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Thursday, July 23, 2009

i'm a rookie mom to teenagers

i have never been the parent of teenagers before. this is my first time. sometimes i feel rather good at it and other times, just plain awful. every day is different. i have a home with three of them right now, well olivia is 12 almost 13, rachel is 14 and josiah is almost 16. they are great kids. i love them more than my own life. but, the position of mom that God has placed me in over them makes me long to raise them with a knowledge of Him deep in their heart so that the character of knowing Him will be reflected in their lives. i want them to do what is right because that is who they are. i want them to be respectful because that is the response of a person who is secure but understands authority. i want them to experience the feeling that overwhelms you when you do the right thing just because you want to and nothing else. i want them to treat each other and others and me with value.

it was somewhat easier to get my kids to behave properly when they were young because i felt like i was just training them to obey, using consequences as a guide. none of my children were difficult when they were little. they did not want to get into trouble, just like i didn't when i was little. but, as they have become teens, they have ventured into the stage of almost adults, at least in their eyes. and, mom and dad don't always seem to know as much as they thought anymore. so, i have experienced some attitudes here and there and it is not that easy to handle. i can't just make them think properly or change their attitudes for them. i can punish them for wrong behavior, but that does not really fix the problem and change their heart. only God can do that.

so, my dilemma is knowing when and how to correct them myself and when to let the Holy Spirit do it. i am learning as i go. i guess that is my whole point. i am just a rookie at this. hopefully by the time jacob is a teen, i will have this down a little bit better. all i know is i want peace in my home and i want harmony amongst all who live here. that may sound ridiculous to some people to think that seven people can live in a home and love and respect one another treating each other with kindness and respect consistently. but, i believe if i keep asking God to help me and listen to his voice, i will experience it more and more.

i know i have the mind of Christ and His thoughts and purposes live in me. thank you Lord! You are the only hope for this rookie mom to a home full of teenagers. i can not imagine doing this without You.

34 comments:

E @ Scottsville said...

Yea, parenting teens is hard. I still have TWO in teenage years, and I'll be adding a third in December.

I have lots of gray hairs thanks to Robert (my oldest). Mathew (so far) has been rather easy. I hope it stays that way.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Logical consequences are a good guide for shaping behavior, regardless of the age. It's a give and take situation, this raising of kids. You've got to pick your battles; respect is a huge issue around here. I don't think I'd let that go in any shape or form. My oldest boys are 20 & 18; every now and again, we sit down for some reminders! Even last night, they curled up on my bed at midnight and we talked about girls/dating/ and just what this momma expected.

Open communication is so important, regardless of your emotions along the way. Keep those in check and keep talking. Don't be afraid to speak your faith to your children, even when it seems awkward and not a good fit. If I err, let it be on the side of Jesus Christ and this truth, every single time.

We can't parent them enough ... my opinion.

peace~elaine

RCUBEs said...

I always share Ephesians 6:1 to my child who is also in his teenage years. Talking to them always with love and understanding, no matter what behavior they are showing or attitudes helps a lot. Even if it hurts us as parents, still, we must keep on throwing back love at them. Knowing their friends too I think helps a lot as they are the first ones sometimes to influence our children as they hang around with peers. Talk,love, understanding, forgiveness, all of these our Daddy gives to us even when we stray. He always welcomes us with open arms...You're a good mom. Love you in Christ...

Darcie said...

Yes..rookie here too! Its hard to let them spread their wing sometimes. I try and remind myself to always try to do my best, be faithful in praying for them, and leave the rest in God's hands.

Heart2Heart said...

Christy,

I believe the best lesson I have learned so far is to chose my battles worthy of getting involved in because as much as I want to handle it all for them, some life decisions they must make for themselves.

A great book to read is Cure for the Common Life by Max Lucado! In it he shares why some parents try so hard to make apples out of their children when they are really oranges!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Kristin said...

You will have to give me tips when my 3 girls get to be teens! I can't even imagine what 3 teen girls are going to be like all at once! They are 3 years apart, so I'm thinking about when they're 12,15,and 18 might be a tough year. LOL!

Angela said...

i have experienced some attitudes here and there and it is not that easy to handle. i can't just make them think properly or change their attitudes for them. i can punish them for wrong behavior, but that does not really fix the problem and change their heart. only God can do that.
amen sis..as a mother to a 20 year old, and almost 17...(two boys) my daughter is turning 13 next month...God keeps reminding me,,love believes the best, love believes the best,,and love love love...I have learned not to think the worse case scenario, stop the harping and nagging (which took me a few years with my oldest) and just TRUST TRUST TRUST our Lord doing the 'good work that He started' in them...

