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“oh…you’re just lucky.”

January 20, 2009

one of my biggest fears is that one, or both, of my kids will turn into one of “those teenagers”. ya know…the ones who tell their parents they hate them. the ones who sass back at all the time and rebel.

i have lots of friends who have always told me…”i know they’re good now, but wait til they become teenagers!”

really? does it have to be that way? i didnt turn into a raunchy kid. neither did brent. and we went through the teenager stage. but i also knew if i even tried pulling an attitude on my mom shed rip me to shreds. and i turned out just fine.

just this week i had a friend at church compare my kids to hers, then go on to tell me, “youre just lucky.”

seriously? lucky? thats almost insulting. ive had to play hard ball more times than i can count. ive cried myself to sleep more times than i care to remember over decisions ive had to make for our kids. luck? no. heart wrenching, hard work. that aint luck.

we are not perfect parents. we make mistakes daily. we’ve had to apologize to our kiddos on several occasions for our stupidity. and they arent perfect either. but one thing we insist on in this house is to be respectful. i think that is what our generation has lost. kids today dont respect adults. yet, they feel an entitlement to all the respect in the world. and so…the parents cave, often times because they want to be their kids best friend, afraid they might offend them if they lay down the law. the way i see it… better a couple tense hours, or days, of discipline than a couple chaotic years of regret.

so…i dont wanta presume my kids will never go through a stage, or try to at least, but i will make sure they are reminded daily that they know right from wrong. remind them daily that they are perfectly capable of making right decisions, by responding appropriately, respecting people. and i will, i do, remind them that i am aware they can do this. there is no excuse. and there will be consequences.

head in the clouds? dunno. insistent on being a proactive parent that raises respectful young adults? you betcha!

i know this may get responses from parents who have done all they could and yet their kiddos still went awry. i cant answer to that. i can only answer to our home.

and if you have any tips and warnings – please do share! ive said it before…it takes a village to raise a child.

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28 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2009 12:23 am

    I’ll comment when i have kids of my own. 😯

    from whur i’m sittin though – it looks like y’done plenty good to me. – and learned through ‘hard school’ growin up yerself.

    keep on doin what you have been πŸ˜‰

    His plan for you and yours seems to be bearing fruit so far.

    <B

  2. January 20, 2009 4:26 am

    Its not luck, it is a blessing! It does take hard work. Try to be involved in their lives as much as possible.

    Mama ands I have been in your home – you have a wonderful family. God bless!

  3. January 20, 2009 4:32 am

    Communication, respect, love, honesty, encouragement…. Seen it first hand.
    Heck, ya’ll know what yer doin’…

    I’d think I’d have put my foot down on the skinny jeans tho πŸ˜†

  4. Heidi permalink
    January 20, 2009 5:33 am

    I have an example of both in my home. I have one teenager I have never worried about than I have one I grieve about at times. Although my son abhors drugs and alcohol, the β€œstuff” he struggles with is just the same.

    At times, as a parent and a ministry leader/church planter.. I STRUGGLED privately with my son. I felt like the lone parent. As my son struggled on there were nights I would fall into my hands at the kitchen table and weep asking the question why? I felt that I needed to do this alone because of my position. Later on, I found out that alone was a lie from the devil.. Parents need other parents to stir them, encourage. For my sanity I am staying accountable to a close friend ( a very new thing for me), and I don’t want to hide anymore.

    With my son I made a commitment to be his prayer warrior. I prayed for him deeply and continuously, I remained accountable to him. (even on the bad days 😦 ) Also teaching him to be accountable to me.

    Allowed himself to be himself to a certain degree with integrity.

    Hugged him and told him that I loved him no matter what.

    My son still hasn’t made a full commitment to go back to church. But I know deeply that he loves God

    Everyday BECAUSE I serve a living God small victories are happening.

    I celebrate in those.

  5. January 20, 2009 6:03 am

    I saw just a snippet of the sweat that goes into molding your kids into the amazing young man and woman that they are. And I fell in love with them.

    Don’t have ANY advice for you, but you better believe that I’ll be begging Aunt Tam and Uncle Brent to snatch a knot in my rugrats when I need your help!

