Rebecca Duvall

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Parenting Adults

parenting-adultsA few years ago my oldest child graduated from High School and I entered into a new season of parenting. I don’t know about others who have already entered into this season, but I think this is the most challenging season in regards to parenting.

What do you do when your adult child says “I’m thinking about having sex with ___ (her boyfriend) and I want your opinion.”?  Did your mouth just hit the floor? Well that’s what mine did. As I took a deep breath and quietly prayed for God’s words, I calmly began asking questions, listening and giving her my honest thoughts and why I thought that way. At one point she asked me to leave God out of it, which I told her I didn’t know how to do that. I could tell she was seeking my approval, which I couldn’t give. I did make sure she understood it was her decision to make, not mine. She was the one who had to live with the consequences of her actions, not me. I also made sure she knew I would always love and respect her  regardless of what she decided to do. I may not agree with her choices, but I will never stop being there for her. I thanked her for coming to me and told her how proud I was of her.

When I first became a parent, and with each child I had, I was instantly expected to do everything for this little fragile person, because they couldn’t. I dressed them, feed them, helped them with their bathroom situations, entertained and educated them. I took them where they needed to go and supplied them with everything they needed. I even spoke for them.

As they grew and matured they slowly starting doing things for themselves. They even started to speak for themselves. Not long after this, they began telling me what they needed, when they needed it and why they needed it. As they continued to grow, these needs changed, often, without notice.

With each child, I have three, I noticed that their needs were different and their expectations of how these needs were to be met was different. For example, one was perfectly fine with what was served for dinner but preferred to eat later when it was more convenient for them. The other was fine with eating whenever dinner was ready, but they wanted to have a say about what they ate, because they might not be in the mood for what was being served. The other had no opinion of the time they ate or what they ate, as long as we never forgot to feed them.

With each child, I am always expected to have the answer, no matter what the question. If for some bizarre reason I don’t have the answer they need, I am expected to get it, right away.

Being a parent is an absolutely crazy, beautiful, insane yet fulfilling job. There’s always something to be done or needed. I’m running around, both physically and mentally, twenty-four hours a day. Each day I have no idea what to expect. There is basically no way to prepare for what may come, except believing whatever does come, you will get through it, some how.

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Then, before you know it, the child is an adult. They don’t need you to get them anything, help with anything, take them anywhere, think for them or even speak for them. All they want is for you to let them be.

How do you go from speeding down the runway with them to sitting back in the bleachers watching them in, what seems like, the blink of an eye?

I wish someone had told me, when I had my first child, the importance of letting them grow up. By grow up, I mean, do and think for themselves. I thought being a parent meant taking care of, which in my mind means providing for or doing things for. Now that I look back, it seems obvious that we are to help them so they can eventually do things for themselves. But when in the midst of day-to-day life, it’s easy to get caught up in the doing and simply telling, not giving them an actual chance to try. Then some day we suddenly expect them to know how, by only watching and hearing, not doing.

Once your child has grown up and is no longer in need of your daily assistance, what do you do? This doesn’t change the fact that you are, and always will be, their parent.

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I do a lot of listening. I offer encouragement. I offer advice when asked for. Sometimes I do offer advice when it’s not asked for, but carefully listen for their reaction. When I do give advice, I try my best to explain my reasoning. I don’t want them to feel I’m pushing my ideas onto them. My desire is for them to make a decision that best fits them, not me. Then I try, if possible, to support them.

I pray a lot and seek the prayers of others when things get overwhelming. Giving my concerns and lifting my hearts desires for my children to God brings me peace and helps me let go. My worries only get in the way of my relationship with my children, so I give them to God and trust He knows how best to deal with them.

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own. ~ Matthew 6:34

For me, the hardest part about parenting an adult is watching them fall flat on their face. Especially when you see it coming. As hard as it is, sometimes watching them fall is the best thing we can do for them. It helps them mature in many ways. Being there to encourage them as they pick themselves up is a great way to support them.

Once our children become adults, our job is no longer to tell them what to do. They are now adults and we need to love and respect them and their decisions. This doesn’t mean we have to agree with them. We are to treat them the same way we would treat any other adult.

Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31

I don’t think being the parent of an adult gives us the right to tell them what to do or the right to have extra expectations of them; although the temptation is always there. I think it gives us the added responsibility to love, respect and encourage them. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard enough time acting like an adult myself, so I seek God’s wisdom and encouragement when it comes to parenting quite often.

As a parent, we always have eyes watching and learning by our example, no matter what our children’s age.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to be our example. I pray Your wisdom and patience would help us be the parents you created us to be. May we teach our children about You and Your love for them, Amen.

Children

4 parentingWhile I was growing up, I always thought kids younger than me were weird, gross and had a funny odor. This stuck with me as I became a young adult. I was never the one to offer to hold a baby, and if you asked me to, I would look at you as if you were crazy, as I said ‘No’. I didn’t even want to be near a baby, or anyone much younger than me. I just couldn’t relate.

