Having a lot of children and meeting all of their needs is definitely a challenge. Having three of them teenagers, adds even more of a challenge. One of the components to having a home that thrives is having open communication. I want each of my children and especially my teens to be able to come to either my husband or I and tell us anything; whether it be about their frustrations, what they want in life, or talking openly about what they need help with, without the fear of disappointing us. Teaching them how to communicate with us helps them understand how relationships work, enables us to be there for them as guides and teachers, and keeps me on my toes with being approachable, so all of this can happen. Without being open to hear respectful criticism from our children, or use our relationship to our full advantage, we’ll be missing out on being a tremendous influence in their lives.
I haven’t been always approachable and when it came to my oldest daughter wanting to go to a public high school…she told me that she was afraid to ask me when it was too late. That hurt both of us. From that point on, giving my fears to God on everything on an ongoing basis, gives me the comfort, confidence, and wisdom I need to be the mother they need.
I learned that nothing is too fearful to talk about and I wanted each one of my children to know that, too, from that moment on. Even if it meant they wanted to give the ol’ high school a try or more serious matters like sex, drugs and alcohol.
I had a situation the other day where my oldest son, whom is near fifteen years old, wanted me to run him to his buddy’s house. Simple, right? Not when you have a houseful of kids who want to go along for the ride. At first, I didn’t see a problem with them tagging along even though they could have stayed at home with an older sister, but soon it came clear. Chaos ensued with seating arrangements in our vehicle, someone was telling the other that they had bad breath and the comments, chaos, and crying children kept up the whole ride, there. My oldest son had had it! He bellowed with his deep voice, that he hated everyone; and never wanted to see them again. When we finally, what seemed like hours, arrived at his destination he just jumped out of the car without even looking at me and slammed the door. I took my thoughts, semi-hurt feelings, and my chaos back home with me and had to do some pondering and praying. My knee-jerk reaction was to be angry with all my chaotic children and then with my son on how he treated everyone, including myself, and call him up to tell him so!
But with much needed prayer, I knew clearly how to use this as a teachable moment for all involved. Just by calling him up and sympathizing with my son, Taylor, on our horrible car ride, helped diffuse the situation and strengthened our relationship. He agreed to communicate with me what his expectations are ahead of time so we are on the same page and we talked on how in-turn that will reduce frustrations and unneeded hurtful words, expressed. Now to get my young children to keep it down on our car rides…that’s another story!
Our teens need us more now than ever and we don’t want to blow it. This is our last chance to pour out as much guidance, and inspiration as allowed by them and we don’t want to ruin it with over- controlling maneuvers and punishments.
Don’t let the pride and the success of your parenting be based on how your teens behave; something I’ve really had to come to terms with raising children. Once you have this released…you can focus on what truly matters most and with teens, it’s your relationship.
Taken from the book, Parent/Teen Breakthrough. The Relationship Approach by Mira Kirshenbaum and Charles Foster, Ph.D.:
Start thinking of yourself as a successful parent when this is present:
- · Your kid talks to you
- · Your kid listens to you
- · There’s an easy atmosphere of give-and-take between you
- · You can have fights and can make up
- · You can laugh together
- · Your kid comes to you for advice from time to time
- · You have fun together
- · There’s a growing sense of your having an adult-to-adult relationship
- · Your kid tells you some of his problems
- · Your kid introduces you to the people in his life
- · You can get your needs met with him even if you sometimes have to struggle to do so
The teen years, isn’t an easy one but with the relationship approach you have an advantage to be the support, influence and needed guidance they need.