Why does no one really try to prepare you for all the stages of parenting when your child is first born? OK--Maybe they do, but new parents are not ready to listen past the infant stage. I mean who really wants to talk about parenting a teenager when you are "cooing" over your newborn. I know when we prepared to become parents, we went to classes on childbirth, Lamaze, and infant care. We read books like "What to Expect When You're Expecting","What to Expect in the First Year", and "What to Expect During the Toddler Years." I don't know if you can ever fully be prepared, but we were educated about this first stage of parenting and ready to learn more as needed.
Well, just when you think you may have this parenting thing figured out a bit, the kids grow up and move into the next stage. And, to complicate matters even more, if you have more than one child, their needs will be different in each stage. There is never a time you get to let your guard down and stop learning new exciting things about parenting. Parenting is difficult for all parents out there. I think there are moments my disabilites add to the difficulty. I have had to work not to laugh or cry (my standard response to emotional situations) when there is discipline that needs to happen. We have really had to work on their not using their cuteness to distract me from the issue at hand.
Not to mention, a recent conversation had to take place about how overprotective I am. By the time we finished our conversation, I was totally wiped out and needed to go straight to bed. I don’t think I’m over protective--just protective. It is my job to try and keep them safe and “train up a child in the way they should go.”
The unfortunate business for our oldest is that I’ve never been the parent of a tween before and we’re both feeling our way through unfamiliar territory. This is going to be an interesting next 10 years or so. And, then I get to manage being the parent of an adult. Just when I think I've got the swing of it, my second child moves into a new stage and handles it completely differently. AAAUUUGGGHHH!! Lord, help me through this.
Any great advice out there for handling the different challenges of parenting through each new stage?