The first fulltime job I had while I was studying Accounting was as a Bookkeeper for a daycare center. I thought, ‘no big deal, I’ll be back in an office. I won’t even notice the little smelly people with runny noses’. That didn’t work out very well for me. You see, my desk was in the front lobby so the parents could check in with me as they dropped their kids off. I was able to see every screaming kid as they walked in. Lucky me!

For the first month or so I didn’t seem to notice the little monsters as they arrived. I was busy learning the routine of my job and putting names to faces, parent’s faces that is. I had no desire to get to know the strange little people being carried in.

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Then it happened. One of the little monsters walked over and handed me something. My heart melted! I don’t remember what I was handed, probably because I was hypnotized by the adorable little voice. In that moment my heart changed. I suddenly had a strong desire to know more about the little people who spent their days there with me. After that day, you could always find me on my breaks in the toddler room. Actually, I think I spent more time in that room than at my desk.

I’m thankful God changed my heart toward children. I’m thankful God gave me the gift of three beautiful children (2 daughters and 1 son). I love how each of my children are completely different from each other and I get to be at center stage watching them grow and change as they experience life. They each help me see the world in different ways and I am incredibly thankful for that.

Sure, there are some extremely difficult things to go through as a parent, but the joy, laughter and fun far out ways those times. I simply need to trust that God gave me these 3 to raise because I have what they need. I also need to remember that God will enable me to be what they need when they need it.

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My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of children and the way You allow us to teach them. I pray we would courageously raise them in a way pleasing and honoring to You, Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

I Know!

candy basketFor those of you who have children, I’m sure you will agree with me in saying that each of them is different in many ways. We have three kids. Our oldest daughter is in her Sophomore year in college and our younger daughter is a Sophomore in High School. We also have a son, who’s in 6th grade.

One loves chocolate, another sour gummy candy and the other any kind of candy. One is extremely active, while the other two, well, not so much. They each do very well in school, not that they always enjoy it, but they do work hard and take pride in their work. However, they each enjoy different subjects. Two of them are very creative and two of them are very good with a computer. One likes to read and another prefers to write. The other, well, they prefer neither.

The one commonality I’ve noticed all three of them have is their psychic ability. Yes, my children are psychic! How do I know they’re psychic? Every time I tell them something to do, like empty the trash, come down for dinner, brush your teeth, their answer is ALWAYS ‘I know!’

I think this psychic ability is fairly new. They might have received these abilities sometime this school year. At first it was annoying to always hear ‘I know!’ My response was always ‘Then why are you not doing it?’ Now I think it’s kind of funny. Recently I started saying things like ‘hon, call the press, our kids are psychic.’ Or ‘shhhh, don’t let anyone find out you kids are psychic.’

Sometimes I just stand in their doorway or open the door to their room and they’ll say it, ‘I know!’ I usually laugh first and then walk away asking them when they planned on getting it done.

When I first noticed their psychic ability, I thought it would be neat to know what was going to happen before it actually happened. Then, as I thought about it, it would mean I would always be expected to be doing something. The something I knew that needed to get done. Always knowing what was going to happen would also take the excitement out of waiting to find out. Yes, sometimes waiting is annoying, but usually, it’s stimulating. I think it causes your creative mind to explore the many possibilities, and that helps us grow. Exploring possibilities is healthy and it stimulates our senses.

Now that I know my children are psychic, the trick is getting them to act on this new wonderful knowledge they have. How do I get them to actually get up and do what they know they need to do?!

After I noticed my children’s response to most of the things I asked them to do was ‘I know!’ I wondered why this was their response. Maybe what I’m doing is nagging them to do the things they need to do. Maybe, I need to back off and give them time to show me they do indeed know, and will do it, in their time. They each have their own way of doing things and organizing their tasks. Maybe I need to let them be the individuals they are.

I run the house a certain way and in a certain order. It’s difficult, at times, for me to let them each become their own accountable individuals. I have to be flexible and learn to accept things being done differently. This is easier said than done. When something isn’t done when I want or need it to be done, I get frustrated and start nagging. I guess I need to work on my patience. Well, maybe just a little.

Everyday, being a parent is a new challenge. It’s always exciting (not always in a good way) and always changing (thank goodness, because I get bored easily). Each morning brings a brand new adventure with so many possibilities. As hard and frustrating as it can be at times, I wouldn’t trade it for anything or go back and do it differently.

I trust God gave us these three wonderfully crazy kids because my husband and I have what they need. He will enable us to do for our kids what they need us to do. We will not only teach them as we raise them into adulthood, but they will each teach us along the way as well.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of children and their honest way of interpreting the world around them. Lord, I pray you open our hearts to receive the knowledge you have given them and help us to respond to it in a way that is pleasing to You, Amen.

 

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