Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Where's My Preteen Support Team?
We're in a new stage–preteen, and I'm trying to figure out how to get a supportive community around this. When your kids are young, it's normal to publicly ask questions about sleep (or lack thereof), potty training, discipline, and rashes, as it's somewhat generic and everyone goes through it. Ideas are thrown out left, right, and center, and we can figure out what works best for us. Although people often talk about feeling alone, support is there with "You can do this, mom!", "I remember those days" and "Yes, Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease sucks!" People see you with a tantruming toddler and get it, they have been there and are hopefully giving you a knowing smile.
Somewhere along the way, it's no longer okay to share the daily struggles. Our kids deserve privacy and I feel even sharing a photo deserves the "okay" from them. So how do I feel heard? Where do I get ideas on how to navigate parenting issues that come up? Do I need to talk face-to-face with parents who have kids at same age? Maybe find ones with older children as they have likely already been through it? Even then, how much can I share in real life? Where do I find my trusted community? And if I connect with moms who have kids of similar ages, where do I find someone like-minded?
I'm in uncharted territory and trying to get my bearings. I want to do this well and I don't know where to get the information; it seems like each day brings up a new topic that I fumble my way through. The younger years were more about keeping them alive, letting them know they were loved, and teaching them about respect, manners, and skills to create independence. Now it feels like I'm raising mini-adults who need direction on building confidence while remaining humble. It's teaching them to be independent yet encouraging them to rely on trusted adults and their faith–"Don't be afraid to ask for help!" It's reminding them to be inclusive yet not to the point of accepting behaviour that makes them uncomfortable. It's really about things in life that we're still figuring out for ourselves.
I do know that being a safe place is key; they know that they can come to me with anything and I won't get mad (that's what I've said–I'm sure they'll test that!). I know it's about grace and forgiveness. I often think of the struggles that I had growing up and it's not that I want to shield my kids from all of it, I just want them to have the tools and wisdom to deal with these hardships. How do we best equip our children and ourselves? How do we feel supported as we journey towards our own kids becoming adults?
Looking for wisdom and support,
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