Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Entries from May 1, 2008 - June 1, 2008

Entries from May 1, 2008 - June 1, 2008


Parenting Teens: In Praise of 13

Thirteen is that in-between year. You enter it an older child and exit it a very, very young adult. I have a thirteen year old. Actually this is my 4th thirteen year old. She is my second daughter and youngest child. With her turning 13 our family leaves behind childhood.

She is smart, pretty and at times challenging. Watching her mind work is fascinating and a little scary. Thirteen is the age where you can where makeup outside our house, the age of your first crush, the age you are sure your parents know little and understand less. When you are the fourth child you have way more information about the world than you siblings did at the same age. It is all to easy to think information is the same as life experience. Such is the challenge of thirteen.

To the funny, smart (occasionally impertinent) thirteen year old who enlivens my days, I glad you are here . It is both a pleasure and a challenge to be your mother and you know I love a good challenge.

And I love you .


Parenting Teens: Lying

One of the nice things about not being an expert is you can have a situation where you don’t know what to do, therefore; you don’t have to do anything right away. Recently, one of our kids told a bold-faced lie. When confronted by the facts, this child of mine lied, recruited others to take his/her side, and defamed the accusing parent (that would be me) for daring to think they would do such a thing and then lie about it. It was a breathtaking performance that has left us all hurting.

The wrong that preceded the lie was minor at best. The tsunami that was the lie’s effect will last for days. Looking at some web sites about how a parent could deal with teenagers and lying, the basic advice is the parent should:

- change their environment making it safer for their teen to tell the truth

- understand why a teenager would lie

- don’t freak out, teens are trying to separate from their parents and find their own way etc.

The implication is that if parents would adjust their expectations, be understanding, be patient, and respond calmly to the situation, the teen would feel safe and not need to lie. In effect, the root of teen lying lies not in the heart of the teenager, but in the lack of skill on the part of their parents.

I am here to tell you that is just not so. I am not a perfect parent. I do mess up from time to time. My faults are often a handy excuse for my kids when caught doing something wrong. The person who lied used, my past faults with skill that rivals Jimmy Cochran, to excuse his/her current actions. My imperfect parenting is not why this child chose to lie and keep lying.

James 4 offers insight into why people do the hurtful things they do:

1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Sometimes it is easy for a parent to tell what children hope to gain or avoid by their lies. Sometimes, like this time, a parent has no idea.

One of the hardest challenges of parenting teens, particularly older teens, is sometimes you don’t know what to do. There are times when it is easy to connect consequences with behavior. Sometimes life provides its own consequences. Then, there are times when you just do nothing.

I don’t know which time this is. Fortunately lying is not a pattern of life for this child. Unlike the experts, I have no easy answers.


Wii, Wii, Wii for Me, Me, ME

Wii Fit has finally arrived! I order it back in April of this year. I have waited patiently for it to arrive. It was worth the wait.

Wii Fit has four training modes: yoga, strength training, aerobics and balance games. It comes with an ingenious interactive platform that even I can operate without the help of any of my children.

To start you take a body test, after loading in your age and birthday the Wii gives you your Wii age. After you get over how old the Wii says your body is, take the body test again. More than likely your age will drop considerably. If you are over weight, your formerly slim Mii will pudge out as mine did. Wii Fit can be a little mean.

I don’t think this game is going to benefit those already buff but my ultra athletic son enjoys the challenge of getting high rankings in the exercises he tried. No one is shot at, and there is nothing to blow up yet Wii Fit kept him occupied for hours. If one must play video games, I prefer the active participation of the Wii to the passive game playing of other video games.

The balance games are fun to draw the whole family together. There are a couple of downhill ski games similar to the arcade ones that are highly addictive. If you play them with younger kids, you might even get to the top of the leader board for more then as few seconds. There is something about beating mom that older teens enjoy. This means mom never stays on top of the stats for long.

If you find yourself “just one more time” into hours of playing FreeCell or Hearts, Wii Fit has the same “just one more time “quality. The exercises are short, the feed back is instant. You just want one more shot at bettering your score. You can lose yourself playing game after game as with FreeCell but you get some health benefit to boot.

