So, you see, as your kids grow up the issues get a little heavier.
When my teenagers were little I tried to remember not to freak out about everything. I tried to parent with this in mind, "will this matter in 5 hours? 5 days? 5 weeks? 5 months? 5 years?" If the answer was no to the weeks, months and years....it really wasn't a battle I needed to choose. In other words, if it wasn't a character issue or a moral issue or a spiritual issue...it just really wasn't an "issue".
When they become teenagers it seems as if everything really will matter! I mean, who cares if they eat a little extra junk food, that doesn't matter....the movies they watch, the music they listen to, the people they hang around, the websites they visit...those all matter. A LOT. Are they being responsible? It matters. Because in just a few short years, they will be responsible for their own life-ready or not. A good work ethic? Matters so much! They cannot hold a job and take care of themselves if they are not good workers. (And let's be honest, it's pretty great to get compliments on your child's work ethic. To have people hiring them to get a job or two done even at 13 or 14!)
What if the kids they are hanging around are a bad influence? Or make them feel like they have the weight of the choices the friends are making on their shoulders? Like, feeling responsible and drug down by other people's bad choices. That's super important. It matters now and could very well matter in 5 years. And beyond.
I don't know what I've done right or what I've done wrong in this whole parenting gig...I mean I could have been more loving and less rule-oriented. I could have given more hugs. I could have sat on the floor and played with them a little more. Prayed with and for them more often for sure. But darn it, I must have done something right.
My beautiful daughter who is on the verge of turning 16 (wow! yeah, that proves that the days are long but the years are short!!) comes to me when things are heavy. She shares things with me that I imagine many (if not most) teenagers do not share with their old mamas. We have our differences, this child and I. But when it matters, she knows I'm here and that I am trustworthy. And that she can bounce ideas and concerns off of me. We spent some time talking tonight and she has some concerns. I can't tell her exactly what to do about these concerns but we can talk it through and hash through ideas. I can sneak in a little, "remember when we talked about this or that? Do you see how this situation shows what I meant by that?" <----that a="" and="" anyone.="" appreciated="" appreciates="" as="" awesome="" be="" d="" discipline.="" discipline="" do.="" especially="" get="" have="" i="" if="" in="" is="" it.="" it="" moment.="" moment="" not="" nowhere.="" p="" parent="" rules.="" same="" sees="" she="" so="" sure="" t="" teenager.="" that="" the="" think="" told="" way="" we="" weird.="" why="" will="" with="" wouldn="" you="">
Keep talking with your kids and teens. With them. Not at them (I'm very guilty of this at times!). It will pay off. I've also told my kids more times than I can count "I'm not your friend, I'm your mom". At times I think they thought it was a mean thing to say. But I meant it. They can have 1000 friends (I mean, at least on facebook they can!) but I'm the only mom they have. Just one. I have a job to do. Sometimes it's a stinkin' hard job. But then I get to see the rewards.
The rewards are rich. So maybe I was the right amount of "rules oriented". The right amount of not being their playmate (I didn't want them to always be dependent on someone else-even me-for contentment or entertainment!). The right amount of discipline. Or else, God took my best, my good intentions and turned them into just what was needed.
P.S. There could be some gorgeous pics of my "little" girl if I had taken the time to put pics on my new computer! But I haven't. You'll just have to trust me. ----that>