Last Thanksgiving, after the death of Mark’s dad, we spent time with one of his half brothers and his family who live in the Indianapolis area. He has four teenage daughters and we told the girls that they could come over and spend time with Aunt Jill and Uncle Mark so we could get to know them better.
The youngest decided to stay a couple of days that weekend. She and I enjoyed getting a manicure, doing a little retail therapy, and having lunch out. We talked, laughed, and I got to know her a little bit better.
Her family goes to the beach every Spring Break, but this year she told her parents that she didn’t want to go to the beach; she wanted to spend her Spring Break with Aunt Jill and Uncle Mark.
As I processed the possibility of this with her dad, I could tell that he had mixed emotions about this. I encouraged him to not be offended that she wanted to spend time with us, but to be thankful that she is seeking out other adults in her life.
Most of us have someone we can confide in. Someone we can sort through life with. Someone who knows our hopes and dreams. Who do your kids have?
When life gets hard, sometimes the last thing a 14-year-old needs is advice from another 14-year-old!
As our kids get older, particularly through their teen years, we need to be praying for other adults, other positive influences, to be in our kid’s lives. If they talk to a youth group leader more than they talk to you, be grateful they are talking to someone who can give them wisdom and point them in a right direction.
Youth leaders, neighbors, family friends, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and even coaches may be people who could spend a little one-on-one time with your child or your teen. As they build a relationship with your child, they talk about school, and relationships, and faith, and parents, and problems….you know the real stuff of life!
A couple of years ago, a friend of mine had a teen going through a tough time. She fought with her parents a lot and was particularly angry with her father for some choices that he had made that had affected the family. I suggested a counselor to the mom and asked her mom if I could invite her daughter out for a coke.
She responded positively to my invitation. We laughed and talked and sorted. For about a year, I was the one she would text or call when things got hard with her parents. Then she got past that hard season in her life. She eventually resolved things in her heart with her dad. I don’t hear from her much anymore…and that’s fine! Our relationship served it’s purpose for a season.
As our kids grow up, let’s be praying for other adults in their life. And when they talk more openly with another adult than they do with us, let’s not be offended they’re not talking to us.
Parenting is hard enough as it is. Don’t put additional pressure on yourself or your kid to ALWAYS talk to you. Just be glad when they talk to someone!
What about you? When you were growing up, did you have other adults you talked to? What made those relationships safe for you?