Friday, May 21, 2010

Parenting and kidding...

Oy, if I new then, what I know now...yes, we all say such things. But honestly, if I knew then, what I know now!

To be honest I am a total newbie in the teen department. My two oldest are 14 and 13 respectfully and both in deep dutch with their mother at the moment.

Now babies, let us chat for hours on the subject. I know the "spacely-sprocket" cry means they are mad as heck and everyone is going to know about it. I know what diapers are the cheapest and that wipes, not pee, cause diaper rash.

I can Macgyver my way through potty training and the fact that they cannot yet read CS Lewis at the end of Kindergarten is of no concern to me at all.

Yes, the boy of the family has had to teach me a few things that his sisters didn't. Things like make sure "it's" tucked in when you zipper up those once piece feety pajamas...Yes, I know. Ouch.

On the whole, I can get from birth to teen with my eyes shut.

But the whole teen world is still a mystery to me. All I have to draw on is me...oy.

John and I had to put down the law about the social life for these wonderful girls...and they are wonderful, just well they have never been teens anymore then we have been parent's of teens.

I could rant for the next hour on my oldest teen, given that her sister just blew it too...and her younger tweeny sister blew it earlier in the week too.

But it just occurred to me, the details don't matter.

The reason there was chaos in our home last night was because my children were out of order.
The bottom line is that they need to remember that Mom and Dad are management and while they may be organized and unionized, all decisions still get cleared through us.

Is a 14 year old, too old for mommy to be involved in planning her play dates...yes and no. Yes, she gets to choose who she wants to spend time with. But I am still the social worker who clears the other parents. I am still the Bank of Mom who finances her social life. I am also still the Department of Transportation. I am also in charge of net neutrality in their lives as well as their very own cell phone tower.

I want to bless them with good things. I want to give them their Independence. I also want to stand before God someday and be able to say I taught them well in the ways of the Lord. I want to be able to say that I did not provoke them to wrath. But how does one not provoke them?

And I may be wrong...remember I am the newbie here too...but I think it is in making sure they understand what "is" is and what it is not. I have seen the most amazing ability of my children to misinterpret my meaning.

Once when Liz was about 2 1/2 she had gotten in trouble for some baby hate crime she has committed in my bedroom. I don't even remember what it was. After I had sent her to her room, I went in, sat on her bed and gave her a hug. I told her that mommy had been very angry with her for what she had done, but that I was wrong to yell at her.
"I am sorry I lost my temper."

The next day I found her in my bedroom looking under the bed, the dresser, in the closet.
"Liz, what are you doing?"
"I am looking for your temper. You said you lost it in here. I wanted to help you find it."
After a big hug, I assured her she would find it again someday!

Just because she isn't two anymore does not mean she always understands what I mean. The children's union does need things spelled out and specific for them. While we may understand what we mean by "clean up your room" kids often need a more direct direction. How frustrating it must be to think you worked hard on something only be told you did it wrong. Maybe just being more specific and being a part of the process is part of the answer. And prayer, a lot of prayer!

So, for the moment my little work force is busy cleaning the house. They have very specific directions to follow. I am about to go work on that over grown gardens again. Order is restored for the moment...just for the moment.


"Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged." Colossians 3:21

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I often find myself baffled and confused how exactly to handle the whole "teen" thing as well Maryellyn..you said it best..they haven't been teenagers yet, and we haven't been parents of teenagers before. I think it's all a learning process parena and teens need to go through together. The question is..do they want to work with you through this process ?? Well, that depends on their mood, which thanks to those lovely teenage "hormones" changes by the minute !!! I remember hating being 13, 14 and 15 years old..they were very "uncomfortable" years for me. So being the Mom of a 14 (very close to 15 yr old), I try to remember this. This and ALOT of prayer !! Lori

Maryellen said...

Lori, my oldest will be 15 soon too, if she makes it! It is tough but so much of it seems to have to do with them being independent and how much independence and when do you give in to it? Again, OY!
I did not love my teen years either. I am trying to remember my own while not messing them up while I do!
And yes, Lots and Lots and Lots of prayer!