It’s painful to discuss as a mom, but occasionally your children will blow it. As a mom to a 21, 13, 11, 6 and 1 -year- old at the time of this writing, I can tell you from experience that your children will often do things that they know they should not do- often with long, painful consequences.
And here is part two of this revelation, as a mommy, I mess up an awful lot, too.
And each one is so completely different. What we experienced with Christina in her teen years will be completely different from what we experience with the rest of the children as they go through these years.
So, entering the teen years once again gives me the opportunity to reflect on some of the most important lessons I have learned over the years, so here we go:
1. Children, just like adults will make errors, will sin, and will make choices that will have painful consequences. How I react as a mother speaks volumes to them about how the heavenly Father treats his wayward children, of which I am sometimes one.
2. Don’t parent in anger or confusion. If something is upsetting me, I am not thinking clearly. It is better with an older child to delay making a decision about a problem and let them know you are considering the issue than to make a poor decision in haste. Last week we had a huge problem and I remembered this. I spent about an hour in prayer and contemplation on the issue. The Lord revealed two very clear scriptures dealing with the issues at hand that revealed to me exactly what i needed to do. If I had made a decision in haste, I would have blown it.
3. If you are noticing a problem, and keep having a feeling deep inside that something is not right- you are probably right. Do not wait until things blow up to stop and figure out the issue. Stop and pray and discuss it right away.
4. Be open with your spouse. My husband is my best friend and is responsible before the Lord for our family. I should be seeking his advice and ideas when dealing with parenting issues. Just because he is at work or otherwise occupied when things come to light does not mean he should be left out of the equation.
5. Do not parent out of fear or out of false assumptions. I know what kind of things I got into in my teen years- and sometimes I judge the hearts of my children based upon the way I did things in my youth. This is not fair to them and is a tool of the enemy to constantly throw the past into your face. However, the Lord does use events from the past to make us aware of the possible temptations our children will face. Do not ignore the past, either.
6. Remember that it is not personal. This one can be kind of tough. I know it seems very personal when your children violate your rules or your trust. Try to remove yourself from the emotional equation and work on the issues at hand. It’s hard, and near impossible at times, but it is a worthwhile thing to keep it in the proper perspective.
7. Use less words.
8. Praise, love, and hope the best for your child at all times.
9. Teach forgiveness, repentance and restoration. Do not hold your child at arms length emotionally because they made a mistake. Show them how to seek forgiveness, how to repent of evil and how they can restore the relationships they have damaged through sinful actions. Remember that the relationship is more important in the long run that “breaking” a child’s will. This does not mean that I do not want to help my child out of a sinful behavior, but I do not want to make threats or ultimatums that will disable my ability to speak into their hearts in the future. Do not forget to seek forgiveness when you make mistakes or sin against them as well.
10. Pray a lot. Pray constantly.