Parenting

Parenting a Maturing Child; You Need to Adjust

| by Jill Sweetman

Raising maturing children does not have to be frightening. Rather they can be the great years where we can have mature conversations of which they were not capable when they were young.

However parents do need to adjust their parenting methods which can be frustrating because we have grown accustomed to telling our children what to do. We have not had to explain our decisions but as children mature they are expecting an explanation of our demands. This is normal as their thought processes and comprehension are changing. To constantly demand obedience without explanation will frustrate them and likely cause resentment and anger. This can lead to rebellion and wanting little to do with their parents as kids age. The militant parent that stands over their child demanding respect and obedience likely could find the situation reversed in time.

One of the biggest dilemmas that parents face with maturing children is disagreement concerning a child between the parents. One parent will not bend while the other will. One parent is extremely proud and unwilling to admit the need to change the mode of parenting while the other parent fears the loss of their child by never compromising. To recognise these situations is important. To understand that a child is maturing means that parents will cater for this in their parenting skills. When two parents are involved, the necessity of them working together makes family life easier and brings better results. When parents turn on one another, more insecurity and conflict occurs. Work out a process to reach a solution before parenting the child.

Dean and I found in our parenting that often one of us understood one of the boys better than the other in certain situations. Therefore when difficult times arose, this “parent of peace” got involved in this situation. The other parent stayed unobtrusive. This was often frustrating for the parent not involved but constantly brought positive solution.

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Often things that cause conflict in parenting are insignificant – shows watched, music heard, a one-off broken curfew or chosen clothing. They seem so huge at the time but looking back for many parents, they would say that they regret many of the arguments that they chose. Many things that children do are friendship and acceptance driven and pass over time. I would say that it is important to talk to your children regarding these things rather than banning them. Many trends are harmless but rather friendships chosen dramatically affect a person.

Choose wisely when you disagree with a child’s choice. Be aware of the pressures which they face. They may seem insignificant to a parent but may be enormous to your child. When they are the only one that dresses in a certain style or they are the only one without a certain type of music, this sets them apart from others.

Are you aware of the trends that are important to them or are your decisions causing them to stand out in a negative way in their daily life? We desire our children to be great Christians but when we as parents present a Christianity that seems out of touch with the times, we set our children up for failure. Therefore be confident in your parenting and let them know your expectations but also let your parenting change with the years just as your child is changing with the years.