“Mom do you want to…?”
I have come to appreciate these words deeply in recent weeks because those of us parenting teens know that doing so is no easy job. And when you’re raising a large family (remember I have six!) there are a variety of personalities. Those personalities translate into various struggles as our children enter the teen years and go through a transition of trying to figure out who they are and how to deal with the many pressures that surround them.
I’ve discovered after parenting through several teen to young adult transitions that at some point part of our teen’s vocabulary goes missing. As of late I have especially noticed how certain questions seem to disappear. Questions like: Mom do you want to hear my poem? Mom do you want to know what I got on my test? Mom do you want to know what happened today when I did my presentation in class? If you are raising a teen(s) then perhaps you have another question that you would throw in there.
Now before it simply sounds like I wait for them to ask me questions I want you to know I don’t. But when the kids were younger (and two still are in this season!) they were all too eager to jump in the car after school or after an event of some sort and tell me all about it the moment I said, how was…? Now some didn’t wait for the question, they just started giving me and anybody else in the car a detailed description of their experiences that day. But as some of the kids have transitioned into the teen years it appears at times as if they have lost their voice. Why? Because within themselves they are going through a very real struggle with emotions and their current reality of life.
Growing up is not easy in today’s world with its information and message overload. And even when you provide your children with the most loving and nurturing environment that you can, many will still struggle. But don’t lose hope! When it seems that they are pushing you away, respect their space but keep asking the questions. You may not get a response, but let them know you are still interested in what’s going on in their life. Read their school work, the notes they leave around, and take time to listen to the songs they sing or the art or poetry they write – you will learn a lot about what’s going on with them! And at some point, when they find their voice, they’ll being to speak up again to ask, Mom do you want to…? And when they do, it will fill your heart with joy. I know this full well because it happened to me just yesterday!
A picture of my beautiful family!
The Reverend Carmen Kampman is a woman on the road of leadership. Ordained with the PAOC, she is a steward of God’s call to women in ministry, and the founder of LEAD Women, a ministry equipping Christian women for leadership. She is also VP of Advancement at Horizon College & Seminary, and a graduate student in the Masters of Leadership program at Briercrest Seminary.