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I wanted to share with you about one of the books I am reading, even though I have nowhere NEAR finished it yet!
I can't even remember where I saw this book recommended. It may have been a blog or a podcast, or it may have come up in a related Amazon search. What I DO know, is that when I saw it I knew I needed to read it.
Parenting is not an easy job. In fact, I would go as far as to say it's a hard job. It's a perfect example of how hard things are not always bad things. I LOVE being a parent, but there are challenges around every corner.
Challenges are not always a negative, or they certainly don't have to be negative, but I have been navigating a season of life that was seeming to throw up challenges on a regular basis.
The teen years.
I won't say it's been awful, because it hasn't. Challenges, however, are the reality. Issues come up that you simply don't face with a young child. I have said to others that there is a wilfulness about the things you handle with an older child. There's also a temptation to feel like you, as the parent, have somehow gone wrong for that child to make the choices they do.
I don't want these years to be constant battles and conflict - I want them to be years that both us as parents, and our children, look back on with happiness.
The blurb on this book was what won me over.
"The argument over the last donut. The cry of nothing to wear a half hour before school. The “I’m the only one whose parents make them . . .”
Teenage hassles that disrupt parents’ lives? Or prime opportunities to connect with, listen to, and nurture our kids?
Paul Tripp uncovers the heart issues affecting parents and their teenagers during the often chaotic adolescent years. With wit, wisdom, humility, and compassion, he shows parents how to seize the countless opportunities to deepen communication, learn, and grow with their teenagers."
It is not a long description, but that word "opportunity" struck a chord in my heart.
I want to have the right perspective in my parenting and this word "opportunity" really flipped my perspective on this season of life.
"These are not years to be merely survived! They are to be approached with a sense of hope and a sense of mission. Almost every day brings a new opportunity to enter the life of your teen with help, hope, and truth. We should not resign ourselves to an increasingly distant relationship. This is the time to connect with our children as never before. These are years of great opportunity."
I have only finished the first chapter, but the simple concept in that quote transformed my thinking. The premise that instead of seeing conflicts and the errant moments as something to survive, we take the opportunity to turn it on its head and teach and train them in how to respond.
Maybe your teen makes a poor choice. Instead of simply instilling some kind of punishment and lecturing them on the error of their ways, take the opportunity to gently teach them and guide them in how to make a better choice next time. Draw from scripture and explain how their choices should be shaped by God's perspective. Show them how the poor choice has impacted their life. Teach them that one poor choice can lead to further problems. Furthermore, take that opportunity to express your love for them and a desire to see them prosper and not fail.
I can only assume that their is a wealth of teaching and guidance still to come, because I have only finished one chapter!!!
I have already been able to put this principle into practice many times - not just with the teens, I hasten to add! Turning events on their head and grasping with both hands the opportunity to come alongside my growing-up-into-adulthood children, and pointing them towards making better choices.
I love all my children SO much. If I can do ANYTHING to help them navigate these years, when they are faced with many changes and choices, and make them more of a joy, I will do it. I don't want to be a parent who neglects them just when they need me most.
I will come back and share more with you when I have finished the book, or perhaps share some quotes with you on the way through.
So far, for certain, I would HIGHLY recommend this book to parents of preteens or teens. Having the right approach before you even hit the struggles would be better than me - picking it up part way through!
Find it on Amazon, through this link.