“As soon as you get them a car, everything goes downhill.”
My sister-in-law recounted my mother’s words, chuckling. I was eighteen at the time, and between my attraction to troublesome boys, my aversion to a curfew, and my disrespect for the rules at the Christian school I attended, I was giving them more than their fair share of grief.
I don’t remember ever making an active decision to cause them stress, but I do remember trying to find my way and discover who I was. Testing boundaries felt natural to me. Looking back, I can see missteps I took along the way, but I also see the lessons I learned from them.
Will my kids feel the same way?
Both my boys are still several years away from being teenagers, but whenever I think about that stage of parenthood my mind races with questions.
“Will my parenting style push them to retreat or come to me when they’re in over their head?”
“Will they choose friends who will build their character or care nothing about them?”
“Will they treat women with the respect their father has modeled for them?”
If there’s one thing parenting has taught me, it’s that I can’t control every aspect of my kids’ behavior. But I also know my time with them is short, and I need to seize each moment I have to teach them. I realize the behavior and love I model to them speaks volumes more than trite phrases like, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
I also know they are sinners just like me, and their nature dominates at times when I least expect it.
When we enter into unfamiliar waters, it helps to have the wisdom and experience of moms who have gone before us. The mere fact that they survived those difficult stages and have kids who did as well encourages me and keeps me going when things are rough.
When I discovered Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love by Lori Wildenberg and Becky Danielson, I was thrilled. This book is a tremendous resource to parents who are raising teens and tweens, and to those who will be in that stage in a few years.
The book is based on 1 Corinthians 13, and takes each aspect of love mentioned in this passage of scripture to show how model the type of behavior we desire from our kids. By being patient, kind, and truthful with our kids, we encourage them to do the same. Lori and Becky also talk about how using passive aggressive methods like guilt trips cause more harm than good and send mixed signals to our children. Straightforward honesty is always the best method, and telling our kids the truth goes much further than trying to manipulate.
By identifying our go-to parenting style and the strengths and weaknesses which go along with it, we can more easily spot unhealthy behaviors and see how they could negatively affect our kids. The authors also help the readers come up with strategies to avoid these negative habits and replace them with methods which have proven effective.
This book is one I will keep on my shelf for years to come, and I know I will refer back to it often when I reach those difficult teenage years. I highly recommend it to anyone who is in the trenches of the tween and teen years, and am confident it will help them with information which is both practical and relatable.
If you are looking for a resource to help you through the tough seasons of raising big kids, look no further.
Lori Wildenberg and Becky Danielson, M.Ed. are experienced moms and former teachers who now minister to families as licensed parent and family educators.
Raising Kids with Supernatural Love is an outpouring of this ministry and is available now on Amazon. You can purchase your copy here.
You can also find both of the authors along with many other helpful tools on their website, 1Corinthians13Parenting.com.