Tag Archives: teenagers

I’m a Mom

I’m a Mom
I’m a Mom

I’m a Mom. My children are all grown now, except for the baby, but he’s half way to 18, so I am working on letting him go too. I am also finally a grandma! We are even expecting a little boy this month. (I’m just too excited to function sometimes!)

I was praying for my kids this morning, and was overwhelmed by the love I have for them. I was also overwhelmed with gratitude for the honor it has been, and still is, to be their Mom.  I was also reflecting on how blessed I have been to have raised my children, and all of the memories that come with that…. So, I thought I’d share.

Raising kids has been the most challenging, rewarding, heart breaking, joyous, painful, growing process of my life. Just when you think you got it, a new level opens and it’s brand new.

IMG_5851Babies were tuff, but OH so amazing!! Even the long nights, when I thought I was going to pass out (and I did a few times) I just couldn’t get enough of watching them grow. Those “firsts” will always be remembered. I learned pretty quickly to not rush those things. Everything comes in time.

Toddlers were exhausting, but a constant source of smiles, giggles and exhaustion. Even when they were stubborn, it was fabulous watching them grow and figure out what they were capable of. I didn’t have any trouble with my weight when they were in this stage! I think my favorite memories from this time was when they would be so defiant, but then just want to cuddle, and learning new words and trying to express themselves.

Elementary age was more of the same, just on a higher level. I never tired of answering questions and explaining all that peaked their interests. Children are little sponges! That’s a saying for a reason… I homeschooled off and on over the years, and being such a big part of that growth truly inspired me. A child’s mind is a blank slate, where the things they see and hear will be forever written. I always took that very seriously.

Middle School – OK. This is the only time period I really didn’t like. Maybe because I have 3 boys, but even for my girl, this period seems to be the most challenging. Kids in this space are really trying to figure themselves out – and where they fit. They are usually pretty gross too…. At least, mine were. (are – hahaha) If anyone has ever considered home schooling, this is the age. It’s the time where you can have the greatest impact – instead of their peers. They are still yours! They still need you, now more than ever! I think many parents start to pull away during this period, when it’s really the time to pull in. It’s definitely the time to be the keeper of your word – to have clear boundaries and to know what hills you are willing to die on. Prepare for this, and don’t give up – that’s my advice. I’m just glad we all survived.100_9244

High Schoolers…. Well. Honestly, I loved this too. It was probably harder on me than them, as I know parenting is a runway into adulthood… you are near the end of that runway and preparing them is at the highest level. I wanted to do so much more for each of them, when I knew I shouldn’t. I remember my daughter could only have 4 saves a year – that is, 4 times I would run whatever it was she forgot to wherever she was…. After the 4th time, whatever the consequences were to forgetting, she would have to suffer. It killed me!! I think there were a couple of years she got 5 or 6… Now, as a college graduate, she is much better at remembering… but I’ve come to think forgetfulness is in the DNA somewhere…

IMG_7369Consequences. That’s the hardest part of this whole parenting thing – and it becomes even bigger when they are in college and on their own. I think most parents IMG_5635want to protect their kids from unsavory consequences, but in doing so we stunt their growth.

Responsibility is learned, not assimilated. Kids have to see it and experience it in order to do it.

Now, as I “parent” adults, it’s a constant exercise in self-control. Not telling them what to do. Not trying to help – unless asked. It’s not checking on them everyday or expecting them to include me in everything. Agh. It’s about faith, and trusting God, and even just trusting them. It’s easier though, when you have seen it coming and have traveled the “run-way” with your kids. Praying is the biggest influence we have, and it is what can keep you focused on what matters.

Being a Mother-in-Law and a Grandma is also a whole new ballgame! I want them to leave and cleave, and grow together.11061253_10153213821815561_6693171734193154490_n

IMG_7099I did my best to teach my kids dependence on the Lord instead of me. I won’t always be here, but He will be. I will mess up, (and OH have I ever) but He won’t ever leave them or forsake them. He created them. Not me. He sustains them. Not me. He has a plan for their lives and it’s way better than anything I could have come up with.

It’s so cool to see my kids living their lives now. I still remember those “firsts” like they were yesterday, but seeing them launched into the life God has for them, is just A-MAZing.

My top 10 things to remember in parenting? (I wrote a while ago on the Top 10 Ways to Parent a Teenager

)

Set clear boundaries – don’t be wishy-washy

Be proactive not reactive!

Remember it’s a run-way. There’s a process to a launch!

Consequences and trials grow us/them more than anything. Really.

God loves them more than you do.

Responsibility is taught…

Always, always put your spouse first (after God)… it makes the nest a much happier place when it is finally empty. (getting a dog helps too..)

