a “listening” space at all! And yes, feel free to insert into notebook LOL. And you know, some of those Mark Twain quotes are divine!

  2. Kristina @ spabettie December 30, 2010 at 8:39 pm #

    among the most important lessons ANYONE can learn, teenage or older, is choices and consequences, cause and effect.

    This is a great letter, thanks for sharing! great photo, too… it goes well with this:

    Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.

  3. mynakedbokkie December 30, 2010 at 9:15 pm #

    Perfect timing….since it is New Year’s Eve! well done. Hope you have an awesome start!!! X

    • Kris O'Connor @Krazy_Kris December 31, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

      Aw thanks – there’s just so much that I feel like I have to “say” – but since we don’t really talk much, I figure I can write & send it to him later. ha!

  4. run4joy59 December 31, 2010 at 2:51 am #

    He may not listen to you today or tomorrow, but someday he’ll understand how wise you were to force him to face the consequences of his actions! Good job!

    • Kris O'Connor @Krazy_Kris December 31, 2010 at 3:48 pm #

      Yep – by helping them after they fall, you rob them of the lesson and confidence of having to stand up on their own. Sigh….

  5. lindsay December 31, 2010 at 3:45 am #

    He’s lucky to have such a great mom. I hope he reallizes that, if not today but in the future. 🙂

  6. Coco December 31, 2010 at 6:08 am #

    Being a good parent – and imposing those consequences to be sure they don’t get away with something that might encourage even more reckless behavior – is so hard, and you really don’t get thanked for it. (And honestly, how many of us who were grounded as kids have thanked our parents for that even now?!) But you have to dig deep and act out of love and do what you know is the right thing, even when it would be so much easier (and more peaceful) to just let it go or look the other way.

    I don’t have many close friends with teenagers (most of my friends’ kids are still in elementary school), so its great to find someone who understands how hard this stage of parenting can be.

    I am seeing the pay-off in my 20 year old daughter. She gave us a hard time in highschool but is turning into an awesome young adult.

    • Kris O'Connor @Krazy_Kris December 31, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

      Coco – That’s great that there’s a payoff – that gives me so much hope. I guess I was naive. We had a really good deal for a long time, so this phase really caught me off guard. It’s so hard, because he’s not drinking or drugging or anything like that. He goes to school and gets good grades. But he has this “I’m a grown up thing” going on and I have little left to “withold” from him. It is VERY tricky!

      It is great knowing that we’re not alone – thank you so much for all of your support through this!

  7. ragemichelle December 31, 2010 at 7:22 am #


    I wish I would have written this for my older son 7 years ago. He’s fine now, but I would have liked to see his teen years be a little less bumpy.

    And now I have one who will be 13 next year. I hope he’s a little easier. I’m too old for this. 🙂

    You seem to have a good handle on it, though..I might need you to come out and do some tag team parenting with me.

    • Kris O'Connor @Krazy_Kris January 1, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

      Bumpy… Grumpy… Sigh – it is soooooooo hard to figure out the “right” way to handle this – because really I’ve lost “control” a long time ago. And as he’s become more independent, I have less “stuff” I can withold…

      Tag team? Oh, you don’t want me… I’m a basket case with this stuff!

      TYSM xoxo

  8. Karen December 31, 2010 at 12:14 pm #

    I LOVEEEEE this!!!!

    • Kris O'Connor @Krazy_Kris January 1, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

      Thanks Karen… when the “communicating” isn’t happening, the only thing left is to write. Not sure how or when I’ll deliver the message though. And I’m not sure what it all means, but I feel better 😀


  9. Suzanne @WorkoutNirvana December 31, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    Oooh, I have so much to look forward to ;). You’re a good mom, and just be sure to remember it. I gotta say, the toddler years were horrific for me, but at least I didn’t think my daughter hated me. That’s something I have to look forward to! XOXO

    • Kris O'Connor @Krazy_Kris January 1, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

      We had a rough toddler patch too – it was horrific! Lot’s of baggage with all sorts of stuff. Then little by little it got better. I have no ideas about girls – but I think they’re different (hehehe). Enjoy her now while she’s a little princess. I think the older princesses can be tricky. xoxox

  10. Kerri O December 31, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    Oh my, so timely, struggling with my 16 yr old right now!

    • Kris O'Connor @Krazy_Kris January 1, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

      Oh gosh Kerri – I had no idea! I must poke around your blog – somehow I thought you were about 16 😉 There are a few of us around with teens right now – we must find an appropriate hashtag…



  11. Cherry Woodburn January 1, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    Wonderful, touching post Kris. My sons, now 27 and 28, were good kids too but still needed to learn the consequences of their actions.It was hard for me sometimes not to “save” them.
    Sometimes it still is. Hugs to you mom, Cherry

    • Kris O'Connor @Krazy_Kris January 1, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

      Aw – thanks Cherry! I love leeching (uh, learning) from those who have gone before. And I love being reminded that it all changes. Hugs & happiness to you and thanks again!

  12. Jasmine January 2, 2011 at 9:37 pm #

    This is a FANTASTIC letter. Kudos! My favorite was this: But loving you doesn’t mean enabling you when you veer off course.

    My parents are still enabling my “troubled” 22-year-old brother. It has literally crippled him to the point that I’m not sure he will ever in life be able to take care of himself. It saddens me deeply. Way to go to you for making the hard decisions that will help your child become a strong adult. ❤

    • Kris O'Connor @Krazy_Kris January 5, 2011 at 5:58 am #

      Thank you for sharing about your brother. I can tell you that from a parent’s perspective, it is SO hard to know the “right” way to handle any of this. And what is “right” or “best” will be totally different for different people I think. I also think that sometimes the outcomes are totally independent from our actions – we like to think that we can influence them, but who knows? xoxo

  13. Foodie McBody January 2, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    Just catching up with this now. I hear ya, mama. I’ve got a 16 and a 20 yr old (traveling alone thru Thailand) and we are in the thick of this long and gnarly process of letting while… what? Loving. This is one of the most awesome, awe-inspiring, terrifying, sad and exhilarating parts of parenting.

    • Kris O'Connor @Krazy_Kris January 5, 2011 at 5:56 am #

      Sigh… you’re right – it is awesome & scary & maddening. It’s just so hard to know how to “be” with all of this. It’s weird, because I think both of us are sort of figuring out how to “be” with eachother. Thank you so much for your kind words.

  14. KCLAnderson (Karen) January 5, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

    Nice. I am not a mamma, although I step-mothered three through their teen years so I get it and I applaud your wisdom, strength and willingness to have consequences and do the hard work. I am so very glad my “kids” are well on the other side of their teen years now (in fact, I’m gonna get to be a grandma come the beginning of April).


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    […] A Note to My Teen Son […]

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