My sister, who is a grandparent, often hears from me that God’s plan for grandparents is different from those as a parent. Grandparents get to help, when allowed by parents, raise a child with life’s wisdom and the experience of parenting under their belts.
Parents go in head first the first time and learn as they go. They have their experience being parented, but parenting is another role altogether.
What is true for your child may not be what was true for you as a child. For example I made my first grade teacher mad (kindergarten wasn’t common then) because I could read. Our daughter’s kindergarten experience would have been much kinder, initially, had she known how to read simple words phonetically.
Every age, every age range has its own issues. Each generation faces problems intensified by media, expectations, instant gratification and one another. Each child is different. What works for one won’t work for another.
Our daughter has hit the Tween years. (A category not even in existence in my growing up years.) I understand the label and remember the feelings, when you’re not quite a child anymore but you’re not yet a teenager.
We’re just praying and working to parent our daughter through these years. Using the Bible as an instruction manual for us and for her.
What was acceptable behavior during church worship service, for example, when she was a child is no longer acceptable as a Tween and certainly won’t be as a teenager. When before we had to be sure that the only toy going with us to church was her treasured Charlie, we now have come to realize we have to ask about Nintendo’s, cell phones, tablets and whatever else she can use to distract herself and others from the worship service.
I often say our daughter should be a lawyer when she grows up because she is fabulous at looking and finding the loop holes in the rules. We can’t say don’t prank text. We have to specify don’t prank text anyone, including your father, uncle, cousin and anyone else your mind comes up with. And it’s not just the don’ts we have to specify either. The dos must be also.
We agreed to her beginning to wear some make-up with the agreement she would wash her face morning and night to help fight acne. We neglected to point out this was a “do” whether she decided to wear make-up that day or not. Our bad. Now we go back to wash your face twice a day, with this product, period. Make-up is still in question as a motivator.
There are days I feel like we’re living in the Brady Bunch episode where Greg is given a good dose of living by exact words. But this is our life, not television.
Our daughter also recently accepted Christ and is beginning to learn about God, how He works in our lives, how we obey Him and all the tenants of a Christian life in a deeper more personal way. There is much I feel compelled to teach her and that I try to model for her, things I tried to do before but feel even more strongly about now.
It is something I’m having to feel my way through. She is open to discussion at times and totally shut off at others. She’s considerate of my praying when she comes into a room sometimes and sometimes her need or want at the moment far outweighs God she believes.
And boys. Oh my, boys! There are celebrity crushes. There are “older boy” crushes. There are boys texting, boys calling, boys emailing, boys we know, at least know of, and some we’ve never heard of before. The other day when her father had taken her to the doctor I answered her cell phone and was informed the caller was her boyfriend. Before I thought I blurted out, “Really? I wasn’t aware she had one.”
Meanwhile her father and I keep praying for her and with her. We’re taking to heart even more the Biblical instruction to talk about God with our child throughout every part of the day and night, whenever opportunity arises or whenever we can make the opportunity happen. (Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9 NIV)
We’re keeping the promise of Proverbs close to our hearts. (Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 NIV)
We’re doing our best to live our lives as examples to her of what being a daughter of God involves and means in every aspect of living.
Our daughter is not a little girl anymore. She doesn’t mold to correction as easily as she did before. She has her own ideas or has adapted the ideas of her friends or the media that are harder to illuminate with truth since she has the hatches fastened down. She is a Tween right on the verge of being a teen and tomorrow she’ll be an adult.
…boys, you best know, her Daddy is standing at the door watchful and praying. Her Mama’s praying too and there is a cast-iron frying pan right beside her.
Parenting a Tween,
–Donna a.k.a. Faye