Updated: Mar 17
Now during COVID-19, many parents are stressed out even more with their teenagers being home all day. Understandable. That is why two amazing Athena’s Angels, Dana and Christine, are stepping up to lead a new program starting tonight: Athena’s Parent-Teen Connection!!! And we are so excited!!
I have a teenager at home. Serena is 14. Today she was just joking that she should be the co-founder of Athena Sisterhood because without her getting sick, Athena Sisterhood would not have been born on 3/14/2020, in the midst of COVID!!
True. We laughed together on her bed. Pillows behind our heads and a blanket stretched across our toes.
But our relationship has not always been this close.
The defining moment of our relationship happened when she said three words every mom dreads to hear...
Serena was almost three that year. I don’t remember exactly the “misbehavior”, but I remember putting her in a 2-minute timeout in her room. As a Behavioral Psychologist, I followed the task analysis and thought I was doing a good job.
She was screaming on top of her lungs as I secretly prayed for her to please calm down.
Finally, she did. With a 10-seconds calmness release criteria, I turned the door handle that I was holding. She looked me straight in the eye and cried: “I HATE YOU!”
As a mom, that moment was a near-death sentence to me. Later that night, I went to my room and cried.
For years before her arrival, I prayed to have a baby, “I am willing to do anything. Please, please, let me be a mom.” But all the prayers didn’t prepare me for those three words. How could she hate me? I love her!
The truth was, I had a very difficult time connecting with Serena as she grew older and started to develop her own opinions.
Only after my own healing journey started, did I realize my relationship with my daughter was a reflection of my own relationship with my mom. As the journey went deeper inside me, I began to awaken to the fact that in order to heal my relationship with my mom, I must first heal my relationship with myself.
I started to question, was it possible that Serena’s “I hate you!” was merely the reflection of my inner state?
I love my daughter, but I loved her only conditionally. If she behaved in a certain way that ‘was good’, I was happy and showered her with love. If she behaved against the ‘good standard’, my love was removed, replaced with consequences and punishment.
It took those three words, “I HATE YOU!,” for me to wake up and look deep into my soul and search for the meaning of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
I realized that I not only judged my daughter and my mom, but I also judged myself constantly.
I wasn’t good enough. I DIDN’T FEEL THAT I WAS A GOOD MOM!!! My worst critic was myself.
I didn’t know how to love myself unconditionally, without judgment. So as a result, I couldn’t love my daughter unconditionally either.
Serena’s three words led me to discover that LOVE starts from within. When we feel so full with love for ourselves, our love will radiate out to our family, friends and the world.
If we don’t have inner love, then the foundation of deep love is just not there!!
So as I am writing excitedly to share with you the new “Athena’s Parent-Teen Connection” program, I also invite you to look within, love your beautiful self even more and you will be rewarded with deeper connections with your teen!
Have a Grand and Beautiful day.