Pray. Pray. Pray.

Pray with them from birth – all the way through. Never stop praying for them and with them when you can. Pray for their challenges, their victories and most importantly, their hearts – pray for their future spouses too! It teaches them that God is in everything – and he hears and answers. That’s the best lesson we can teach them.My kids

I am so far from a perfect parent – I learned the most through the trials though, and for that I am grateful. Really.

What was your favorite time?

Xo

 

 

Top 10 Ways to Parent a Teenager

Top 10 Ways to Parent a Teenager

my gangAfter parenting 4 amazing kids, for almost 30 years, I thought I would share some of the toughest things I’ve had to learn (and am still learning) through the process…

Top 10 Ways to Parent a Teenager

  1. LISTEN and ASK questionsChill questions. Casual. Don’t act like Sherlock. The point is to ask questions that usually require something more than a grunt, and hopefully you’ve been listening and can come up with one that they will want to answer. A great place to attempt this, is at the dinner table or while they are trapped in the car with you. (This is tricky, and requires much effort and patience on your part.  Don’t get discouraged, it will get easier)
  2. Set guardrails a/k/a boundaries and rules with set consequences.  Rules or, as I like to call them, non-negotiables; such as lying, cheating, disrespecting you, getting a zero on a report card… I don’t know what yours would be, but I’m talking about the issues you will fight to the death for.  Those are in stone and set your family’s standards.  Everything else is a guardrail, which you discuss, explain and can possibly  alter under circumstances.  If these are in place, then you are parenting  proactively instead of reactively. (much easier for day to day drama) Really.
  3. Hang out with them.  Have a date night. A shopping trip or, a breakfast out.  Something my gangthat you regularly do with your kid – that’s different than the daily grind.  Be intentional.
  4.  Know your Social Media.  No excuses.  If your young person has any kind of an internet identity, then you better know what it is and how it works.  Period.  Take a class if you have to, but it’s the INTERNET. The ENTIRE world in the palm of their hands.
  5.  Know your kids internet passwords.  They don’t have a right to internet privacy. Seriously.  If the government and all the interfaces they are using, know their passwords, and activity, so should you – you, the parent and the person that is supplying all of that electricity, wifi and phone service.  If you both understand the internet, this point is valid.  Check their social media. Now that you know it, and have the passwords, every now and then, do a check.  Kids need parents and accountability.  Otherwise they wouldn’t be kids.  Man up and just do it.  It’s not invading their privacy.  Now reading their diary/journal is a completely different story. Leave that alone.
  6.  Make your home a place they want to be… and their friends.  Find a used ping-pong table or a basketball hoop.  Always have snacks in the pantry and something to drink in the fridge other than milk and water.  (Please don’t think I mean you should have all the latest video games, and let them do whatever they want)
  7.  Say, “I’m Sorry.”  Be an example of learning from your mistakes.  Especially when you lose your temper with them! Even if they have pushed you over the edge, freaking out is never a good idea. So, when you do freak out, (assuming you’re like me) be sure to tell them you’re sorry.
  8.  Encourage them.  They need it. A lot.  Encourage without sounding like you are babying them. Avoid pinching the cheeks and telling them how cute they are… especially in front of their friends.
  9.  When (not if) they mess up, and come to you, or even if they don’t come to you, never motmobsay, “I told you so.” Don’t even say, “I was afraid that would happen.” Consequences will be hard enough when they hit the wall.  Having you there to listen and love will be much better, and will set the foundations for the impending friendship that you just might have with them someday.  I’m not saying save them from consequences – Don’t do that.  That’s how they learn and grow. I’m saying to love them through it.  They already know they messed up. They don’t need us pointing that out again and again, or telling them what they should’ve done.  This would be a great time to implement #1 …
  10.  Pray with them. Pray for them. Share the Word of God with them in a real way.  It’s not the Churches job to train your kids up in the Lord.  It’s yours.  You can’t be too busy.  You can’t put busyness before that.  If you do, don’t be surprised when they grow up and are too busy for the things of God.  What you make priorities in your life, will probably be theirs.  I know… Ouch.

Parenting teens is hard.  They are emotionally driven, hormonal, men/women children under our stewardship! Thank God we have all of those sweet memories of their first steps and loose teeth to remind us how much we love them!  They are not always going to like us, and will most likely even tell us that they hate us.  (which usually means you’re doing something right) They are full of passion, ideas, hope and energy.  God help us.

This list is far from complete.  I could have made this a “Top 100”.  These are just the ones that were the hardest for me to learn.   I didn’t even address dating! That’s a blog post all unto itself. Really.

What would you add to this list?