Teenage children: an opportunity for thisfamilywelove.com
My first three children are males of 17, 15 and 14 years old. The two oldest have already reached my 180 cm. Tall. In these last two or three years his arms and legs have been stretched so that, observing them, it seems as if they were actors of cinemascope. Their voices, previously sharp, have worsened to the extreme.
The time dedicated to personal grooming, especially the hairstyle, has also increased exponentially; they often combine, in addition to their own hands, combs, foams and rubber bands until they satisfy their beauty yearnings in front of the mirror, according to the prevailing tendencies.
Although, for the moment, they do not avoid gestures of affection towards us, their parents, it is not uncommon to observe in them certain slights in relation to our dress, our sense of humor, our way of addressing their friends or any comments we make and that seems inappropriate.
Faced with such a scenario, discouragement and concern may arise in us when we look back and remember that these three children, only a short time ago, had no other universe than their father and mother.
When someone addresses us and observes us surrounded by little ones, it is common to hear phrases of the type: "take advantage now that they are small, then they grow up and they will not want to know anything about you". I refuse, however, to accept this sentence.
It is true that there are times when his gestures are not friendly and his words are not friendly. But neither is this circumstance exclusive of this age. At least, to my chagrin, I accuse myself of behaviors of this kind more often than I would like.
On the other hand, it is fascinating to accompany them on the short journey to adulthood. The rudeness, the ups and downs or the asperities towards us, I suspect that they are only part of their instinctive strategy to emerge from the paternal nest and enter a new scenario, beyond the family atmosphere.
In addition, the fact that our three teenagers have five younger siblings behind them makes it easier for teenagers to assume new roles within the family. I will give an example. One of these three Musketeers claimed his right to go to bed later than his younger brothers and see a movie on the computer. The answer that came quickly to my mind was clear. Seem right; You can delay your time to go to sleep. But, before watching the movie, pick up the dinner table, put the cutlery in the dishwasher and leave the kitchen perfectly tidy.
We have used this tactic repeatedly, and although at first it stings, they end up assuming naturally that becoming adults does not only imply greater spheres of freedom or the acquisition of "new family rights"; it brings, at the same time, its necessary contribution to the support of the enormous family burdens in a family with eight children.
This is a first satisfaction. For some parents, seeing their child take care of a younger sibling, clean the bathrooms or take care of cleaning the house is rewarding. And, not so much because those tasks that they assume liberate my wife and me from carrying them out, but, above all, because we have discovered that only in this way does the man who will one day begin to appear. Otherwise, they would become children who looked like men but could not take responsibility for anything in their own lives. Not too long ago, I wrote in another article a statement directed to parents that could be radical but in which I firmly believe: if your 14 year old does not make the bed every day, you have a problem. And if with 16, you still do not, you have a parasite living at home.
Finally, although they want to pretend that our opinion is no longer of interest to them and that they dispense with our opinion in the decision-making process; however, I interpret that this way of behaving obeys the need to put us to the test as parents. In this sense, we find it appealing that they discover that their father not only knows how to change diapers and to keep the children quiet, but that they have an adult before them, with clear ideas and who has many things to say to them throughout. of their life.
Because you might think that once we reach a certain age for our children, parents no longer have much to contribute in shaping their personality. I think the opposite. Not only is the existential moment suitable for an extra contribution on our part, but also, they themselves are claiming, without knowing it, our cardinal criteria on life expressed safely, firmly and with perfect harmony between the father and the mother.
Therefore, the need to find appropriate moments for the continued and reflective dialogue with them is imposed. To this end, in our family, we prepare every Sunday a domestic celebration around a large table adorned with tablecloth and flowers in which those over 10 years old participate fundamentally. We make an opening prayer and we present God before reading any Gospel reading.Next, we scrutinize each child one by one. We ask them how they have spent the week, how they are at home, with us, with their brothers, if they are distressed by some event, if they have any enemies, if they need some kind of help from us, if they consider that they should ask for forgiveness. some wrong action.
As each one of them intervenes, my wife and I reply trying to discern about the deep problem or the suffering they are going through. Always with moderation and without reproach, putting the focus on the root of the situation from an existential point of view, fleeing from moralisms and infantilisms; expressing our criteria so that they do not feel threatened but helped. This celebration must be a reinforcement for them, not a summary judgment. Otherwise, they would not participate again in the future or they would refrain from sharing what they would guess was going to be censored.
Of course, we also share with them our miseries at work or at home, our difficulties, our tribulations and our projects; we ask you to pray for us and to help us during the next week with some concrete action.
Many years have been renewed every Sunday this domestic celebration and today it is one of the pillars that sustains our family. Our children, deep down, still need and go to their parents although in an indirect way. They seek our approval, our time and know if our criteria are firm and justified.
Someone said that adolescence is a disease that heals over time. My experience is rather that adolescence is a fantastic opportunity for "thisfamilywelove".
Seeing your child take care of a younger sibling, clean the restrooms or take care of cleaning the house is rewarding. And not so much because those tasks that they assume liberate my wife and me from carrying them out, but, above all, because we have discovered that only in this way does the man who will one day begin to appear.
It could be thought that once we reach a certain age for our children, parents no longer have much to contribute in shaping their personality. I think the opposite. Not only is the existential moment suitable for an extra contribution on our part but also, they themselves are claiming, without knowing it, our cardinal criteria on life.