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It's Not Over Yet - Issue 274
November 09, 2012
Hi there! ....

This week was fairly normal except for Tuesday. It was overcast and the temperature had dropped. I needed Daniel to pull the last produce from our veggie garden and so sent the 3 boys who were here for the morning down with him. I asked them when they were done pulling them they needed to give the carrots and beetroots a wash. I am obviously out of touch with young boys because I came back to see how they were doing and every one was drenched! From that moment on I knew our day was going to look different. They did a very thorough job of washing the veggies, then they played outside to dry off. By this time I was having such a good time with my girls inside looking for dresses to wear Christmas day that I decided to send all the boys off to the cattle yards (long discarded) for some boy fun. I have no idea what they do down there except they come back home very happy and very dirty! I like days like this!

Live life with your kids!

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It's Not Over Yet

Though parenting our teenage children looks very different than parenting the ‘childhood’ years we are still parenting – it isn't over yet. Just because our children can make moral decisions doesn't mean they don’t need us. Just because they have practical skills doesn't mean they are ready to do it on their own. We cannot afford to take a step back, thinking our job is over.

People have often asked me, “What are the hardest years for parenting – the toddlers or the teenagers?” Both require commitment and effort though the effort looks different. When our kids are toddlers our effort is very physical. We need to keep up with them, set physical boundaries, be their self-control etc. For teenagers though it is more emotional; lots of talking, lots of heart to heart interaction. We need to put in the same amount of time – it just looks different.

Talking to my teens has been the biggest change in my parenting role. Actually talking, talking, talking probably started in the pre-teen years. Being available to talk is a key factor in building a relationship with your kids. There are only so many times you can put a person off, until they won’t come back again. This can so easily happen with our kids in our busy days. We can say we'll talk about that later, but do we? And really, what is more important: the task I am doing right now, or the issue on my child’s heart? I know there are situations where we need to finish up but really, for most of the time what is on our child’s heart is important – the most important.

We also need to find a way to get into their world. What interests them? Who are their friends? These things will be influencing our kids and though they may say otherwise, our kids do want a guiding hand through these growing up times. Though we need to remember it is a guiding hand not a dictating hand. They will find themselves in conflicts, both with other people and within their own heart, and if you don’t have a clue about it then it will take all the more time and effort to help them (if they even give you the opportunity!) We don’t need to be helicopter parents, hovering over their every move. But we do need to be involved. Imagine not being involved in a friend’s life. It is hard to imagine – that is because relationships need us to be involved. Having a relationship with our children is no different – we need to be involved.

We also need to have fun together. As our children have grown, and we now have four teens, family fun looks very different. Meal times can be a hoot as we all spar off each other. As humour develops we enjoy different DVD’s (often the older the better) for a good laugh and relaxing time together. Our social times with other families look different as the kids hang around and get involved in our friend’s lives too. Getting out and about looks different - taking a teen on a hike is very different than taking a toddler! Even our favourite board games have changed. Cooking our family breakfast on a Sunday morning is a team thing these days – and we enjoy doing it together. Fun together is important and we need to ensure that every family member has some sort of involvement.

Though we need to recognise that our older kids are no longer ‘children’ but they are growing and maturing to be adults – they are young adults – there is still the need for discipleship. The things that we do as a parent will set the stage for any discipleship/training to happen in the years ahead. Though talking to our teens is so important they will only hear, or receive wisdom and instruction if it comes from their heart, they have to want it. And they will want it if they can be sure that you have their best interests at heart – not just because you are the parent but because you know them, understand them, believe in them.

This means we need to put in the effort – build the foundation for a relationship with our teens well before they are teens. So if you are a parent of younger children, and you've got this far in my newsletter let me encourage you to put in the effort. To build relationships with your kids now. Relationships with younger kids really need much the same: time, face to face contact, encouragement. Know that what you do today will be building your family for tomorrow.

And for parents of teens – I believe it is never too late. If you have a struggling relationship with your teen then Jesus is there for you. He loves your teen, and He will help you love them too. Now, I don’t have any experience with this situation so I can’t even start to think of solutions – but I do know that Jesus is there.

I rejoice in the future (as I am sure many of my readers do) – knowing that my kids and I have a good relationship. My heart is also glad that those who are over 18 have intentionally asked to still be discipled: to be taught and encouraged in the ways of God. And yet I cannot relax for one moment because relationships though strong and stable are still fragile. We need to nurture those hearts we hold as precious – and that takes effort.

I blog throughout the week at Live Life with Your Kids! This week I've written:

My Bookshop

Restoring the Heart, Mind and Soul of Christmas Do your Christmas celebrations line up with what you believe? Do your celebrations help your children learn more about Jesus?

This e-book is based on a workshop I held for a couple of years to help families see that Christmas can be a significant tradition in our family life. If we are intentional about how our family celebrates we have the opportunity to use this time to teach our children about Jesus, and his love for each one of us.

Blending Life with Lessons e-book - Does your everyday life challenge your homeschool ideas? This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle.

Heart Focus Parenting book/e-book - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.

My Sitemap is a quick reference to all you will find on Lifestyle-Homeschool. I encourage you to have a browse around!

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter

Live life with your Kids newsletter is about being a deliberate parent, about enjoying family life and using the opportunities that happen to teach and train your children in righteousness (right living with God). I hope that you will find regular encouragement as you live life with your kids!

The newsletter will also keep you updated with all additions to Lifestyle-Homeschool

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