12 years of raising babies into kids.
Now, we have 12 years ahead of us of raising kids to teens to adults.
This next stage makes me have heart palpitations & night sweats. Not the fun flutters of excitement but the anxious excitement as you approach the first hill of a roller coaster and then the adrenaline rush that follows & sends you immediately to the nearest bathroom once the ride is over. What? That only happens to me at the end of a roller coaster ride? The need for extra calming factors as we enter this next stage of parenting is essential.
The first 12 years has been about keeping our kids alive. Seriously. It has been our responsibility to feed, bathe, clothe & shelter them. Survival & life training.
The next 12 years they will put into action what we have taught them along the way. We will still provide them with food, clothing & shelter but they are taking the survival skills & life training we have taught them to the next level.
It is still our job to protect but it also our job to let them fail.
This past weekend our family went through one of the first tests of survival of this next stage because of a bad decision by one member of our family. We ALL learned the lesson of “your decisions don’t just affect you, but many people.” We survived, but not without consequences.
We know the next 12 years will be a challenge.
Our survival skills & life training will depend on us:
- staying calm & focused – honestly, when things get tough, I retreat & become silent. I think that’s ok at first, because it helps me to not do or say something that I would regret later.
- communicating – just because my husband & I have 20+ years of hanging out teenagers under our belt doesn’t mean we know everything. We need to be in constant communication with each other. This goes hand in hand with staying calm & focused. Communicate calmly with each other & our children.
- remembering priorities - there will be sports & friends & school activities & sleepovers & jobs…Remembering that God comes first, then family, then friends, then the rest.
- saying sorry when we mess up as parents – as parents we must not be afraid to apologize for our mistakes. We are two imperfect people working as a team to parent 4 imperfect children, there will be mess ups.
- noticing the good – “Your decisions don’t just affect you, but many people”. As I mentioned earlier, last weekend there was a bad decision that was made and our whole family suffered. On the flip side of that, we want to emphasize that when a good decision is made, good things happen. We must notice the good & reward accordingly.
- praying, praying, praying
- being consistent – consistently communicating, prioritizing, saying sorry, staying calm, noticing the good & praying…
We’re not claiming to be experts. Clearly this is new territory for us. Scary and exciting at the same time.
At the end of these 12 years, all of our children will be adults and I’ll be, um, 53.
That’s a whole new level of roller coaster, right?
Or maybe that’s when I try sky diving??