WHAT DID YOU READ about this morning or hear on the radio on your way into work? These days 9 times out of 10 the answer is just NOT GOOD NEWS. No matter what are personal opinions are about today’s world, politics, and the seemingly continued chaos, the news affects your emotions if you are truly honest with yourself. And more so if you are a parent of a middle schooler or high schooler. Our kids take it all in as much as we do but don’t have the years of experiential living to deal with it.
Studies show that their young minds are getting more and more anxiety ridden and most don’t realize this constant barrage of bad news brings on overwhelming symptoms. We parents are in position to defuse or lighten the emotions of our kids. If you could list the top 4 reasons why our teens and middle schoolers are depressed/anxiety ridden what would that list look like? Anything like this one I researched?
Control of the world around them or no control of their own lives adds to depression and anxiety. Lack of control or too much control affects them. Compared to decades past, today’s social issues, diseases, excess of materialism brings on confusion and the feeling that these impressionable youths have no control over their own lives.
Cell Phones. If you are a parent of a middle school child, perhaps those two words brings a host of emotional responses. Everything from, “I thank God my kid can be safe with a phone now when he/she is not at home” to …. “What in the world is THIS TEXT I see on my daughter’s phone?! Who would send such a horrible text?” Cell phones, like all social media, are a thing that is here to stay and no matter how we may feel about our kids and CELL PHONES, we need to find a clear and resolute standard for our kids to follow and respect.
When asked what is the most important thing you could have if you were stranded on a desert island, what did pre-teen kids say? A Cell phone! More than any other device or thing!!
Cell phones with the texting and the FACETIME can be like having a host of other parent’s kids in your house that you didn’t invite! Suddenly without warning, you are bombarded with another kid or two (depending on how many kids you have with phones) present and carrying on loud chatter at your table! What is a parent to do about this or about any of the ‘rude nesses’ that kids think are “just life and normal”? How about some rules? After all, freedoms without rules is chaos and not what parents want to mirror or consent to.
Identify all people texting your kid. If you don’t have time to check each one, then you are not being a responsible parent. Your kid should expect a loving and protective parent to do such. Being involved is love.
I I really don’t like to go to dentists appointments- I don’t think anyone does unless their tooth is in horrific pain! But a few weeks ago while sitting in the waiting area I couldn’t help but feel so sad for this person across the room. I could see the tiredness in her eyes as she adjusted the earbuds in her ears to take a call. Her laptop was opened on her lap but she was overwhelmed as she talked on her pink cell phone about some report she had messed up- how could that be since spending two weeks on I heard her remind the caller. “I don’t know what to do now, because I have a meeting with Mr. Taylor tomorrow and this Saturday are team finals!” Listening and listening again she was quiet and then reassuringly said just before she disconnected, “OK, mom, dad is about to pick me up- I’ll see you tomorrow after your flight gets in.” This was a child; about 11 years old I guessed.
Today’s kids are growing up too fast and with so much responsibility in their young lives! I don’t mean that I am old fashion, but it is true. Does this describe your child? Tweens are blending in with teenagers and their minds are no different when it comes to social and what is expected of them from teachers, peers, coaches, and their families! Yup. Tweens are 8-12 years old! Remember the days when you were that age? What has happened to cause this jog toward adulthood?
How about PRESURE? We all had pressure as tweens. But today’s world is changing faster than ever before. Pressure from society’s changing landscape, technology, the marketplace and its cultural changes, school pressure, and parents make our tweens into what they are today. Continue reading
You know that the sweetness of her smile and the kindness of her 11 year old voice won’t last very long because you have experienced being a tween parent now for 3 years. Without skipping a beat she is suddenly screaming and ranting and freaking out about something you are oblivious to and shouting – I hate you! It’s then that you remember you’re a parent of a tween
-She says she screams because you scream–
How can we talk to our tween’s? They tell us we scream or the teachers yell- but many times and most of the time- they are just pulling some random remembrance out of a long time ago moment. You may not even remember. They feel misunderstood because their bodies, minds, and friends all seem to be changing so much of the time! Tween’s live in a state of ‘above the clouds’ or ‘disconnect’. Ask a question or make a comment- you may hear an answer or a garbled ‘uhhh-uhhh’. Living in expectation of them to answer right now will close a conversation attempt before it begins. You may hear in a week or a month the answer but no one- not even them many times, knows what’s inside their minds.
