So I’ve been gone a while and I want to explain… since I last wrote we’ve moved, the kids are in school and I have gone back to school for my MBA. So needless to say I’ve been limited for time, due to school work. However, I had a clear answer to prayer while crying out to God on my knees for an hour….a couple of months ago. I asked him among other things what he wants me to do with my talents and ambition. he said “multiply your talents” the following day I received a call back from one of about 10 schools I was looking into for my plans to go back in two years and after he told me to do it now, I was both caught off guard but pleased because it was going to speed up my journey. So here I am on Christmas break after two and half months back into school, sitting at he local indoor trampoline park with the kids. I thought it would be the perfect time to update. This may mean I am not as active however I will still be updating my health journey.
The school year has begun, and after some uncertain detours, we come to a place of great direction. I have it up to God and prayed hard about my kids school decisions. At first we thought we were going to continue homeschooling our daughter but after about 2 1/2 weeks An amazing opportunity came and my husband believes it was God’s intention to allow us to start down one path and realize it was not going to work or bare good fruit before he allowed another option to take the place of our choice. She was given a very coveted spot in a patriotic charter school. So with last minute tours and purchase of uniforms she started at her first officially public school. Also after much prayer and a couple tours of different schools, our son is attending a private school where he is surrounded by those who love and encourage the type of behavior, and biblical world view we try to live out in our lives as a family.
Our house building project became a distaster and we were tested repeatedly. Though we did not waver in our faith, we did struggle to keep our behavior and thought on God. It cause me to act in anger and sometimes rage that I am ashamed of. However we did get through it, and withdrew our offer. It was a huge load off our minds and hearts.
Thankful for grace, and guidance from our most wonderful God through trials. It did produce patience and strength.
Kids have impeccable timing, everytime.
The tween phase:
My daughter who is in the throws of it has just turned 12. The attitude and goofiness fills every moment of everyday. Extreme mood swings and emotional fallout are the bane of her existence. Some times she makes me laugh inside and other times I want to shake her back into reality. I am glad that I have become resilient to things and that I’ve learned to take things less personally because sometimes she makes me want to cry. But in the end I know “this too shall pass” and I just hope that I can influence her and guide her through it with grace and wisdom that may have some lasting lessons.
My own tween years were extremely unstable and some of the most traumatic times of my life. God was surely watching out for me and used the trials to strengthen me and later to teach me.
The Whining, Ohhh the whining is endless. I’m doing what I can and as I learn to handle this time I am dealing with it with patients.….. What can you do, I’ve listened to broadcasts on focus on the family that are very informative about Tweens; and I’ve read and always looking out for good reads to guide her through this time of turbulence. We are learning as we go, as I was too much of a wild child during my tween and teen years to have really learned much about the art of parenting an adolescent, and my husband only had a brother. So we was never really exposed to any girls at this age. I know as a mother now I am much more sensitive to her feelings and the state that she is in, because I recognize that most of what she goes through on a daily basis is fleeting and hormone driven. I am also very sensitive to her inner confusion and feelings of instability. I recognize now that when I was her age most of what I went through emotionally was traumatic and I know now that much of my feelings were not really rational. However my adolescence was also much less stable then hers. So I’m not sure how much of that also influenced my unstable irrational feelings. We have been trying very hard to make hers much more stable. Even to the point of returning to homeschooling after her first year at a private school. I think now we know what we need to focus on and what are the actual factors so that next year when she goes back to school we will be able to recognize what is hormone fueled and what is actual reality and needs to be dealt with. I do not want to shelter her, but rather protect her from the most unnecessary influences and troubles that she may face at this stage. She was never really very sheltered as a homeschool kid, and we did not do many of the traditional homeschool life, but it still seemed to be a wonderful way for me to learn as a mom, and her to learn how to focus on school and make it a priority.
Some of the wonderful books and resources that I have learned from so far:
Preparing for adolescence, by Dr. James Dobson
Bringing up girls, by Dr. James Dobson
Boundaries with teens, John Townson
Strong and Kind, Willie and Kori Robertson
Captivating, John and Stacie Eldridge
Thriving Family Magazine
One thing Ive learned from the few years as a parent is that though I want to force or push my children into a place of success, I have to learn to meet them where they are to teach them and lead them to where I hope they will end up. I chose to stay home for a while when my daughter was ready for school, because I was going to homeschool her.
It started as a means to begin her education with a program that was bible based and would give us flexibility in our schedules because of our nomad lifestyle. Because my husband is in the military, we were scheduled to move shortly after she was to start her first year in school. This was another part of our reason for homeschooling the first year. As I began with the new curriculum having no experience or knowledge of how to do any of it, we sort of jumped in to learn how to swim. Over the first year it was very unorganized and stressful. We had many trials and errors with methods and manners of how and when she would do her school. I learned through practice how to go through our days and how to teach her. I also figured out after much struggle that I needed to apply what I learned in college about learning styles to her schooling. After many tears and failed attempts to help her, I realized that I was trying to teach her the way I would learn. After testing a few methods to learn where she would learn best, I came to find that I had to teach her on her turf. She was very specifically visual in her learning style and this meant I had to make sure when I was explaining concepts to her I had to draw or give a visual example of something she could see. Then the lights came on.