  6. January 20, 2009 6:11 am

    these last two posts are not showing in my reader..dang! I am headed out but when I get back..I have comments! hahaha

  7. January 20, 2009 6:33 am

    I have no advice – I can’t even figure out how to teach my daughter not to throw her food on the floor without losing my temper! But I do know that you’re right – your family is absolutely NOT the result of LUCK.

    I so appreciate how you and Brent share your lives and your family with all of us. I think it takes a village to do ANYthing, so learning from each other is an enormous blessing.

  8. January 20, 2009 6:59 am

    I have an experience similar to Heidi’s. Both my kids are doing great right now but the one who is in the Marines put us through (or was it vice versa?) some really tough times. My heart broke for him. As far as I can tell we treated them with an equal amount of love, discipline and respect but they are as different as night and day (though they look and act like twins).

    My wife’s niece was raised in a very conservative Christian household and she attended a private Christian school from kindergarten through 12th grade. Very devout family, very upright, very moral. Less than one year out of school she was pregnant, yet not married. To add insult to injury, the father was black (she is not). Her parents immediately accepted the child with love and never once made her daughter feel shame.

    I’ve got four brothers and sisters, all upstanding citizens, no criminal records, no serious addictions, a couple are quite successful. But we all carry some sort of baggage that our very loving parents inadvertently laid on us. In respect to our parents we are surely doing the same with our own children.

    Nurture is important but nature can’t be ignored. You never know and (with all due respect) be prepared for surprises and disappointments. No matter what, forgiveness is the key.

  9. January 20, 2009 7:05 am

    advice for you? ha!

    you guys are amazing. and i’ll be calling you guys often for advice πŸ˜‰

  10. Jim2 permalink
    January 20, 2009 7:35 am

    a lot of wisdom you’ve given here. I agree, communication, commitment, and doing the hard things. It is a far cry from luck, that’s for sure
    God is for you, and God is for your kids – so who can stand against?
    An important thing to remember is that kids are different, they may have the same parents and upbringing, but each has their own “bent” and they will learn and react accordingly, but God will give you the wisdom and strength to raise exemplary kids – and some days it takes more strength than wisdom, but he’s faithful – we are seeing that in our family – the “prodigal daughter” is now the one shining, while the thoughtful, responsible one is having struggles with her own “prodigal”

  11. January 20, 2009 8:05 am

    I have no advice at all, but I so agree that it’s a lot of hard work, and that respect is key. My friend just had a very hard sit-down with her 14 year old because in the last 3 months the respect went out the window and the attitude and tone were ugly. She never thought it would happen to her, but the great part is that she didn’t throw up her hands and say “teenagers.” She’s in there, every day, making hard decisions and being mindful that how her daughter is shaped now is going to change her whole life.

    And I just sit back and admire the love that goes into every difficult moment.

  12. January 20, 2009 8:06 am

    loving your advice everyone. thank you!

    and the encouragement is always needed…for all of us!

    and yes, i am absolutely aware that my kids may surprise us and go awry for a season. my heart gets heavy at the thought. but at the same time, hopeful because i know brent and i, and the kids, will get through it. and we have a phenomenal community to lean on as well.

    i sat with the kids yesterday afternoon and told them about this post. at this time in their lives they cant even imagine screwing up, yelling hateful things to us, lying, sneaking around. the thought of it scares them senseless. i guess thats good. we talked about being afraid versus having a healthy amt. of fear, reverence, for parents and authority. we talked about trust and what happens when it is broken.

    i love having these discussions with them because it gets these issues and concerns communicated to them – giving them an opportunity to share their opinions with me on it.

    also, kass and kota have very different personalities. for those of you who have lived in our house for a time, know that. so, yes, we have had to approach them differently…unique to their personalities and characteristics. it can be challenging. it can also be frustrating.

    this parenting thing is a tough job. but the most fulfilling at the same time.

  13. January 20, 2009 8:11 am

    gitz – that same thing was going on with kass these past few weeks. very subtle, but there. i called her on it right away. pointed out her offenses-reiterated our expectations and her responsibilities…and a whole lot more!

    we gotta stay in there and on top of things. its exhausting, thats for sure!

    i dont know how people with more than 2 kiddos do it. hats off to you who do! wow!!

    or to the single parent. phew.

    or to the parent with a spouse who isnt involved.

    we need to lift those parents up in prayer!

