Mourning Your Sweet and Devoted Child
We’ve parented through the infant stage, the baby stage, and the toddler stage, and we’re now approaching the tween stage. I can only imagine what life will be like when we have four teens at home. I mourned my sweet innocent children for quite some time. It was difficult for me to accept the fact that their lives no longer revolved around mom and dad. They were beginning their own journey without us.
Moving Forward Through the New Stages
However, once I spent enough time in the milestones I was so afraid to reach, I began seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, I have a very opinionated tween now, but I also have the opportunity to have frank conversations. I realized how crucial this in-between stage is. Parenting looks different in this stage, but it’s just as or even more important.
We don’t have sweet and innocent children anymore, but it does not mean they need us any less. On the contrary, this is probably when they need us the most. It’s easy to fall into the victim role as a parent and feel that your child has become ungrateful and mean. But, I see it as them going through major changes and not knowing what to do with their big emotions. It’s up to us to help guide them through these stages and understand and work through those emotions.
Creating a Safe, No Judgement Space for Your Child
If they see you as a safe space during this transition in their lives, then they’ll be more willing to open up to you with major life moments. If you create an environment where your child feels safe enough to express themselves without judgment, then this stage will only strengthen your relationship.
It is sad to see your child growing up, but it is important to understand how much they still need you. Depending on how your child shows gratitude, you may feel like you’re not making a difference. I promise you, if you’re just there and listening without bias, you are making a world of difference.
They Still Need You, Just in a Different Way
My tween is now beginning to understand the complexities of growing up and making good choices. It’s no longer black and white. There’s a lot of grey area that I need to help my tween navigate. I think I’m doing something right when any of my children approach me with difficult or embarrassing questions. If they felt safe enough to ask it, then I have succeeded in creating that space for them. In this day and age when there are so many temptations and it is so much easier to go along with your friends, it is important to create the environment they need to figure out the type of person they want to be. Help them determine the characteristics of a good person through personal experiences.
Building their Confidence
What my children need most for me right now is to be calm and patient. Easier said than done, but even in times when you fall out of that role, it is important to acknowledge and apologize in order to show your children what a responsible and fault-filled adult looks like. I need to do these things in order to develop the relationship that will help them flourish into responsible and respectable teens and eventually adults.
Parenting is a selfless role that many of us have decided to take on. It’s crucial that we provide our children with what they need at every stage. Not only to ensure we maintain a healthy relationship with them at every stage, but to ensure they are content with who they are.
My main goal is to build my children’s confidence in order for them to know who they are and the type of person they want to be.
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