As a mom knee deep in the teen years (my kids are currently almost 18, 16, 12 & almost 8), my definition of success has just about been tossed out the window. Sometimes surviving the day means success. I have always looked forward to the teen years in our home, and can honestly say that I enjoy having teenagers. But I can also say that it is harder than I thought it would be. My expectations were much different than my reality.
The biggest surprise in parenting teens is that they seem to revert back to behaviors you thought were cured back when they were say, 2-3 years old. Sometimes I honestly think my kids have lost their minds. I have said to them, "Who are you, and what have you done with my child?" It's like been invaded by aliens. Space Invaders, anyone? Jay and I are all-in on parenting. Involved, supportive, talkers.
We recently had a very serious situation with my oldest. Something that we worried might strongly affect his future career and college options. Let me tell you, when I gave birth to that tiny little baby and snuggled him in my arms, the farthest thing from my mind was sitting up all night with a child I was concerned might resort to taking his own life than facing up to his difficulties. (Let me clarify that he never threatened, I was just worried.) The first thought that crossed my mind is, "Where did we go wrong?" That's sad, isn't it?
The older I get, the less likely I am to offer parenting advice/opinions. The older I get, the less I know. The only thing I know for sure is that God is in control, and I am not. I have to rely upon Him more and more each day.
I wish we, as a parenting community, could be more quick to encourage and support each other, and less quick to be critical. Let's face it, criticism is not hard to come by. It's constantly there, whether in our own minds or from those around us. When was the last time someone encouraged you? Parenting is the hardest job on Earth. I want to be an encourager.
That is my hope.
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