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
this one hits home for me as I have two teens now and two tweens one a couple months from being a full fledge teen. We have raging hormones to deal with on the 13 year old who will be 14 in three months. The sudden burst of tears right after laughing uncontrollably. I remember those days and my heart hurts because I know there is NOTHING I can really do to help her control them but hug her and love her and tell her all the silly times that I cried over the stupidest things like my mom telling me I couldn’t go to the movies but I could go with my brother to a rally.
It is so important that parents of boys teach them that the respect of the female is of utmost. We are now in a culture of parents not doing their duty and we have become a society that blames the victim of rapes and assaults instead of the perpetrator. I read recently of a man who post a comment about allowing a daughter to dress in a less than modest way go to a party with boys that were probably going to be drinking. Another man responded with Would you allow your son to go to a party where my daughter was going to be and knowing that if he did anything what so ever to hurt her that I would kill him? Because you didn’t teach him that rape or unwanted touching is so wrong on all levels?
I realize I am rambling but your post made me think about how much we as parents have to dive in head first and how so many of us have allowed the government and schools and media to take away our need to actually parent. And how much our children really still and will always need us to protect them from themselves and teach them how to protect them from themselves and every one else. How much God has been shoved to the side on the effort of never offense to anyone else.
I watched a semi-reality show today where an over indulgent dad twisted an unconvinced mom to get their 10 year old daughter a cell phone for her birthday. He admitted he wanted to “come through for her” and even his younger female staff were telling him it was a mistake.
As a society we give our kids too much stuff, age inappropriate and that includes clothing. We give them too much freedom before they are wise enough to make smart decisions AND we too often agree with the world instead of God. The victim of any sexual crime, misbehavior or bullying IS the VICTIM. Don’t misunderstand me here, but just as young men need to learn to respect females, girls need to understand God tells them to dress modestly for a reason, as a layer of self-defense! Making and enforcing such rules isn’t punishment it is responsible parenting.
I am reminded of something a former youth in a youth group I led who allowed her boyfriend to wear her True Love Waits ring. He lost it down the bathroom drain. When she told me she said, you know what Miss Donna? I realized that this is like giving my virginity away, I CAN’T GET IT BACK.
The innocence we’ve allowed society to rob our children of, THEY CAN’T GET BACK. So on top of the hormones their struggle is made even harder.
So stand up with your Tweens Nichole, they need you.
I totally agree with you. We have in my opinion, done a great job of parenting our kids in what God expects of them and teaching our daughters that modesty is so much better than provocative. They aren’t allowed to wear clothing that shows too much and nothing with the word diva or princess on it or monograms that will draw the eye to areas that don’t need the eye drawn to that area.
Then you are ahead of the curve already! And your daughters are the winners.