Monday, December 14, 2009

Fighting the Panic Mode as a Parent

Do you ever get scared of the things your kids want to discuss with you? How about the things they don’t want to discuss with you? I do. It’s kind of like when my daughter learned to climb the stairs when she was a toddler and I wasn’t ready to enter that phase with her! But enter it you have to!

I tend to be a worrier. A fretter. I mull things over and ponder them and chew on them in my mind and my heart. So imagine having that tendency and being a mother! Sometimes you can feel like the whole world is out to get your child.

I’ve learned I have to fight those panicky feelings. I have to fight the fear that wants to climb up my throat and yell “You’re never leaving this house without me again!” Because if I don’t, I might lose my children in a different way - a rebellious way.

I don’t want to be a parent who “parents” out of fear. Yes, I’m protective. You bet I am. Yes, I try and do my research and be knowledgeable about what is going on. But I don’t want to suffocate my children by my fears for their lives. I’d much rather talk and communicate with my children and have them come to me about subjects that I’d rather avoid – than them go to their friends with those subjects. And I’d much rather them be able to ask me questions about things than clam up and discover the answer on their own.

I love being a mom. But as my children grow, being a mom is tough. It’s scary to see your child pulling away from you and forming their own ideals, thoughts, and values. I mean, what if they choose the wrong ones? What will you do? But I’m slowly teaching myself to take those fears to God. To do my very best to encourage open conversation, trust, honesty, and respect and leave the rest to my child and the Lord. It’s the only way I can get through it.

Somewhere along the line I’ve got to trust that God loves and cares about my children’s well-being more than I do. I’ve got to be willing to be flexible with my children and with God’s plan for them as sometimes it may not go on the road I would choose for them. That scares me a lot but when you love someone deeply, you learn that you have to let them go and I’m making the daily choice to teach and instruct them; while also leaving them in God’s hands. It’s hard to do – but I’m giving it my best shot.

Our children need us. They need to be able to trust us with their feelings – the “unmentionables” and all the questions, curiosities, and hurts they deal with in their social lives. They need to know that we as their parents are strong, and we can handle it (even if at times we don’t think we can!)

Are you going to be there for them? Are you going to give them the freedom to come to you and to be able to talk about tough subjects? I know I want to be that kind of mom. And it all starts with swallowing my fears enough to listen and love. With God’s guidance and strength, I can survive these growing-up years and even learn to navigate them with grace.

So can you.

1 comment:

Cherie said...

As a mother of three girls ages 8, 9 and 19, I have learned something through every stage of parenting! I totally agree that especially as moms we need to be able to talk with our kids about ANYTHING! Start young and then they learn early that no subject is out of bounds. Although I am not opposed of pulling things out of my teenager either! But making time to be available is key at every age. I find at bedtime is when they want to talk deeply, so I have to be patient during this tender time of sharing!


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