I worry that I’m getting it wrong with the kids. I understand that’s a fairly common Mama concern. Some days feel like such a battle. At times it feels like every interaction with them is negative. When you enforce boundaries they complain and whine and stomp off as if they are living the worst life ever. Ask them to do chores and the sky is certainly falling. Apparently, I am the only parent that asks their child to do the dishes or clean the bathroom. But we parent on, reminding perfectly capable children daily to clean up after themselves, load the dishwasher and be kind to each other. The other phrase we continue to repeat is: “If you start your laundry you have to keep it going. It’s not done until it’s dry and in your room.”
I know you feel me Mamas and Daddys. We weren’t perfectly compliant as teenagers either though, remember. We didn’t follow instructions every time our parents told us to do something? We pitched fits and threw eye rolls. We went to our brother or sister and told them Mom wanted them to do a chore she had really asked us to do. Sorry Dee:). We started the dishwasher when it was half full sometimes to say we did it. I guess I shouldn’t worry too much. I turned out okay after all.
Reminding myself what it was like to be a kid and teenager helps me get a more realistic perspective. Then I can stop all the what if and worry thought.
What really brings me peace, though, is when I notice that we got it right.
For years I’ve partially censored what my kids would listen to on the radio. The “rule” I go by is that if I don’t want to hear it coming out of their mouth then we don’t listen to it. I don’t do that so much with the teens now but they also have come to understand as they had more freedom that what goes into the ears eventually comes out of the mouth. Needless to say if you follow that “rule” you flip radio stations A LOT. Scanning for stations gets old after awhile and so we would “just leave it here” on the 80’s, 90’s, and today station or spiritfm. If we don't do that then we put in one of our cd’s or upload a playlist. My husband particularly loved when we only played Disney soundtracks for the 12 hour drive down to see the mouse (this is sarcasm in case you don’t know us personally). My kids definitely have preferred the pop stations and songs with words and phrases I don’t want to hear them sing and so there are still complaints and groans but overall we find a happy medium.
Recently, one of my teens was struggling through something. I don’t always get to know what it is now that they are older. They keep some things to themselves. I get it. I did the same thing. I could tell that she was sad. She seemed to be trying to understand the why’s in life. I’m generally worried that they will put their clouded teenage perspectives on situations and struggle more but in this particular case, I didn’t worry. Cory and I had gotten it right. She was walking through the room with her headphones on and she didn’t know we could hear what she was listening to. It was When the Rain Comes by Third Day.
If all the fuss and station scanning was leading up to just that one moment it was worth it. When she was feeling down she went to a song she knew, that brought her peace, and offered her meaning and comfort. I’m gonna claim that joy!