Saturday, October 11, 2014

Teenagers in Little Bodies - Day 7

Love, love, love parenting teenagers.
 And let me tell you that I have earned the right to say that by having 6 bonafide teenagers that call me Mom right now.  Each stage of life has been one I can't imagine leaving because I love it so much and can't fathom the next one being as good.  I felt that way in high school and then loved college more.  I felt that way about my babies but it was so fun to watch them learn to walk and talk.  Having preschoolers go off to school is bittersweet yet awesome.  Now I'm finding out that having teenagers in my house is a super cool way to be a Mom.

I can't count how many times people in the grocery store would respond to my cart overflowing with toddlers and babies and say something tongue in cheek about how great my life will be when they're teenagers.  Always made me fume a little inside.  They were stupid comments and now I have the proof that they were wrong.

For me, somewhere during middle school a shift occurred in each of my kids and they became more than kids.  They became real people, with glimmers of adult shining out of them, that I really like.  While I'm still Mom and there are times that I have to lay down the law, we've also turned the corner towards handing over responsibility to them....and there's an intoxicating freedom in that.  We laugh together a lot and talk about just about everything under the sun.....maybe that's because 4 of my teens are daughters!!

So why am I talking about teenagers to a bunch of moms of preschoolers?  Because your teenagers of tomorrow are inside those preschool bodies today.  You are parenting the teenagers they will become and it helps to have that end in mind.  Dream a little about how you hope it will be.  Pay attention to families around you that have teens and pick one or two to watch extra closely as a model.  Look for the character traits that seem of highest value for that stage of life.....and get cracking on those things right now!

Do you want to have easy conversations with your teens about sensitive topics like sex and their bodies?  Then start talking now so they can never remember a time when it wasn't just done. (Click here for a link to a book series we used.)  Do you hope that your kids will trust you with their feelings?  Build that trust now by learning to listen well.  Do you desperately want teens with strong character that can stand against peer pressure?  Start praying about that and giving your children opportunities to practice being different than the crowd.

You are creating in them, right now, the feelings of normal that they will carry with them into their teen years.  Your ways of relating, the things you talk about, how you express confidence in them or concern, the character lessons that you teach now, are all slowly hardening into habits that will define them in 10 years.  Right now you have the power of incremental change on your side as you look toward the future.  When you realize a deficiency or an oversight in the things you want to teach, you can make a 1 degree shift to the right or left that will, day by day, result in a monumental shift over years.  That kind of adjustment is much easier to make than a 180 when they hit middle school and you freak out over the things still undone.

I'm not saying you won't have to make a few 180's.....everybody does because life is messy.  But, if you parent those little bodies now like they're teenagers in training, you'll end up with fewer of them to make, and more time to laugh!



4 comments:

  1. You're SO right! Those little changes make all the difference in the world and add up over time. And I've found that your children often are trying to tell you what they need but they don't know how to articulate it. It's up to us to listen and help them find their footing.
    Good stuff!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what makes parenting such a daily thing.....and so much work!!!

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