Children change every day … sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Parents can learn the secret to surviving your child’s stages.
As a parent, it can be an amazing gift to watch your baby grow and change right before your eyes.
First coos change to first steps, and somehow those first steps turn into learning how to ride a bike and losing teeth. Eventually Little League games and first dances usher in first jobs and learning how to drive.
Before you know it, you’ve give your children roots and wings and they’re ready to take off on their own.
But mixed in with all of those milestones are some really rough days.
Keep in mind, as you’re helping your children develop their roots and wings, their behavior needs corrected. Their moods and attitudes are testy. They completely wreck your home with their messes. You end up getting on each other’s nerves. Things can get ugly (and pretty loud) along the way.
Parents and children can get frustrated – and exasperated – with each other.
But as parents, we need to remember that we are the parents. In all of our frustration, we need to act like parents. Not children.
My secret to survival
I’m still navigating the parenting waters and admittedly have no experience with parenting teenagers. But I’ve made it through the newborn, infant, toddler, and preschool stages. I’m finishing up the elementary years. As a homeschooling mom, I’m with my kids a LOT – as in all day, every day.
And I’ve finally realized the secret to surviving my child’s stages:
I remind myself that the current stage won’t last forever.
No matter how hard it feels like a phase is – and some phases are exceptionally hard – it will eventually change.
The phases may seem to drag on – they may be annoying and aggravating, or you might enjoy a sweet spot. But that phase won’t last forever, because people change.
And as little people, children certainly change.
What works for me
When I’ve been in the middle of parenting conflict – or I’m just trying to make it through one of my children’s difficult phases – I try to remember that it won’t last forever.
I try to remember past challenges and how we made it through together.
I try to remember to pray. By taking the focus off of my annoyances and issues and giving my concerns to the Lord, I feel a relief because it’s out of my hands. (Really, I never had control of the situation anyway – just an illusion of control.)
And I try to remember that parenting won’t be easy. In fact, will be downright hard.
Nothing else chisels away the roughness of my character or reveals the depth of my selfishness like parenting. It’s not a bad thing to be refined – but it is painful.
Better stages – or worse ones – may be coming, so I try to keep my cool and glean whatever lessons I can. Because as painful as it might be, many times I am the one who needs to learn and grow through my child’s difficult stage.
What might work for you
As you pray, remember how you’ve made it through rough times before, and remind yourself that parenting won’t be easy, also try to give both you and your child some grace when you hit a rough patch.
Try to step back and figure out what could be going on with both of you.
Try to realize that there are no guarantees when it comes to parenting. You could try to do everything “right” and still meet up with disaster and disappointment – all because you and your child are just people.
And try to remember that it’s just a stage. One day you’ll wake up and this parenting stage will be over and your child will be on to something else.
As a parent, it can become a beautiful gift to watch both you and your child grow and mature throughout the years. Together.
What is one of your secrets to surviving your child’s stages?
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