I can’t even believe it but me and Shane have hit a moment in raising our kids- the teenage years. Claire turns 15 today (LORD HELP ME), Owen is 12, and Bree is 9. We are no longer near the toddler years. Everyone is self sufficient and we have different things to worry about now, different than potty training and bed times. So what is it like? What are we doing? How are we not losing our ever loving minds?
I am in NO way a parenting expert. We had Claire at 22 and 23, young and dumb. I have always felt like we grew up with her, bless her heart. We are still learning and make mistakes, but there are a few things I always share when people ask me what to do with these crazy teen years…here they are…right, wrong, or indifferent- so far they are working for us. That could change tomorrow 🙈, but for now I am rolling with it…
- Pray Pray PRAY. I don’t care if you have never prayed for them before or if you already have been- do it and do it more. These kids go into a battlefield everyday when they leave your home. I don’t care where they are going- they are. Pray for them to be protected, to make good decisions, and to spend their time with good kids. It’s the best defense we have- do NOT underestimate it. Promise me you will start NOW!
- You are not their friend. But you need to be there for them. This is how I handle Claire: she knows that she needs to tell me everything. I am not naive enough to think that she does, but she also knows that if I EVER find out anything she has not told me, all bets are off. With her, she does not want Shane all up in her business, and honestly he does not want to know it all 😉. I tell her that if she keeps coming to me and we are on the same page, I don’t have to involve him (I do when I feel like he needs to know either way). BUT if ever she gives me a reason to not trust her or I find out she is lying, I can’t keep going with the same plan and he will be allllllll up in it. He knows this deal we have made too and he is grateful for it. He will do the same with Owen. We are both close to all three kids, but we want to keep things open and a safe place for the kids to talk. We both also know that just because it works now, does not mean it always will. Remember – we are running by the seat of our pants here.
- We have had sex talks. Very open ones at that. We don’t shy away from it or make it a bad thing- but are VERY clear on our expectations and WHY. I am not going to go into deets here because my kids will kill me- but feel free to reach out with questions.
- Nothing is secret. Their phones? Mine. Their rooms? Mine. Their Netflix? Mine. Their social media? Mine. Their plans? Mine. At any time they will be requested to hand over their phones, passwords etc. If they ever give us reason to believe they are deleting or hiding something, they lose the privilege. Period. We can search their rooms any time and with no notice. So far, so good.
- If they do make a mistake, they know they can come to us and we will hear them out and not over react. If we have to find out and they don’t tell us first, things will be handled differently.
- We choose our battles with each kid. Some things I will be easier on Claire than Owen, and vice versa. If they fight it, they know that they don’t really want the opposite of that. Right now that works, we will see how it goes in the future.
- They know that everything they do is watched not only by us (and Jesus 😉) but their baby sister too. When they talk awful or are ugly to others, they are reminded of how they would feel if B acted the same way. It works.
- We stick together. We take care of each other. They are not allowed to be disrespectful to each other and they always should stand up for our family. I have laid some major guilt in that part- they do love each other. I am also not ridiculous and think they will always get along – especially at home. BUT I have NO tolerance for them acting ugly to each other in front of others.
- No ma’am, yes ma’am, no sir, yes sir are required. When we are out they should always be seen as the most well behaved children in the room. Not always the case but they know my expectations. I tell them all the time that it is one thing to not worry what other think, but another thing to develop a reputation.
I am so not perfect. I yell. I cuss. And yes my kids see it and hear it. And sometimes it’s because of them. But we are close and have a lot of fun together. We try our hardest to not raise spoiled brats. We try our hardest to raise respectful soldiers of Christ. They will screw up. We will too, but we all have grace for each other. My kids are everything to me, but second to their daddy. They know that we come first and I hope that we can show them a healthy relationship. I can always tell when Shane and I are not great, it’s usually because the kids have taken over and we need to get our priorities straight. We are young and these kids are growing up fast- it’s just going to be us in less than 10 years. They need to know how to go out and be good people. We need to know how to be just the two of us. That’s our focus right now and so far so good. Ask me again next week 😉. I love these four so much it hurts. ♥️♥️
Good luck y’all! It’s a battlefield and we all have one hand tied behind our back 🙈.