I remember the time not long ago when I was absolutely sure there wasn't anything harder than raising a child through the toddler years. Let's face it, what could be more challenging, tiring, frustrating or leave you feeling more clueless? There are the meltdowns to deal with. The egocentrism to conquer. The tantrums to diffuse. The potty training...need I say more.
Well, I think I am going to have to change my whole line of thinking. Because even though I have found my children's toddler years challenging, I am finding myself once again in unchartered territory. I have a 12 year old! EEK!
For those of you who have pre-teens and teens I'm sure you know exactly what I am talking about. Let's face it, what could be more challenging, tiring, frustrating or leave you feeling more clueless?! It's like toddlerhood amped up. There are still the same battles surfacing (minus the potty training).
My son is searching for independence; trying to figure out who he is. At times I feel like we are running head long into each other with our shields up ready to do battle. He trying to force his will and me trying to throw my experience and wisdom up to stop him.
I see the look in his eye during these times, questioning me and my authority. And it scares me! He is a wonderful kid and aims to please for the most part, but he can also be stubborn and sassy at times. I'm not trying to break him, just mold him into a responsible, God fearing young man. Yet, at times I feel like I am doing this blindfolded. Feeling clueless about a toddler, has nothing on the way I feel when I am trying to teach and guide my pre-teen son.
I feel like I'm walking a thin, precarious line. I want him to have some independence, but not too much too soon. I want him to feel he can talk with me and be open, yet he clams up (partly due to his introverted nature). I want him to be responsible. I want to wrap my arms around him and never let him go. I want him to desire to serve the Lord. But what if I mess up and push him to far one way or the other. Will he rebel and ditch every thing I have ever tried to teach him?
The only peace I can ever get from the myriad of questions floating in my brain is to take my son to the Lord. Place him at the Savior's feet and say, "He's yours Lord. Love him, protect him, guide him and mold him as only you can."
And suddenly I can bask in God's sweet peace and my feelings of helplessness fade away.