Wednesday, October 20, 2010

balance, prayer and luck

i really want to share my heart again concerning the 'mean girl' issue we dealt with for a couple of weeks.
so.... first let me say, i intentionally try to keep my posts short, easy reads. this one won't be a short easy read.   i also  try to balance the introspective posts & not overwhelm anyone with heavy thoughts. having said that, i will try to keep this one reeled in while still sharing a tad more.

and while i'm throwing around some disclaimers, let me also make it clear, i far from have it together when it comes to raising teenagers. just ask SMK. she'll give you an amen after she regains her composure.  nonetheless, i'll share a few of my simple thoughts.  maybe i'll have it all together by the time CEK turns the corner from the tween stage ( she just proudly informed me yesterday that she is indeed a tween. please.) into the highschool stage. give me strength.

it all comes down to balance
 knowing when to say when
loads and loads of prayer
and maybe a little luck

when my girls were little, preschool age,  little susie bit little savannah one morning in the toddler room ( i'm going with some anonymity to protect the not so innocent ).  i received a little pink note explaining little susie's mama had been informed of her little angel's behavior. poor little savannah. wrong place wrong time. no need for me to go marching into the director's office demanding screening on future preschool applicants.  sweet ms candace had the situation under control.
when little savannah was in first grade & she and her bestie were fussing at each other, i could call said bestie's mom and we could discuss their sweet little relationship in a civilized manner. help them work through issues etc, say nighty night and alls well that ends well. right?

fast forward to highschool and by fast forward i mean blink your eyes & low and behold you have a teenager or three that daily borrow your favorite shoes and expensive jcrew jewelry. no lie.  this stage has been a doozie for me.  so much more at stake, for them and for my relationship with them, when a crisis rolls around. 

while i would love to get little pink notes from their teachers about daily issues, it aint gonna happen. while i'd love to chat with the mom's of bffs and come to the rescue for a relationship crisis, it aint gonna happen. and nor should it. well, not every time anyway. hear me out~

i pray every day for protection over my girls, wisdom  and discernment as i relate to them. 
when to step in. when to allow them some independence.
when to offer advice. when to realize that they just want to vent.
when to trust them. when to have their back.  when to allow them to take care of things themselves.
when to spare them further embarrassment.
 it's a hard call

and the kicker.... to not appear shocked when they share shockers. and believe me , i hear some shockers. i need to be a safe stable place for them to share. if i'm constantly getting fired up and frustrated, they'll quit sharing. i can almost promise you that one.  communication is crucial at this stage.  their day is often times filled with craziness and turbulence. their emotions are all over the place as are the emotions of those around them.  if i act all shocked or wide eyed when they tell me things, that only solidifies to them that their day was crazy and turbulent. they need stability. they need me to be solid and unchanging.
i also feel like when my girls were younger , they were resilient when issues arose and thankfully forgot many of my mistakes.  now that they're wearing makeup & using $150 flatirons. not so much. the painful things they go through are remembered and sadly stick in their hearts for longer periods. and much to my dismay, they remember my mistakes. darn it.

i'm not teaching my girls to be wimps. i'm also not encouraging them to react , which is usually in anger, to every situation that rolls their way.
i'm not trying to make a joke out of bullying. it is a frightening situation that is alive and well.

however there is also a whole lotta drama going on with girls, especially at this age. me stepping in, calling moms, confronting another teenager, or whatever more often times than not, is only going to make the situation worse.
i am very aware that there are times that as a parent i have a responsibility to step in and have my child's back. but having said that, i would only do that if i wholeheartedly believed the situation was reaching that arbitrary point of necessity. and don't hate me but step in if it was ok with them.
 just this summer i had to choose to give one of my girls what she pleaded with me to give her. another adult had called her a very ugly name. to her face. i would have never done this to one of my girls friends. i was blown away the situation occurred. i did get shocked and i freaked out. she begged & pleaded with me not to call the mom. i've raised a daughter who i trust. who i give the benefit of the doubt and i wanted her to see that i would not trump her. i chose to walk away on that one. i asked the lord to help me forgive that mom who probably isn't aware that i even know the story. tough. hard. choice. but what i hoped my daughter learned in that situation was that i believed in her more than i believed in me and what i wanted to do. period.

