Thursday, April 21, 2011

Worthless Teenagers and the Parents who Make Them

Worthless Teenagers and the Parents who Make Them


The father who thrives on power, works to control everything (whether he can or not) in his child’s life. He works to make sure that his child will always do and be what he thinks is best. He works to make sure that his child rises to some predetermined and idealistic life-station, and simultaneously he also works to make sure that his child never finds the ability to rise above that station. He works to guarantee that his child will be successful in whatever way he believes success is achieved. He works to force respect. He works to force love. He works to force some sense of a relationship.

The mother who thrives on power, works just as dutifully to control everything (whether she can or not) in her child’s life. She works to make sure her child always believes exactly what she believes. She works to make sure her child always learns the lessons that she believes need to be learned. She works to mold her child into the person she believes her child should be molded into. And, just like the power-craving father, she also works to force respect, love, and the non-existent relationship but forced relationship.
If you're anything like me, you are constantly questioning your abilities as a parent. Second-guessing your punishment or wondering if you should've been less strict. Maybe instead you wonder if you are too easy going and you should be more strict.

If you are anything like me, a good hard look at your parenting skills is, well, hard. I hate criticism and I hate conviction. I hate hearing how I might improve. Or worse, I hate thinking about what kinds of scars I could be leaving on my children (or step-children in this case) by my actions. So why would I dare read a blog that is shedding light on the dangers of control and what causes emotional scars? Because I desperately want to be a better parent and I want the kids to know that they are loved; they are loved by not only their parents, but by God. I truly hope they know and believe that.

After Josh and I both read the "worthless teenager" blog, we sat down and talked. We were both convicted. I, and I'm sure Josh as well, replayed all the fights, arguments, discussions, yelling, etc that has happened recently and wondered:

"Was I too strict?"

"Did I overreact?"

"Did I say something I shouldn't have just to get a reaction?"

"Did I namecall?"

"Am I just trying to prove that I'm in charge?"

"Am I unable to relinquish control of the house?"

"Do our kids have the same self esteem problems that he talks about?"

So we did the unthinkable. We talked to the kids! Yes, we did. We asked for the opinions of teenagers.
We did a little exercise at dinner last night.

We asked each of them what was one thing they believed about themselves. We then asked them what they believed each parent (there are 4 of us in their lives) believed about them.

I hope they were being honest when talking about what Josh and I believe about them. I hope they weren't afraid of hurting our feelings or making us mad. I hope they were forthright in what they believe.

It was interesting. And enlightening. And encouraging. And thought-provoking. And educational.

If you want to better connect with your kids, I suggest this sort of activity. Even if you believe you are the best parent in the world and you have the most well adjusted children possible, I guarantee you will learn something.

I am making a VERY concerted effort to be a little more relaxed in my parenting. To not sweat the small stuff. To be less controlling. (If you ever wonder how controlling you really are - live with another family and see how they do things different from you.) To recognize the human-ness in all of us, including the teenagers. To realize that I didn't get to where I am without being a fumbling teenager. To understand that life is hard enough with school and peer pressure and changing bodies and zits, then you throw in step-parents and step-siblings and 2 houses and 2 baby sisters ........ I NEVER went through that. I have no concept of what it's like to live at 2 houses and have 2 blended families.

I desperately want to be a good parent and will do whatever it takes to be the parent my kids NEED! Do you?

1 comment:

~*SharonMarie*~ said...

Awesome, Christine!

That is exactly what teenagers need; you and Josh did good!