Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Joys of Parenting Older Teens

Sometimes I think God gives us difficult moments with our late teen/young adult children so that we look forward too aren't so sad when it's time for them to go away to college.  All kids have different personalities which makes them easier or more difficult to live with at certain times in their life.

Case in point...my first born.  Mike is a great kid who has so much to offer.  When he isn't busy trying to hide it......Mike has a huge heart, is very thoughtful, has a great childlike wonder for holidays and family traditions, and is a protective older brother to his siblings.

Yet, my first born has authority issues.  As much as he sometimes shows how much he loves being part of the family, he also show frustration at having to be part of a family structure with rules and limits.  Passive aggression is his tool of choice....ignoring us when he's in a "non compliant" mood and putting off any "difficult" task we give him (like taking out the trash or locking a door!?!) until I feel like I have to act like Rumplestiltskin(jumping up and down until I go through the floor...sorry if this is an obscure image) or until he finally deems the task ready to be done in "Michael time"!

It can be SOOOOO frustrating!  I get that kids need to grow up and apart from parents.  In reality, the speed bumps in our relationship with Mike are just speed bumps.  We have not had to deal with issues like alcohol abuse, drug use, or inappropriate relationships.  It could be so much worse.

Mike struggles with faith....which I know is caused by a combo of immaturity, his issues with authority, and hurts that he has to reconcile with God over losing a sister and having a brother with autism.  It's scary that as he is perched at the edge of the nest, I worry that without that solid faith to help move him through life that he will be blown into places that "angels fear to tread."  I know that Mike has to make his own choices, but I was really hoping that faith would be an anchor in his life and he could avoid the pitfalls that can happen when God's left in a corner instead of the center where He belongs.

Jay and I often find ourselves trying to work through the frustration of dealing with the "difficult Mike moments".  It's amazing how you can love your kids so much...but like them not so much in a given moment!

So, what prompted today's post you may ask?  After a very difficult night with Luke and Kate, I was just ready to leave the bathroom after my shower when I noticed the brand new container of refill hand soap, (you know, the big jug), laying in the hamper.  I leaned down to pick it up and realized that the cover was off and the entire bottle was in the hamper and soaked up in the towels at the bottom.  It was a mess....and not a welcome sight for an already difficult morning.

I asked around to find out who might have dropped the soap and just left it there(!) without picking it up.  When I got to Mike, his answer was, "I might have knocked it over." with that teenage shrug and that "I don't give a crap" look on his face that make me want to Jason Bourne him....you know, use crazy martial arts moves that have him on the ground in like 2.2 seconds!  (Sorry...I live in a house with mostly boys who like their action movies!)

But I didn't.  (I have bad hips and shoulders anyway)  I didn't even yell...because I'm tired of repeating the whole, "If you drop something then pick it up."  Ugh..laziness!

When he asked me to make him a sandwich 30 minutes later you can imagine the words that I wanted to say!  I should have made him a soap sandwich!

But in the end, I made the sandwich and asked God to use that small sacrifice to help open Mike's heart to Him.  Because as much as Mike drives me crazy(!!!), I won't give up on him.

Thankfully, God has never given up on me, either!

Thankful Thought #27:    
I am thankful that God has helped me face and fix....and continues to help me face and fix....my character flaws!  (Now if I can only keep from passing the flaws on to my kids!)