Tug of War
I have spent quite a bit of time talking about younger children. Many times when we are in the midst of raising children, we think, “Oh, when they just get a little older it will be easier.” I will have more time, because they are independent. If we only knew then what we know after they are older, it never gets that way. The time requirements and our involvements just change, but they don’t lessen.. And now that my children are grown, I still seem to never have enough time. Our second son said to me last night that there is one thing about our family—we do life together. Yesterday I had my sweet granddaughter for the day (pictured above), then had a grandma’s date in the park with her in the evening, and then spent some time with two of my sons. Marlin and I are so blessed; we love our sons and enjoy spending time with them. Monday nights as many of us as can have dinner together after we babysit our granddaughter so that her parents can get to the gym. This coming weekend two of my boys have a surprise event planned for their dad.
We ALWAYS have done life together, but there were days when I can tell you it was not something we wanted to do. But we were committed. Raising children is like marriage. You have a choice. When things get tough, you can walk away or you can follow God’s plan and work hard to get through it. And most importantly, pray. Pray for your children. Pray for their spouses—even before they are known to you.
Not a week goes by that I don’t get a phone call or email from a parent who is struggling with homeschooling a teenager. And believe me, I can relate. Whether you are homeschooling or your teenagers are in school, this can be a very difficult time. They are growing up, and the transition to them making things their own is not an easy one. Marlin and I are both type A personalities. That means we both know how to take charge, and we usually have an answer for most things, and if not we definitely know how to find an answer. One of the common threads in all I hear is that the child is not buying in to what the parent is doing, and this results in stress and strife.
There is a delicate balance to strike in making sure that our children do what is best for themselves and letting them take ownership, but doing some of both is sooooo important. If you want your child to be a physician (and tell them that) because you think that would be a great career path for them, but they have no interest in math and science, I can guarantee that friction is going to occur.
Get them involved in planning their year. I always love to see older students at homeschool fairs come with their parents and ask questions about curriculum. Now, you may say, my child would never be interested enough to do this. That may be, but wouldn’t it be good to see if you can figure out how to get them interested?
Start by asking them questions. I am not very good at this, because I am not very patient. But I have had to learn over the years that it is important to take the time to do this. When they help make the decision and things get tough during the year, it’s easier to get through, because they can’t say. “I didn’t want to do this. You made me.” They will naturally take some ownership.
Of course, I don’t mean only let them study what they want. I don’t necessarily love exercising every day, but I know I need to. You are the parent and should ultimately make the decision, but get them involved. If you are taking online classes with us (https://vpsa.veritaspress.com/catalog) expect them to take part in choosing which classes they want.
Love these teenage years. They are a launching point for them leaving the nest. And spending time with them now means you won’t be lonely later on. We are supposed to be in that phase called Empty Nest. I am so grateful I don’t have to know what that means.
By Laurie Detweiler