How does that saying go… little kids, little problems…big kids…big problems. Ugh…some days my kids just hate me! Yep, it’s true…
Boundaries, jobs, cleaning, school grades, service, gratitude…18 to 24-year-old kids are not easy years.
(For any parent)
New studies show kids brains are not fully developed until 26!
When they were little, I crawled into bed and read and said prayers to them and gave back tickles almost every night until they could read their books to me!
Some nights I fell asleep with them. I left love notes of encouragement in their hand made lunches, went to parent meetings, volunteered at school and yet…
they have forgotten I was there at all right by their side.
My job (done while they were at school, filled my day) and once they were out of school at 3:00, there were play dates, soccer, and singing lessons: my second full-time job started when the bell after school rang. The days were long, but those wonderful years went too fast!
I loved those years and I love being a mother .. how could they forget? I made them hand out candy bars to electricians, ironworkers and other tradesmen on our job sites and I even attended their field trips. They actually wanted me to go with them!
How could they forget my butterfly kisses, coloring, trips packed with fun adventures, seeing exotic animals and sitting in my lap or falling asleep in my arms?
I have really tried to keep my kids close but here’s the thing…
no matter how hard I try to support, encourage, cajole or show them…
Teenagers and young adults need their space to make their own way in this world.
We stack our phones and play banana grams at family dinner even now-
We have a group text and share news several times a week. I try to send positive thoughts to all and usually I get no response.
We still cook together. We have spontaneous outings like movies or lunch or shopping. Hair styling, manicures, or massages still count as a special moment. This spring we will ski as a family in Aspen!
We volunteer at the homeless shelter and donate our clothes to the needy. We grocery shop together and read labels for sugar count/calories and nutritional value.
We give our kids lots of choices…would you like to bring friends? Walk the pups now or later?… dishes go in the dishwasher and make your bed.. you will be successful by doing the little things as you go. Don’t put things off, do them now and respond. Use a calendar and write down goals.
The heavy sighs, screaming, and drama still prevail occasionally but in the end, they have to take responsibility. These are life skills!
I recently sat down with a friend that is a child psychologist who said: “Randy you’re doing a good job at holding a boundary.” It’s hard. Kids need to learn to show up for themselves and make their own way.
Learning from mistakes now will help them later. They need to have skin in the game of paying their own way with their saved earnings. If we clean up their messes, how will they learn to help clean up for themselves??
As I left with a hug, she said…“One day, they will thank you. They will be responsible, they will understand and even if they don’t agree now…those growing pains will build muscles of a ‘CAN DO’
Yesterday one of the kids called – low and behold…rather than blame and say bad words or have complaints or aggression I was met with gratitude, peace, and love.
The older kids support themselves financially which maybe humbles their perspective but we still listen, guide or share lengthy wisdom over a cup of tea or dinner.
Needless to say, these moments make me proud. They don’t rely on me or Steve!
The last decade of raising a bunch of teenagers has taught me a lot. Mostly to stand back and let them do things for themselves.
This fall Jack and Katie are off to college.. lots of new steps for them…Sam is loving real estate…will Grad school at some point be in her future?
Nina will be a junior at SMU..: will she choose to extend her summer job to continue to work thru the school year as her older sister did? Nina is a very good worker.
The choices and outcomes are in their hands. And while they think I am not around and that they do EVERYTHING for themselves…we will all be on to the next journey taking the right steps together! Saying…you CAN do it!! I believe you have everything it takes to be successful.
Independence is learned one step at a time. Mastery comes from doing these things over and over again.
While I tell them I love them and I am here for them, I know they learn more from what they do for themselves.
While they may complain, their confidence and problem-solving capability grow daily. These two are silver linings that shine now and again. You CAN do it!!
This spring we are taking the grandboys to London (Chris and Mary’s kids) – their backpack will have a map, a schedule, a water bottle, a snack and a guidebook along with a rain poncho and some money that they need to be responsible for!
This is much like the backpack my 5 kids carried every day to school when they were little … the finished homework was done and stored in their organized cubby. This is where they learned a system.
I am so excited to see London vicariously thru their eyes and experiences. The boys are brave to have a journey without their Mom and Dad. The mantra… you CAN do it continues.
Will they remember this great adventure when they are the ages of my kids now??
While they may not remember every detail the answer is yes,
they will remember just like my kids remember deep inside.
They felt pride by learning to tie their shoes, by getting good grades, by playing a sport and by following thru and yes by taking a journey together with us by their side.
While they may complain, deep inside they will be proud of what they learned and saw and that growth will shape them!
Even more importantly these experiences of planning, executing and thinking on their feet will help build a confident future.
Because even if the days are long, the years pass quickly and so it goes… over and over again until the student finally becomes the master and they learn that they indeed CAN take care of themselves.
All my love-