so…. there were lots of questions about teenagers and raising big kids.
i can only speak from my experience of course.
and i’m no parenting expert but i can share what i think i’ve learned so far.
our home may be the complete opposite of yours.
with five kids i can say for sure that every kid is different & needs something different.
some kids are naturally obedient and would never want to rock the boat.
some kids are the opposite and want to tip your boat, their boat and everyone else’s within reach.
some kids are quiet. some kids want to talk your ear off.
some kids get mad easily while others seem to be happy all the time.
and there are a hundred other personalities in-between those examples.
the frustrating reality of parenting is that just because you do every thing “right”, follow all the advice you get and read all the books – it doesn’t mean they will fall in line and obey.
or that they will make the right choices.
or try harder in school.
or want to please you.
or even that they will like you!
they are humans with the right to choose good or bad… right or wrong…
sometimes no matter how loving, how wonderful, how kind or how much fun you are… they still may not make the right choice.
and that part truly sucks.
meaning: i like results.
i want my kids to SUCCEED! i don’t want them to mess up or have pain that could be avoided!
i want a formula for parenting teens that would go like this: if you love God, love your kids, provide for them, feed them, go to their ball games, take them to the pool, bake cookies, play legos and host birthday parties then your kids will be well behaved, angelic, smiling lovelies that say “thank you so much mother for all that you do for me each day”
yeahhhh… it doesn’t work like that.
there is no formula.
when they are toddlers and babies their needs are met in such tangible ways… dry diaper, full stomach, good nap.
i really thought i knew what i was doing as a mom when my 5 kids were 10 years old and under.
i felt pretty proud of myself.
and then the teen years knocked me down several notches.
the teenage years with the hormones & cell phones & driver’s licenses & peer pressure – it’s a constant emotional roller coaster.
and then there are so many actual people in our home – we are like a theme park for feelings!
it may not be that way at your house.
maybe your house is calm and quiet and everyone behaves.
if so… lucky you.
feel free to stop reading and go find something to bake on pinterest. 🙂
maybe your kids would never say something hurtful to you.
or slam doors.
or unthinkable that they’d swear at you.
or say they hate you.
but the reality of life at our house is that it’s not peachy keen everyday.
i would never want people to look through this blog or Instagram and think that it was.
i mean it’s not a war zone but it’s real life with 6 – 7 personalities and needs flaring all at once.
i shocked myself the other night when i was driving alone and thought about how i never thought i would like these teen years or could like them since they aren’t cute cuddly babies anymore. I am a baby lover and could hold babies all day long! And now that is in my past and i realized i actually really do LIKE having a house full of teenagers!
even with the yelling or swearing or door slamming.
it’s not like that everyday.
but i can’t write about raising teenagers with out saying that those things could happen.
it doesn’t make me feel like we are failures.
it’s just real life.
it doesn’t make me a bad mom if they choose to react that way.
they are just people trying to figure out life and each interaction is a time to learn how to appropriately respond to conflict.
we do have LOTS of fun as well at our house.
they are all so funny.
there is laughter, hugs, happiness,complete silliness and even occasional dancing!
so… the only “advice” i could give seems to be the obvious things that i feel everyone already knows but i will share anyway.
LOVE your kids the best way you can.
try to figure out what makes them tick.
love them for who they are… not who you want them to be.
listen when they share with you.
try to love them in the way they respond the best.
show them that you are on their side and that you always will be.
encourage them! tell them they are awesome and you’re proud of them!
choose your battles… sometimes it’s just not worth it.
validate their feelings especially when others have hurt them.
sympathize when it feels like they will never recover from a break up or a mean girl incident.
listen when they are frustrated about a coach or teacher or a boss.
give them responsibility… don’t do everything for them… laundry, school work, job applications, alarm clocks.
if you don’t help them learn to do hard things – who will? who cares more about them than you?!
be strict when it comes to keeping them safe… parties, drinking, boyfriends/girlfriends, driving… etc.
making the hard calls is your job… YOU are the adult.
it’s not fun to be hated but YOU are the adult and you can handle that.
it won’t last forever.
they will eventually understand that you did it because you loved them.
they are going to mess up.
it could be small but also it might be in a really big way.
you have to be there when they fall… still loving them.
not giving up.
if you don’t know how to do these things on your own or situations are too difficult – find a counselor or therapist who can help you.
therapy is a good thing!
it helps so much to talk things through! for you or for your kids or both!
i’ll say it again… therapy is good thing!
i do not see myself as doing everything right. (no way)
or that i have perfect kids. (heck no!)
but we are trying.
harder than i ever thought it would be.
but it is worth it!
i was confused when my friend who was about 5 years ahead of me in mothering would say “teenagers are so much fun!”
i honestly thought she was either clueless or lying or both.
it used to make me mad actually.
and now… years later… having gone through so much… seeing my babies turn into a house full of teens and older…
now i get it!
it IS a beautiful, crazy and FUN stage to walk (& fumble) through.
you get to be a part of these amazing people’s journey into life on their own.
you get to go beside them and cheer them on!
there are so many prayers said for our kids.
we pray that they would come to know jesus as their savior.
that they would love him deeply in their heart.
we pray for protection over them.
we pray they would make right choices.
and be kind to others.
we pray for the ability to love them the way He wants us to.
and we trust that the God who created them has the best plan for them.
we trust that He will continue to love them unconditionally.
we have hope in Him to cover our parenting mistakes with his grace and mercy.
it’s HARD but God is big enough to take care of you, your kids and mine too!