back to balance.

i won't always make the right decision or do the right thing. however i have to believe that i am doing the best thing at the time. i seek advice from those in whom i have the utmost respect. and i pray it all works out. sometimes it doesn't. i know that.

i want to respect the red flags that arise in the lives of mychildren's.
i am not a passive parent who is disconnected with this generation and what they are exposed to.
i just pray that while i feel most days on the parenting front are a delicate balance of prayer, humility and a little luck, i pray that i raise up four girls who put their faith in Him who is greater and stronger .  He who sees every little detail in their turbulent day.
 in Him,
who always his their back.


Amy said...

Oh my gosh Paige. You said it. And I see us moms together, globally, walking together in a group along the sand - linking arms with each other...and with our daughters, who in turn link arms with theirs. It is an honor to read your word, and carry too a little of what you hold. A few years behind yes, but exactly there as well. Love you babe, thanks for sharing xxx

Razmataz said...

You are very wise. Great input and thought to all the aspects. the beauty of family is when the chips are down they are all in your corner, and your girls know that.

Loved this post Paige.

slip4 said...

Such beautiful girls! Thanks for sharing. Once again you read my heart on this topic.

Lou said...

Hi Paige, I read every word of your posts and often try to project myself forward to those days when my daughter will be a teen. Hard to do at the moment as she is nine but I know in the blink of eye it will be here. I mean if I think about it seemed only yesterday she was three - so there you go. I completely agree with your wisdom (and seriously you are wise) about how to manage these situations. But that doesn't stop if being really hard at the time. I applaud your presence of mind. Lou x

Alyssa said...

you are such a great mom! Sometimes when I read your blog I just think "how lucky are her girls"?
I am very independent and my mom told me (now that I am a big girl):) that she knew she had to give me my wings or she would lose me...hearing of your daughter wanting to handle it on her own reminded me of that
Anyway, I am a new momma and love to learn from your wise & encouraging words...even though my biggest struggle right now is nap time and climbiing out of the high chair ;)
Thanks for sharing

Privet and Holly said...

You are so right,
my friend, about
ALL of it....And
not reacting when
they share some of
the crazy stuff ~
it truly IS a balance.
I got involved once
with a bff's mom {who
was also one of my
besties} and it's never
been the same. God
taught me a lot that
time around, about when
to speak and when to
not...and to pray about it.
Thank you for sharing
your heart, Paige, so
that others can know we
are all doing the best
we can, every day : )
BIG hugs,
xx Suzanne

Elizabeth said...

this post, my dear, should be put into a parenting book. you are filled with wisdom and discernment. God bless you mom.

Shannon said...

I hope I remember to come and re-read all of your blogs when my daughters are older and I find myself in these situations. You are a wonderful mom just for caring as much as you do! Thank you for being a great inspiration to me and all the other moms out there reading your blog!

Kitty @ Embraceable Life said...

Paige, You are so precious and dear. My heart hurts for all that you & your sweet baby are going through. As Mommas we want to fix it all for our babies. It's hard to face, sometimes, that not everything can or even should be fixed. I am a mother/warrior of two teenagers - a 19 year old son, and a 17 year old daughter. Both are more precious to me than life itself. I have made so many mistakes along the way, and feel so blessed that they have turned out as wonderfully as they have. They both love the Lord, and treasure our family. What could possibly be better than that! Continue to pray over your decisions and it will all work out; it always does. (Even though it can get awfully sticky when you're in the thick of it!)

Susan R said...

