I am skidding in to say we are on the journey of ‘The Next Decade of Parenting’.
One always hopes to arrive at these life stages in style. Hair intact and yelling ‘we’ve got this’.
But that rarely happens.
And we skid in on our knees, not quite ready.
I guess this is my way of breaking the news gently and saying that from this parent, there is going to be lots of skidding in.
There will also be examples of ‘not being quite prepared’.
As I write this, I marvel at the similarities of this next decade of parenting with the ten years that have just passed.
I thought we were done with phases – but we aren’t quite. In fact I think that ‘phases’ were invented as a ‘get out clause of hope’ for parents to rest their weary heads and say ‘this too shall pass’. Going forward, I shall think of ‘phases’ as adult cotton wool. First Aid for the soul.
In this next decade of parenting, we learn to re-engage with the hormone. Both those of our children and our own. Puberty, Plaits and Peri-Menopause. Often at the same time, rarely in isolation. Nature intended things to be this way. Much the same as the hormones that are given off when we give birth.
With the hormone, comes the emotion. Theirs and yours. We are ticking these off faster than we can collect Lego cards.
Knowing When It’s OK Not to Know
And then there is the personal development journey. There are going to be many learning opportunities coming our way over the next ten years.
We are placed in a position of ‘not knowing anything’ by our pre-teens who have the advantage of ‘knowing everything’. Couple this with the fact that we realise that we don’t know very much about this new journey and there will be lots of examples of ‘faking it, ’til we make it’.
I refer you to my recent post entitled ‘Knowing When it’s OK Not to Know’. I am also referring myself to this post by way of reassurance. It really is OK not to know.
Making Sense of our New World.
We can’t. No preparation at all for this one.
As we attempt to equip our teens with the independence they need for the next stage of their journey, we see things happening in our world that makes us want to lock our doors and never let them out of our sight.
But we can’t do that, can we?
We find ourselves drawing upon all of our own reserves in trying to make sense of things and the landscape looks very different.
There are no answers here for us at this time. We are all muddling through. Doing the best we can. That is good enough.
Fearing The Messages Our Children are Receiving
I do not mean on their phones. You will be familiar with the arrival of a phone in the Not Just The 3 of Us household.
This has been the least of our worries.
I have written in the past about the dangers of exposing our children to the high levels of vitriol around election times. Nothing new here except that their access to this information is facilitated by modern technology, 24 hour news reporting and a ‘no holds barred’ approach of imposing the view of adults on to their enquiring minds.
It’s the latter that I find very unfair.
It is wonderful for our children to be comfortable in opinion forming. We positively embrace this. We provide all of the information we can in order for them to do so. It is incredibly important to allow them to do this. To allow them and their young minds to make sense of something that is actually quite inaccessible. If politics and world news is impenetrable for adults at this time, I imagine our children are really struggling to make sense of things.
And we are doing our young people a huge disservice if we try to impose our views on them. They do not have the benefit of adult minds and perspective. Nor in their young lives, are they equipped with the historic knowledge that we, as adults, use to underpin our decision making process. They are learning though. A little faster than we may have hoped, but they are learning.
And as an adult I feel that there is something very beautiful about watching your child produce something of their own craft. Something of which, you have had no involvement. Whether this be a piece of prose, artwork or a view and opinion – it is worthy of celebration.
You may remember my quest to find ways to entertain all members of the Not Just The 3 of Us household.
We made a very successful start to my new series entitled Where Has The Tween Been? I was able to report on parenting high fives and happy pre-tweens.
You may have noticed that there has been no follow-up. Remember this is a learning journey. Mistakes will be made. Lessons will be learned. This series may be necessarily slower for this reason. Stick with it. We are!
However in the face of adversity, there is always hope in the form of a parenting date.
No mistakes, perfect food, plentiful beverages, sunshine and no mention of time and boredom.
This one we have got!
And so we continue on our journey – refuelled but none the wiser.
How about you?