My Recent Starbucks Chat With My 13-Year Old and other “Modern World” News

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Yesterday as I was taking my daughter to youth group she asked if we could go through the Starbucks drive through on the way.  A little background on this–I am not a coffee drinker so I do not frequent Starbucks often, however the rest of my family is die-hard.

Since Starbucks is a total luxury in my mind (don’t throw things at me) I have made the rule that if our children want it, they pay for it.   So I don’t mind being the chauffeur on these trips, and the one who repeats “Venti Skinny Iced Soy Vanilla Latte Light Ice” into the little black speaker while looking at my daughter with a huge eye roll–what is that anyway??  Then, when the ever sweet drive through attendant shares the total–$5.61″ I look at my daughter again.  “REALLY?”

“Mom, you’ve really got to come into the modern world,” my thirteen-year old responds.

“Hmmm…” is all I can say.

Speaking of the modern world, I am almost ready to move this blog there.  I am kind of bursting at the seams to get it launched.  On the new blog you will find an updated look, streamlined menu, and I will be posting some “modern world topics” like:

  • Money: Finding margin and peace–and the guts to make it happen.
  • Another way to look at conflict and difficulties in our lives: Fighting the real enemy.
  • 9 Ways to Grow Spiritually
  • Unstuck: How to determine when you need to make a change in your life.
  • Procrastinators Anonymous– How to get stuff done!  (Especially those things at the bottom of our list)
  • Identity in Christ–How to really understand this concept and how it can alter your relationships, reactions and self esteem.
  • Design ideas for your home–plus much more!

I had hoped to launch this blog by now but I am still working out a few of the details–like the fun “photoshoot” I had this past Friday with a friend who took headshots for the site (I will be telling you all about her and her amazing photography), along with many, many (often stressful) 6:10 AM online chats with my coder in India since that is right before she is going to bed and the only time our time zones match up at all.

It is all worth it though–I am learning patience and peace even when I want things NOW.   Writing and sharing my heart about what God is teaching me in hopes that you will say, “Me too” and feel a little lighter in your day is the constant motivation I carry.

I cannot wait to show you what is in store for you.

xoxo,

Amy

The Parenting Battles We Should Choose To Fight

 

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Tonight I made a parenting decision that I’m not sure would score high on the “How To Do Parenting” scale (where can I find that by the way?).  Yet, I am glad of the decision.

I forced my thirteen-year old daughter and fourteen-year old son to watch the movie Little Women.

Yup, forced. Laid down the law.  Made butts sit on couch next to mine.

This typically isn’t my parenting style, but I had just reached my limit of You Tube “Tutorials” and “Epic Fails.”

It is actually a compromise on my part as I see it, since I have been completely unsuccessful at convincing my children that reading classics is well worth their time.

So a movie it was.

There was dissension and moaning, which my realistic mind realizes is normal for this age group when asked to do something mature and good for the intellect.  That they would desire to be well versed in the romantic story line of Meg and her courting of Laurie’s tutor or to be excited to understand the historical significance of children trading “limes” at school and the family’s struggle to make ends meet during war times is just too much to expect…but I still do!

Virtue over wealth! Pushing against confining gender roles—oh the themes!

And then I am disappointed when my two teens keep calling to the dog in a high pitched squeal over Jo’s soliloquy of her newly written manuscript.

But wait, during the final minutes of Beth’s life a question is asked by my daughter with hushed silence in the room,”Why didn’t the other sisters who got Scarlet Fever as young children die of it then?”

And somehow I feel like I have won, this little tiny victory. My children will be able to speak of with some knowledge when met with future commentary or reference about Scarlet Fever and Mary Louise Alcott’s classic.  Possibly with a little scarring. But they will remember it.

And all the other battles I fight or choose not to this week will be okay because of this small champion. History, family, modesty, poverty, love, pain, perseverance, joy—all in a story.  It’s worth it.

Often in parenting we feel like we are fighting our children, when really we are fighting FOR what is good for them.  It feels like a battle we choose against them because their natural tendency in the teen years is to push back.  We must remember that the battle is not about us winning and them losing, but about the things that are good and virtuous and right winning over in their lives.

And for you, what will you put your stake in the ground this week as your parenting non-negotiable?  That is the battle you must choose.

Roll the credits.

 

Parenting Teenagers

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Jon and I just got back from a trip to Mexico.  This is a yearly trip that we take, one that I look forward to for months.  It always has a time of needed relaxation, marriage connection, and learning– in my bag I have my required reading of  a “fun book” and an “educational read.”  This year, however, was a little tougher for me to disconnect and settle into vacation mode.  This possibly happened for a couple of reasons, one of them being I just missed the kids, a lot.  They are getting older now, and although one would think it would get easier to leave them, it seems harder for me.

