Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Raising Independence

One of the hardest parts for me in having teenagers in the independence factor.

I know it's the goal of parenting, at least one of our goals, to raise children who grow to be independent adults, or in an effort not to rush it, young adults.

But it hurts.

If you know me then you know I've been saying for these last few years that childbirth is the easy part. They fool you. Young children are like little bands of rebels I just know it. They plan in the womb through some strange sort of ESP on how they can rule the world one home, one parent, one heart at a time.

So surviving those years is tough, I remember them in crystal clear, blurred vision.
Getting my children to clean up,
sit up,
shape up,
eat good,
get dressed,
play nice,
don't bite,
all those things took every bit out of me on most days; but nothing could have prepared me for hormones and independence.

Oh yes, hormones.

Hormones can take a loving child and in 2 seconds flat turn them into something out of a sci-fi flick. Hormones can cause someone to enter the room and someone different leave it.

What was fine and fun this morning is now stupid and dumb.

Oh yes, in our house hormones have put nice, high quality vocab into my sons brain: stupid and dumb. When bizaro-kid enters the scene he's usually singing his "This is stupid and dumb" theme song.

But that's not what I wanted to write about because hormones can be ignored or looked over, as much as I want to slap the stupid right out of him I find it much more affective to keep my mouth shut and wait for bizaro-kid to leave and the son I birthed to return.

No, what is killing me is independence.

It wasn't all that long ago that children the age of my son were working full-time and preparing to purchase land and build their own home. In studying the Bible we see that the disciples were not much older than mere teenagers and they were found working full-time jobs. So with that said it shouldn't surprise me that my 15-year-old is so independent.

Take for example events in his day/week:
He wakes himself, feeds himself, dresses himself, drives himself to school (with a driver over 21, with a valid FL license sitting in the front passenger seat closest to the driver), completes his homework by himself, on the nights I work I have him prepare dinner, he washes dishes, does his own laundry. He calls his friends and sets up "play dates", he call his grandparents, did I mention he drives? He can walk himself to Wal-mart, the grocery store or fast food place. He applies for jobs, lends a helping hand and puts himself to bed at a decent hour.

When writing these I can't help but think I should be thrilled, reading back over all he does makes me think I should of had more children to maintain this place so i can sit back an eat more bon bons. I am thankful, really I am but each time I'm reminded of his independence a little piece of my heart is torn.

What happened to my baby?

What happened to my little on who would crawl up into my lap and we'd read together for hours. Or where did our park days go and our sandcastles at the beach.

Oh yes, the road to independence.

A good road.

A scary road.

A road he must travel down and I must stand by watching run next to him on the sidewalk, praying fervently the whole time.

See that's the best thing I can do for him. Pray. I can't make decisions for him or put him in the time out chair when he chooses poorly, spankings and early bedtime don't do any good on the road to independence, but prayer does.

So if you think of it today pray for the parents of teenagers you know. Pray as you feel lead but don't for one minute think that this independence their child has makes life easier for them.



Anonymous said...

definately not the easiest thing I've ever had the privelege of being involved in...but they're good boys

Katie said...

Let your faith guide you have done an amazing job instilling good values into your boys! While I can't imagine being in your position with teenagers I can tell (even from a distance) that you've laid a solid foundation for them...and that I am truly impressed with!

Vanessa said...

I'm saying a prayer for you and my friends wit teenage children right now.

Michelle@Life with Three said...

My mom is always telling me, "Michelle, just wait. These are the easy days. It's when they get older that things get tough." It's hard to let go, isn't it? Your point is perfect, though. Instead of clawing for more control, we have to put it back in God's hands. You're right. The most important thing we can do hold them up in prayer. I'm praying for you!


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