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What if your kids are tweens or already into teenager-hood, and you feel like you’ve missed the boat on being the mom you want to be? Is there such a thing as being too late in communicating love to your child?
Nope. Not at all. Just jump on board.
While wishing you could have a do-over and figuring out where to start is exhausting, just start. Just start being the mom you want to be no matter the age of your children.
I had three moms who expressed concern in this area. All three were living in regret regarding the things they didn’t do when their children were younger. I sought out the advice of some of the seasoned moms in my panel, and these are the things they wanted to convey to these weary moms.
- Don’t live in the past, move forward. Don’t worry about what you have and haven’t done as a parent. Kids, even older kids, are resilient. It is never too late to be the parent you want to be.
- Become a student of your child. Learn what interests them, observe what makes them tick, figure out what they don’t like. Then, learn all that you can about these things so you can come into their world. Become a part of their world in every way that you can. It is possible to be a parent while still being a student of your child. Student does not mean friend. Just as children do best with rules, teens do, too, even if they fight you.
- Open your mouth. Don’t let fear of saying the wrong things keep you from saying anything at all. There are so many times that we say something only to have to backtrack later – it’s just the way things go. I also find it effective to not answer questions or requests right away. Don’t be afraid to tell your older child that you’ll have to give something some thought.
- Along with establishing effective communication is being a good listener. Often with teens we have to read between the lines. I wrote about some of these things here.
- Communicate unconditional and unwavering love that is not performance based. These tips are appropriate for parents whose children are any age, but implementing these are a specific action plan for the moms who feel like they are already behind.
*undivided attention. We call this “10 minutes” in our house as my goal for quite some time has been to spend at least 10 minutes of alone time with each child once a day – some in the morning and some at night. The older kids are generally at night, and it often lasts for much longer than 10 minutes. This is also why I often take one child with me to run errands. The car is a great place to talk.
*simple gestures of physical contact…a shoulder rub, a hug, or holding hands are a great way to express love.
*provide rules, boundaries, and consequences. Just as younger kids thrive on having rules and even being disciplined for doing wrong, so do older kids, they will just never admit it. If they are allowed to run wild while their friends have rules, curfews, and limitations, your child may wonder why you don’t love them enough to care about these things.
*celebrate their milestones and accomplishments. I am generally not one who needs the praise of others. This is just not my love language. But I have at least one kid who needs to be recognized repeatedly for the things she does or she feels unloved. Since this is not in my nature, I really do have to concentrate on doing this.
As the mom of a teen, a nearly teen, and a tween, I know how exhausting it can be just in dealing with the weightiness of the issues you face as their mom. The attitudes they have, the influences they face, the schedules they keep, and the freedom they crave and need keeps their parents on their toes. With teens, it really is almost always one catastrophe after the next.
Navigating the waters of older children doesn’t have to overwhelm you, and you can use these tips and ideas at whatever point you are at. Rest assured, it is never too late.
You can find hope in the first post in the series, What in the World Have I Gotten Myself Into?! here
You can find An Action Plan for the Overwhelmed Mom here
You can find An Action Plan for the Mom Who is Stuck at Home here
You can find An Action Plan for Connecting With Other Moms here
You can find A Realistic Action Plan for Dealing With the Never-Ending Responsibilities of a Mom here
You can find A Realistic Action Plan for Getting It All Done as a Stay at Home Mom here.
You can find A Realistic Action Plan for Getting It All Done as a Working Mom here.
You can find A Realistic Action Plan for the Mom Who is Afraid She is Doing it All Wrong here.
Day ten in our series will feature A Realistic Action Plan for the Mom Who Has No Role Model In Being a Mom