Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pine-Cone & Bottle-Cap Parenting

Let's face it, parenting is hard. It's not always easy to be creative with how we discipline our children. Working daily to pour enriching life lessons and wisdom.  No matter how society would like to think kids should be raised, the reality is YOU get to make the decisions that are going to grow your kids into caring, kind, responsible, and loving adults.

#ParentingIsHard #ParentingIsEasy #ParentingIsShowingUp

I am on my 3rd teenager. I managed to grow the first two up into their, now, late twenties.  We are great friends and today those kids laugh, chuckle and tell stories of "mom" and how I handled their teenage moments.  There is a mutual respect and love for my older two as grown up humans. The badge of honor as a mother is when others know your grown children, and then come to you and tell you what great kids you have. Thank you Elliot and Emily for honoring me as your mother by being caring, loving, and responsible grown ups.

Now onto to teenager number three. He is no different than the first two. His opinions are now strong and he owns them.  We were on a car ride yesterday with a young man I have watched grow up from the age of four to twenty-six.  Conversations between all four boys in the car.  Ethan has an opinion, I have an opinion that differs from his. The challenge of trying to get the other person to share your opinion begins with every teenager known to mankind. It's a very good thing, but as a parent requires direction, and this young 26 year old man says, "Ethan, your mother has an opinion that is different than yours. Do you think arguing with her is going to change her opinion?  Or if she were to argue with you, would that change YOUR opinion?"  That was some amazing wisdom and questions from a twenty-six year old who happens to be the middle of child of his big family. Ethan pondered and the course of what could have been an argument turned into dialogue over our differing opinions.

Teenagers have opinions, and we as parents can embrace them.  Allow that opinion, ask more questions as opinions are formed and still maintain our own.  There are no offenses with being an individual who experiences the world differently. Emily, when she was fourteen years old worked hard on trying to get me to agree that the sky was gray not blue.  I finally said, "You are correct, through the lenses of your eyeballs tis the color you see."

Now the real meat of this post. Distractions from the energy of a fourteen your old who is board. He was board and wanted something to do. Somehow I convinced him it would be worth his time to go on a scavenger hunt.  A game I use to play when all the kids were little. Hide things all over the house, and then for forty-five minutes they would go hunting. And for forty-five minutes I could sit and sip my coffee.  Yesterday I re-introduced the scavenger hunting idea. Boys were at the store, homework was finished and now what?  I could not remember my password to Netflix.  Which all the kids have great memories from over 25 years of being in my store getting to watch a movie if homework was done.  Today I had to dig into my basket of creative distractions.

I simply said, go outside and find a bottle cap, a stick shaped like a "Y" and four pine-cones. It was just as random as that with no thought. The fourteen year old dashed out of the building. Off he went. And later returned with these...exactly as the picture is. It was fun, it was silly, and it brought back happy times of being a young boy. Parents, sometimes it's those memories from the past, that remind our kids how much we truly do love and care for them.  I am still chuckling that he did this and loved it. Now he did want to be paid for his findings, but that is another subject for another post. Happy pine-cone and bottle cap parenting.

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