It was wonderful being a parent when our children were growing up. Of course it came with the aches and pains of any growth. During the early years it was a matter of protecting them and providing for them, not only with food and housing but also with a sense of who they were and how important they were as individuals in our eyes, others’ eyes and of course their worth in God’s eyes. Of course discipline was part of those early years also. And yes, we did spank our children. Note that I said spank and not beat. When they were just learning obedience a small slap on the hand or their bottom was all that was given.
Their teenage years I guess were the most tumultuous and keeping them safe and watching not only the other kids they hung around with, but also trying to instill in them a sense of morals… yes…right and wrong. We tried to teach them to value themselves and to be responsible for their behaviour. Unlike some parents, we decided to forgo being their friend and opted for the parent role. We felt we couldn’t do justice trying to be both. There were many times I personally wished I could have been a friend because then I wouldn’t have to worry about them being cross with me when I had to ground them for some reason. There were various reasons for this such as not doing homework, coming home late, talking in a disrespectful manner etc.
There were times that came close to a ‘friendship’, when thing would go wrong for them in their lives…perhaps with their friend or someone they liked not liking them back. It was then I dropped a little of the parent role, although some of the advice whether taken or not was as a mother and not a friend. We developed a trust between our children and us. Sometimes trust had to be earned back if it was tarnished a bit because of an earlier break. Our teenagers tried to sometimes push their luck a little and go into forbidden territory but eventually we came to a truce.
I remember being very concerned about them drinking during those years. In order to discourage it we would take them to the party they were going to, asking previously for the telephone number, and then we would pick them up even if it was somewhat inconvenient for us, because we didn’t want them to have to figure out a way to get home. It didn’t matter that they were boys or if it was our daughter. We just wanted them home safe.That is not to say they did not try to drink, as I would be a fool to think that, but it was kept in control and there were never serious issues with it.
Now, they are all grown and have children, including teenagers of their own. I would like to think that they will react in somewhat the same way we did, because I think my husband and I did one heck of a good job raising three wonderful children. Now we sit back and watch as their children grow and they take on the same task. With our sons, actually their children have now passed those tenuous years, and are fine young people trying to make their way into the world.
Our daughter and husband are just entering those unnerving years, but I have no doubt based on how their two boys are now, that they are most certainly handling their job well.