parenting change direction

Parents, You Can Change Direction, and That’s Powerful

(Inside: Parents, you can always change direction. It’s your superpower. We can’t redo, but we can always renew. Read on…)

Parents, we can always change direction.

It’s one of our biggest superpowers.

During the elementary school years, I thought things would be easier. Increased independence = decreased demands on mom. Nope. The baggie books, packing lunches, dress-up days, added sports schedules, oh, my. I found myself easily set off, lava erupted at the most unexpected times, and I hated it. I didn’t grow up in a home that yelled and wanted to pass peace on. I reflected, prayed, read inspirational books, and worked on regulating my emotions.

I changed direction and was better for it.

During the middle school years, I battled it out with one of my sons. We clashed over everything, and I felt helpless. In desperation, I read a stack of parenting books and concluded my son needed more structure. We discussed daily responsibilities, free time wants, and preferred communication. We set up clear routines and boundaries with planned-out consequences. Then we clung to the agree-upon-routine like a life preserver, making it the “bad guy,” so I could quit that role. Consistency won and things improved.

I changed direction and was better for it.

During some of the youth sports years, I felt it became our everything. Too much so. I grew up in a strong faith community, and God’s hope has sustained me my whole life. I desired that for my kids. So, we re-prioritized our church family, striving to get there once a week, even if that meant a Wednesday or Saturday or simply for the dessert social. I wanted them to experience walking with God through community, and they seemed to enjoy the faith-filled friendships.

I changed direction and was better for it.

This year, in the high school years, I’d felt like maybe I’d overemphasized grades, and I watched one son be stressed and over-serious. So, we talked about it. We reduced commitments and rewired messages. We spent more time hanging out as a family, encouraging friendships, and pursuing fun. Slowly, I saw my high achiever relax and remember life can be enjoyable.

I changed direction and was better for it.

Moms and Dads, we grow up with our kids.

How can we expect to go through this instantly-on-stage experience perfectly when we’ve never practiced?

We don’t know what we don’t know.

And some messages, good things to communicate, hit our kids sideways because of their unique personalities and tendencies. But we don’t know that until we’ve walked the path.

However, through it all, we have this superpower.

With the strength, speed, a beauty of wild horses galloping across the North Dakota badlands.

We can always, always, always change direction.

Turn 180 degrees.
Move forward with a different stride.

Not redo, but renew. And be better for it.

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