As I type this, I can tell you, it’s been a week.
Not my personal best. I’ve been struggling with a cold that seems to want to go straight to my chest, and three of my four daughters are right at the age where they want to express themselves and assert themselves in ways that could be termed “extreme.”
I remember being that age. From age 11 until 15 I was so unsure of myself and had so many hormones, so many emotions.
ALL. THE. EMOTIONS.
Within moments, at that age, I was sure I knew everything and I could do anything and I was smarter, better, and loving life, and a second later I was the worst: ugly, stupid, ready to check out.
A raging ball of emotion.
I wanted to tell my parents so often that I was sorry. That I didn’t know what was wrong with me. That all I needed was to be reminded that I could tell them anything. That I was still loved. I needed this so badly.
I remembered this tonight, as one of my daughters expressed the rollercoaster of emotions she’s been dealing with lately.
A verse came to mind:
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
You see? We don’t get rule books that tell us how to handle these perilous, pivotal moments. We don’t know what these precious people we are raising need from one moment to the next.
And boy, do they pick up on our every flaw. Every minute detail that might be inconsistent with what we say weighed against what we do. This parenting thing?
It’s fraught with uncertainty.
So much of parenting is instinct.
I never want my children to think I am without mercy, even when their actions are completely wrong. While I refuse to coddle them –
Parenting must be done with compassion.
My duty, more than anything, is to show my children a living embodiment of Christ’s love.
So, in her rage, and in her emotions, I scooped my errant child up and held her tight. Told her I loved her. That I was sorry she was having a hard time.
She completely melted. We talked a while longer, then after she made things right, verbally, she then finished the task I had set her. Without complaint. It was a new beginning. The relationship was restored.
Then… a quiet question, seemingly out of the blue…
“When I’m 13, can I wear makeup?”
“Uh…??? I dunno.”
Best of luck out there, parents.
May the odds be ever in our favor.