they really do still need us!
It's tempting to think that our teens are independent enough and mature enough that they don't need our time. It's tempting to let the teens fend for themselves while we focus on our own interests, take on more hours at work, or just "check out" mentally.
I thought as my older children became teens that they would need me less. I thought that they'd be my helpers, and I'd be able to pour my emotional energy into the younger children. What I didn't realize is how much my teenage daughters would still need me. They need me to listen to them. They need me to teach them. They need me to help them sort through confusion. They need me to discuss spiritual matters with them. They need assurance of my love, my acceptance, and their value as individuals. They just need to hang out and enjoy my company at times. They need me to help them grow into strong, confident, godly women before they leave home.
I sometimes forget the "teen factor". I can put my little ones to bed and think I'll tackle certain chores before bed. But then there is the "teen factor" ... the discussion that can't wait, the reassurances that must be given, the chatting that just nurtures the relationship. Sometimes it seems that they need me as much as the younger ones do. I have to balance the needs of the oldest and youngest children in my home.
And then I wonder, what about those middle kids? I am reminded that I need to invest in my relationship with them NOW, so that they will feel safe coming to me to talk as teens. I do not want them to be lost in the shuffle, pushed aside, left to figure out life on their own. I do not want them to feel un-valued and unloved. They are not less important than the teens or the toddlers, but do they know that?
Why did I think that they'd reach a certain age and not need me anymore? Why do I forget that they need time with ME as much as I need time with their Dad?
Lord, help me to see the needs of EACH child in my home. Help me not to get too busy to spend time with them. Help me to slow down and relax with them. Help me to be organized enough that I don't fall behind and go into survival mode, which leaves no time for chatting. Help me to show them YOUR love and acceptance on a daily basis, Lord. Amen.