Updated: Aug 5, 2020
Intentional parents, it is never too late to pivot, apologize,and course correct. The sooner you do, the sooner you'll get to enjoy the wonderful, undeserved harvest even for the mistaking parent.
When we parents learn the hard way, we aren't the only ones who suffer. Our children bare the brunt of our errors and for those of us who love our kids deeply, which is most of us, the guilt can be overwhelming! We serve a redeeming God and He's good at giving us second chances to love well.
I've come to find that God our Heavenly Father is the perfect example of boundless love that is full of both mercy and high standards all rolled into one. I call it Mercy Seat Parenting and you can read about it in my book Wearing All Your Hats without Wearing Out: Finding Focus to be the Masterpiece Family God Intended. or E-Book
It takes intentional effort to create a relationship with your tween / teen where they will come to you about anything. Here are some key steps that I learned the hard way...
Seek to have a drama free relationship (and I'm not talking about your teen).
When we're emotional in parenting, our message doesn't reach their heart because of the loudness of our emotions.
💕If you want your kids to come to you when they're wrestling with life's sticky issues, 💕if you want them to hear your warnings and reproofs,💕 if you want to be a main voice in their decisions as they get older, you have to have proven to them that you are a safe haven for their hearts and thoughts.
We earn the right to maintain influence in our older children's lives. Our reaction today determines their future openness with us.
✔or blow up.
✔or belittle their feelings or thoughts.
✔twist their words to suit your agenda.
✔accuse or lecture before you've listened.
They won't hear your message when it's in an accusation or a lecture anyway.
They will be so much more willing to hear the hard truths from you when you've had a listening ear, an understanding mind, a calm spirit.
I know this because I learned the hard way.
The older our children get, the more we must earn the privilege of maintaining influence. They won't blindly take to heart the words of a person who is ruled by emotions rather than someone who is ruled by rational thinking.
That doesn't mean that they are seeking fake, sugary, flattering words that are empty of hard truth. They can take tough love from you - telling them the difficult things that may not be pleasant truths told for their good.
They want you to be honest and push them toward higher standards and greater efforts.
Sure, their flesh may like the idea of a parent that doesn't expect a lot from them, but their heart longs to be stretched to greater character and firmer footing on solid life principles by someone who loves them selflessly, compassionately, endlessly, mercifully, and even strictly.
The thing is, you'll never have the privilege of being given access to your child's heart and what they're truly wrestling with if you haven't honored their vulnerable thoughts, feelings, and fears.
We are emotional beings and you're not going to be able to entirely do this, but you need to face the hard reality that the level of your emotions will have a direct impact on the depth that they take your words to heart.
You might be flipping out on the inside, but your response has got to stay calm and composed and full of rational thought that is only shared after compassionate living.
Love the Action word compels me to a prayer...
Dear God, Our great restorer of relationships, the maker of new beginnings,
Thank you for making today a new opportunity to grow in my ability to love others well.
to love my children, t
o love my husband,
to love every person you put in my path today.
Help me to set aside me and my agenda and to be ready always to dive into the deep end of loving my people well.
And may you give my people an extra dose of mercy in forgiving me in the ways I still need to grow and improve in loving them as You love them.