Your children need your presence more than your presents. Jesse Jackson
Meditation: A book worth reading is “The available parent” by John Duffy. One of the major obstacles for us parents of teenagers is often our own anxiety. Sometimes we listen to society’s dark predictions and negative stereotypes about teens. Then we fear the worst. We anxiously want to monitor every step our teenagers take… we feel similar to when our kids became two and started roaming around the house. It is natural that as the radius of our teenagers’ world increases, we want to protect them. However, the difference is that by now these children have lived with us for over ten years. They have internalized our voices, our reminders, our values and norms. And we have taught them to start thinking for themselves. My daughters tell me: “Stop hovering! Please, give us space!” And so, I am working on being aware without micromanaging. I am working on giving space and on trusting that they will take all they have learned while making overall good decisions. I am also allowing space for them to make mistakes. “Presence” does not mean “hovering”, “controlling” or “micro managing”. Indeed, being too close and too present would be hindering to their development. And so, in line with being an “available parent”, I learn to respect them by being distant enough. And yet I remain also present enough that they can easily find me, in case they need support.
Prayer: God, fill us parents of teenagers with the wisdom of how to give space. We give You our anxiety when we hear and read all those negative stories about teenagers. Help us expect the good. Help us see the growing, the creative, the wise, the amazing in our growing children. Help us focus on the good they do and embrace also their mistakes as part of their journey of becoming. Help us be available while keeping a respectful distance for them to become their own persons. And we are grateful. Amen
Parents, don’t make your children angry, but raise them with the kind of teaching and training you learn from the Lord. Ephesians 6:4