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Posts Tagged ‘teens’

Listen and Love

Relationships require a lot of listening in order to succeed. We can’t understand someone’s perspective if we don’t.

Teenagers are no different.  They need us to listen and not judge. It’s no easy task! We may not want to hear what they are thinking about, when it comes down to it. Sex, drama with friends/boys/girls, unhappiness, maybe even drugs, etc. They need us to be there to listen.

I didn’t have the kind of relationship with my mom where I felt she’d understand. She was so busy working as a single mom and I felt like I knew much more than she did about the world.

As a result, I talked to my friends- who weren’t necessarily looking out for my best interest. They were trying to figure their own lives out. Misery loves company, they say! I learned by experience what to do and not do.

I’ve tried to establish an environment where my kids felt safe to talk about whatever they were thinking, and I try to be as honest about my own life as I can (as appropriate), so they can learn from experiences as well as trust me so that they will be honest back.

When they need to talk, they may not want to hear what we think – sometimes people just need to be able to vent and know they are loved and they’re not weird for thinking what they do. They need empathy and understanding. This will help them get through it.

I’ve relied on God to give me the ideas of what to say on many occasions. I don’t have all the answers. Often I’ll listen quietly and wait for an idea to come about how to respond. Sometimes I will get some ideas later and share then.

I have read books about parenting and taken some classes. One good book is called “Setting Limits” by Dr Mackenzie.  It’s helpful for raising kids from age 2-teen and follows my philosophy of giving kids choices and not being overbearing.. while balancing and not being a pushover either. This has given me confidence as a parent when family members felt I should parent their way.

Kids will go through different phases and if they know they are not alone and are supported, it will help them overcome whatever comes their way. Recognizing God as their parent is sooo helpful! That’s what I’ve done as a single mom… even if didn’t have a dad there, God’s giving them what they need. (Caring role models come in all forms- teacher, coach, church friend, neighbor, friend’s parent.)  In  fact, God gives me what I need too, as my parent!

This relieves a lot of fear and burden that I need to know it all, or my kids are lacking something important to make them whole. Love [God] completes each one of us, comforting us, providing companionship, strength, joy and life.  When we recognize that, the seeming voids are filled and we aren’t looking for something else to fill it- like a person, substance, etc.

Claim those qualities you feel you lack as yours from God! List them down 🙂 it feels wonderful. If God is all in all and made us in his likeness, then we are complete!  And so are our children.

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