Parenting, a mixed blessing, is hard. I love being a mom. I am very proud of my children and I am very blessed with the best. I’m convinced my mother had something to do with that……she knows I have very little patience! I imagined her striking up a conversation with specific instructions with God, Himself, about the two souls that became my babes.
Now that my 12yo is in Middle School, the parenting I dreaded the most has come upon Mark and I. I am very thankful that she is a GOOD girl and a beautiful young lady. She definitely has her head on straight. She loves God and overall, she’s a wonderful spirit. BUT I could do without the “Middle School Attitude.”
You know the one: rolling eyes, heavy sighs, and grunts. “Can’t tell em’ nothing!” I heard my mom say more than once about us, her Middle School aged kids. I remember saying, “I don’t want to teach Middle Schoolers all day and then come home to one.” Thank God, I don’t teach anymore. But, being a former MS teacher I know a thing or two about attitude.
I can remember parents complaining, “I just don’t know my kid anymore.” Reassuring them that it is just a MS phase was just the first step. “Continue communicating,” was the next step. Now, I am living what I advised. I see this beautiful young lady whom was once my baby girl. I used to pull her up in my lap and tell her how beautiful she was, followed by a hug and a kiss. Now, a shoulder shrug is all that I am graced with and I am thankful that she at least acknowledges me.
Last evening we had a talk with Ms. Attitude. She declared last week that she knew her Algebra and didn’t need to study for an exam. Bombing it proved otherwise. Mark and I told her to study but we were dismissed and obviously so was Algebra. The Mike Brady talk went smooth. She knew she messed up and wasn’t even trying to defend her actions. There was no MS Attitude present. Only a young lady that had disappointed those she loves the most.
The message in Proverbs 13:24, “He who spares the rod hates his son; but he who loves him is careful to discipline him,” is a very important one. I believe in the careful discipline. We have not spanked our children but we live by example. If they need discipline, we match it with the behavior. Mark and I discuss in detail, what the behavior was and the punishment we feel should be made especially now that they are older. The time out corner followed by the pointing out of the behavior that landed them there worked. We always discussed in a loving manner what we expect from them. And once again, communication (loving communication) is the key. Trust me, they know the smoke coming out of my ears and the red glow of the angry mommy monster but I have always calmed down before laying down a punishment. I love them too much to leash the beast on them! I want to be reachable when they really need me instead of being afraid of coming to me with a problem that may have the potential of disappointment. And guilt is rarely used. Guilt trips was big coming from my mother but I always ended up feeling like I couldn’t measure up. Now that I think about it….. I put a guilt trip on my girl this morning over applesauce…. did the whole “starving kids” spill. (Mental note: fix that… smooth it over….ask her what she wants in her lunch.)
I have been asked several times over the years, how to raise children. “I am not expert” was my response. I know what works for my kids. I know love works best. Giving and earning their respect is important. They feel our love and do not want to disappoint. And again, I truly believe my mother had something to do with these good kids. I am proud to be their mom!