Tuesday afternoon I had to have a tooth pulled.
As Ann, the dental hygienist and I were waiting for the Doctor, we talked about parenting. She has two kids, a 13 yr old daughter and an 10-year-old son. She alluded to there being quite a bit of tension in their household between the daughter and them.
When I have these conversations, I feel like an old buzzard on a tree limb watching as a young family tries to navigate their way through those teen years… I can see the lay of the land in a way that they can not from my perch.
It doesn’t take much to tap into the confusion and anger I felt when I was the one trying to figure out my way through that wilderness.
I got a call yesterday from my eldest. She is 36. She called me in the middle of the morning, just to visit. Said it had been a while and she was thinking about me. We talked for 10 minutes about grand kids, her part-time job, honey bees…
She (my eldest) has the most infectious laugh, and laughed several times while we talked. I thought about that phone call several times throughout the day. It gave me the warm fuzzies.
When I got home later, my wife mentioned within the past two days, she has had really good visits with all four of our now grown kids.
If you are a parent, and your kids are still in the home, (and even if they are not) one of the long-term goals you probably have, is that after they become adults, you and they stay in touch.
Just healthy peer to peer relationships…how does that sound for a parenting goal? 😉
I have that and I take absolutely no credit for it.
I struggled with knowing how to keep the balance when they were in the house between being their parent, and being their friend. There is a difference. Yes, the long-term goal is friendship, but that is second compared to being the parent. Sometimes being the parent means taking a tough stand, when your feelings tell you otherwise.
It wasn’t until one of my “dear, sweet” children, ran away that I realized, just because we birthed them, did not mean they automatically respected us.
They too were just trying to find their way.
That experience was a watershed moment in my life as a dad.
I gave that child two choices..and neither one of them involved coming home, (initially).
Every family, every, parent/ child relationship has its own dynamics. There is not “one size fits all” when it comes to raising kids.
One relationship that helped keep me sane was another dad who was also dealing with an out of control older daughter. He got it.
Our culture did a crappy job preparing me to parent in a healthy way. What I longed for was real advice from real parents, who were dealing with the same issues, just further along on the trail.
Beware of both extremes…being too heavy handed, or too nicey/ nicey.
Eventually, all four of our kids did reach adulthood (alive) and eventually, got the partying, out of their system.
The human brain does not really mature until about age 25, so give them some time, even after they move out.
Parenting is like baking cookies.
born batch (or three) felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants… by number four, I started to relax.