Parenting Pre-Teens and Teens

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Parenting Pre-Teens and Teens

Sorry this is so late girls, I just got home last night from a visit with my mom. And this morning I had ‘tea’ with my daughter before she left for work so we could catch up. But here I am and ready for our tea time. :o) Tuesday Tea, for those of you who are new to this, is our chance as ‘bloggy-friends’ to talk about things close to our hearts. I would love to invite you to join our weekly ‘tea party’ and talk about the things that are on your heart too.

All you have to do to participate is grab a nice hot cup of tea..cocoa..or whatever you love, and join in the discussion via comments. If you would like to join the linky party, just link to any post, either one you did especially for Comin’ Home or a past post. I’m not particular but if you have a photo of your favorite tea, tea set, coffee cup etc., we would all love to see it. :o)

So, now that we have introductions out of the way, let’s get our tea cups out, and maybe a scone or two (like these), Mmmm! I’m having peach black tea from STASH this morning, compliments of my sister-in-law, Kristi Rodgers. Rebekah got MOST of them..but I found this last bag tucked away. Shhh! Don’t tell her…:o)  I usually like just a good strong tea flavor like Earl Grey, but I was in the mood for a little fruit flavor today and love that peach.

 Antique tea cup and saucer

Before we get to this morning’s chat, I wanted to show you a VERY special tea cup and saucer. I gave this tea cup to my mother for Christmas this year but never got a chance to take a photo of it. It was so unusual..and feather light…and I loved the ruffled shape of it. I picked it up at my favorite antique store, C N S Treasure Chest on Hwy. 105  in Conroe, Tx.  I plan to do a post all about this great antique shop soon! (The link is for you, Millicent. :o)

And four friends joined last weeks linky party! I loved their posts! Faith, Hope and Cherry Tea shared her Tea Cup exchange which sounds like so much fun!   Ela @ Life in My PJ’s talked about the difficulties of choosing a pre-school for her little one and made a few sweet comments about having tea with me too--thanks Ela! Rayanne of A Lovely Thought just blew me away with her magical ‘bedtime’ story, and Jessaca of My Humble Ramblings About God shared the sweetest story about how God answered her family’s prayers for a dog. I loved it!

Christian plays compter games

Now that our tea has steeped, let’s chat about parenting, in particular..parenting pre-teens. The reason I decided to talk about this today is simply that the topic keeps coming up in conversations with church friends and with bloggy friends. One day, your sweet 11 year old is fine..and then all of a sudden it seems..they can become moody..angry…throw a tantrum…or completely refuse to communicate at all depending on their natural temperament.  There are a lot of physical issues going on for sure that are related to puberty and it can start as early as 10 or possibly sooner. I’m no expert on that topic for sure. But there is one KEY issue that I believe happens to ALL children regardless of personality, age, or physical issues.
That is the issue of suddenly discovering that teens are people…separate from their parents with their own ideas, values, perspective, beliefsand rights. And with this revelation, comes a corresponding one--YOU as Mom and Dad…are NOT perfect! Oh no!
This can be tremendously difficult to accept or adjust to for many children. And it can be very difficult for parents to adjust to also, especially if they don’t realize that this transition is taking place.
I wish I had heard about this before my first child went through it. It would have helped me so much to UNDERSTAND what was happening in my son’s mind. But I didn’t. The Lord had to kind of point it out…like ‘bang me over the head with a broom’ sort of pointing out before I decided to lay down my ‘rights’ as a parent…and start being the ‘grown up’ in what was becoming a very difficult and continual battle. What I learned that year is summed up in a song I wrote, called Let Your Children Dream. Click here to read the words and hear the song.

Recently a very brave bloggy friend was talking about puberty and it’s effect on her son who has Prader-Willi syndrome. Wow—it’s hard enough to parent children with NO disabilities…but to parent one with physical or mental challenges... Well, I think God only allows moms who are at least 50% angel or more, to care for his children with special needs.  Over Yonder gets my Mother-of-the-Year award for her bravery and courage just in getting through the day…and then sharing all of those trials and struggles..and triumphs with her readers. Please do visit her if you need encouragement in this area. She has a lot of readers dealing with similar challenges. She also writes very insightful posts on homeschooling. Any mom would appreciate her stories as we all go through the same things to a lesser degree with our own kids.

