Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Parenting...Take Nine Hundred Ninety-Nine

Parenting is tough! I just wonder if it ever gets any easier?? I feel like I spend so much of my time trying to "motivate" my children to help out around the house and try to prevent them from making mistakes. It's such a fine line between giving them too much and not giving them enough boundaries. Does anyone out there feel this way? Or am I just going crazy? Ok...don't answer that question. I've spent the last 2 hours listening to Mal tell me she wants to quit volleyball without giving me any valid reasons. I know that seems trivial...but she quit softball this year...she decided not to candy stripe....her cell group has dissolved...she quit ROTC...shall I go on? I just see a pattern of not finishing anything and not putting forth our best effort. I want so desperately to raise children that have perseverance, compassion, respect, love for others, know...all those good things. Yet, after nights like this one, I feel that I'm failing miserably. It doesn't help, that I can't just ask my husband how he feels about all this. I have to make decisions on my own and pray I don't screw everybody up in the process. I fear I'm gonna see them on Dr. Phil one day telling how their mom screwed their whole life up and all that they didn't become in life they owe to their mother...I know a little dramatic, but you see it all the time. How do you raise teenagers that grow up OK and still love you in the end? Wearing me out...I tell ya....just draining my emotional bank account. Words of wisdom welcome here!


Gary and Vicki Mealer said...

The answer to the first question is no:)It never gets easier because they change, and with it the discipline changes- Ginger, the boundaries are what you set. Be consistant. Don't bend. It is not your job as a parent to be their friend,it is your job as a parent to give them consistant structure.I love the book of Proverbs, it is full of sound Godly advice for any relationship, but it's whole theme is about wisdom.To relate to our children we need consistancy, tact, and discipline to use the wisdom God gives us. to be wise in our speech we need to use self control. Our words should be honest and well chosen.All our resources, time and talents come from God.Read Proverbs 4.-my advice- Mal has a pattern of quitting. So don't let her join. Believe me she will come up in a week or month and want to join something else. You don't have to give her a valid reason No is enough. Sounds a little harsh I know but if you dont stop the pattern, she won't learn. Most kids want to be a part of anything because their friends are. Not because they want to . Next time Mal want to join something ask her what her reasons are for wanting too. Don't be to quick to say yes. Make her wait a while, let her think about it, wonder if you are going to say yes. Then ask her in a few weeks, if she still seems interested then tell her This is the only thing this year you will be a part of. Is this really the that important to you? And let her know if she starts it she has to finish it. No exception!. You can't fail at parenting, their is no test, no graduation, and no book. You can only regret. You are both Father and Mother, duel role, mothers are about the emotion of a situation, fathers are practical. When a father speaks, kids listen because they don't argue, no is no, mothers argue, talk for hours and give in. The Bible says. "We all make mistakes, but those who control their tounges can also control themselves in other ways. We can make a large horse(or a child) turn around and go wherever we want, by means of a small bit in its mouth." James 3. I was a single parent for 18 years, because of deployment. And although Brad and I disagreed about alot of things he loved me, respected me, and called me for advice. You can't ask for more than that. I was consistant, firm, and prayerful. Love ya Gin. V

Big Bro said...

Hiya sis ,
I must agree with the consistency theme and the friendship area. But as with friendship or any relationship dont walk blindly if you can help it.
However I do not view Mal or anyone at her age as a quitter, or having a pattern of quitting. Right now she is searching for those defining points in her life, the turning points that will make her who she will grow up to be.
I dont beleive she is not finishing things because she is a quitter at all, I beleive that once she has ventured far enough into something to realize it doesnt fulfill certain aspects of her life, she backs away and simply goes a different direction. This is a crucial time/step in her growth as a young lady on her way to becoming a young woman. Your job is to provide consistency and discipline. Thats any parents job. If her lack of consistency gets to out of hand, you may try altering your consistency for the shock and awe effect, without neccesarily eliminating the nuturing. When you decide you must take this approach then when she notices she will ask about whatever change in the consistency she saw in you. At this point, its your time to shine as a mother and parent, using the temporary change as a way to illustrate to her that a time is soon coming for her that she will need to end her search and remain consistent and dependable herself.An example, saying no to something you might normally say yes to. Then just follow your normal Christian mom instincts as to how far to take that. Like most things as a parent, its not always easy. But sometimes neccesary.
Another point is relating, public schools and secular media and mainstream society push this to the max. The impress upon our kids that self-confidence is all that is needed to succeed in this world. Obviously if that were true, Hitler, and Hussein would still be in power. When relating, it is important to be open and have a relationship with our children, but not let them think they are the "boss". Allow them to voice certain wishes, but not have the final say on something. Thats your place as the parent. Confidence is important , but only one key ingredient in a series that contributes to their growth into adolescence and young adults.
There are times you will have to simply say no without giving reason. There are other times a reason is dictated to be given by the situation or circumstances, or people involved; so that our children understand what is acceptable not only as Christians, but as average citizens as they do become older.
In particular with Mal I dont think its all peer pressure. I doubt that very many just jumped on the bus to go to the Katrina relif mission to risk having a gun pulled on them to help those who needed it. Mal did. Mal in searching sis, for definition and her purpose in life, all you can do is remain consistent and keep discipline and boundaries in place for that search. It is also important that those boundaries remain the same as she becomes older and out of your direct sphere of influence. An issue like many that warrants prayer. Maybe make a mom and daughter trip to the alter or the end of the bed to kneel and pray for each other, for understanding and guidance.
Its this point in our kids life Ginger that we really could have used that instruction manual for kids, :) You know where to keep your focus, you know as well as I how to pray. What is it Pastor Charles said about faith the Sunday of our visit? You must remember sis, faith is beleif in things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Being a parent is about the truest test of faith any person can have. Hope this helps. We will be praying! you know that!
And remember Gods promise concerning children.. teach them in the way that they should go, so when they are older they remain upon that path.
Love you all .