Wednesday, March 18, 2015

POT aka Parents of Teens

We joined a small group at church this spring.  We had not done small groups for a while because well, life was just to busy.  Life is still very busy but in a different way.  So, we decided to take the leap and join the POT group.  We got a little chuckle because our leaders are from Seattle.  Honestly though it stands for parents of teens.  When you have those toddlers you think I just can't wait until they can put on their shoes and wipe their bottoms.  Then there are the glorious elementary years, you feel like you somewhat have it together.  Life is full of projects, homework, activities, and the constant sibling rivalry that will put you over the edge but is manageable.  Then you have teenagers.  There is something they don't tell you about parenting teens.  Yes, they warn you of eye rolls, moodiness, and the constant need to gain independence.  They talk about the new found freedom you will gain as a parent, I mean you don't need a sitter and they can manage themselves for the most part.  What they don't tell you is how lonely it can be and how incredibly hard it is on your heart.  I have really good teenagers.  I absolutely love them.  In the grand scheme of teenage parenting I have had it pretty easy so far, but man my heart aches.  It is hard work.  You know that you need to let them make decisions and figure out their direction in life but this is not like letting them ride their bike around the block alone for the first time.  This is like watching them walk along the edge of a cliff knowing that one wrong step will send them plunging into dangerous waters and you have to stand there and pray they take the right steps.  They are navigating social media, friends, romantic relationships, drugs, alcohol, sex, and the list goes on.  I know we had to face the same things as kids but it is so much harder to watch it when you are on the other side.  It is hard to sit with your daughter as she mourns the loss of a friend to suicide or try to explain to your son why he needs to have a plan for his sexual purity.  It's exhausting and it's lonely.  I mean when you had babies everyone wants to give you advice, how to feed, how to set a sleep cycle, how to potty train, etc.  I'm not discounting that being a mom of preschoolers is not important work but try talking to your coworkers about your conversation with your son about sexual purity.  They look at you like you just grew a third eye.  Plus, who's going to admit that there teen has any problem other than being sassy?  Seriously, do you want to be judged as being a bad parent?  Here is the fact though, everyone with teenagers are facing these battles.  We are all struggling with how much do we pry and when do we let them have their independence.  It's a fine line between trusting them and trying to be informed about their lives.  I will admit that when we walked into our POT group I wondered how it would be.  I have great kids so it would not be hard to talk about their accomplishments and activities but I was longing for connection.  Real connection.  I was longing for a place where I could share my fears about parenting and not be judged.  We found that.  We were in a room with a group of parents that were all struggling with the same things.  We all realize that no matter how much you beg and plead with your teen that sometimes the decision is theirs and it's not always the right one.  As we shared our worries I started to realize something that I had lost focus of.  My faith.  Long ago as I held those tiny babies in my arms I prayed that God would take them and use them.  I prayed that He would protect them.  It was an easy prayer.  They were snuggled up in my arms.  I had control.  Now I am starting to have to release them and it is frightening.  My heart was reminded that He still has them.  He still wants the best for them.  I have to trust that God's plan is better than mine.  Oh what a powerful lesson to learn as a mom.  This parenting thing is hard on the heart.  I'm learning to trust and let go and pray a lot.  

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