So, I don’t have it all together as a parent.
My main objective as a mom is to fully devote the care of my hands to my children and to equip them for life. My desire is to try to fully understand their world and to not be afraid of something new just because I don’t understand it or its purpose as it fits into their world. As a mom to a teen today, I cannot parent based on what fit into my mold as a teenager myself.
I can seek to protect him from what I do know based on experience (and I sure have enough of that for a room full of teenagers) even when two teens’ lives are not meant to be formed and extracted from a particular mold.
I like to work through things instead of tossing something out the window into a ditch on the side of the road to rot. That’s not useful to anyone. Someone else will have to deal with that at some point, and I don’t want my child to be blindsided as an adult when God has given me the ability and time to invest in him now.
I could be getting this ALL wrong.
What I do know is that I am trying my hardest to work diligently to foster a mentality of open communication and good conversation.
If I am metaphorically always slamming doors in my son’s face and saying no to this app or that app, then I am simultaneously saying to him, “I don’t want to hear what you have to say, I don’t care what you are interested in, and I don’t want to lean into this new technology because that’s not what we did when I was your age.”
So, what I am learning as I approach it in this manner is that if I chose to let that door stay open and that app be downloaded, I am still his parent. I can still monitor and take away as needed. It takes work, but I am willing to show up for him in this season just as I did when he was younger. Yes, my actions will be met with way more resistance, but again, we have these open conversations to help him understand why. I give him an inch of rope through that open door with an app, and I can walk through any time to check in to see how it’s going.
There are tools now that give parents this free-reign ability and/or you can simply pick up their phone at any time and scroll through search histories and text messages. It’s really not all that scary after all. Again, there may be pushback and eye rolls, but if you commit to parenting your child through this, then it does get easier and they know what to expect from your side of the deal.
You see, I never have liked extremes. I don’t believe a hard yes or a hard no (obviously with much taken into consideration here) does anyone any good. Yes, it may be easier to just say no, but maybe God is using these apps as opportunities to equip your child for something that is not going away for the foreseeable future. They will grow up and move out. They will need to know when to disengage or delete altogether. Emotional health is a priority for all of us, and I have found I can help my son through these trying times with these various applications.
I may regret all of this, but this is what I’ve committed to for now.
I’m learning every single day about both of my children. I realize parenting is fluid and not black and white in most areas.
Yes, there are a handful of hard nos, but most of those lessons have already been taught and the foundation of that moral compass has been laid. Not to mention his full understanding that God’s word is first priority in all things.
Right now we are working through a situation I will be able to have more perspective on once I work through it completely.
I am literally parenting on the fly. It’s not like when he was younger and I was always ten steps ahead to equip and protect him. Nope. Those days are long gone!
God is using this season as a crossroads for him. I see it and can only pray he always chooses Christ as the ultimate answer to all of the confusion and static that is blaring through that Bluetooth speaker, app, and YouTube channel.
I haven’t abandoned ship even though I feel like I’m walking the plank weekly. I’m standing on the edge of that long board with my wrists tied behind my back and asking God to redeem anything I’ve let slip by. Even when the situation seems hopeless and I’m tempted to give up, God faithfully makes a way and saves me from my own misguided self.
And that’s the thing. I can’t do this without Him.
Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, I am trusting that God is my guide.
Charles Stanley says, “Obey God and leave the consequences to Him.” And that’s where my hope and peace lie . . . in His bosom when I feel so weak and overwhelmed from my son’s ever-changing world.
Are you parenting teens through these turbulent times?
Darts are seeking to chip away at the foundation you laid during their pre-teen years, and you must choose which tactics you use and how much of that rope you extend or if you’re leaving that door open at all.
We are all learning through this and I pray for mothers of teens daily. It’s a wild world, and we’re 3/4 of the way to the finish line!
Originally published on the author’s Facebook page