Our relationships with our children have moved from meeting their basic survival needs (goldfish crackers, stuffed animals, bedtime stories, clean diapers) to trying to build solid, loving, trust-filled relationships with them–in the midst of great swells of emotion–elation (a boy likes me!), sadness (I’m being picked on) disappointment (I didn’t do well on a test), jealousy (my friends got invited but I didn’t).  Then there is the challenge of  the testing of bigger boundaries, reactions to our “no,” and knowing how much independence allowed to them is just enough.

As a parent I’m always asking, “What is working?  What isn’t?”  My two older children bring the burdens of the day home, and then in the whirlwind of carpools and dinner and homework somewhere a word or sentence is thrown out in an unattractive tone returned by a sharp response from us.  It sometimes spirals into conflict and tears, sometimes we’re able to keep it from escalating.  Other times, they are just sad.  Their feelings have been hurt at school, or they are upset at themselves for handling things badly.  I want to fix it but I can’t.  I can just hug–which is sometimes wanted and sometimes not.  I heard a phrase recently that just spoke truth to me, “Moms are only as happy as their saddest child.”  Gosh, that just resonates with me sometimes.

As the plane took off, heading to another country, I sat and thought, gazing out at the miles separating me from my children, like a ball of string unraveling.  I felt like I wanted to fly back to them and hug them all, even if they wouldn’t hug back.

Instead, I stayed in my seat (really didn’t have a choice about that) and flew to our destination, where Jon and I soaked up some warmth. I spent the next 5 days reading The Five Languages of Love for your Teenager, by Gary Chapman.

9780802473134It was excellent.  I learned so much about why parenting teenagers can be so emotionally draining.  The author explained my children to me, and taught me how to respond to the feelings my kids are having at this stage of their lives.  Gary states that our kids have five languages (as do you and I) that speak “love” to us:

Words Of Affirmation

Quality Time

Acts of Service

Gifts

Physical Touch

If we are not speaking our kids’ primary love languages, then their cup is not filled, meaning they may be feeling “unloved” or lonely, even though we think we are showering them with love!  It is important for us to learn to speak our child’s love language.  There is a quiz in the back of the book for your child to take, and it gives us a great insight into what their love language may be.

Jon and I spent a good amount of time taking about what this book was teaching us, and how we could do a better job with our kids.
As we flew home, each mile bringing us closer to reuniting as a family, I was so thankful for the time away to reflect, process and read about how I can be a better mom.  I feel a little more prepared for each day, and hope to be loving my children the way they need.

Even though it was hard to leave my kids, it was probably the best thing I could do to gain some perspective and return with a little more understanding of who they are and my role in their lives,

and sporting a little tan too :).

Blessings,

Amy

 

 

Book Club: The Five Love Languages of Teenagers

Written By Amy

Last October Jon and I officially became parents of a teenager when our daughter, Hannah, turned 13.  This phase of parenting for us has definitely lived up to its expectations! 🙂 It is a time of contradiction with displays of surprisingly mature behavior mixed with emotional meltdowns (The word “hormones” has become common verbage around here).  Hannah wants to be grown up, and we are constantly trying to figure out where to hold back and where to let her stretch her wings.  It is a time of texting, friend transitions, super self-consciousness.  A time of beautiful emergence into young womanhood, and a time of needing the security and safety of home more than ever. 

As a mom, I am constantly trying to navigate these uncharted waters the best way possible.  I mostly feel like I am floating around without  a map and only one oar!

I just ordered a book to help with this navigation.  It’s called The Five Love Languages of Teenagers, by Gary Chapman.  Jon and I read The Five Love Languages book for our marriage years ago and it was instrumental in helping us identify how we receive and give love.  This book is specifically designed to help understand how to love your teenager.  If you don’t have a teenager yet, I would recommend reading it as that time approaches (I wish I would have read it a couple of years before now!).

Here is a quote:

“This book focuses on what I believe to be the most foundational building block of  parent-teen relationships–love.  I believe that love is the most important word in the English language and the most misunderstood.  It  is my hope that this book will remove some of the confusion and help parents focus effectively on how to meet their teenager’s emotional need for love.”  p 12.  Gary Chapman goes on to say that parents love their teenagers, but the teenagers do not always feel that love.  That spoke to me because I want Hannah to feel our love more than ever as she transitions into young-adulthood.

Blessings to you this Sunday!

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