Monday, October 22, 2007

Defensive Parenting

Josh & Amy with my mom 1989

I will very rarely give advice on marrige or parenting. Don't worry. I'm not going to give advice now either. I do, however, like to encourage younger parents from time to time when I see them doing a great job with their kids.

I think one of the questions I've been most asked is how I got such good teenagers. I have to say that Cliff & I have not taken our kids for granted. We feel extremely blessed...especially while they were teenagers (I'm talking more about Josh & Amy here). I've listenend, consoled, and cried with moms whose teenage children have absolutely given them nightmares. I have felt so blessed that we haven't faced these kinds of situations. I am also very aware that I have two more teenagers to raise.

I'm thinking right now of a family in our church who have 5 children ages 10 - 5. They have those kids in church every service. They keep them in line. They love them. They have fun with them. They take the time to teach their children discipline. The children work and give and serve others. I encourage them to keep it up. One day they'll have 5 teenagers in the house and the key is to do exactly what they're doing...Proverbs 22:6 - "Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it." If you want to have control of your children when they are older, you have to teach them while they are younger.
By the time Josh was in middle school, he was taller and faster than me. I couldn't catch him even if I wanted to. It seems that as they grow older, the leverage you have(punishments) gets less. My hope was that by the time they were in the upper grades of high school & had cars & jobs, that they would have enough respect for their parents that they would (without hassle) abide by the rules of the house. This was really put to the test when Josh dated a girl who didn't like our rules. (The girl didn't last long) There are certain expectations that I have for my kids and as long as they live in the house, I expect them to follow the rules of the house. We have had a couple of problems here & there. We've had some difficult conversations. But all in all, I must say that the kids know where the line is and they haven't pushed it. I'm thankful for this because I'm not exactly sure what we would have done if they had.
My purpose in this post is to encourage anyone who reads this with young children to stay at it!! It's hard sometimes...especially when you have one who pushes the boundaries. Mine is now 14...and again, I find myself with a teenage son who is taller and faster than me. Stay with it!!!!!!! Correct, discipline, love, teach, pray. Be consistent. It's defensive parenting. You'll appreciate it when they're older.

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