He & Me + 3 said...

Not there yet, but being a mom in general brings trials that we so desperately need the Lords help with. I fear the teen years and am approaching the tween years as I type. Scary. pass any insight our way. Much appreciated.

LisaShaw said...

Christy,

Our best handbook is the BIBLE. Our leader is the Holy Spirit. We have a daughter in her 20's and she was the MOST well behaved and sweet little girl and then she had rough teen years that caused her significant consequences and now she is slowly returning back to the teachings of Christ that she was raised in.

Our last daughter at home now is a teen 16 and we have not one problem truly. I think a large part of that is that she "took" to the teachings of Christ early on and fell in love with Him for herself and desires to do what is right.

I love both of them grately and I too was a rookie but with GOD it's doable -- through the highs and lows. Love, respect and understanding of the guidelines with clear communication is very important. Listening attentively and not just doing the talking is also necessary as parents but then setting healthy biblical boundaries is necessary. I was never one to be a "friend" I'm their Mom/Mommy and now Grandma to our adult daughter's two bundles of joy.

I'd lay my life down for any of them without hesitation so I understand the love of a Mommy and a Grandma.

Hold on to the LORD's leadership. Without even knowing you I know that you are a precious Momma! It's clear you love your children and I know that all will be well.

Love you.

Marsha said...

I've weathered 3 teens and they are all still living - I mean I'm still living!

My 2 girls were relatively easy - one had a few follower issues, but she's since turned into a Godly wife and mother and leader in her church. My other daughter received her call to missions at age 14 and that was her focus from there on out.

Our son, we had occasional problems, then he turned prodigal at 19. He's almost 25 and we're seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

The Word of God was always the "coaching manual." If they had a question about a decision we made, we'd consult the manual together.

From the time the umbilical cord is cut, you are letting go and preparing them for being on their own. So in order to circumvent problems in the teen years and beyond, it's important to start from the second they are born. You are always the authority figure until they are out on their own. As long as they understand they are being trained to be godly adults, understand what they believe and why and how to explain it to others, the problems for the most part don't materials in grand fashion.

I'm no expert by any means, but I have weathered the storm and come out on the other side.

God is good all the time. And all the time God is good.

Saleslady371 said...

Christy, I think it is great that you seek wisdom from the Lord. I know you hear from Him. What a gift you are giving your children.

The Real Me! said...

Oh me! I have a daughter that is just shy of being 16 and we are going through so many firsts! We are very blessed though. She is a great young lady with a heart for the Lord. Behind her are two young boys, so I have a while till they become teenagers. We'll see how we do with this one first!
I know the Lord will give you the knowledge and discernment that you need to raise them right on through these teenage years.
Blessings to you and thank you so much for your kind words today on my blog!
HUGS.
Kim

Andrea said...

Having four of my five grown and one still home (16 yr old)...the best advice is stay prostrate before the Lord in prayer and go with your gut in "all" situations. GOD will lead you and HE will give you the mommy instincts to know when something just doesn't seem right.
Blessings and prayers, Andrea

Daveda said...

I hear you sister! I am continually talking with the Lord about this very thing. Show me how to raise them in the same love and grace you raise me in.

I made so many mistake with my oldest, Trying to make him be, act and do what I wanted out of fear. I agree with you 100% that only God can truly change a heart.

Thanks for sharing. Its wonderful to be reminded that we are not alone.

LisaShaw said...

Hi Christy,

Just received your sweet comment. Yes I'm a Grandma. I'm 43 so not too young and not too old (smile). I have an adult daughter in her twenties w/two precious little girls (Layla just turned 2 in June and Rhianna turns 1 August 1). They all live out of state so we don't get to visit as often as we'd like but they are coming here in Sept for a few weeks.

And yes I have a precious 16 yr old. That's my last one at home. I've talked on about my love of being a Wife/Mom/Mommy and Grandma. I am honored to wear those roles. Blessings and challenges it is all worth it. I'm sure you feel the same.

Thanks again for your comment on my blog. Blessings sweetie.

Kee said...

Christy,
You have such a beautiful heart full of love for your kids.
It's great that you recognize that this is a whole new ballgame.

Mine are 5 and 2 so no direct experience in that way but my best friend has raised three teens and I have seen her struggle and the end result was not a good one for the first two, still holding out hope for my godson (13).

But there was something missing in my friend's parenting skills and life that you have. She does not rely on God and never imparted that in her children.

I think you have and continue to teach your kids about God and encourage a relationship between them and God. That is huge.

You are a wonderful mom, who is raising good kids. Teens just go through this stage where they know more than anyone but you have laid a great foundation for them.