Okay....I don't mean to undo what's been done, or to play devil's advocate here, but since you know I'm going through a bit of the same thing here with a child of mine I have to say...and I mean this in the most loving and Christian way..."Heaven help the ADULT that ever verbally attacks one of my children".
You have a lot of faith in your child's ability to know how to handle the situation and I commend you for that, however, it isn't always a betrayal to tell them you understand their feelings and appreciate that they trusted you enough to share the experience with you, but sometimes they have to trust you in knowing the best way to handle a situation. Even if it means going against what they want you to do.
You are a brave and wonderful woman my friend. You are a good mother and there's no denying that.

Tiffany said...

Oh paige - so heart felt and tender! I couldn't agree more! I am not quite at the teenage years - tweens yes, so it is a delicate balance of what to say when and how to say it! All the while keeping the lines of communication open. I truly appreciate you sharing as it reminded me NOT to react when my kids are talking to me about school and/or their friends. Which is callenging for me!

Sharing and praying with and for each other is what we can do! You are an awesome mom!


Kelli said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts...they always well-received. And those pictures...AMAZING. The colors are so vibrant and you all are just beautiful.

Jboo said...

Love this post! Thanks for sharing.


Wacie's Way said...

Amen. I have a 14 year old daugther and I try to walk the fine line of Mom and friend - I want her to know and feel she can talk to me about anything.

Brenda said...

First time commenter. I just wanted to tell you that I really respect your philosophy of parenting, and your girls are blessed to have you. If I ever have kids, I hope to be that kind of mom!

Tammy said...

Paige, your girls are so beautiful! In every picture you've posted they look so happy!
I hate to hear that someone-especially another adult- would ever say a mean thing to a CHILD let alone call them an ugly name! Your daughter is fortunate that she has a Mom like you to help her through tough times like that...not all girls have that...and it sounsds like this other Mom didn't have it either!
I've asked my daughter to start following your blog - I think you have a TON of great advice to offer new mommies ( she's Granddaughetr is 2 ) just wish blogland had existed when I was raising her!!
Take care and have a great week!
Hugs to all those pretty girls!!
Tammy :-)

Suzanne said...

Paige, How bad is this...I read your posts before my own comments and email. I'm really messed up:)

So well said again. I admire your perspective and leaving it in God's hands...something I need to do more of. Letting them figure it out is hard for me, too.

I've said this before but if my husband EVER gets a job offer in your neck of the woods, we're going! You and your family MUST be a blessing to all who know you!

Maria said...

Oh Paige,

My heart hurt reading this because I could feel that "momma pain" we all get when our children are threatened as well as that "girl" pain we've all felt with someone says something terribly mean to us.

What is it with women? We can be just plain mean to each other...

I love that you cover your girls in prayer. That is the best solution, dear one.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing. I am having a very hard time learning how to deal with my just turned 15 year old boy. He is a beautiful Christian boy in a very crazy and wild public school. He is getting influenced from ALL over. Everyday I feel beaten down. I feel like I am losing him to the world....and not necessarily how I want. I need to learn to PRAY more about it. I know that this is what is suppose to be happening as he moves into high school. This is a child getting older. But I don't like all of the influence and I want to protect him.
Enough of that. THANK YOU for an amazing blog (in so many ways) that I look forward to reading. Thank you for making me realize I am not alone in this "thing." Thank you when you simply post about decorations in your house or a new recipe....I love all of it!

Unknown said...

Amen..I have a teenage daughter and I know where you coming from....God blessed them with you...they are lucky to have you as their mother....

LuLu said...

