Parents, Be Present

When emotions are raw, the predators pounce. 

There are moments in every parent’s life where they hit a breaking point. Terrible twos, teenage “rebellion”. Children are growing physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Parents are tasked with teaching their children how to speak, listen and think. We have to help them navigate life and the inevitable changes that come with each stage of their development. Sometimes they listen. Sometimes…they don’t.

They don’t always know how to speak what’s on their mind. Even when they’re adults, they don’t always know how to say what they feel.

They don’t always know how to relate to others, especially those they disagree with. Even when they’re adults – well, have you been on Twitter lately? Seemingly reasonable adults don’t know how to communicate with “opponents”, so…

As a mom of three and nana to three, I’ve experienced failures and victories. Truth be told, I see more failure in what I did or didn’t do for my kids. They might say don’t be so hard on yourself, but I don’t know too many parents who will say they parented perfectly.

No matter the stage of childhood, parenting has its challenges. But, it has its rewards too. There are the firsts: smiles, words, steps, school days, concerts, recitals, games and more.

In my case, my children have grown and (nearly) moved on to live their own lives. I see where I could have done better. But, I find solace in this thought – you never stop being a parent.

Sigh.

Just like our children grow, we parents grow too. Our relationship with them changes. The seeds we sowed into their lives when they’re young, manifest as adults. We reap in our relationships what we sow, if you will.

We learn how to communicate differently with our kids. If we fostered communication with our kids while they’re young, we’ll have solid communication with them as adults. At least, that’s part of the goal, right?

Time flies. Children grow up fast. Today, children are growing faster than ever. Technology has opened up avenues for today’s kids in ways unimaginable to me 10-20 years ago.  

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Frustrations of being a parent of young children are common place. No matter how many books are written, there isn’t a parenting book written that fits every child’s public meltdown or every daycare drama. 

Stuff happens. Good and bad. It’s up to us as parents to be diligent and mindful of what’s going on with our kids.

Especially online. 

It can be a scary place, the online world. Children even younger than 10 are online, in chat rooms, on social media. Don’t be fooled. There are kids who know how to get around those age requirements. 

With news events playing out on social media and journalists writing their own narrative as fact, it’s important to not be afraid to talk with our kids about anything and everything. 

The older I get, the more I understand this.

I’ve raised three kids. I have three grandkids. I’ve worked with youth (middle school and high school). I know what it’s like to not have someone to talk to, to lean on, to be heard by – I’ve seen it. Mix in today’s selfie mindset and it’s a recipe for sadness, anger, frustration and isolation. 

It only takes one person to show them “they care”. It only takes one moment of weakness. Parents, family must be diligent. We must be aware of what’s going on around them. Or, who is following them. Bad/evil exists in this world. 

When emotions are raw, the predators pounce. 

Life is short. Time flies. Kids grow up fast. 

I won’t say enjoy the dirty diapers and temper tantrums. But, I will say, those are but a little bump in the road of life. Wipe ’em up, hug ’em and….re-boot the day.

Be thankful. Foster communication. Love them no matter what.

Love isn’t just a feeling. It’s a choice. Love them through the dirty diapers and tears. Love them through the meltdowns. Love them through the back-talk and various phases of life. Laugh with love at the jokes you’ve heard a hundred times. We can even provide/enforce rules and discipline….with love.

But, above all else, 

Be Present.png

Knees Down, Prayers Up

Sunny