05/17/2016

Coping with Change

Change is exciting and scary all at once, and moving has been no different.  I go through all sorts of emotions on a daily basis about it.  Mostly questioning myself for uprooting my kids from their home, school and friends.  I go back and forth that it will be so good for them.  They will learn and grow and experience things they wouldn’t have in our other area.  Change teaches them to be strong, to find themselves and figure out who they want to be.  But then that little part of me comes back into my head and I think what if they don’t find good friends, what if their grades suffer, what if they are struggling and they don’t talk to me about it?

The last few weeks have been a little difficult with our son.  I think the change has been the hardest for him.  He is a freshman and was currently at a junior high.  When we moved him to the new school it put him into a big high school.  He was able to join in on open gym after school and even play for the team on a spring league.  I thought things were going good.  He has made some friends at school who he eats lunch with and sees in classes, but hasn’t done anything with them socially.  I’ve tried to encourage him to do this, but he only wants to hang out with his old friends. basketball He has always played basketball and loved it and a few weeks ago he came to us and said he didn’t want to play anymore.  I was sad, a little disapointed and in disbelief that something he loved so much was no longer fun for him.  I think this is the first time as parent I have struggled with wanting to make him play.  I always said it was up to my kids to choose what they want to participate in or be a part of, but when the reality hit that he may give this up, it was a punch in the gut.  He’s worked so hard, has always wanted to play high school ball and even dreamed of playing in college.  The first thing we did was sit him down and had a heart to heart.  We told him we know it’s so difficult to move during this time of his life and that change was always hard, but for the most part always turned into something better.  We talked about the opportunities he would have with this new team if he would give them a chance.  We also asked him if there were other things in his life that were weighing him down.  Drugs, girls, pornography? The hard questions you don’t want to ask, but that every parent should be asking, in my opinion on a regular basis.  He was honest and said it wasn’t any of those things but that he was a little depressed and missed his old friends and school.  I told him we get it! It’s totally normal to feel this way! We encouraged him to make a choice to be happy.  To give these new friends and this new school a chance.  To finish out the spring season with this team and to really do some soul searching about quitting ball.  We explained that decisions like this should not be made over night and especially when you are down in the dumps.  Things have been a little better with him, not perfect, but better.

I think as my children get older I am realizing how important it is to have open communication.  It’s easy when they are younger to ask if they’ve had a good day and always hear a “yes”. But when you know they are struggling and you ask this simple question, you don’t know what you will get.  I’ve decided asking them if they had a good day isn’t enough anymore.  Some times I feel like I’m probing and maybe even being annoying, but in the end I feel like I can get them to talk to me if I show real concern and love for them.  I let them know that they are loved, truly, unconditionally loved no matter what.  I make them feel like an equal, that they are being heard and their frustrations and trials are real and important to me.  We’ve been driving about a half hour each way to and from school everyday.  I have devoted these moments to just my kids.  I try to make it a point to stay off my phone and listen to what they have to say.  I think you can tell instantly when your kids get in the car if they’ve had a good or bad day.  They are usually talkative and joking around if it’s been a good day, much more quiet and reserved or aggitated if it’s been a hard day.  I think we can learn to be sensitive to these little signals and play upon them.  Forming the right questions depending on how are kids are acting.  I’ve also realized that sometimes right after school is not the best time to talk or even find out about their day.  There little brains are tired. They’ve been dealing and reacting to situations for the last 6 hours and I think sometimes they just want a break.  I will give them that and then later I will try to find a quiet moment and ask about a certain friend or assignment they are working on, or talk to them about recess or lunch that day.  It usually will open up the conversation a little bit and make them feel comfortable to talk to me.

One of my frustrations as they get older is feeling like I can’t solve everything for them.  I can’t take away the feelings of loneliness or sadness that may come from leaving friends behind or trying to be the new kid fitting in.  The only thing I can do is make them feel secure in the fact that we are always there for them.  I do this by the way I react to situations, by hugging them when there is nothing left to say, by not casting judgements and I think letting them know that I can’t fix it for them, but the love and support is always here.  Some of those things I have to work on, and thankfully I have a husband who is very level-headed and helps when I tend to over-react, which might be often.

Universal studios

Wow, you guys, parenting is so hard. Like the hardest thing I’ll ever do!!  I know the next 10 years of raising teenagers and watching them grow into adulthood will be so much harder than the last 10 years. What I do love right now is how fun my kids are! We love to travel with them.  No more strollers, diapers, crying melt downs (for the most part).  They are fun to hang out with and have conversations about life and the things we love.  They are funny and make me laugh on a daily basis.  They make me proud and honored to be their mother.  I know hard times are inevitable when raising kids, but I think it’s how we approach it and tackle those situations is what continues to make us better parents and form stronger relationships with them.DO the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better do better.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings today. I’d love to hear what are some of the struggles you have with parenting? Please comment below.

Have a great day!

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Comments

  1. Angela says:

    I can tell that you are incredible parents, and your kids respect, admire and love you.
    Let’s help each other! I’ve got your back and will be another person who will be there for your kids!
    Parenthood sometimes feels like a kick in the teeth!

  2. Great advice Harmony. You express yourself so well. Love you.

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