Rambling Thoughts on Teenagers

Our oldest daughter is about to turn 12 years old.  She is such a blessing to our family and everyday I thank the Lord that He choose me to be her mommy.

Turning 12 means she’s not far from those ‘dreaded’ teenage years.  I say dreaded because from the world all we really hear about teenagers is all the negative stuff.  The attitude problems, the feeling of superiority, the laziness, the grumpiness, the selfishness.  I could go on and on.  If you are a parent, you’ve heard the familiar questions and/or statements….

“Oh, just wait until she’s a teenager, then you won’t be all smiles.”
“She’s cute and being a parent if fun now but in 10 years it won’t be as fun.”

Since we have 5 children we have heard people calculate how many teenagers we will have at home at any given moment and then they snicker at ‘what fun’ that will be.  Or we get asked “what are you going to do when she wants her own room?”

I wonder if parents contribute or unknowingly encourage selfishness from teenagers?  It seems we’ve accepted that the teenage years are tough so we must excuse their behavior and give in to them since they are having such a hard time dealing with their every changing emotions.  It’s like they stop being a parent until their children are past the teenage years and they hope for the best.

How about we keep the communication lines open.  We acknowledge the changes they are experiencing, we embrace the changes and our children.  As parents, we’ve been through these changes and we know and understand what they are feeling.  I want to help my children navigate these changes and look at them as an exciting time in their lives that the Lord is using to transform them into adults.

We have been blessed to see teenagers that are part of families who have effectively gone through (or are still in the midst) the teenage years.  They have raised these young adults to process the changes to their bodies and emotions with the Lord’s will in mind.  They do not spend hours alone in their room playing video games or watching terrible TV.  They spend a lot of time together with their family and they enjoy it!  Gasp!  A teenager enjoying spending time with their family?? Yes, it is possible.  They’ve been taught God’s design for family and how we were made for relationship.  They were taught to build up their siblings and to invest in each others lives.   No, they are not perfect but their parents don’t expect them to be.  As an adult I still struggle with attitude problems but I look to scripture to adjust my attitude and emotions.

We know many that have never had their own room… and they have survived!  Why the push for their own room?  From someone who had their own room growing up (for most of the time) I say it is highly overrated.  Anyway, for our almost 12 year old she knows that it’s ok to want to spend time alone and when she wants that time we’ve taught her sisters and brother to respect her desire for alone time.  It might be slightly more challenging to find some ‘space’ when you share a room but it isn’t impossible; we just get creative.

As a parent, I don’t want to succumb to the teenager years; I want to embrace them!  We are around families that have enjoyed the teenage years.  Yes, there were struggles but it doesn’t have to be as bad as the world expects.

Phil and I pray daily for our children.  Not that they will be perfect little robots but that the Lord will graciously shape them into the beautiful adults He longs for them to be.  We pray that He gives us wisdom and grace on navigating these exciting years.  What a blessing it is to be a parent.

Gaylene

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