Relationship = The Parental Glue That Holds A Family Together

by MamaJil on January 28, 2012

Today I’ve been pondering the stages of parenting.  I must say I am currently in almost all stages of motherhood.

I am in the mother to adult children stage, the I am the mother in law stage, and the grand mother stage. Mom to college children stage, mom to highschoolers, middle schoolers, and mom to kids in elementary school, I am a kindergartener’s mom,  and mom to a preschooler…….the only thing I am not at the moment is the mom to a baby, but for this season that is okay.

All the stages are different with different requirements but they all have one underlined common thread and that is a need for relationship.  At each and every stage of parenting building and maintaining a relationship with each of our children has been of utmost importance. At the end of each day  everyone needs to know this is home, a refuge and that we are people that they can trust and call no matter the situation.

The relationship begins when you find out you are going to have that child. It grows the second you hold that child. All the long nights and  the around the clock feedings is building trust in the heart of your child.  All the cuddling and holding is also building trust and planting in their hearts the knowledge that home is a place of safety and refuge. As they begin to grow and need correction and instruction they thrive within the safety of the boundaries you have set so long as the instruction is given in love.

Its easy when they are little, even though you may think you are going to die from sleep deprivation and  that they will forever be soiling their diapers ( I use to think mine were going to go from pampers to depend undergarments….but they didn’t)  the exhaustion of a trying to get a toddler to sleep through the night, the nerve fraying days you let them cry it out…all that is prep for what is to come….

The teen years arrive and as my children are evolving into whom they are destined to become I notice that there has to  gradual change in my parenting. For the sake of the relationship I’ve noticed commanding them is not as effective as guiding them along.  That is not to say there aren’t times we have to put our foot down or that there aren’t times of correction because there are. but as they are growing and becoming more independent its vital to acknowledge those changes and shift our approach.  The teen years bring out strong opinions in our children as they are trying to figure things out and decide their stance on topics.   Teens are not always right, they just seem to think they are, and that is okay. We don’t have to prove they are wrong, we just have to gently prod them along and guide them to keep them going in the right direction. I think that its easy to alienate them at this stage and a lot more difficult  at times to want to nurture the relationship, but we have to remember the end goal is a continuation of  building a  lifelong relationship so that they always have somewhere and someone  come to.  I do have to admit that at times  in the middle of an issue there are occasions  that  I have a hard time transitioning from mom of a preschooler to mom of a teen….its times like this when I pull the  “because I said so” when in reality I should have listened a little longer and come along side of the issue instead of hitting it head on. Its times like this that storms may break out and the peace and harmony of  my relationship with my teen may be rocked a bit. Its times like this that I have to stop, mid stream sometimes and start over, explaining to the child in question that ” hey this has gotten out of hand lets start over.” No one wants to be disrespected and no one wants to be dismissed on issues that are important to them. I have to care enough to listen and love enough to apologize even if I’m not going to change my stance. I owe it to the relationship to hear them out.  Teen years are just a season, a stage in the process of life. There are days that may seem this stage will never end, but it will…..remember the diapering, and sleepless night stage of life it passes, and so do the teen years.

The college child initially whether its due to the natural progression of independence or a bad case of jitters seems to some degree alienate the parents. They are trying to figure out their new stage in life and be more independent. They are learning to stand on their own and at times it may seem that they no longer need me.   I have however found that as they learn to stand alone they need encouragement and sideline cheer leaders now just as much as they did in tee-ball. Its during this season that they need some space yet they need to know you aren’t too far off.  I love it when  they call and share about their classes or tests. I have one that always thinks she has failed every test she takes….in  the end she almost always ends up with an A or B….but in her initial panic she always calls home to talk through her concerns.  It does my heart good for them to call and say “mom I need you to pray I’m fixing to walk in my class”, to me that says they know they can count on me to be there when it matters.

The older they get you don’t always get an opportunity to give your input or say what you think they should do, because they really have to make their own choices, and to live their own lives. I will say however that this is the stage when you realize that, that the lifelong commitment to build a relationship has paid off.  It is because of the relationship that you have nurtured all along that they do come and talk and share. Its precious to my heart when they do call or stop in just to talk…  It is even more precious when you see them mirror your examples as they raise their own children. Its  these times that cause you to forget the sleepless nights, diapers, teen years and occasional alienation from the past years. Its moments like that make you sit back and give thanks that you did invest the time to listen!

The most important thing to remember at each stage is that there is nothing in this world that is worth jeopardizing the relationship. Relationship is the glue of parenting, it’s the thing that we as parents should protect and nurture every day.

When we take the time to build relationships we will see its the thing that keeps them coming back. Its the thing that makes home a refuge and you the safety net, and sound board, and really at the end of the day I truly believe that  everyone needs to know they have a place to go and someone to call no matter the situation.

 

 

 

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