I have to admit- I have awesome kids. I know- I know…..”EVERY Mom says that”. Thing is, I really do mean it and it isn’t that my kids kiss my ass or make sure to tell me what I want to hear. They rarely tell me what I want to hear ! but then again…I raised them better.
I went through a shitty divorce about 11 years ago. We were together 2 weeks shy of 21 years. I was 15 and he was 16 when we started going together. I’m not going to go into lurid details but suffice to say- we were great kids together- we were NOT great adults together. We did however have two beautiful, healthy children together: one boy now 18 and one girl now 14. My Son graduated High School last week and for me, it was the cliché of all clichés. My mind raced with “The years went by so fast !” and “ He was JUST in PreSchool !”. Sometimes, I can’t believe that their childhoods are coming to a speedy end and these people will be adults, in charge of themselves with mortgages, car payments and sex lives.
I also sat there truly amazed at how things change. You could not have told me back when the kids were small that I would be sitting at that Graduation, divorced from their Father, newly remarried to someone else and living 100 miles away from our house. Dude…SHIT HAPPENS !
I think the one thing that helped me with parenting is that I realized that the years you have a relationship with them as “children” are very few compared to all the many years you will have a relationship with them as adults. That relationship needs to grow and evolve as they grow and evolve. You shouldn’t treat your 5 year old as though that child is still 2, you shouldn’t treat your 18 year old they way you would treat your 13 year old, etc. I think the mistake people make is that they look at their kids as KIDS- that sweet, little baby and it’s hard to let that image go. The child gets irritated, feels as though they are not respected and as though that parent just won’t accept the fact that they are growing up. Then the arguments ensue and the battle of wills escalates until the relationship is torn and tattered. Now I am NOT saying that a parent stops needing to be a parent or that becoming “buddies” is the way to go…..NOT AT ALL.
I believe that helping your children to think for themselves, to have integrity and to always try to look past circumstances and see the big picture is incredibly valuable. I’ll give you an example:
My Son is one of those low-key, sensitive, Mature-Beyond-His-Years types. He is immune to peer pressure, able to have discernment in most situations and is not self-destructive. One day, his friend called to invite him to a party- a party where it was understood that smoking pot would be on the menu. My Son, of his own volition, is really anti-drug. I picked him up from school and he very calmly told me the situation. I was informed on how he felt and then he proceeded to “handle” it. He gets on the phone and in an incredibly articulate and calm way, lets the friend that extended the invitation know that he would not be attending and was extremely disappointed that this friend would be taking part as well. He was not judgmental and he didn’t get upset- he was simply honest and made himself crystal clear. I sat there in awe and the very best part was…he didn’t need ME to say anything- he had it all covered. I was so proud and impressed at that moment. I know he will make mistakes in life but I also know that he has a good head on his shoulders and God-Willing, he will be OK in this crazy world.
My daughter is fearless, strong and has an incredibly quick mind. She’s very social and has the ability to make friends easily. She is STUBBORN – just like her Mother…WHAT???!. I am proud of her because she always leads and never follows. She too thinks for herself and doesn’t just go along with the herd. I was never as confident as she is at 14. She has typical teenage-girl mood swings and often a bad attitude BUT she can still be sweet and affectionate. I can honestly say she is a Fierce Bitch- LOVE IT !!
I share as much as I can with my kids. I think it’s important to share some life experiences with them. They need to know that they are not alone in feeling certain things and that the person they see as their Mom now has changed and grown through life just as they will. I have always been big on giving them lots of knowledge- knowledge is power. It’s better to learn about things in this world and not make life about being in a little bubble that only includes what is around them. I see how some people are so afraid that their children will be smarter than they are- if you are in fact “smart”, you will encourage them to blow your ass out of the water.
I have 4 great step-kids now too but I’ll do a whole separate piece on them…..blended families are a whole different ball game but I gotta say, I really am blessed. Think about all the way your kids are a blessing today as you go on your way. If you are a parent, you know that it’s everything you thought it would be and everything you never thought it could be all at the same time….now that’s FIERCE !
Please…whatever you do , have a sense of humor ! You gotta laugh with your kids. I have the sense of humor of a 12 year old boy anyway but the best times are the ones we spend laughing.
Have a great week!