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Monday, August 13, 2012

Parent’s Perspective- Part 3

As part of our Parent’s Perspective series, Monica Lynn Williing shares with us some great advice when it comes to influencing our teens.

Don’t Forget To Bond
Recently my 13-year-old daughter and I watched home movies from her preschool years. It brought back sweet memories to see how silly we were, just having fun together. Our love for one another was pure and joyful. 

Ten years later, not so much!  I realized once she entered middle school...
...that our relationship had gotten off track. Suddenly (though surely it was gradual), it seemed she responded to me differently. Like I was the enemy.

My life as a mom became so filled with the tasks of instructing, correcting, and managing activities, that simply "playing" together became a rare occurrence. As our daughter grew, my husband and I became increasingly committed to parenting well, being intentional in our efforts to help our daughter become a respectful, confident, and happy girl. So where was the joy?

I wish I had understood sooner that continuing to develop my RELATIONSHIP with her, apart from my mothering role, was critical. She is becoming a young woman with a mind and a heart of her own, who yearns to be heard and known and loved. Not simply a project that her parents desperately want to get right!

In addition to setting boundaries for her safety and character, we now focus more on cultivating a loving relationship with her. It's the only way we'll be able to speak into her life and influence her values. We underestimated the importance of just having fun together, talking without an agenda, and really listening and learning about each other as people. 

I've found encouragement from Reb Bradley, a pastor and father of six grown children, who says on his website, "If we are to have significant influence of our teenage children we must have their hearts. Winning their hearts means gaining the opportunity to influence who they are, not just what they do."

It's been several months since we began to shift our focus as parents, and the joy is returning to our family.


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