I will be the first to admit when it comes to some things, I am undeniably a weenie. I hate spiders, I cover my ears when the fireworks are too loud, and I really do not enjoy sweating when I exercise because it really messes up my hair. But I do it anyway because I know it’s good for me.
There is one area, however, where I know I cannot afford to be a weenie, and that is parenting. The definition of a weenie, according to Merriam-Webster, is “a weak person who is easily frightened.”
Moms have already proven their lack of weakness when they gave birth. Both moms and dads practice overcoming fear and weakness by navigating the toddler years.
Parents of young kids have to do all sorts of taxing chores. They change really dirty diapers and clean spit-up, blood, and other revolting fluids off people and surfaces as their initiation into parenthood.
And you just haven’t lived until your queasy toddler spews red Jell-O on your favorite silk dress. No, it doesn’t come out.
For some reason, we all seem to be able to handle that stuff. “I survived that pretty well!” we think, puffing out our chests and feeling rather proud of our strong constitutions.
Then the kids get older. They begin to walk and talk. They start having opinions and wills and desires. And that’s when it is vital for parents not to lose their bold, lionhearted nerve and allow weenie status to creep in. Remember. You survived being thrown up on.
There is something about having a 12 ½ year old that can spark fear in the hearts of those same, hard-core parents. They are told at every turn that they are supposed to tremble at that upcoming birthday as if something horrible and unavoidable is barreling in their direction.
Take heart! Here are 5 ways to avoid weenie status and to be a strong, kind, and effective parent. You can actually look forward to and enjoy that “dreaded” thirteenth birthday.
- Convince yourself you won’t dread it.
Mind over matter, or mind over misery in this case. You can talk yourself into or out of anything you want to. You can tell yourself you are going to be happy or miserable in any situation, including the progression of your child’s birthdays. Don’t let other people’s negative comments bring you down. Turn a deaf ear to the naysayers.
- Speak your desires into existence.
There is a lot of power in the spoken word. Be sure you have an answer prepared for the prophets of doom who want to scare you with statements like, “Oh, boy. I feel sorry for you,” or “My kid was an angel til he turned 13.”You might surprise the person, and even make him or her think twice about making such statements if you are armed with a decisive, positive response, such as “Really? I’m looking forward to it. I can’t wait to see the awesome things he will do.” You will also score major points with your teenager, or soon to be teenager, if he knows you are on his side, and that is of prime importance.
- Maintain the good relationship you already have.
Be sure to cultivate a loving, close relationship with your child all throughout her childhood. There is absolutely no reason for that relationship to change just because a birthday rolls around. If you and your child are close and she knows you love her, thirteen will be nothing for either one of you to fear.
- Stay in the loop.
Keeping good communication open with your teen is a vital extension of point 3 above. I have discussed many ways to do that in other posts, such as in How to Have a Thriving Relationship With Your Teenager. Also, there are helpful tips for this in my free ebook that is offered to our subscribers. You and your teen must be able to communicate effectively with each other on a regular basis in order for you to keep up with what is happening in his or her life.
- Pray for strength and guidance.
Always seek God’s word and will when dealing with any situation, but certainly when dealing with this one. The Bible is full of wonderful passages that are designed to give us the courage to do the things that are set before us. For example, Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Moses is telling the Israelites that they can go into the Promised Land and take possession of it with God’s help and guidance. If God could strengthen the Israelites during their time of difficulty, imagine what He can do for us as parents.
Remember the name of this blog – The 7 Year Adventure. My purpose here is to encourage you as parents to enjoy your wonderful kids at any age, especially the teen years. They are often overlooked as a source of joy for parents.
Don’t let anyone steal your joy. You and your teen are entitled to happiness. Grab it and ignore the negativity.
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