For weeks now I've been thinking about writing about older children. I've got a few of them, and life has been quite interesting as they get older. So this last week while nursing a bad head cold, I spent some time writing. I have four topics that I'll turn into a 4 part series, which I'll post here on my blog.
I have a couple of reasons for writing this:
First, this is written to me. I have been jotting down these thoughts and some of the quotes I have read, and needed a place where I could easily reread them and be encouraged.
Second, I know that all moms are going to hit this stage in life. I am no expert (far from it) but thought I would share my humble thoughts.
Also, in these posts you won't get any juicy information about my older kids. In fact, I am referring to them all collectively, so as to keep them anonymous. On a side note, I have many times in the last couple of years, wanted to either blog or put on Facebook, things that are going on with my older kids. Mostly all trivial, fun things, nothing serious at all. But a couple of years ago one of my offspring told me that they resented at times, things I shared about them with others. I realized that I am actually invading their privacy, not only when I post things online, but also do what all moms do when they get together: talk about their kids. Now some of these conversations are profitable, and are sisters-in-the-trenches kind of talks, that are private and meant to encourage. But I am trying to be more careful, both in my personal conversations and on social media, what I share about my kids.
Now, my thoughts.....
Communication is Huge
This is something that my mom did with me as a teen, even though I didn't really realize it until years later. I look back and remembered that I shared lots of private things with her, and she was able to advise me. That doesn't mean that I always took her advice or that her advice was always the best, but we did have many deep conversations.
Why didn't I notice this relationship until later? Because she started conversations about normal every day things with me, every day. Talking with her was a normal thing. So when deeper things did come up, it was not a big deal that we were talking about it. There were things I did not share with her, things that she will never know about. But I did confide some things to her and see now that it gave depth to our relationship.
But if we don't talk at all to our kids, there is not progress. Think about it, how do we expect to have deep conversations with our children if we can't talk about small things with them? And did you notice that I used the word communication and not just talk? That's because sometimes, actual talking is hard. I have noticed this with one of my kids, and we actually have deeper text messages than verbal conversations. I have made a point to text this particular child each day, to encourage and keep that communication line open.
It's work, communicating with our children. I have a list of things to do a mile long each day, and sometimes my kids just don't feel like talking. Some days I realize that the only communication we have had was my giving instructions or reprimanding. Many times it is me telling them how they could have re phrased that sentence a little less sarcastically or for the fourteenth time that their room is messy. But then I am reminded that I don't particularly like being with someone where our only communication is instruction.
Please don't read into this and think that I am saying that you should become best bosom buddies with your older children, never remind them to do their chores and always compliment them. But I do want to encourage you to have just a couple of conversations about something, anything, during the day. Sports, animals, a movie you all saw recently, their plans for the day. Keeping those important lines of communication open.
Each week I don't communicate enough, so I am writing this to myself as well. By God's grace may we as moms deepen our relationships with our older kids by simply asking how their day went.
**An Addendum: My sweet step mom read this post above and had just seen this very good article, on creative ways to start conversations with your children. Check it out.
Thoughts on Older Children Part 4: Who Drew the Map
Thoughts on Older Children Part 3: Let Them Fly
Thoughts on Older Children Part 2: What Did We Expect?
Thoughts on Older Children Part 1: Communication is Huge