A long drive was a part of my day today and during that was lots of time for thinking, one of the thoughts that took up some of the time was about kids and how they hear love. So there are these two books, Parenting Teens With Love And Logic and Your Teenager Is Not Crazy: Understanding Your Teen’s Brain Can Make You a Better Parent. They are two really, really great books on parenting. A counselor suggested Parenting Teens With Love And Logic and the other book I heard of on a radio program. Sometimes I listen to the radio, I wonder how may still do? I could go on and on as to why these books are amazing. One is all about the chemistry and biology of teens, the other approaches, as the title says, the logic of raising children and how love comes into play. I can’t imagine trying to parent my teens without the knowledge I have gained from those two books. There are others that I have read, just to be clear, but these two stand out.
One of the things I have learned recently, and this was not covered in either book but came about because I have learned how to slow down and be more present, is that each of my kids has a specific way they tune into me when I am speaking or doing. My kids love me, and so of course they listen and are interested in what I have to say and what I am doing. Even when it’s time for discipline, I have their hearts and this is evident in the way they respond. That was accomplished because of some very specific things we have done, but mostly it’s a grace thing. I don’t honestly know how I have made it this far and still have my kids hearts. Grace, lots of undeserved and very humbling amounts of grace. But as they get older, there is fierce competition for their hearts. They are pulled in so many different directions. And it’s fine to be moving away from me and towards responsible independent adulthood. I want this. That’s what I am raising them to be. Adults. Adults that think for themselves and do for themselves and want to move away and be their own people. For most of them we are not quite there yet, but for a few we are getting close! For all of them, they have different needs and different levels of needs. But they all need to be loved and cherished along side the training and discipline. Each one of them has a different need when it comes to being loved, a different method is needed for delivering words of life and affirmation, and I don’t naturally do some of them and it comes up against my selfishness.
I don’t like fishing, but apparently I have offspring that enjoy this royal waste of time. So we are fishing. Others are like me and want to talk and talk and talk. Which I love. Listening and talking come naturally to me. It’s why I found myself drawn to counseling and support. Bored games. I mean board games. I hate board games. Card games, any games really, unless they are on a console or a computer. Some of the kids want 1 on 1 time with a game. That’s hard for me. Slowing down enough to play a board game means my brain starts spinning fast and I remember all the things I need to do, other than moving a scotty dog around a board for 2 hours. But it’s important, it’s quality time that speaks love and life to my child and it’s time I can’t ever get back. So I do it, and I learn to kill the selfishness. Okay, I am learning. Okay, okay, I am trying to learn. One step at a time. It’s so interesting and wonderful how each child has their own way of receiving love and security. Even if they are similar to each other, they are not the same. Little nuances here and there and the way both personality and experiences shape what best works for them. It’s crazy really, how we as parents are entrusted with these little humans. They are so much fun, and yet so incredibly frustrating and unpredictable. But like any parent, I would not trade being their dad for anything.