My Dearest Big Kids,
As you enter your teen years, you may find that you are completely irritated with me on a regular basis. Don't worry. It's normal and to be expected. And the feeling will most likely be mutual.
You will find me to have high expectations for you. You will most likely believe that I am too strict. Know that being strict isn't a character flaw of mine with which I was born. I choose to be this way. I have prayed, read, discussed, and thought long and hard about my parenting. I choose to be strict with high expectations of you. The expectations will not change.
Some day you will realize that you are the only person in your entire grade that has to/doesn't get to do something or other. Perhaps you will be the only kid in school with chores. Or the only kid without a phone. Or the only 15 year old alive who isn't allowed to go to certain types of parties. When you realize this, there will most likely be some gnashing of teeth. Yours, not mine. I will be completely content with my decision. And just so you know, you really won't be the ONLY one. I promise.
As you know, if you have trouble following the house rules, there are consequences. The severity of the consequences are in direct proportion to your behavior. Regardless of the fact that you choose to ignore the rules and suffer the consequences, you will probably think I am being mean. You may throw a temper tantrum to let me know how unfair you are finding me to be. I'm OK with that. There are six of you. I've been around the temper tantrum block a few hundred times. It will pass.
I do, however, need you to know that the rules and consequences aren't in place because I want you to be unhappy. They are there because I love you. The consequences are given from a place of safety and love. They are there because I know what life is like after you leave our home. Out in the big, grand world, there are also rules and consequences. However, the consequences out there aren't made in love. I want you to learn how to make wise choices on how to behave while you are still in the safety of a loving home. Better now than when you are out in the world where the consequences are much more severe and painful.
Basically, the next handful of years, when four of you will be in the midst of teenhood at the same time, has the potential to be bumpy. We will make it through. There will even be moments (hopefully lots and lots of them) where you actually like me and we can have some fun.
On the other side, when you are grown and have a good job and a spouse and kids of your own, you will thank me. Preferably weekly and with much flailing and apologizing and sobs of "You were the best mom a kid could ever have."
With oh so much love, in good times and bad,
Hands down you are the best mom ever. And I know I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I want to be like you when I grow up! Love you mean it!ReplyDelete
Don't make me blush. Aren't you supposed to be enjoying the company of your children and parents and husband on vacation right about now?Delete
Well said (or rather written!) Having gone through the teens, albeit with only two to cope with, can safely say that we all survived - and the former teens were indeed grateful (and still are!)ReplyDelete
Good luck to you all!
Thank you! Glad you survived and it all ended well. I pray we will be so blessed.Delete
I nominated you for an award my friend!ReplyDelete
Well thank you very much!Delete
You can tell them they are not alone, that the Overholt children in fact have the same parent issues that they have, just different state and no farm. And mama the best thing I have found when you are ready to send the little sweet peas off to bording school is to start praying at that moment, praying out loud kind of scares them too! I have told the 3 bigs, I love you and by the Grace of God you have lived through the day. I find myself singing "I will survive" some days. I suggest stocking up on peanut m&m maybe even buying stock in them! You are going to need it! We are back on the upswing with our strong willed child.ReplyDelete
Ha! I have done the praying out loud business. I've also looked at them and said, "My face did not look like this before I had you." I sing all the time, mostly to drown out the stomping. Hope that upswing keeps swinging up!Delete
You could also (assuming you have any), point out which of your gray hairs each of them has given you. ;)ReplyDelete
My sister and brother-in-law instituted a rule that other kids balked at (not so much theirs), but other parents would call and thank them for and tell them they later instituted themselves... when the kids got their driver's license, for that first year, they were not allowed passengers.
Especially nowadays with so many distracted drivers on the road - on the phone, texting, etc., not having their buddies with them limits the distractions and assures there will be no dangerous horseplay or showing off, etc. They get into the habit early of paying closer attention to the other drivers around them and don't have to worry about feeling peer-pressured into doing something stupid - speeding through a changing light, blowing by someone driving slow, racing, etc.
Great idea! For the day I have grey hairs. Wink, wink.ReplyDelete
Amazingly, Indiana has great driving laws. Kids get their permits at 15, so they have a whole year to practice with parents, then aren't allowed to have passengers for six months after they pass the test. Regardless, with six siblings, there won't be room for friends in the car anyway:)
Love it, Coop! Taking notes b/c, as you know, I have six teens. As in, all at the same time. As Jen mentioned, those M&Ms come in handy (and sometimes something a little stronger)!ReplyDelete
Thanks for linking this up with the TALU!
You are certainly going to need some thick skin and body armour to make it through the next several years. In addition to that something stronger!Delete
My son is in the second grade. So & so and so & so got a cellphone for Christmas! Good grief. He didn't say that to me in anyway that he wondered why he didn't get one. I love it when I here him say, "That's such a waste of money" - words taken out of my mouth.ReplyDelete
Love the letter. I need to call my mom & dad and say thanks ;-) TALU
I do like it when I catch one of my kids repeating something useful.Delete
Yes, we do need to thank our parents. And apologize.
May I borrow this in 10 years? It's the best description of my parenting philosophy I've ever heard. I'd like to read it to my toddler, but I suspect she'll miss the point. Glad to see you at TALU (I think this is actually where I first met you!).ReplyDelete
You may borrow whatever you like. It means alot that you say such nice things.Delete
I say go ahead and read it to her. Even once a month. Start now, so when she is of age, she'll know the drill. :)
I love this!! Now, as a mom, I know and understand that this was the philosophy of my parents as well...so hard to grasp as a kid. And I feel the same way about my own kids. Sharing on twitter...here from the TALU! As always, love what you have to say!!ReplyDelete
~Joell @ Red Van Ramblings
Well, thank you. You are so sweet to say such nice things, and to share it. Glad to "see" you again!Delete
Oh the eye rolls that would have happened if my mom wrote that to me half my life ago! within a few hours of my daughter being born, I knew I was in for it ;) because everything you said is RIGHT ON, and it only takes a little age to figure that out.ReplyDelete
Oh, I get the eye rolls. It's like they can't stop themselves with the eye rolls.Delete
I'm beginning to think that anyone with daughters is in for it. Not that boys don't have teen angst and attitude...
I am so happy you shared this on TALU today...I think it is a wonderful idea that you wrote this letter, and it simply couldn't be better. I hope you keep this forever and when you have come out the other side and you have the blessing of hindsight, you can all read it together again. xoReplyDelete
Well thank you. I hadn't thought of it, but now that you mention it, I shall print one off for each of them and put them in their keepsake boxes. Great idea!Delete
What a beautiful letter. I need to print this and use it as my mom support letter. I struggle so much with mommy-guilt; I hate that crap. I felt guilty for asking my daughter to lay down for a nap without me in the room. Why? I don't know. Because I've always done that. So much easier when I look at myself from the outside. TALUReplyDelete
Thank you! Print away. That mommy guilt is a slippery thing. In some ways, it's good, in that it helps us to keep tabs on our parenting. It's a curse, though, when we feel guilty for things we've debated and chosen and know is good for the kids. I am sure that guilt had you, though, considering she just joined your family this year. Of course you stayed with her at the beginning. It's not easy to change things that have always just been routine.Delete
Ugh I dread the teenage years.Loved this letter, and yes to what Kate said - I need to print this. :) (talu)ReplyDelete
I'm not going to lie, they aren't all peaches and cream. But there are some very good moments, for sure. Thank you, and print away!ReplyDelete
Don't repeat this... but I would have loved to have grown up and had my childhood in your home with you as my mom... Just think of how differently my life would have turned out...ReplyDelete