Valerie sat on the edge of her bed with the door shut, tears starting to roll down her cheek. She couldn’t believe how ungrateful her 15 year old really was!! Trying to convince herself that it was just fatigue, she curled up and let herself fall into a fitful sleep. Wrestling with the demons in her day seemed to take place while she slept. As a mother, all she seemed to hear from her kids was not what she did for them, but what she didn’t do! Today was no different.
Parenting tweens and teens is tough these days! Bombarded by the marketing and what their friends have, sometimes kids have a difficult time learning that parents can’t provide everything they want. For the parents, especially us moms, sometimes we feel inadequate in being able to fulfill our kid’s desires. After all, we just want life to go smoothly and for them to be happy.
It was no different for Valerie. As she shared her story over cappuccino, I could tell she was really wrestling with what she was doing wrong.
“It was Jordan’s 15th birthday! I just wanted it to be special. When I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she gave me a list of five things. I bought four out of the five and all I heard about was what I didn’t buy! I feel like I’m raising an ungrateful, spoiled brat,” she muttered. “What am I doing wrong?”
“Valerie, if you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you some questions. Did God give Jordan to you to make her happy or to teach her His ways?”
“Is your role to make her happy or to teach her that she won’t always get what she wants in life and to learn how to deal with the disappointment?”
“Okay, I think I’m getting where you are going. I should help her talk through her disappointment and help her find ways of coping with it.”
“But, you don’t understand. She was in such a foul mood!”
“Valerie, there is a verse in Ecclesiastes 3:1-7 and specifically verse 7”
Verse 1: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
Verse 7: … a time to be silent and a time to speak.
“Timing in relationships is so important. Nothing needs to be settled at the moment. Give her time to work through her emotion. Wait until she is calm and ready to talk. Your job is to close the conversation when things are spewing over with something like ‘I think we need a break from each other right now, when our emotions are under control, we’ll talk some more’…then your role is to initiate the conversation again when she is calm and ready to talk.”
“But how do I do that?”
“What if you said something like…’I know you were disappointed that you didn’t get ________ for your birthday. Tell me why that was the most important gift I could have given you…’ and then calmly dialogue about why you chose the gifts you gave her and why you didn’t purchase that particular one.”
“That’s it! I just want it to get resolved right then and there. I don’t want her to be disappointed and I don’t want to feel bad because I didn’t make her happy on her birthday!
Psalm 25: 4-5
Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Bottom line: Our job is not to fulfill our kids’ dreams to make them happy; our role is to teach them, so they can handle disappointment when we are not around.
Dare you to bravely walk with your tweens and teens when they are disappointed, especially when they are disappointed with you.
Double dare you to share the disappointments your tweens and teens have faced.
Learning to share the things I’ve messed up so many times…
‘Let go…and let God’
P.S. Be sure to listen to Nina Roesner on FamilyLife Today! @ www.familylife.com/audio
Nina Roesner’s husband ranked their relationship a perfect ten, she only rated it a two. Roesner tells how God grew her in her relationship with her husband as she began to delve into the topics of respect and submission.