Raising teenagers…or do they raise you?

One of my greatest joys are my children.  Of course, I’m a mother.  You would expect me to say that.  There are many stages of parenting during the journey from infant to adulthood.  Those who have ventured into the uncertain waters of post-puberty parenting though will no doubt agree that during the teenage years it can become unclear as to who is really raising who.

I have spent countless hours in the middle of the night trying to outwit my larger-than-average brood with creative, out-of-the-box parenting strategies.  I have implemented “systems” like the Snack Bowl in an attempt to prevent the raids on my cabinets, or the Sock Basket when I finally gave up trying to figure out the owner of the hundreds of socks making their way through the laundry.  Speaking of laundry, at our peak we were doing a whopping 24 loads weekly.  Though I tried to implement a system consisting of three 30 gallon trash containers – white, colors, and dark…it never caught on and we resolved to wear “pinks” and “blues” that were not the original.

If you ask my kids, they will entertain you with dramatic tales of discipline “tickets” and a chore matrix that would make your head spin.  Not to mention The 21 Rules of This House that I made them memorize that covered everything and anything they could come up with.  ( Child: “Why can’t I rollerblade in the house – it’s not one of the 21 rules.” Mom: “Rule 13 “We must be good stewards of all that God has given us. He gave us these hardwood floors. That means no rollerblading!!)

In the end though I think it’s my children who taught me the greater lessons.  In their process of becoming amazing human beings, they have pushed me to grow my character in more ways than I can count – patience, fortitude, instincts, wisdom, empathy, compassion, mercy,  and so many more.  And then there is the greatest lesson of all – learning to rely daily on my faith.

It gives me great peace and comfort to know that God sees the bigger picture.  When I become overwhelmed with worry about their futures, their decisions, their safety, I can just step back and give it to the One who loves them even more than I do.  I just wish I would remember that more often when I’m in the moment.

Thankful for a peace that passes all human understanding.


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