Friday, April 24, 2009

Life with Teenagers...

During the last year, I have learned a few things about life with teenagers. I say teenagers in the plural, because Erin is 11, but in the 6th grade. If you haven't been in the 6th grade for awhile, you might not believe what these kids are dealing with at such a young age. My sweet 11 year old has let me know that there are plenty of teenage issues that she has dealt with this year, more even than I wanted to know. She knows kids who have smoked pot, kids who have tried meth, kids who drink, kids who are "going out", kids who have kissed, kids who cuss, she even knows a kid who claims to be homosexual, and one who claims to be "bi". These are things that I don't remember even knowing the least bit about until junior high, or in some cases, even high school, or not at all. Yes, elementary school these days is a whole new world for our sweet children, and they are having to grow up faster, mature faster in order to deal with it all, and process it all.

My 13 year old thought she had seen everything in the 6th grade, but this year has waded her way through the dizzying swamp of teenagers that is junior high school. I could go on and on about what she has seen go on around her, but it would take another huge paragraph. Lets just say that junior high is one scary place to try to find your way. So many kids, dealing with so many different issues, and trying to make their way through life. It's so sad to take a look at some of these kids, the empty look in their eyes, the blank stares on their faces, trying to fit in, trying to find their way. I see so many who you can just tell are lost. Literally, lost.

I have struggled this year to talk to my children, to try to make sure that they know that I care for them, that I want to help them in their struggle to deal with the wickedness that surrounds them, but if you have spent much time talking to a teenager--you will know my struggle. If I just leave them alone, that's where they'll stay, alone. Absorbed into the computer, or their music, or their homework, they don't really have an interest in reaching out to these dear old parents of theirs. I have noticed when they do open up to me, I am usually so quick to judge--or to want to put in my two cents about what I think about the situation. As soon as I do that, they are quick to tune me out, and find something, anything else to listen to or look at. I have found that if I do the opposite of my personality--and be quick to listen, instead of talk, it's amazing the things my children will open up and tell me if I will just be quiet, and listen to what they have to say. What a novel idea, huh?

I have never really been someone who considered myself to be a "friend" to my children. I have always been kind of a "tough love" sort of mom, and I think Todd is that way as well. Even as kids, when they fell down, or hurt themselves, it was like, "get up--be tough, you're fine." We were never the type to run to them and rescue them, we wanted them to be strong, to be independent. I am not the type of mom who will fight the battles for my children--but I do want them to know that I am completely and steadfastly on their side in every battle that they face. More importantly, the Lord is on their side, and with him on their side, they will never be alone. What I have learned as they have grown is that they have become amazing young women. I am not taking credit for this--I think God sent some of his strongest, most amazing spirits into this home for me to raise, and for that I am so grateful. I am in awe of their courage, and their testimonies, and the way they can deal with the situations that have been placed in their path so far. I want them to know that raising teenagers, while a challenge, has been a pleasure because of the good girls that they are. I'm proud of you girls. Stand steadfast, and immovable--and fight the good fight. You're the best!

6 comments:

Erin said...

Tami, you are an amazing mother and your children know it. They know you are on their side and your actions show everyone around what a strong testimony you have. Thank you for sharing and giving us moms of "almost teens" some great wisdom!

Heatherly said...

I look up to you so much! Every time you stand up to bear your testimony and say b/c you want your children to know.... its amazing! I have Erin in primary, and got to know Emie at girls camp. You have done very well! Those girls have a tight hold to that iron rod!Stand proud!

Kathy @ Real Mom, Real Life said...

That has got to be teh best feelin gin the world -- to know that inspite of the "Lions Den" there is always a place to come home to and feel safe!

I love that your girls are telling you these things. I am having the toughest time getting anything more than grunts and nods from my boys...

We live in such a crazy place. More teenages need a safe haven like your girls!

Yvette said...

My mom would keep coming in after school to talk to us even when we didnt want her too. I remember thinking "come on, I just want to listen to my music. But I think that's the thing that made me feel like she cared and loved me. I was able to feel closer to her. So keep on fighting the good fight and listening to them. They're lucky to have a mom like you that wants to know what is going on with them

kbhull said...

Your girls (and boys) are amazing and I am so glad they are helping to set the way for the younger ones. I am terrified for them all so any advise on how to raise them is great!!!

Huston Family said...

Our children are our greatest gifts. My heart breaks as I see the troubling world they have to deal with. Keep listening, you're doing great. You have an advantage, you are a night owl, and for some reason it seems teens only want to talk after 10pm! It's rough for us early birds!

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