I did buy Wii Fit for me, me, me but I am setting a good example for my kids and sharing my toy.


Parenting Teens: A Mother’s Thoughts on Her Son Being Dumped

I’m sorry for your pain and for the life lesson you are now experiencing. We could have saved you this pain but you would not listen to the counsel your dad and I tried to share. Perhaps some good will come of this yet.

Even though the last few weeks have been rough on you, your former girlfriend is not a mean person. She is a 16-year-old girl who is not yet mature enough to give her heart to a young man. You my son are not yet mature enough to care and treasure a woman’s heart.

You wanted to create a cocoon for two, a happy world were each of you were loved by the other. She joined you in that happy cocoon but eventually it was too small, to confining, and she wanted out. You both are not yet mature enough to understand how two people can become one, and still have room in their lives for others.

She wants a boyfriend who can pay for dates, you want to play sports, and your parents will not fund your social life.

Living life in a community of faith is important to your father and me. Active church involvement is part of being part of our family. Her family revolves around their immediate family. Family events are primary to them. You don’t have the freedom to blaze your own path as a couple; you are not adults but children living with families who have differing priorities. Not that one set of priorities is superior to the other. They are just different, and at times they did conflict.

You didn’t have the maturity to want what was best for the other. She wanted you out of school sports so you could spend more time with her. You wanted her to give up male friendships that predated your relationship. She wanted control over the girls you talked too. You wanted a vow of eternal love that no young girl can make. Even if she “feels” this is so, it just isn’t. You didn’t have the maturity to believe us when we told you your request wasn’t realistic. Better to believe the pretty girl with the laughing eyes, than your parents, who have the life experience, but aren’t as pretty.

You sacrificed a lot to stay in that relationship when you gave up hockey. Remember, my son that was your choice. You don’t get to rewrite your history, and be hostile towards her because of your choice. You can regret the choice, but whatever the influences on you, the decision was yours to make, no one else’s.

There will be more pretty girls with laughing eyes in your future. Before you give your heart again, you would be wise to wait for the one who shares a vision for her future similar to your vision for your future. Someone who has the maturity to want what is best for you, as you will want the best for her. Who understands how to build not a cocoon, but a home, a special haven for two where others are welcome. One who will want to be part of a community of faith, as we hope and pray you will choose to be as you grow up and leave our home.

To find that special woman, you will have to be a man, my son. Give yourself time to grow, to mature, and to become that man. In the mean time:

23 Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4


CSA Adventure: Now For the Nitty Gritty

This has not been a great vegetable week. I have discovered I am very spoiled. I’m used to vegetables being the mindless part of dinner. Open a bag, microwave, done. Fresh-off-the-farm vegetables require more attention. They are also more random in both appearance and taste when compared to grocery store vegetables. You have to store them right, and clean them thoroughly.

Farm fresh vegetables are gritty. I have washed, and washed, and washed the lettuce and spinach. Still there is that gritty texture, which while different, is not awful. What is awful is that grit tastes bad.

For some reason the red lettuce was bitter. I talked to the farmer about it today when I picked up my third box of produce. He didn’t know why that was so. I wondered if I had stored the lettuce wrong, or had waited to long to use it. Lettuce evidently is a gamble in the produce world. Washing and drying lettuce and spinach takes more time and attention than I want to give to vegetable prep when making dinner. I admit, I am spoiled. I like being spoiled.

We did enjoy the snow peas we received in our previous boxes. This week we have sugar snap peas. You can not get me to willingly eat cooked peas unless politeness compels me to, (I will not eat a mushroom for any reason short of the threat of pain). Fresh sugar snap peas are a revelation. They are wonderful. If the girls don’t get up soon, I will have eaten the whole bowl by myself. They are like natures potatoes chips. Crunchy, add a dash of salt...perfect.

We received the funniest looking carrots. I am going to use some in a salad and roast the rest. The onions are also going into a salad and I’m going to fry some to go with the steaks we are planning to grill this week. We received some butter leaf lettuce that I am going to use up quickly in a salad and on sandwiches. If we join the CSA next year, I think a salad spinner would come in handy.

Strawberries again this week! I do like being spoiled.


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