Letting Go... One Step at a Time
Letting Go as our Children Grow
Another Preteen Lesson
I feel like I might be sounding like a broken record by now, but I'm a preteen Mama, and let me tell you, it's quite a change!!
My daughters are transforming before my very eyes! My parenting has to change, my expectations have to change, my way of dealing with outburst have to change, EVERYTHING IS CHANGING! My daughters are changing...
My middle child has been my baby for a VERY LONG time... She and I are like two peas in a pod, we go up and down at the same time. We think alike, we operate on the same wave length! It can be wonderful and challenging and everything in between. She's been my baby for so long... and she's turning ten THIS month.
Can you tell I'm kind of freaking out about this!?!?!
She's been my sweet baby for so long and I have been postponing even admitting to myself that she's turning ten. Now, ten is just an age, but it is definitely a transitional phase and it is (at least for my girls) the start of preteen challenges, responsibilities, and change. And my second child, "my baby girl" is entering this new phase. She is ready for more responsibilities and the privileges that come with that as well. She is ready for me to let go a little and let her try more things...
|When she was little.|
But I'm not!
That's MY BABY!! She's not supposed to be a preteen!
I was ranting to my husband a few nights back about the chaos and stress of my morning... and as I shared the majority of that stress and chaos revolved around my middle child... Around ME trying to get her to accomplish HER responsibilities (getting ready for the day, chore, and school work). My whole morning was tense over trying to get her from one thing to the next...
As soon as I said it out loud, I saw the problem. Those are her responsibilities, not mine. My job is to give her age-appropriate responsibilities and privilege and guide her to develop and grow through that with unconditional love and support... and I haven't been doing that. I've been taking that on for her, in an effort to help, when that's not what would help at all.
|Not so little anymore...|
The very next day I sat down with my daughter and gave her the spiel. "Here's the deal. I'm going to stop working so hard to get you to do your stuff. It's your job to get your stuff done. If you don't complete your school then you can do it during rest time instead of playing. If you don't finish it during the morning and afternoon then you can do school on Friday to make it up." (We school Mon-Thurs). "Do you have any questions?" I asked when I finished explaining all the details.
"What's my reward if I compete everything?" Lol, of course she would ask that.
I gave her a smile, "You get your playtime. Your reward is accomplishing your tasks and getting to help and have time to do what you want to do. Your reward is not having to do school on Friday and instead getting to play." She nodded, satisfied. I gave her a big hug, handed her a timer for getting ready time and left her to it.
*I'm smiling a lot right now*
That girl not only completed all of her tasks to get ready for the day, do her chore, and start school, but she did them quickly and with a positive attitude!!!!!!!
We're on week 2 right now and she has taken up the reigns of responsibility with a cheerful attitude and pride in her accomplishments!
I asked her how she felt about "Being a big girl"?
"I love it!!" Was her response without hesitation.
Mamas, I'm here with you. I'm learning every day a new thing. I'm learning more and more that the tension is part of the beautiful, yet hard, process of helping our children develop into adults. I think the preteens are an incredibly crucial time to instill a sense of pride in responsibilities, a time to nurture caring for others and making a difference. A time to gently hand over the reigns more and more, with direction and help along the way. Preteens are the ground work for teens, the jumping off point to begin that journey towards capable, responsible, helpful adulthood.
It's so hard to let go, but it's so beautiful and the results are amazing at the same time.
Do you have a preteen? What are some of the struggles you face? I'd love to hear in the comments below!