I feel lately like….I’m being run over by a stampede…
Yeah…kinda like that….
Actually….that’s more accurate than I really want to admit….
I’ve also noticed that my wine consumption has increased and my kids’ bedtime is gradually getting earlier and earlier….so early that I debated having them get into pajamas for dinner…at 5.
Our house has been blessed with the “phase” otherwise known as “9” (it can also be synonymus with 8, or 10). This phase is characterized by the following:
· Eye rolling
· Door slamming
· Clinched teeth
*Sayings such as “It’s not fair!” or “How come??!!”
· And finding everyone “annoying”.
Doesn’t that sound awesome???!!!
My first thought is to blast all my “mom friends” who have older children….”Why didn’t you warn me?”
But…that’s the equivalent of a first-time mom asking “why didn’t you warn me about labor?” It’s kinda like….”well, there really is no need to scare the crap out of you. When it’s time…you will be able to handle it.”
So….the hubs and I have come to the conclusion that we gotta “step up” our parenting game.
The simple “first level” parenting level that we had grown accustomed to…is still there. We are still dishing out time-outs; putting kids in their rooms, and issuing “quiet time” and naps.
However, this “runaway train” called Phase 9 was going to require some serious prayer and parenting discussion.
So…as we take this journey…we have decided to try a few things that I wanted to share with you. It’s such a science experiment…I will either be able to offer you advice in a year or two……
or you will firmly commit NOT to do what I did.
Parenting is loving our children and wanting their holistic formation into the life of a teenager. The first thing we decided to focus on was to remind ourselves of our roles as parents and to focus on our parenting philosophy. We are trying to teach our daughter how to communicate; to know herself; to have strong character and conviction; to desire a love for others, and to yearn for a relationship with God.
So….how to do we do that without judging her?…critizing her?….or being too negative? How do we “water” her genuine desire to serve? How do we encourage individuality and yet love for her family and friends?
listen. Listen to what my daughter is saying …Lord knows, at this point, I don’t LIKE half of what I am hearing…but I will rejoice that my daughter feels like she can talk to me. I will NOT confront her in the stress of an argument but will honor her desire for respect as a little lady. I will sneak in moments over a cup of tea or cooking in the kitchen to ask her to explain situations to me. “What were you thinking about when you said_______?” ”Why do you think you are slamming doors all the time?” “What is the most frustrating thing you are experiencing?”I must also be aware of what her body language is saying. What is it that she doesn’t like to discuss? Could I be embarrassing her when I am not trying to? Does she have certain “triggers” that make arguments escalate?
Allowing Change. Change is so difficult but necessary. I am being called to now foster a different type of relationship with my daughter. I don’t need to make sure she has food nor do I need to dress her. I don’t have to worry about her personal safety but…I do need to assist her in making her decisions. I need to be her mom….gently reminding her to brush her teeth because of her braces, and encouraging her love of piano. I need to watch her to see the areas in her life that SHE is defining and to continue to make experiences to get “to know” my daughter.I need to encourage her desire to lead and help in situations. I need to allow her to have additional roles in the family that would alleviate my burden and yet allow her to feel “treated older”.
Date night with daddy.
Be her biggest fan. In a lot of ways, I already am. I know that my daughter is amazing. She is loving and thoughtful. She has such an amazing heart that I want everyone to see. I guess, I just want her to be true to herself. But…I need to spend this time of uncertainty and change for her, being “her rock”. She needs to be told how I view her and often. I need to deliver affirmations more than criticisms. I need to spend more time with my arm around her and my eyes looking at her. She needs to see my “correction” as just that…a fleeting correction and not an “overall” view of her as my child.
As we enter this new journey of “Phase 9”, our prayer, as a family, is that we may continue to be a stronghold for each member of our family. That the Lord will guide our decisions as parents and help us to be what our daughter needs.
“You will show me the path of life..you my hope and my treasure. In your presence is endless joy, at your side is my home forever.”- Psalm 16:11