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Seven Thoughts on Parenting Middles

They have been grunting at me for two weeks.

Sure, we have had glimpses of smiles and laughter but it feels like our new normal, the one I have hoped would miss our home, has arrived.

My parenting inadequacies have been shining brightly! I have successfully faked it for years. However, we have entered a new season in our home. We edged in quietly and unnoticed when it was just the first born. Now that the second born has entered middle school….Lord help us all. Hormones are to blame. I’ve even written them a love letter to express my feelings.

 

What I did not realize about middle school children and trudges through these tween/teen trenches was the inadequacy I would feel.

I sat on the couch last week and felt utter despair. One of my children acted like a fool. Twice.

As I approached this child to deliver my carefully thought out parenting gold, said child RAN AWAY. (Remember I have tweens…not toddlers). This mad dash sparked anger in me that I have rarely felt toward my spawn. In a rant, I found the phone to “take it away” and discovered an eye opening and hurtful conversation.

Remember the anger from the mad dash… It paled in comparison to these feelings.

I addressed it with my kiddo. And used words that should not be typed. I tried to use “love and logic” and quickly discovered it doesn’t work on an emotional/crazy teen. I sat and stared at the sun because I was at a loss for how to move forward. The bluff I have so eloquently orchestrated for the last decade crumbled in a heap of sweat and tears at the end of our driveway. 

Clearly, I have no idea what I’m doing as an adult and now those inadequacies have seeped into my parenting. But I feel like I may not be the only parent feeling the utter failure looming around the corner.

In case imminent parenting failure is on your radar…here’s a few tips from our most recent exchange.

  1. Neither one of us knows what the heck is going on. We aren’t acting appropriately nor are we being rational in our responses.
  2. During an exchange with a hormonal pre-teen, you’ll get a mixture of eye-rolling and tears in a random order.
  3. Even the good kid will act a fool. Hopefully, if you have more than one child, they will stagger their tomfoolery so that you’re addressing one at a time.
  4. The middle school “season” may be the best time to hand off the parenting baton to your spouse. Maybe you need to change up your approach and let someone else step in as coach. There’s no shame in being the back-up sometimes.
  5. There’s something “not right” with either gender in this season. Girls may be easier to calendar out, but boys have a bit of the same crazy. Don’t discount that he doesn’t know what he’s feeling just like she doesn’t know why she’s crying (again).
  6. Hold tightly to the smiles and easy minutes you feel. Because these “middles” are so funny. Their awkward approach to everything is entertaining. Take time to notice because very soon hair and hormones will be ruling life.
  7. Forcing a conversation only helps if you like to hear yourself talk. Letting them stew too long may mean you don’t talk to your kid for a few days. A mixture of both doesn’t always work. Keep trying until you figure out what breaks through the furrowed brow and tears. Our “hacks” from the past have run their course (but they may work for you). Remember that the appropriate response to everything right now is fluid and constantly changing.

Dear Mom, this is just our next beginning. We survived the newborn, the toddler, the potty training, and the tooth fairy. All these efforts just solidify your membership in the mother-hood.

At this point in our season, I’m just trying to get a participation trophy.

I’ll leave the Parenting Gold to the experts.

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