Raising teens is tiring, no matter how you look at it, but when that teen is “troubled,” it becomes even more exhausting. Parents who have been given this unique burden need to know that it is normal to feel exhausted, and they also need to know what they can do to cope with that exhaustion when it hits.
First, you need to realize that the feelings you have are completely normal, and do not mean you are any less adept as a parent. The emotional ordeal you have when parenting a troubled teen is going to drain all of your resources. When your teen is acting out, you must put in the mental and sometimes physical exertion to find a solution to the problem.
Not only that, but you may be having to work longer and harder to get the help that your teen needs. Therapies and counseling sessions can make a huge difference for your child, but they are not cheap. If this means overtime or a second job, your energy stores are going to be hit even harder.
Add to this the mental anxiety you likely face because of your teen’s behavior, and you have a recipe for exhaustion. Having your teen’s behavior and other problems overtake your thoughts is quite common for parents in your situation, and that mental exercise drains you.
So what can you do about this? Knowing it is normal may help your anxiety levels, but it does not give you your energy back.
The first step toward surviving this emotional exhaustion is to talk about it with someone you trust. You may want to find a support group to attend where you can discuss your struggles with others who understand. Perhaps you also need a therapist just like your teen does, or maybe your pastor or clergyman can help. Sometimes even venting to a trusted friend who you know will not judge your actions can help.
Secondly, make sure you are not allowing your teen’s needs to consume you to the point that you neglect your own health. You need to make your own medical appointments, take time for exercise and foster your own personal friendship. If you are not taking care of yourself, you will not be able to take care of your teen.
Exercise is a key component of this. Now, you may be thinking that exercising is the last thing you have time or energy to do, but the fact of the matter is that you need physical activity. Without it, your body is going to become even more lethargic. Getting up and getting active, even for just a brisk walk every day, will help restore your energy stores tremendously.
Remember, you are not alone in feeling this way. Many parents also struggle with their teens. In the end, if you take the time to take care of yourself, while realizing that your exhaustion is normal, you will have a far easier time dealing with this feeling when it hits.