  14. January 20, 2009 9:27 am

    “those of you who have lived in our house for a time, know that.”
    This sentence makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and homesick on the inside.

  15. January 20, 2009 9:35 am

    Just keep doing what you’re doing.

    I’m one of four siblings who at one point were all teenagers under the same roof at the same time.

    We turned out fine. We didn’t go wild. We didn’t do drugs. We didn’t go crazy.

    We had our bumps in the road and stupid decisions…but because our parents raised us right we always moved in the right direction.

    Keep God at the center.

    Rock on.

  16. ohmyseven permalink
    January 20, 2009 9:37 am

    It’s not just luck, for sure. I’ve seen how deliberate you and Brent are in your parenting, and I appreciate that. I hope to be as purposeful with my own future children someday. Your kids are great.

  17. January 20, 2009 10:09 am

    russ – that is encouraging! thanks.

    7 – thanks for that. when you coming over again? im needing an oatmeal cookie something fierce!

  18. January 20, 2009 10:37 am

    did i just get ignored!?

  19. January 20, 2009 11:01 am

    oops. NO!!!!

    😦

  20. January 20, 2009 11:06 am

    Great post. Thank you.

    Advice: Don’t hold them too close or they’ll push you away. Give them room to be and they’ll come back to you of their own accord.

  21. January 20, 2009 11:33 am

    right….

  22. January 20, 2009 1:09 pm

    Luck just isn’t part of the parental equation. I have 3 sons. Parenting is hard….but I believe so much in teaching respect, allowing failures to happen as part of the learning and growing experience, focusing on Christ as the center of the family, and much prayer. As hard as it can be at times, there is nothing I treasure more than being a mom…(except Jesus, of course!) From what little I see here, you and Brent seem so amazing to me as parents.

  23. January 20, 2009 2:56 pm

    I think luck has nothing to do with, but God has EVERYTHING to do with it. My parents went pretty wrong, but somehow God restrained me from going down very wrong paths. Don’t get me wrong I am not perfect, but I definitely could have and thought of doing many things, but the Lord held me back.
    With my own children I know that my responsibility is great, but that ultimately they are God’s children. I will do my best with God sustaining me, giving me wisdom and every other thing I need on this most important job of my life.

  24. January 20, 2009 4:32 pm

    My husband and I were bracing ourselves for the scary teen years. Our son will be 20 in two months and we are amazed at how easy he has been. During our teen years, my husband and I were both into many of the things we all pray our kids will avoid, so our son’s behavior has really surprised us. We realize there are still many years ahead filled with temptations and potential disasters, but he seems to have a pretty good head on his shoulders. I definitely thank God for all the wisdom He’s given us in raising him, and thank Him for the outcome thus far. But it really is puzzling when it seems as though many other families have done a similar job and have a completely different outcome.

  25. January 20, 2009 9:15 pm

    Girl – I need you to like, camp out on my shoulder for the next … 20 years of my life (I think that will cover any ‘kid’ likelihood). I LOVE what you said, “seriously? lucky? thats almost insulting. ive had to play hard ball more times than i can count. ive cried myself to sleep more times than i care to remember over decisions ive had to make for our kids. luck? no. heart wrenching, hard work. that aint luck.” LOVE IT! Yes – good parenting is GOOD PARENTING. Kids don’t pop out perfect. Ever! Gol – I WANT that wisdom. Don’t know where I’ll find it (looking, looking … oh! Tam!). πŸ™‚ Me give you advice?! πŸ™‚

  26. January 20, 2009 10:52 pm

    Another reason why I am so thankful to have you in my life…so when we have kids of our own, you will be there to help us through…thank you for this insight…and example. I love how you set it straight and put it out there for us to look into your lives.

  27. January 22, 2009 2:53 pm

    my fav. line of this post that you wrote is:
    “…better a couple tense hours, or days, of discipline than a couple chaotic years of regret.”
    I will try and remember this when or if God decides to put children in our care, again.

  28. January 22, 2009 4:04 pm

    just so you all know. IF my kids decide to act up. you’ll know about it! i need you now – i’ll need you then πŸ˜‰

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