It’s been awhile since I’ve done a parenting article on the blog. Like years maybe. It’s not intentional but I think it’s definitely time. Call it lack of time on my end or just the everlasting writer’ block but it’s time to write about what it’s like parenting today’s kid. So here in 2020 I have a 12 year old and a 6 year old.
Let me be the first one to say that parenting is not easy. I will never ever be the one to say that parenting is a breeze. In fact, when a friend or family member is/is considering having another child I always hold my breath or bite my tongue. I love kids. I was a teacher for years but parenting is no joke. It’s a constant battle of daily decisions and after-thoughts. It’s a personal battle as a Mother, I often feel like I will always lose. I feel like I make bad decisions all the time. When you have an infant and you are so sleep deprived you think you’ll never get enough sleep and you wonder if the baby is eating enough and all those questions are running through your head- those are the easy days…
I’m far away from the diapers and potty training. I’m right in the middle of pre-teen drama 12 year old girl and young endless supply of energy 6 year old boy. My life is a constant on-the-go like I never thought possible. I often look back at pictures thinking when I had a toddler or even a baby. I thought I was so busy. Thought. Parenting a 12 and 6 year old is like something no other. We have middle school drama from the girl. She’s making choices on her own and trying to be so independent but the outside middle school world is scary.If you are a Mom reading this then you can probably remember your time in middle school. Scary, right? Not much has changed. Girls are hard- especially middle school girls. She’s also on the verge of 13 and so many things are changing for her. One thing is so important and the next it’s totally out the window. I never know what it’s going to be. Egg shells. I pretty much walk on eggshells around her!
With my 6 year old boy (almost 7!) he still loves his mom. He wants me around all the time and pretty much relies on me too much. I have a hard time separating because he is my baby. I want him to be independent but I also know that, well- he is my baby and I know how fast the time goes. He thinks that life is so fun and is so easy to please. He is my easy one. (Thank goodness for an easy kid.
So how do you parent in today’s world of 2020 with the constant focus of all negativity? Everywhere we turn there is something bad on tv or some media outlet about not letting your kids do this or do that. I swear it’s every freaking day. If I read everything and do everything the experts say then I’m doing everything bad too. (literally everything)
Here are so things that I do and that work for us.
With our sports schedule this isn’t possible 7 nights a week but we make a tremendous effort to eat together at least 5-6 nights a week sitting together at the dinner table. We love our dinners together. We use this time to meet up and talk together. I’m not going to lie, we do watch a family tv program together sometimes and I’m fine with it. We love things like funniest family videos or America’s Got Talent. We don’t allow phones at the table (for parents either) and we talk about our day. It’s not always an hour long drawn out dinner but at least it’s something.
Keep Them Busy
Have you ever heard the saying that a busy kid stays out of trouble? I think this can be true depending on that they are doing. My daughter started soccer at an early age because she really liked it and it did and does keep her extremely busy. As she’s gotten older it has added more time to her schedule. She also plays other sports too leaving very little time during the week for other things. Sometimes this is hard and she has made so many sacrifices but it’s also a very positive thing too. She is one that thrives on being busy but it also keeps her from just sitting at home doing nothing. We started my son in sports too also at at a young age. Team sports are a great place to start. If they don’t like sports try an art class or theater. There are so many ideas but the idea is to find something they have an interest in and keep pursuing. Try a dance class or karate. Keep trying or try a variety until they really like something!
I know that sounds easy enough. As a parent you should be involved in their lives, right? But I feel like as they start to get older you should really get more involved with your kids. I overheard a teacher friend talking to another teacher about her teenage kids a few years ago (back when I didn’t have kids, sigh!) and she said to her “Oh teenagers! That’s when the work really begins, right?!” I thought that was so strange and I didn’t really get it but I totally do no. Everyone thinks babies and toddlers are all the work but really it’s the older ages. So get involved. Make them invite friends over to your house. Ask them questions. TALK TO THEM. That goes back to our family dinners too but we actually talk to our kids. We don’t shelter them. Let them know you are there for them. Tell them about your mistakes. Be there for them when they make mistakes. Because they will make them, just like you did too. It’s hard but sometimes you have to let them make the mistakes too. It’s all al learning process.
So parenting in today’s world is totally easy, right? Wrong. It’s not. I’m learning too. I’m NOT an expert. I told a friend recently that with my daughter (who is the oldest) that I am learning to parent with her. Life is changing so much with technology and social challenges that I have to change too. You cannot parent the same way our parents did 30 years ago. It’s just not possible.
I will probably look back in 5 more years and think I had it so easy because I know that in 5 more years things will be even more challenging. But right now- in 2020- with my 12 year old and my 6 year old- this is how we do it. I really just take it day by day and one challenge at a time. It’s really all I can do.
I’d love to hear your challenges as parents in this day in age. What ideas do you have? Share them with me!