She was talking about puberty and it’s effects on ‘A’ man as she calls him in her posts. It had been a really really rough day and my heart just ached for her. The note I left for her really speaks to the issue of parent child relationships during puberty, so I’ve just copied it here.

Dear Over Yonder…
I will tell you that it is normal for all children who enter puberty to have issues. I don't know if this will help, but there is something that happens that has nothing to do with the physical..but it just happens at the same time. I have planned to blog about this on a Tuesday Tea in January because
So many friends with younger children are wondering
what in the world got in to their 'sweet' children!?

Do you know, as I did not when my first son turned eleven, that up until about this time, our children see us as 'perfect'?  We aren't, but they don't know that. After puberty, they begin to see us as human..with faults. They become  more easily offended. They begin to question who God is and if he is there. Does he love us?  Add to that that it is much harder for them  to control their emotions and of course, there will be outbursts on occassion.

The hardest thing is to not go into 'Mommy Mode' as I call it. Lecturing them for their mistakes. Getting offended at their reactions. We have to become more of a mentor than a mother at this stage.

We have to let them get it out of their system etc. showing love, understanding, and support. Then, when they are calm, we try to help them understand their responsibility in the outburst or conflict. We have to let them fail and make mistakes they won't have to make them later without our support and advice. They desperately need our unconditional love and acceptance and a certain degree of faith in their ability to 'hear from God' all by themselves. Just because we can't SEE what is going on in their hearts..does not mean that nothing good is happening. Part of the struggle is that they NOW know they are sinning..making errors..and are responsible for those mistakes in a way they didn't understand before. This is stressful!

All of this is how to deal with 'normal' children when they hit teens and this is how 'normal' children act as they begin to go through this. By the time they hit age 14 to 15 they begin to feel good about the world again..and have 'found' their way so to speak..if we haven't given them the feeling that we are rejecting them. How you are going to get through this with the additional burden of your son's health and mental issues, I honestly don't know. But I hope that it will help you to be able to sort out which part is which if you know what normal pre-teen struggles are.

I think you are doing an amazing job as a mother. You are very BRAVE and GOOD! You must be a very special mother if the Lord has entrusted dear A man to your care. I pray He will help you sift through the confusion and give you all of us mothers have to do..and not lose sight of all that you have accomplished and not lose sight of the fact that God truly does care and ….weeps with you..

You should get the 'World's best mommy award' in my opinion. BTW, blog about your struggles all you like! It helps to get it out..and we can all root for you and pray for you. If you are weeping, we want to weep with you. When a joyful day comes, we want to rejoice with you. That's the best kind of blogging!  Love, Donna
  Jacob & Mom regionals

I don’t know what parenting challenges you, my dear readers, may be struggling with, but just know that  I’ve failed a MILLION times to be patient enough, kind enough, loving, understanding etc.

 I’ve lost my temper and gotten on my ‘Mommy-soapbox’
more than I can bear to think about.

Perhaps, when I’m all done raising my last and fifth teenager, I’ll feel more confident about all of this, but I doubt it. Still..maybe because I’ve failed…and also at times learned how to be a good mom..I can share a little bit about it. I must say that by the time the fifth child started showing the ‘symptoms’ of attitude..and hurt feelings..and resistance, I was quicker to take a humble posture and to LISTEN more which is the hardest thing for me to do sometimes. I hope by sharing our struggles, you will find yours a little less challenging. After all, forewarned is forearmed! :o)

Here are some scriptures that have helped me most…
When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. Proverbs 31:26
I Corinthians 13 (paraphrase it—read it out loud…change the word LOVE to Mommy and you may find yourself in tears of repentance as I did if you are struggling with your own bad attitudes.)

