It has been a bit of a trying past couple of days with choices being made by our children—all teens.
When our parents told us, this was going to hurt them more than it hurts you, who actually believed this to be true. I’ve known this to be true for a while, even more so these past couple of days.
Because of behavior, we have had to stop and think, reflect, and then decide what the response should be for our children’s choices in behavior. Our decisions are going to hurt us more than our children, they will need to live with the decisions, we will have to live with their reactions to these decisions.
We have the ability to think how their choices will highly likely impact how they are in the world, they only see what is right in front of them, and of course, believe we are just being mean, self-centered, and are bad parents. Even when you know this to not be true, it does have an emotional impact, albeit a quick one, for even the strongest of parents.
They are also old enough where you can’t pick them up and put them in their room, take away a toy, or have a quick time-out/thinking time. This is especially true when they refuse to comply with a reasonable rule or expectation appropriate for their age.
What do we do then?
As a reader and someone who wants to make sure I’m on the right path, I read books (examples—Teen Proofing: John Rosemond and Have a New Teenager by Friday: Dr. Kevin Leman), by experts in the field of child/teen behavior. Now, the caveat is these books are written more for birth parents than adoptive parents as adopted children come with a whole truckload of baggage from past treatment by the adults in their lives. Not everything fully applies in these instances, but I do the best I can.
These books also help me reflect on changes or shifts in my own thinking, ideas for responses to behavior, and acknowledges what we have been doing is the right thing. That when we provide the basics, and help to support our children’s strengths and interests, and love them, that is what it means to be a good parent. Wise words from these books—children are born with a personality and sometimes no matter what we do, they are going to do what they are going to do, along with sage wisdom from my husband—we’ve done the best we can to teach and guide, and now they are old enough to know right from wrong, and they are now going to do what they are going to do, has helped me keep perspective, breathe, and remain matter-of-fact when the child wants to escalate the interaction. Let me tell you when you do this, it can make the child very mad because they are no longer getting a rise out of you.
Additionally, the books have helped remind me we still hold some cards, such as giving permission for driving lessons, learner’s permit, practice driving, driver’s license, work permits, extra curricular activities, fees for activities, field trips, having friends over, money to go out with friends, well, you get the point.
Where I’m going with this is adulting is hard, and our children pay no attention to our struggles and believe we have grand lives 100% of the time, because we are adults. Being a parent is adulting times X because we are making decisions for our children they won’t like, we know they won’t like, but must be made for their own good and even knowing a decision we must make for the good of the family may harm our relationship with that particular child, we must move forward.
Hopefully our children will understand this better when they truly mature and think about how good they actually had it.
I’m doing my best to keep the faith.
Most days I succeed.
Can anyone relate?