As soon as your face becomes inpatient looking or angry looking- a tween has labeled you as ‘mean’ or ‘not nice’. I try to avoid those looks that will spread across my blown mind, so instead I conditioned myself. My tone needs to be matter-of-fact as I try to establish some form of communication with tween’s. Paying attention to me is my goal so if I blow it with a face look or a tone then it’s a no-go!
What to do what to do-
To get our tween’s to stay connected or open up to us, we need to be open and honest with our own experiences, respond in positive tones when they come around and share what they are concerned with or fearful of, and emphasize how we enjoy his/her sharing. The biggie is sympathizing with his/her feelings by listening and listening again. It’s tough because so often they go on and on about stuff that doesn’t make sense to us. But belittling and brushing-off their feelings is seen as rejection which can have lasting effects. Validating is what we want even with our own spouses so why would it be less with our tweens? To validate doesn’t mean we are in agreement but we are giving them the right to share and own those feelings and emotions. Continue reading
The other day I was in a huge hurry so I thought I’d save time in one of those 15 or less check outs at the grocery store. But my impatience suddenly calmed down when I heard two moms in front of me sharing. One mom said her 12 year old wanted to know what she (her mom) would do if she got pregnant! The friend wasn’t shocked; she just came back with her own experience last week. She laughed and then got real serious- looking, then told her friend that her 11 year old daughter was sick and tired of us (her mom and dad) making her do her homework before she was allowed to talk to her friends on her cell phone.
Not sure about you, but cell phones in an 11 year olds hands – might be a recipe for a “disconnect” between daughter and mom (?) These days tweens are not what they were in “those days”- the mom’s days. If we can just remember “those days” when we were tween’s and what came out of our wild and crazy minds and mouths! But these days, tween’s know all about sex, drugs, pornography, alcohol, and all the rest because of the media of TV and all the techie stuff parents allow their kids to own which connects them to the internet! These two moms are about to lose control of parenting their sons and daughters unless they stay savvy and connected with them on a daily basis. Continue reading
OUR KIDS AND THEIR DECISIONS – THEY NEED HELP AND YET RESPONSIBILITY
Without thinking we make many a day, an hour, and minute by the minute. I was thinking this morning when I made the decision to get up and plant my feet on the floor, how many decisions I would make today that might be observed.
Our kids, our grand’s, our nieces and nephews, our students, neighbor kids, and perfect little strangers in the grocery isle will be watching us grown-ups as we speak and act! Wow- that is something to think about or at least it is for me. I’m not talking about huge decisions (in this particular blog) that are planned like where to put our money; 401K or savings elsewhere. It’s those everyday little ones that make a long range difference in the lives of those little eyes and ears watching me. The question I ask myself is how can I be a good model today?
Honestly I make it my priority daily (though I fail time and time again) to ask the Lord to help me make those wise and productive decisions in my own daily life at home first. My priority’s, the types of books, entertainment, hobbies, and even the way I move and act and be in my relationships need to be overshadowed with the Lord’s direction and perspective each of my days or I am a mess! I made it simple a few years back; when I choose to follow what God likes then I can’t go wrong in the eyes of my grand kids or any little eyes around my neighborhood that might meet up with me. My accountability partner I like to think is ………God. Continue reading
“I don’t want to go back to the grocery store! I can do it, mom – I can stay home by myself!” How many times has your 11-12 year old pleaded with you to give him the OK to stay home? You know you have been wanting to give them more responsibility but how do you know if your child is ready?
Being sure of their readiness is what you want for your peace of mind. The only way to find out is to get serious about establishing rules while determining their maturity level of having them stay home alone.
1. Does your state have a minimum age? Call social services for your state. Some states do not have any age requirements while others do have a specific age requirement for leaving a child unsupervised.
2. Rules and Expectations need to be specific and written. Sitting down with (with already written list) your tween’s undivided attention is important. Continue reading