Today’s post is from my good friend Allyson Evans. Allyson is the NextGen leader at LifeChurch.tv and is a wealth of wisdom when it comes to effective parenting and ministry to the up and coming generation. I had the awesome opportunity of working with Allyson over the past few years and she is the real deal. I think what I love most about Ally is her honest, raw, tell it like it is approach.
Thanks so much for posting today Ally, it’s a true honor!
So here she is…
I was an awesome teenager! I mean, I had a ton of fun, great friends, made some mistakes and had a lot of victories. I was the friend that everyone turned to and I could make you laugh if you were down. I rocked at that. So surely, my daughters will still want to hang out with me when they hit their teenaged years because, let’s be honest, I’m still cool! I’d heard of these other parents who weren’t cool and didn’t know what was up. I felt kind of sorry for them. Poor things. Because for me, my kids were always going to love spending time with me and will tell me everything because that’s how it’s always been. I’m the fun mom! Right?
Surprisingly, no! Something happened. Somewhere along the way, I stopped getting all the information. The question, “So how was your day?” that used to elicit all sorts of amazing stories of crazy substitute teachers, middle school relationship drama and even the search for advice or direction, now suddenly got the dreaded, “Fine” response.
Communication is where relationships grow. How in the world am I going to be a good parent, effective listener and “friend”, when needed, if they aren’t talking? Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t an issue of them hiding things from me or disrespect. They are good girls. I’m just not the go-to person anymore. Wah wah waaaahhhh.
I definitely don’t have this thing figured out but I have learned a couple of things and I’d love to hear what you’ve experienced.
Thing that didn’t work for me
- Ask LOTS of questions. This tactic backfired. The more I asked, the less they talked. Ugh!
- When they DO finally speak up, constantly correct their thinking or behaviors. Not good. Talk about immediate shut down.
- Try to be relevant by becoming informed about popular bands, text language and dance moves etc. Okay, this one is just embarrassing. It was kind of pitiful actually and I’d prefer to not talk about it.
Frustration set in. I missed my girls. We weren’t connecting and now I’ve aliented them. After a lot of prayer, I was able to do what only I could do. Only I can be mom. Although the bullets above are needed in small doses, what I had to do is trust the foundation that God has laid in them over the last 17 years. I’m available, I listen and I know what’s going on but I am slowly releasing them to make their own choices, celebrating their victories and helping them accept consequences. They are growing because of that and guess what? Our relationships are much more rich. The depth is evolving and we love it.
What is 1 tactic you have tried when your kids stopped talking?