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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

As a mom of teenagers (one almost an adult), I'm finding my speech needs to change. It seems once a day, I'm saying something I wish I hadn't said. It's not always bad stuff, just thoughtless things. Things that if I were speaking to or about a five-year-old might be appropriate. But not for a 17 year old.

For instance, I learned that my 17-year-old son did not appreciate it when I told a neighbor his grade in chemistry. My intent was to make her feel better about how her daughter struggled in a class. I can see now I should have done that a different way.

This is one reason I've struggled with what to write about on my blog. I love reading women's blog when they share the cute things their kids did and said, even when they are naughty. But I've got four teenagers and one pre-teen at home. It gets harder to know what to share and what not to share. So it's safer not to share much.

I also regret how I talk to my kids at times. My intent is never to hurt my children, but sometimes it happens. I voice suspicions that should never even make it to my head. Comments about their friends can raise their protective instincts. I give my opinion when it's not asked for. I'm too passionate about subjects too early in the conversation and shut them down.

I'm learning that talking to teenagers is a bit like navigating a field of landmines. At least it is for me because I talk WAY too much. Even as I'm talking sometimes, an alarm goes off in my head telling me to stop talking NOW. Most times I hit the "snooze" button and plow ahead.

Today I read this quote. I wish I could attribute it to someone, but I can't:

SILENCE IS OFTEN MISINTERPRETED BUT NEVER MISQUOTED

I'm making a commitment today, and broadcasting it on my blog. I will talk less with my teenagers and allow them to talk more. I will guard my words and pray that I only speak encouraging, kind and positive words. I will avoid "innocent" questions that are really designed to make my point. I will not repeat their youthful mistakes to anyone without their permission.

Being a mother is like being on the biggest learning curve ever! That's because the subject matter I'm trying to learn about keeps changing. I guess I should go back to my student mode, and take a few more note.

Any tips about talking with teenagers? Share them on the blog today, and on Thursday, I'll pick a random winner to give a Starbucks card to. So make sure to include an email address so I can reach you.

In His Love,
Glynnis

9 comments:

Pam Cox said...

Hi. I am so thankful for P31 Ministries devotions. I read them just about everyday and they help me stay in God's word. I enjoy the devotions everyday. I have a teenager and definitely don't know all the answers yet. You do have to pick your words wisely. Thank you so much for the devotions.

Thankful.

Pam Cox

Anonymous said...

I love your blog.. I have 3 teenage girls 18, 16, 14....I am also a widow.. It is hard raising girls and yes I learned to keep silent.. It is also so important not to get into it with them, when the hormones are flying..

I am having a hard time giving them their wings.. I want to protect them and keep them safe and close to me...........blessings kathy

Anonymous said...

Hi! I am going through the same issue right now with my 17 year old daughter who is a precious angel and has seriously never given me a day of grief! She's wonderful and trustworthy, but off I go on my rants whenever I think something or someone (friend/boyfriend) could hurt her in any way. I say 'off the cuff' things about her boyfriend only driven by my fear of 'what if'???!! It hurts her terribly and then I see her shut down and not want to share with me anymore. It's so hard to loosen up and let her talk about certain things without reacting badly. I need to just listen and be there for her, I have three more kids coming up behind her - hopefully I'll figure this out before the others become teenagers!

ncmkgal@aol.com

Joyful said...

Glynnis, having an almost 17 year old son, I can relate to all that you wrote here. I continually put my foot in my mouth, and it doesn't matter what I say, according to him I'm always wrong!

My biggest mistake is jumping in too soon when he's talking to me. Often he pauses, thinking of how he's going to express himself, and I interpret his pause as my turn to add my two cents worth. Not a good idea. That usually shuts him down and our conversation ends.

I've also learned not to ask so many questions. VERY HARD! I find I have to choose my questions wisely, or I fill my quota for the day and he turns me off.

I keep telling myself this is part of growing up. My heart thrills on the days he runs to find me to share a text message from his "friend girl" or asks my opinion about a relationship etc... At those times I find I can't show my excitement that he still wants my opinion, so I calmly respond and then thank the Lord that my "little boy" still needs his mom.

Wading out in these waters with you,
Joy

emily said...

Hi Glynnis!

Well, I don't have teenagers. But I'm around them a lot. With a youth pastor husband, we sure hear from a lot of parents who say lots of these same things. I have no advice to offer, as mine or only 5 and 2, but I will join with you in saying that listening most certainly goes a long way.

Anonymous said...

I have a son who just turned 21 and 2 teenage daughters. They all respond differently to things, so it is important to remember to treat them all differently and not expect them to react the same way. I found that one on one when you are going somewhere in the car is a great place to talk and more importantly to listen to what they have to say.

Kate S.

Glynnis Whitwer said...

I'm finally getting around to awarding the Starbucks card. Emily you won! I'll email you privately.

Simply BB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Simply BB said...

WOW--- Have you been in my backyard lately? THANK YOU, I stumbled across your blog and it was just what I needed. You wrote what I have been struggling with lately with my own 18 yr old son.(as Joyful and other mothers of this ages do too) I face a confrontation with my own son,very soon about his future and how it will be still living at home. (in a relationship/ attitudes that I disaprrove of) A"good" way with "Words" are not my best suit. I have a very protective nature, plus I also see RED when I feel I am being wronged and backed into a corner, which is where I am now....
I love my son but will not be treated like a second rate citizen nor will I be pulled in g'friend drama queen attitudes, in my onw home....So...Sigh----
Thanks again! I needed this one today.