Thursday, October 22, 2009
I believe the two most challenging phases of parenting occur during the toddler years & then again in adolescence. in both phases our child is gaining Independence. remember erikson's stages? in the ole' stage two, our toddler age child is bidding for autonomy. they are realizing that they are separate from mommy.
then you sort of cruise merrily through those middle years. seriously, has anyone ever said, "boy, once you get through the 9 year old stage, you're home free"
sure nuf, the tween & teen years can sorta hit you out of nowhere. that once placid, sweet child now can seem withdrawn, angry and moody.
whenever i decide to write about parenting, let me assure you, its coming from a mom that is desperately trying to get it right. not someone who has mastered this. i want to share a little bit of what the lord is currently working on in my heart.
i find it very easy to parent the daughter who is much like me. i understand the 'why' when she reacts the way she does. i know how she rolls. i get her.
but the child , or maybe 2 of mine whose make-up is much different than mine are much more of a challenge for me. when you factor in personality traits, birth order, love languages, & temperaments ( just to name a few) parenting my child effectively can seem like a very daunting task.
one area i feel the lord is really working on my heart is the area of grace.
i am by nature not a patient person. type A, first born, perfectionist, busy, & did i mention impatient. having a home that is full of grace is my ultimate & what most days feels like an impossible goal.
Grace Based Parenting by tim kimmel is an excellent book. much of what i'm writing today was gleaned from his writings or are his direct quotes.
back to adolescence~
"the real test of a parenting model is how well equipped the children are to move into adulthood as vital members of the human race."
"parents who embrace grace make their homes a safe place for average kids to develop into extraordinary people. weakness & inadequacy aren't a big deal" says kimmel.
children are going to need to know how to:
get along with difficult people
solve confusing problems
fear God alot
fear their fellowman very little
laugh at the right time
cry at the better time
& be able to bring out the best in the people closest to them.
these characteristics won't just happen on their own. childhood should provide ample time as a parent to build assurances in my girls that they have been given all they need to take out into their world as an adult.
one conviction for me is the area of control. i don't want to try to control my girls environment so that its so structured with tight boundaries that when they leave the nest all i have exposed them to is children whose parents believe the same thing i do, who are in the same tax bracket , and even the same culture. the real world is nothing like that. i want to guide them~~ YES! but i want to equip them so that they have security in their hearts, signifigance in their lives & strength for their future . & they can fully rely on God's presence in their life...not the safety nets i've tried to place around them.
my prayer is that our home is a place where my girls are free to be "different, vulnerable & candid, and to make mistakes yet learn what the genuine love of God looks like".
that's a tough one for me, i'll be honest.
i want my girls to be well liked, well rounded, & spiritually grounded.
different? not really.
make mistakes? i'd prefer minor ones, the ones everyone doesn't have to hear about.
i'm pretty much all for the 'everything is just great kinda family'. but i must daily laydown what i want them to be, "who" i want them to be.
& i need to give them a little freedom too.
especially in this phase of development....personally i don't feel i need to be everyones room mom, team mom, be at each dance, offer to drive every carpool, attend every field trip.
they can spread their wings & honest to goodness, even be discipled or taught by another adult. i don't have to be the everything mom just to show them i love them. i can allow them their space & show them that they are trusted and that i have confidence in them...the 'them' away from me.
"grace will keep me from clamping down on their spirits while they move through awkward transitions and walk through the valley of the shadow of adolescence".
i want to dan & i to be parents that forgive.
i want my marriage to be a lighthouse, permanently established to show my girls the way home
i want my girls to feel loved...especially on the days when they are hardest to love
when they screw up....i don't want to act surprised
showing them sensitivity towards the battles that they face. especially the ones that i don't understand
"realizing that christ didn't die for me because i had good qualities that were worth saving
but because i had bad qualities that left me without a prayer"
i'll leave you with one more word from tim
"you'll probably never know the profound impact that the giving of grace will have on your children's vulnerabilities but its obvious how much devastation can be wrought if you don't"
Posted by paige at Thursday, October 22, 2009