A revised Serenity Prayer

This one goes out to all of my fellow parents of teenagers, with love and respect.

God, grant me the serenity to accept that the only difference between teens and psychopaths is that most teens eventually change,

The courage to smile around gritted teeth and ground the offender,

And the wisdom not to smother anyone in their sleep no matter how tempting.

I’m not saying that things won’t change, because—as ever—my mantra is “this too shall pass,” I’m just saying that right now we are realizing that things are pretty off-kilter around here, and it’s time to find that missing balance. That turns out to take a lot of time and energy (who knew?) and resolve.

It’s almost like being a parent is hard, or something. Huh.


  1. Katie in MA

    I think I’m going to spend lots of time with my 8yo dd this weekend, because it sounds like I’m going to really miss her in a few years. :)

  2. MomQueenBee

    One year. It takes one year for the new adult to emerge from the scattered ashes of the transition from old child. The year of flames is grueling, but the new person is worth the loss of your eyebrows.

  3. Crisanne

    Remember when they were little and they’d get sick with a miserable cold, so you’d let them watch an extra movie or 5? Then, when they were well, they’d be a fiery ball “Oh hell no! You will not take my Teletubbies/Wiggles/Little People away!!!” for a solid week? I imagine it will be something like that x 1000. Best of luck, Mir!

  4. hokgardner

    I needed this today. I have a daughter who is a year younger than yours, so I like reading your blog for advance research on what to expect. Lately though, she’s been in full teen mode. And one of us may not survive.

  5. Karen R.

    Teenagers are not compatible with other life forms. My sympathies.

  6. CIndy

    LMAO!!!!! So, SO TRUE. I’m currently on the youngest of a small herd of children, some I gave birth to and some not. You would think I’ve got something figured out by now but really, I just pray a lot.

    Youngest is 13 and if current behavior is any indicator, he will be the most challenging. I reckon God must like hearing from me.

  7. Little Bird

    I sit for a four year old who just did the stomping-down-the-hall-slamming-her-bedroom-door-screaming thing last week. It took all of my will power not to burst into laughter. Her dad was home and we feared for her teen years together.

  8. Katie K.

    We had a major teenager day here yesterday too. Blasted allergy season doesn’t help. 15 year old was exceptionally rude to me, losing the priveledge of a ride to baseball practice. Now he will probably have to sit a game for missing practice. 14 year old had a toddler-like tantrum, losing tv priveledges for the remainder of her Spring break. Lesson learned…until the next time.
    Actually, I mostly enjoy teenagers and almost always prefer them to younger kids. The occasional glimpses of the adults they are becoming generally get me through the rough times, at least so far.

  9. Redneck Mommy

    Excuse me while I go and embroider that prayer on a freaking pillow.

    Anything to prevent me from using said pillow to smother certain teens.


  10. Tracy

    I wish I could tell you that it stops when they become 20…but…it doesn’t. :o) My tongue hasn’t stop bleeding in years because I’m constantly biting it!

  11. Patricia

    I became human again at age 30. I only share this nugget, because I’m fairly sure my mother was sure she wouldn’t have to wait so long to see a human again…but I’m stubborn and my brain finally fully developed. Now, I just call her often and ask “why in the world did you not kill me in my sleep.” Apparently the answer was “I’m not cut out for jail. But it did cross my mind a few times…..ok, MANY times.”

  12. dad

    A prayer as serene as that deserves to be followed by:

    Let’s eat.

  13. Deirdre

    I am going to print that up and frame it in every room of my house. Soooo happy she’s not like this for other people and is in high demand as a baby sitter, because if she was around all day today (spring break), it would not have been pretty.

  14. bj

    You mean just yelling louder at them as they’re slamming the door doesn’t work? It doesn’t just fix everything?

    I’m trying to cherish those moments when she’s happy, and thinks I’m cuddly.

  15. Another Dawn

    My youngest is now a sane and reasonable adult of 23, but I still brace myself for the tantrum when I realize something isn’t the way she’d have it be or I’m going to have to ask her to do something even though she hasn’t reacted that way in… oh… YEARS. I think I have teen-induced PTSD.

    Hang tight. The crazy does pass. It may take you a while to relax, but it does pass.

  16. Karen

    Hmmmm… well. I’ve already raised one, and I am in the middle of it with the other. I does get better, but first it gets worse. Sort of, sometimes. And there are also those beaming rays of light when you’re right about something or a giggle ensues, or there’s a mutual agreement about SOMETHING, ANYTHING AT ALL.

    But really.. it does get better. But not yet. You’re welcome.

  17. Little Bird

    I think I’ll cross stitch that prayer for the folks I sit for. Get them used to the idea.

  18. Celeste

    Hahahaha! In general I dislike the Serenity Prayer as horribly overused. I’ve spent so much time at Al Anon and ACOA meetings that I can’t even say the Lord’s Prayer at church without wanting to shout, “Keep coming back!!” But this…. yeah, I think I will have to embroider this on a pillow, Mir. Thank you!

  19. Kelly

    One of my favorite songs has a twist on “this too shall pass” that I like better: ” this too shall pass away, like a kidney stone.” It will pass, but it might hurt like hell in the meantime. I’ve got a while before I get there with my daughter, but I hope I handle it as well as you do.

  20. jen

    think you could add a few more verses???

  21. Michelle

    A middle school teacher friend once told me that she had a much easier time dealing with her students when she started thinking of them as big toddlers. Mine aren’t teenagers yet, but I’ve filed that piece of advice in my head for later use.

  22. Cele

    I never figured out how my mother survived me.

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