Tara said...

Hey Christy! Thanks so much for visiting my blog, commenting and following. Please check out diapers.com and def. use that code if you'd like. I placed the ordered yesterday around lunch and the box was on my porch today!! That's almost faster than standing in the Target checkout line:-)

I am going to read more of your blog. Being a mom to teenagers worries me though my little Andrew is only 17 months.....I have a while. When I was pregnant, I worried that I wouldn't be a good mother. It wasn't so much about when he's younger but dealing with issues when he grows up. Seeking God is best and letting them make their own mistakes will be the hardest for me. I like to fix everything and that isn't what God desires.

Love your playlist, btw. I'll be back to read more. I see we have a lot of the same friends! I'm excited to get to "know" you!

Laura said...

Oh, bless you, Christy! Aren't we all rookies at this parenting thing? Don't we just trade one set of woes for another as they pass through different seasons of life?

Thank God He is in control! He will honor your heart and that desire to write His word on the heart of your children.

It's nice to visit, ChristyRose...

I enjoyed my time here.

wife.mom.nurse said...

Nice meeting you Christy Rose~

This post struck a cord. Soon I will have teens and I am SCARED!

Thanks for this wisdom. Rookie? I don't think so!

Looking forward to learning from your journey...


~Julie

mom-2-4 said...

I was just thinking the other day that nothing could be more difficult than raising young kids! I've been learning to lean on God more, and not rely so much on my own strength. It can be hard to do sometimes, but I'll just keep trusting in the Lord and He'll see me through.
Julianne :)

Pilar said...

One day I will be in the same spot that you are because my girls are also very close together 7,5,3. So... I am reading :)

Tammy On the Go said...

so my E is 3 now, that gives you 10 years to figure it all out and then I will be calling for advice!

Shanda said...

Oh Amen girl! My kids are not in the teen years yet; but our hearts are in agreement with what we hope for our children and I pray that God will be using me to shape them now and that He would be changing their hearts even now. Parenting has taught me more than just about anything in life. And I praise God that we have others to walk the path with as we seek His face for wisdom.

Love and Logic is an awesome program - it helps to show us how to use and maximize natural consequences. For those with stronger wills; it is amazing.

Blessings upon you & your children!

Crown of Beauty said...

parenting is "great" at any season because you experience your children first hand. You are right there where the action is. And of course, the obstacles and the hurdles and the hoops all get to be more challenging in the teen years! But also very enjoyable. THe teen years is when your children need a model the most, they are secretly looking up to you to succeed in parenting them, though it may not seem that way all the time.

Praying for you as you enter these years.

After the teen years, you enter the season of becoming your child's friend... look forward to it!

Karen said...

I had three teenage sons and was a rookie until the day they all crossed over into their twenties...now I am an adult child rookie and learning something new every day...you wrote some very wise words in your post...your last line is the key to it all...you will do just fine!

twofinches said...

I have three adult children and still have 11 year old twins at home. I keep hoping when these two hit 13 I will know what to do. The problem is that each kid needs his own individual roadmap for a mom to follow. Pray lots :)

Runner Mom said...

Hey, Christy! This was a great post! We are all rookies at this! I have to agree with Elaine when she said to choose your battles! You know, God chooses our battles too! Let them know your expectations and stay with them--I know from your blog that they are Christian based expectations. And, always let them know that you're not perfect either by being willing to say, "I'm sorry, please forgive me." They learn what they see.

You'll make it!! I promise!
Hugs!
Susan

Linda said...

We managed to survive those teen years too. You've been given some wonderful advice. And I think depending on the Lord for guidance is just exactly the right thing to do. I always found Focus on the Family to be an excellent source of help if I ever had a difficult question. They're wonderful!

godsown said...

Well Christy this subject strucked a core in me b/c ..I'm entering those teen years with my eldest......I'm totally a rookie also ...So i read the experiences from others with much interest......
For my peace and guidance i keep my focus on The lord in prayer and quiet time ! But trusting in the HS to lead me is so imprtant to work on!


I enjoyed my timeat your blog and thank you for commenting on my,
Have a Great weekend
Bernice

Loren said...

Christy,

I so can relate to this post. I have 2 teens at home (almost) but remember you are the Gods chosen for these children! God has given you EVERYTHING for them~ to lead, to guide them, love, nurture and you have one of the best teaching gifts I have seen so I can only imagine how much more you do for your children :)
One of the best things I have learned is that when my kids make a wrong choice or are in the decision making process ask questions, offer different scenarios and allow them to think these things through for themselves and as they do, you are praying, asking the Lord how to respond with the Power of the Holy Spirit leading all of these conversations.
Communicate communicate communicate!
know their friends and yes PRAY PRAY PRAY
The Lord is our best answer, His Word our best answer and the Holy Spirit our best GUIDE.

love you my friend~ you are doing a great job and
you are covered by your husband and the Lord is leading you day by day ~ rookie or not!

momstheword said...