I know i've told you before but let me say it again, reading your words regarding raising girls is such a comfort to me. I feel like a deer in headlights now with a HS daughter, i'm trying not to react just as you wrote so well, and act when need be... i keep looking for a handbook that must have been in my diaper bag for this age and is not there :) You are right it's all about a little balance, luck and lots of prayer and i'll add parents who are there for them.
I'm praying for your daughter that the meanies see the light and change their behavior,

Farmgirl Paints said...

oh girl this was close to home. my conflict as of late was just daughter was having her heart broken by her best friend...which her mom just happens to be my best friend. somehow it became about us and all you know what broke loose. it is so hard having girls and as they get older i know these issues are going to surface over and over again. now i'll know who to call on when the next one comes up. great words of wisdom:)

Between You and Me said...

love this post.
love your heart.
love your girls.
love that you are determined to be their calm.

all that you've given us in this post is so much harder to do when the rubber meets the road and people play unfairly and unjustly..

praying I can hear these words and apply them to my heart...

Julie said...

Oh Paige...I'm not to that point yet...just dealing with the "little" friend dramas of my little ones and trying to teach them how friends should treat them and how they should treat not just their friends, but others in general. I really have to remember I'm not on my own. I've worried if I'm raising wimps, teaching my kids to be others oriented in a world that's not...I'm not sure what I'm trying to say lol...maybe thank God that he's got our backs too and hears our prayers! It's hard to imagine him loving our kids more than we do but he does. :) xo

Jen Kershner said...

Oh Paige! Will we survive it? I know we will but will our hearts be in tact? I can't imagine having to go through this times 4!

3 Peanuts said...

Oh sweet Paige...why can people be so mean? We have dealt with a little bit of the bullying and social dominance tactics that come along with the teenage years and I loathe it. It is exhausting and can be scary. Prayer has helped us a lot too.

Val said...

What a wonderful and touching post!! You are a great momma.

chicago bestie said...

I can't imagine....
you are such a good momma Paige.
I love you to pieces.
not macadamia nut pieces though...
even though i might just put them in the mail today.

chicago bestie said...

I can't imagine....
you are such a good momma Paige.
I love you to pieces.
not macadamia nut pieces though...
even though i might just put them in the mail today.

homebody0404 said...

Dear Paige,

My heart hurts thinking about some of the trials you and your girls are going thru. Whose heart can be at peace knowing that people are being cruel to your child and there's not much you can do? Why do people get so much pleasure from someone's misery? It is downright scary.

May He fill you all with peace and courage.


Anonymous said...

beautiful thoughts....

and you are so dang tan paige with cheerleader legs. dang. jealous.

life's about balance, huh....

nealie said...

paige- you make me a better mama- much more intentional=== this is your ministry to fellow mamas-thank you

Cheryl said...

Dear Paige,
I have read and enjoyed your blog for awhile now. This one touched my heart. I have a daughter and a son, and they are beyond teenagers. Your sage advise is how I attempted to raise up my two.
Did I always succeed? I am sure not. Do I always leave things with God? NO! I have a tendency to give things over to him, and before I know it I have taken them back!! I am still working on that in my life! I am a slow learner!!
Your daughters are blessed. They will always know that you loved them, respected them and did the best you could for them.
Thank you for sharing and have a wonderful weekend.

Suzanne said...

as the mother of a 28 year old that had her share of bullying , I know what it is like to walk in your shoes . It is so hard and you want to protect her , but she is God's child too and you just have pray for deliverance from her enemies , protection over her , and wisdom to know what to do and not to do . God bless her and keep her and He may use this situation in his wonderful and surprising way to strengthen her , refine her , and her mama !

sugar said...

You are doing a beautiful job with your precious girls Paige.


Unknown said... wrote this brilliantly. No reply that I can write will be adequate to be honest.

I am going to print out this post because it is just so good.

You are an amazing mother....and I know that is not why you wrote your post but I just had to tell you that. I only have one daughter and that is a challenge, it takes a really special one to have four. And to do as brilliantly as you do.

Very inspiring. Thank you xx

Alecia said...

Great stuff...thanks for sharing...I'm tucking this all in my back pocket for the day the Lord blesses me with a husband and kids...important stuff! I think you're handling things just the way the Lord would want you to. :-)