I know from my own evaluations during college that I am more kinesthetic and I learned best when discussing concepts and hands-on. This did not work with her, and only caused both of us a lot of frustration. Teaching to a child’s learning style is something I felt should be done more often after learning this through trial and error with my 0wn. I only wish they would have done this with me as a child, I would have been so much more productive and successful in learning during school. Now however I know I love research and doing things will help me to understand and learn.
My son is now approaching the school age and I’ve begun teaching him preschool basics and it has been much different. My daughter was so easy to teach at 4 because I was showing here everything through visual means. My son I gather is different in his learning style so I’ll need to test and figure out how he learns best. So far just being a boy has a huge effect on how I think to teach him. Not to mention his strong will and stubborn character has a lot to do with how he’s taught me to teach him. Even as an infant he would show me that I was doing it wrong for him, when I fed him food. He was so much more tentative with everything that we’ve done with him, and I see now I have to be a bit more patient with him when learning new things. I’ve found that he gets into things if they are game oriented much faster and learns very quickly by doing things like myself. Which may turn out to be an easier task for me as guide. I’ve not decided yet if I will homeschool him for the first year, because I believe he’s going to need a little bit more time with me one on one to learn the self control skills that school will expect of him. I feel that is what he needs and that God is telling me its not quite time for me to turn my focus completely to ventures of another nature.
My daughter will be returning to school next year. She homeschooled for 5 years and then went to a private school for 1. We removed her for this year, to try and help her through the emotional roller coaster of adolescence and now my husband and I have both agreed that she needs to be in a class with more accountability now than she used to be which is why she will return to school next year. She is excelling academically and I am so thankful God has allowed me to be a part of helping her to succeed and teaching her the value of hard work in her academics.
I do believe raising them up in the way they should go for me means more than just teaching them morals, and faith, but also in this season meant to teach them to learn primary education and teach me to be a mom that is involved in a way I have never learned a mom can be involved for a season of my own daughters life. I love to listen to broadcasts about parenting from focus on the family and it has helped me especially when I was learning about learning styles and it has helped me also to realize where I was failed as a child and how I can change and rise out of the ashes of my past and become what I want to be rather than a product of my childhood.
First of all I was a strong willed child!
(confession: I still am) So I know it when I see it. I have a strong willed son, and believe me it is hard to understand what that means unless you have a strong willed child of your own. Being an aunt since 7 with twenty three nieces and nephews, I saw my share of different temperaments and personality. Passive, compliant, rambunctious, prone to anger, prone to sensitivity… and on…and on. I read the New Dare to discipline when my daughter was 4. It helped me so much in regards to a process of using punishment as a guide and teaching and the process of discipline with a child when they are wayward. I believe being an involved and consistent parent take a ton of work, and when you don’t have any experience or examples it is even tougher. Since my daughter was very young, I have searched tirelessly for information to teach me wise parenting. I look at the results of others and take from the ones who are successfully producing mature, strong, honest, loving, and respectful children, not from the gurus, or popular society. I don’t listen to people who do not have children. I glean from tons of great books and broadcasts on my focus on the family app and Family Talk on Satellite XM radio and those I find when looking for other mentors around me.I do this because of my lack of example in my own child hood and with my own mother, and because I am so determined I will not settle for good enough. I’m glad that by guidance and prayer I have found wonderful resources because I never wanted to have children before I had my first, and probably because of my own experience as a strong willed child and a parent who was narcissistic, controlling, and abusive in many ways. I figured what was the point? I’m too selfish and I wouldn’t do well anyway because I had a poor example. God had other plans, so I was given a wonderful blessing in my two children and they have taught me so much in humility and even my own growth as an individual. If you have one or are suspicious you may have one, because they seemed to have come into the world with their dukes up, then you must read or listen to The New strong willed child, by Dr. James Dobson. It is a life saver to encourage and support parents of strong willed children. I do admit I was probably very difficult because I remember being a fighter inside from a very young age. So I think my battle of the wills with my son is definitely a pretty equal match. Although he is a boy, and from my observations as an aunt and mother boys are definitely the more wild ones even if they are mild mannered.
We are programmed to see the mom across the street or at the store, or even on social media and compare ourselves to them. The worst part is that we are all trying like dogs paddling in a swimming pool to look our best to everyone else, so it is a worthless comparison. (Don’t worry I’m guilty of it too) The best example I ever saw of this was on a Youtube video by the “Whats up moms” – Elle|Dear Cool Looking Mom in the Park. Though I do not go to the park much (shameful I know), I totally get it. You see a mom with her adorable child, and you wish you could be more like her. All put together so effortlessly with a calm and controlled schedule. But the reality is, she’s just as normal as you, spill stained shirt, unwilling to go home for a change of clothes and just to keep the day rolling. Remember we are all different yet so similar in our imperfections because we all have them. We don’t want to advertise them, but we have to be ok with having them. Humility, laugh about it to yourself, and know that most of the rest of us appreciate each others honest imperfection.