7. Don’t be a go-between with their teachers.
Once I rushed down to my daughter’s middle school like an angry Mama Bear, trying to work out a situation with a teacher as a third party. I hate that I did that because my daughter missed the opportunity to advocate for herself. And my intervention only made the situation worse with the teacher.
Learning to stand up for yourself—in all areas of life—is necessary. “Mama Bears” often prevent their kids from developing this necessary survival tactic. Discuss difficult classroom issues with your kids, pray about it with them, advise them, but let them work it out (unless it’s something truly harmful).
8. Parent with the end-goal in mind.
Remember, you’re not raising your kids to be good kids; you’re raising them to be responsible, mature adults. While I knew that babying prevents maturity, I still wound up doing it way too often (I’m a recovering helicopter mom).
Asking this question helped me stop babying my teens, "Will what I do today make their lives better or worse later on?" Being mindful of the future changed my parenting, because what makes children happy at age 14 is very different from what will make them happy at age 30 and beyond.
9. Seek after God Daily.
Learn how to parent from the best Father there is—don’t attempt to parent without Him! When my kids were teens, I desperately clung to the Lord like never before and He helped me be a better parent than I could’ve ever been on my own.
Here’s how God helped me: He showed me why I babied my kids so much. It was because my parents were overly rigid. I realized that I was trying to undo my past through my parenting, which wasn’t right. That was a hard reality to face, but I’ll always be grateful to the Lord for revealing it to me.
He can help you, too. The best parenting strategy you can have is to spend time with the Lord, daily. In fact seeking after God helped me so much, I just knew it could someone else, so I wrote a book about my experience, called Seeking a Familiar Face. (I hope you’ll check it out)
As your children transition, you must transition your parenting, too. Be intentional: baby your children a little less, each year. And remember there are many wonderful things you can do for your kids, at any age. Ask thoughtful questions. Be a good listener. Pray for them, earnestly. Be their encourager. But most of all, remind your children often that the Lord loves them and that you do, too.
May Patterson has been writing and teaching Bible study classes for years. Recently she released her first book, Seeking a Familiar Face. Now, she has just released its companion Bible study workbook. May trained in small group dynamics for over ten years with Bible Study Fellowship, serving as a leader for four years. She has written for various magazines including Focus on the Family, Upper Room Magazine and iBelieve, and is a sought-after public speaker. May is married to her dear friend, Mike, and they have three grown children. She loves to tell stories, laugh, and talk about the adventure of seeking God. Read more from May by visiting: http://www.maypatterson.com.
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