Being a control freak is harder in the teenage phase
I have been quite a control freak, on the inside. I try to disguise it well when dealing with things or organizing things, but deep inside of me I have an idea how things should be and why it should be in a certain way. I thought the same when I had kids. The plan in my head was worked out to a ‘T’. Well, well, well… As most of you with teenagers will know, this only works well in the toddler, early primary school phase. As my kids grew older, I had to grow. The teenage phase is the stage where we feel most isolated and lonely. It is easy to think that you are in the minority but you are not. Parents with teenagers experience heartache, have to deal with fears and often insecurity.
Adolescence… Almost every look of admiration has now become an eye-rolling of frustration – from their side!
A message of hope!
I want to write this as a message of hope! Raising teenagers can be hard. I have two children. My eldest has just finished his first year at varsity. He is like a breath of fresh air in our family. The loud, funny, joyful, passionate, life has to be conquered/nothing is too big, overly positive person. Our youngest is our other breath of fresh air. She is the sincere deep thinker, that feels deeply, has a world of compassion, analyzes situations and yet wants to enjoy life to the fullest. They are very different from each other – this is the reason I savor the versatility of their personalities and celebrate God’s uniqueness. My personal opinion is that parents struggle in the teenage years because they still want to parent their teens like they have in the early Primary school phase. On the other hand some parents give in towel and treat their teens as if they are adults that can make their own decisions.
Sweet and sour pork
Raising a teen is like having sweet and sour pork. You will experience the sweetest moments of absolute joy exchanged for unspeakable sorrow and deep disappointment! When your kids are small and something is wrong with them, you will easily find at least three mothers who could identify with it and give solid advice. You hardly ever lack input. When your kids grow older, the range of issues expand. This is where parents close down because it is not acceptable to speak about these struggles. You might be having a hard time with your teenager and might consider asking for advice. The moment you look on social media, you then realize that it is going so well in every other family (yea right…). One rule that you need to take right through your parenting, even in the teenage years, is foundational for us at Evergreen parenting. Praise them in public and criticize in private. Even when you ask advice and seek help, stick to this rule. Asking help doesn’t mean you have to criticize, if you catch my drift.
A teething teenager
Being a teenage parent, is like a parent with toddlers that are teething. It is a time of transitioning. New things happen. Giving ‘birth’ to teenagers is harder than giving birth. There is no epidural or any pain killer for this stage! I would like to share with you what I have learned thus far in our journey with the teenage years. It is a time of really important Kingdom-work. Kingdom-work is always good news because it carries kingdom-promises. Our Father knows how hard it is to parent an adult child. Jesus is the one that supplies supernatural hope. Romans 15:13 says it beautifully: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope”. The teenage stage is not a stage you can rush through.
When they make mistakes, your natural reaction might be to get angry, to correct them or even to shout. Pick your battles. Do not make of everything a battle. When it escalates, let them know that their behavior is not acceptable. There might be times when you have to punish them. Unfortunately it is what happens with disobedience. When you have to punish or discipline, make sure it is fitting for the offence and don’t use the same technique every time. As an example, if taking away a cell phone worked once, it doesn’t mean it will work every time.
Local church and solid foundations
We are privileged parents to belong to the most amazing local church. Our children have friends with almost the same value systems. They have parents with the same values as ours. It makes it a whole lot easier if your local church is a healthy, family focused, bible teaching church, where community, purity, honesty and many more things like this is equally important to the parents around you.
More on raising a teenager coming soon!