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  James 1:19

 Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. Romans 12:17
Dear friends, do have a blessed day! And if you are struggling, feel free to send me a note. My email address is on the sidebar. That’s what Tuesday Tea is we can chat..heart to heart…and encourage each other. I’d be thrilled and blessed if you would join our tea party today. And if you have a suggestion for next week's chat or a question..let me know! I'm open to any topic that might be on your mind. :o)

Linking to Raising Homemakers Link Up Day



Myra said...

Thanks, Donna. My oldest is 9, I also have a 7 yo with cerebral palsy, I am starting to experience "preteen" issues with him as he wants Daddy for some things over me. There's also a 6 yo and almost 3 yo. Thanks for complimenting those of us with disabled children - they are different yet no different (make sense?). My challenge is the physical - he is getting bigger and I have a harder time lifting him. He is smart as a whip, so that helps. God gave him a great outlook, he knows he is different but is determined to intellectually do all he can and excels. Your article helps me with teaching religious ed at our church - we teach the 11th and 12th graders Theology of the Body based on Pope John Paul II's writings - very good for chastity, modesty, etc., for teens even if you are not Catholic. You have given me more insight into talking to them to reach them.

Donna said...

Myra, I do admire you all. It's a hard road and I'm in awe of how well so many of you rise to the challenge. I had a good friend whose son had only half a brain. He was bedridden even at 18 years old. He was only barely able to communicate. I know it was harder as got older, but they loved him very much and vice versa.

My daughter used to spend the day (at age 11-13) with a girl who was paralized from the neck down. She could only move her eyes, lips and mouth but couldn't eat. Rebekah and her got to be such good friends. Somehow they connected and communicated in a way that was just beautiful to behold. Nothing can hold back the human spirit..of that I'm convinced!

Caroline said...

mmmm, thankyou. I'm filing this away as it is coming quicker than I think!

And a gorgeous tea cup by the way!

Rae said...

Bless your heart! Lovely post, I enjoy seeing the pretty tea cups.
Thanks for having this tea time Donna, you are so sweet!

Hills N Valleys said...

We just got home from a mini overnight trip and what a sweet thing to come home to!! Thank you so much for being so sweet. Your words of wisdom have made me look at situations with my son a lot differently. I think I will post the scripture verses in my bathroom as a reminder.

Oh and I'm here drinking my lavendar earl grey!

Donna said...

You write such insightful posts on parenting Over Yonder. Any of us mom's could learn from you. And the funny stories are classic...and all too familiar to the rest of us.

Thanks for dropping by. That tea flavor sounds great! I'll have to try it. :o)

Ky said...

Donna, I audibly drew breathe when I saw the teacup and saucer you were having your tea in. It's divine! I do love the one your bought your Mum too, but yours, with the blue saucer is very special. Gorgeous!

Hope you are having a great week. Mine has been very, very busy with moving house and cleaning the old house to within an inch of it's life. I'm a little exhausted to say the least.
I'm glad to have the internet again so I can catch up with you and others.

Love Ky xx

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

your blue teacup is FaB!!
took me back a second to figure out if you meant the cup you bought your mom was the blue one or was the same as the FHC post for last wk :)

Donna said...

Hi ladies, I was writing in a wee bit of a hurry. There is only ONE tea cup and I almost couldn't bear to part with it and give it to my mom. It SHOULD have been was really calling to me..but I knew Mom would love it and it matches her bathroom perfectly. I guess I love Mom more than me. Ha! Sorry for the confusion.

Maria Killam said...

Well, I think God only allows moms who are at least 50% angel or more, to care for his children with special needs.

What a lovely thing to say, Donna, you are an inspiration!

Fishtail Cottage said...

Good Morning! Hoping to see you back today for
Cottage Flora Thursday's! xoxo

Floss said...

Very helpful - my sons are 12 and 13! The eldest is struggling with dyspraxia and is therefore a bright underachiver at school, so with family bereavements and puberty too, you can imagine that he's having a really hard time of it just now! I'm trying to go on lots of long walks with him, just to give him some time to feel special. Your wise words are really what I need.

“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster

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