(Picture taken Fall 2009)
The longer I parent, the more I realize just how easy those first years were. Establishing your family is one thing. It is exhausting physically and mentally, but there is so much that you are in control over. Once your children start getting into their tween and teen years, it is truly a whole different ballgame.
I beginning to understand the importance of building close relationships with my kids. When I get after a teenager, I can really hurt them. It lasts longer and I realize that bridges need to be repaired. I have to take responsibility for my snotty attitude, sarcasm or just out-of-control anger. Gee, I sound like a teenager! Maybe I still have some more growing up to do?
I tend to complain to my children a lot. I know this discourages them, but it doesn't help me either. They are kids! Works in progress. If I am constantly focused on the negative things, I am not seeing the special, kind and RIGHT things that they do.
When my kids load up in the van after school, I start asking them lots of open-ended questions. It creates communication other than "How was your day?". It makes them think and open up, but more importantly it makes me listen. I can learn so much just by listening.
If you are discouraged with your kids today, lift them up to God and ask that God to take away that negative, grumbling spirit that creeps in your heart.
There is much to be thankful for! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and remember to actually take time and thank your Creator for the great things He is doing in your life and in the life of others around you.