First of all, let’s be clear. There is no such thing. Being a single mom, raising a 16 year old senior is no joke! My daughter and I have been through so much together and the older she gets the more I learn about myself.
Patience is literally a reflection of me. She has my smile, my personality and even my attitude. That’s right our kids get the good and bad parts of who we are.
But more importantly she’s nothing like I was when I was a kid. By the age of 14 I had ran away from home and gotten involved in all kind of things. But not Patience. She makes excellent grades and rarely gets into any trouble.
Sure, we have our days when things get tough and we feel like we are about to kill one another. But parenting has also been my greatest joy. Having my daughter in my life gave me a sense of purpose.
I remember when she was younger I used to watch her sleep and loved it when she would curl up in the bed with me and make me cute drawings for Mother’s Day or “just because” at school.
Parenting made easy is a myth. However, parenting with Christ is the key to overcoming the overwhelming feelings that come with being responsible for the outcome of another human.
Patience and I were talking tonight and she shared some things with me and I was happy to share wisdom with her. The look in her eyes as she listened to me warmed my heart to know that she was actually taking in my every word.
Often times as parents we can get so busy trying to save the world that we lose our children. I encourage you not to do this. Take time with your kids. Be involved. Ask open ended questions so they have to share in detail about their day.
For example, instead of asking “How was your day?” Any typical teenager will reply with “Good.” That is Patience’s favorite word. Then I learned, to get the right response I have to ask the right questions which is a coaching method I use with my clients during our sessions.
Ask, “What part of your day was the most enjoyable?” “What part was the least enjoyable?” “What is one thing you learned today?” These type of questions cause for them to have a conversation with you rather than hit you with one word and then immediately dive back into their cell phone.
Teaching your kids how to be in tune with their feelings can be another battle. Patience is the type that shoulder shrugs everything and acts as if she doesn’t care. Therefore, it takes more prayer and efforts to dig in to see what’s going on not only in her head but also her heart.
I have to be strategic with conversations and once she’s in she will finally open up but I have to remember to insert a “How do you feel about that?” Or “How does that make you feel?” I also learned to ask her “What’s one emotion to describe how you feel right now?” These are great ways to get inside her head to learn what’s bothering her or what’s on her mind.
Perhaps your kid is this way, I encourage you not to give up but read articles (and of course pray) on how to reach your kid and help them as they enter into their teenage years. Every child is different and thank God I only have one.
As a parent I understand the highs and lows you experience while raising your children to be respectable humans. I know they can hit puberty and suddenly feel as if they know it all. That’s how Patience was once she got a job and a car. Honey, you couldn’t tell her nothing.
To help her refocus we needed to have a conversation and I also had to add financial responsibilities so she could see life is tough; it’s not all peaches and cream. Therefore, if you are going to act like an adult how about you pay these bills like adults have to pay. Of course, she didn’t like it but I have to stick to my guns in order to teach her a valuable lesson about life and responsibilities.
Today, I encourage you to take time to talk to your kids. You never know what they are dealing with. I know we hear so much about “Don’t be your kids’ friend.” But the truth is, they need you as their parent and friend.
I often say, I am your mother by default but I want to be your friend by choice. Patience and I have conversations often where she will say, “Ok, I need the friend part of you, not my Mom today.” I’ll take a deep breath and say okay.
During this time I allow her to talk about whatever is on her mind. Yes, we have even talked about sex. I admit for a long time I avoided having this conversation but I knew eventually we needed to talk about it. She’s a girl and although they can be extremely uncomfortable, they are necessary for her development into womanhood.
My daughter is 16 years old and a senior in high school. That means she will graduate when she’s 17 and that is in less than 9 months. Every time I think about it I feel a little bit of anxiety because I know not only is her life about to change but mine as well.
As parents this is another reason why it’s important not to try to live your life through your kids. But have a life so when they move on with theirs you can let them go. Be there when they need you yet be content with your own life.
So remember, parenting made easy is a myth. However, parenting doesn’t have to be as hard as we often make it when we invite God all the way in and encourage our kids to have a relationship with Christ for themselves.
Know today that you are not alone. You have to commit to working on yourself, carry the burden of work or ministry and try to be everything your child(ren) need you to be. Trust me I get it.
But look on the bright side. You don’t have to do it alone, Abba Father is there to walk you through it all. Pray for your babies everyday and go old school like I do and pull out the Holy oil to anoint and pray over them daily. Everything is going to be just fine. God got you and your babies!
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