Make sure you have open communication, but don't be a friend. Trust them, yet hold them accountable. Be there, but don't hover. Listen, but don't judge. Give advice, but don't criticize.
There are myriad parenting messages we ingest everyday through a variety of mediums, it seems everyone from the experts to the most popular mom bloggers want to share their two-cent input about how to raise the next generation.
If that's the case, then how does a parent really know if they are on "the right track" when raising their tween or teen?
These are the questions I ask myself everyday:
- Did I get more than a "fine", "stuff", "nothing", and "no" out of them? If they told me specific details about their school day, lunch hour, or a fight with a friend then I chalk it up to success. This tells me they know I listen to the details of their lives.
- Does he/she still ask my opinion about things like music, a movie or television show, or even a YouTube video? If so, success is mine (for the day). This tells me I have shown them respect for their opinions, so they value mine in return.
- Do they ask me about my day? This tells me I have instilled in them a sense of compassion and interest in others.
- Did he/she say they loved me today without being prompted? (Yes, even the 17-year-old.) Always an indicator of a successful day as a mom! This is how I know I have taught them to love unconditionally and to say so, without being told.
- Do they approach me (usually while I am writing) with a math problem, an issue with the car they are afraid their dad will be too upset about, or a toilet they just can't seem to get unclogged....Mom to the rescue! This tells me my children know that while I won't bail them out, I will always be there to help them through.
These are the things that help me measure my mom-ability. Nowhere near perfect, yet always able to acknowledge when I fall short, or when I am wrong.
Everybody's got a story to tell...are your kids telling you theirs? If not, it's time to focus on the quality of their story.
Time is precious,which is why is should be shared with the ones you love.