Have you ever wished you could put your kids in a bubble until they reached adulthood? Maybe you’ve felt that if you moved to the middle of nowhere your tweens wouldn’t be hurt or scarred by those ‘mean kids’.
There was a time when I thought moving to the middle of nowhere would simplify life — that way I could be the primary influence in the life of my tweens and teens freeing them from those kids who didn’t know how to treat others.
Having survived the junior high and high school years with four children, I often wanted to run away from the culture and the people who could emotionally hurt my kids. I remember having to deal with issues that took place in my home with people who lived in close proximity.
Like the time a 12 year old came into our home and stole a gaming system, holding my 11 year old hostage with threat of harm if he snitched.
Like the time a neighbor came over to get my daughter to show off her new birthday present and proceeded to send her back home because she wasn’t invited to the party.
Like the time my 15 year old’s best friend told him that he didn’t want to hang out with him anymore.
Like the nasty breakup where a girlfriend decided to do mean things to tear my son down.
Or the time I realized that my 11 year old daughter who was used to hanging out with boys because of her brothers was being used by a 16 year old girl to gain access to all the potential male friendships in the neighborhood–including my son.
Yes, it makes us want to run away and hide. We want to protect our children from the horrible things called life. But, we need to remember what scripture says…
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Rather than put them in a bubble or move to the middle of nowhere, I believe there is a better way. After all, our kids are going to encounter difficult relationships — for the rest of their lives.
I’ve discovered that by the time my kids hit junior high, it’s not mine to fix. Even though I’d love to take my kid’s problem to the other kid’s parent or talk to that mean kid myself, tweens and teens need to learn to deal with the difficult people in their lives on their own. I’ve also discovered that pain brings teaching opportunities–and maturity. If we can look at the offenses made against our kids as a launching place for discussion, it can help us be the safety net our kids need against a cruel world. It helps them connect with us.
Truth is if you find that place in the middle of nowhere, or could put your kids in a bubble, they would grow up, but would they be mature adults? At some point we all have to deal with the real world.
Home should be a place of refuge from the storms that can derail our kids. Our job is to be there to soothe the emotion and help them deal with the pain. We should also give them some skills for action.
So what are some of the ways we can help our kids when they encounter those ‘mean kid’ moments?
- Let them vent and work through their emotion. A shoulder to cry on assuring them that you’ve been there and understand will go a long way.
- Ask your child how they think they should handle it. Encourage them to deal with it rather than avoid the situation.
- Offer up other suggestions if they seem open to your input.
- Resist the urge to fix it yourself or let your child talk you into fixing it.
- Role play different scenarios with them. Let them try their conversation with you playing the ‘mean person’ so that they feel prepared to deal with the issue.
- Let them know you will be praying for them to have a good conversation and that God will intervene.
Helping our kids face those mean people in their lives will help them mature and be ready to work through emotional relationship issues with their co-workers, bosses, spouses, and friends as they move into adulthood. Know that the God of the universe will allow our children to experience things that He can use for His purpose in future times.
Dare you to equip your kids in solving their relationship problems. If you do, you’ll gain stronger relationship with them and they’ll see you as a source of wisdom. Not only that, but you’ll equip them for their future as mature adults.
“Let go…and let God”
Sign up for our on-line eCourse which starts September 26, 2016. You’ll have an opportunity to go through the new book With All Due Respect:40 days to a more fulfilling relationship with your teens and tweens with me and a group of moms just like yourself. Learn and interact while gaining new communication skills. Be sure to get in on the discounted price while it lasts. I’ll be available for personal interaction in the class. Hope you’ll join me. Click here for more information.