#parentingteens? I know I am! I am constantly praying about how do I give them space to develop and grow while also ensuring I’m still present and involved in raising them. I know for our oldest, he is actually doing all the things we’d like and has the maturity and character we appreciate in any young adult (we expect nothing less after being raised in this home). I sense that he needs and is asking for more and more freedoms (aka “more rope”) but I’ve been holding the reigns tightly. I gotta say it has loosened a lot over these last 3 years but as he is starting high school in the fall, it’s definitely time to loosen up even more. I’ve been praying about the best way to go about moving forward and wrestling with what is most important. It’s very clear that what’s important to me as mom is completely different than what is important to my oldest. (Duh. By the way, what’s the 2021 equivalent word for this?!?) I know I hoped that he would see the light (so to speak) and be all the things I’d want him to be (translation: all the things I wasn’t before and at 42 years old continue to work on now). C’mon now, I know that isn’t even fair.
Our son occasionally does things that remind us he is still learning and so we need to account for that. He’s not yet an adult…and definitely not a child anymore. I know the world is big and crazy and also inevitable. I’d much rather our children learn at home and fail at home surrounded by people who will love them no matter what. I’m reminded when I think back on my life, even though I was involved in things and with people I should not have been, somehow God found me in my messes and changed my life. (Note: I did NOT think they were “messes” at the time though. HAHA Looking back, what in the world was I doing?!?) It’s been a journey that I’m still on and our children will have theirs too. Lord, help me to trust in you.
#drivinghome from class today, this podcast episode title caught my eye so I gave it a listen. It is, “Guiding Your Teen Into Adulthood part 1/2” by @focusonthefamily. I loved it and wished they would have kept the discussion going or maybe I should just buy that book “Feeding the Mouth That Bites You” or subscribe to their podcast.
Here’s one analogy I heard that really stood out to me. The author said that parenting is less like MATH (if I do this and subtract or add this, I’ll get this behavior or child) and more like SAILING. You know, ing. I’ve never actually been sailing myself but I’ve seen enough movies and TV shows to know that you have to adjust all the things you’re doing based on what situation you’re dealing with and your goal of what you’re trying to do (maybe you’re trying to get to a destination and it’s storming out there). In parenting, our personal goals are that we want our children to move out (one day soon) and be fully functioning, contributing, responsible adults in society. I also have other goals (well OF COURSE I DO!) tacked onto what I want with my children and one BIG one is that they would know God. When they move out of our home I want them to at least know how to engage and respond to all of life’s happenings from a foundation of Truth rooted in the Word of God which they hopefully picked up from watching my life as I have gone through things and remembering what was taught to them all along the way. ALSO, I can’t leave out how much I care about our relationships as a family unit. I prioritize our time as a family even though what we do to stay connected has morphed over the years. But these are my own priorities and goals when it comes to parenting that guide my actions as I try to engage with them in some way each day. I admit that sometimes, I do get caught up thinking ‘I’m not doing enough’ in my role, ‘I don’t want to mess them up,’ and various other thoughts and worries creep in because of my personality and upbringing. But I don’t want to parent out of fear so that’s why I must do my own work (in coming back to God, on my own, over and over trusting that He will guide me. He loves our children even more than I do and ultimately, He will provide for them what they need. A part of it was entrusting them to us. I tell you parenting and marriage has really shaped me probably more than it has shaped them!).
Meanwhile, as I’m continuing to wrestle with all of these things within myself and with God, I am mindfully adjusting my grip on freedoms with my children individually and collectively, I am sensitive to how they are responding to me and what is going on in their world (remember the sailing analogy?) as we guide them along. Our son has grown up into his own person right before our very eyes. Wow. It’s kinda sad, but I’m also happy and proud that he isn’t a helpless infant anymore; we can enjoy deeper conversations together, you know whenever he has the time.
Isn’t this how it’s supposed to work? We raise them up in order to let them go, fully equipped, as best as we can and we continuously pray.
I appreciate this resource today. Thank you for creating it, Focus on the Family, and thank you God for bringing it to my attention today.
How about you?
How are you doing in your world of parenting teens? You found this blog and read this far for a reason. Follow me on IG @SejanaShines (if you use that). I’m over there or on my FB page @SejanaShines more often than posting lengthier blogs here. I’d love to hear from you!
From their writeup on the podcast: Dr. Kenneth Wilgus, Jessica Pfeiffer, and Ashley Parrish, who together host a podcast about parenting teens, offer practical guidance for preparing teen children for adulthood. Our panel addresses topics including “planned emancipation,” appropriate boundaries, control vs. influence, teen entitlement, and much more. (Part 1 of 2)
Get Dr. Wilgus’ book “Feeding the Mouth That Bites You” for your donation of any amount: https://donate.focusonthefamily.com/don-daily-broadcast…