As the mom of a 16 and 20 year old, I have to say that I am so thankful we have the Lord to guide us.

We have never really had any huge problems, thank the Lord. A little eye rolling, an occasional attitude, some disagreement. But like you said, we can't change their hearts.

All we can do is let them know that we love them, but that we will continue to hold them accountable for their actions, for their behavior, just as we did when they were little.

Being a teen does not mean they should be given free reign and allowed to blame their behavior on "hormones."

Our 20 year old is still living at home and though he has alot of freedom, we do insist that we know where he is or what he's doing. Just as I let my husband know what I am up to or when I'll be home, it's a courtesy.

It's just a daily walk with the Lord, and when a decision to be made comes up, we can trust His guidance!

Adeye said...

Oh my gosh--my day will come--before I know it, I'm sure. I cannot imagine parenting teens, I'm going to have to read a hole lot of books. Eeek!

Thank you for your sweet encouragement--please keep praying. I appreciate it so much.

christy rose said...

Wow, I just wanted to comment myself and let all of you know that your words of encouragement and advice has really meant a lot. I appreciate it so much.

Rosel, Yes our Daddy loves us so and ultimately I believe with all of my heart that love never fails. We must continue to let them know how much we love them and that everything that we do or don't do for them is because of that.

Kat, thanks for the book suggestions. I agree that we have to pick our battles too. Some things are just not important. We can not control them and make them become what we want them to be. We have to trust God to lead them like He leads us. He has written His Laws upon their heart and they will do them. Amen

Angie,
Believing the best of them! Wow! That will go a long way! I know that harping and nagging just gets tuned out. I remember doing it myself when I was a kid. Thanks for taking the time to comment and bless me today.

Marsha, Consulting the handbook is a great idea to do together over certain things. I am so glad that your kids are now beginning to rise up and call you blessed. God is good! AMen

Kee, Thank you so much! You are so sweet! Yes! A reloatinship with God is their only answer as with us as well.

Cynthia, You are right each one does need his or her own individual road map. Thank God He has one for each. I need to continue to remember that.

Loren,
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate! Pray! PraY! Pray! Thanks! I loved your comment. Your thoughtfulness, concern, and heart always make me smile.

Bernice,
Thanks for stopping by and comenting. Trusting in the Holy spirit to lead me is really my only consistent hope. Thanks for the reminder

Nan, I agree with the not letting the kids think that can be not nice just because they are in a bad mood or something. Moods are choices. They can be changed by choosing to think properly(hormones or not) Trusting in His guidance is my answer!

Thank you so much to everyone who thought it worth your time to encourage me in the venture of my life. You are all great friends!
Love,
Christy

chili pepper said...

Funny. I read this the other day when you posted it and left a long comment. I came back to tell you that another blogger was talking about something similar and you might want to check it out... Only I don't see my comment at all!

Anyway, Carol at Joy in the Journey was talking on Thursday about her son being a teenager and some of the challenges she is facing as a "rookie parent of a teenager". Thought you may want to check it out.

The best advice I can give you, with my first teen turning 18 shortly, is that I think we, as a culture, make it harder than it needs to be. In the Bible you will never find the term teenager. They were children or adults. We have made this in between "teenage" thing that makes it acceptable to be irresponsible and flounder about for a bit. Either, we have raised them right and taught them what they need to know or we have failed in our job as parents to equip them properly.

Further more, I think our society has made it such a prevalent thing that not only do we make it "acceptable" in the name of the teen years to act out, but we expect it. In doing so we set our kids up for failure before they even begin.

We have had some challenges, and I mean very minor, with our oldest merely because we were all feeling things out. But for the most part I have the teen years to be delightful. We have enjoyed becoming friends. The greatest trial of all is for me to not cry daily at the little reminders that she doesn't need me for everything anymore. Not that she doesn't come for advice, and sometimes if we think she needs it we offer it, but I am confident that she can seek the Lord and that we have taught her to rely on Him in such a way that if she had to today, she could take care of herself...as could our 13 year old.

I don't mean to sound hard. I know not everything is that easy, but this is the time of their living on their own by faith under the protection of us...not to be a time of rebellion, disrespect and "floundering" as is the norm, sadly even among Christian parents.