Parenting pre-teens and teens is beyond exhausting… all consuming at times. It’s a maze of challenging and chaotic days, sprinkled with those rare moments of peace and tranquility. In the day to day… we run and run to keep up.
It’s in the center of that storm that we can get distracted and derailed as a parent. We start to over-focus on maintaining the structure of our lives, the need for order in our homes and subtly drift from watching carefully for the condition of our kids hearts.
How do you know if your drifting a bit from the important stuff? Take a second and answer these 3 thought provoking questions…
1 – Do you find yourself ‘looking’ for problems or issues to correct/discipline in your kids ?
2- Do you find less and less time for family conversation over a meal? (is your smartphone with you at dinner?)
3- Are you skipping time alone with God for a chance to get one more item off ‘the to-do” list ?
These aren’t meant to create shame or guilt but they do give a quick reflection of where your focus is as a parent. The drift is normal, we all have this struggle. What we do when we see the problem will define us a a parent.
My strong encouragement; reconnect with God. Carve out time as a family that is sacred and inviolate in your weekly schedule and protect your kids hearts from an overly critical spirit.
The 1 thing I forget over and over, is the 1 thing that’s most critical to my kids. It’s a detail that can easily get lost in the hustle and shuffle of surviving and it’s vital for us as parents to stay alert, aware, and compassionately sensitive to our pre-teen/teens! Here it is…
“Despair looks and feels just like Defiance”
Cruising through life at redline speed, we can miss this nuance. My caution is to slow down and stay alert to the shifting nature of your kids hearts. The no-nonsense parenting push is commendable and important to maintain order and structure in the home, but it leaves large gaps in its approach.
Be careful here… as I look back on my parenting experiences, this is where I messed up the worst.
I missed the signs and cues of despair in my children’s responses. Mistaking their avoidance, clipped answers, and isolation as a ‘rejection’ of me, instead of the subtle symptoms of depression, self-hate, and shame. It’s essential that we listen and look each day. Taking the time to ‘see’ our kids as they really are, and avoid the mistake of ‘assuming’ that today will be just like yesterday.
Grace to you and may God’s spirit of Wisdom and Revelation provide you with all you need to parent your family safely through these turbulent times.
For more info on how to reach your tween or teen’s heart, click here!