13 March 2017

Our Big Kids Need Us Too

As The Bug has gotten older and much more independent, it's been a real process to understand what she needs. It's easier when kids are little. They need to go to the bathroom, they need to eat, they need attention. But when kids get older they start communicating what they need less and it becomes a big learning curve to understand where they are at in life and to connect with them, especially when friends become more important, and grown ups (especially parents) seem less interesting to them.

I've been realizing more and more that even if they act like they don't really need you or want you to spend time with them, that they do and they often communicate this by being a bit challenging or by ignoring you.

We've been reconnecting with our "not to little" Bug lately and I am realizing in a deeper way how much tweens and teens need time with their parents. If you offer they will come. We have been spending time watching TV series together, working on small projects, taking drives, going to museums and running errands. Friday night we did a tough home workout together and a couple of times since then she's mentioned how much she enjoyed it.

Sometimes we watch separate movies, spend time on own tablets or read our favorite books and magazines but we're together, curled up on mom and dad's bed. Even when we're doing separate things together there are still repeated moments of "love you" and stops for hugs and cuddles. Even though she acts like she doesn't need us nearly as much as when she was younger, she still does and she loves having our attention and just spending time relaxing or talking together.

It makes our home calmer, it makes her calmer. It helps us to act with more patience and wisdom in trying moments. It helps her want to be more sweet, a better listener and more obedient. It helps us all remember how much we love each other and to be gentle and kind with each other. We see the good in each other when we spend quiet time together and I find that many more compliments are passed in our home when we enjoy down time together and work time together.

There is more gratitude one for another and we miss each other more when we're not together even if it's just for the school day. She is more likely to share part of her day and things that excite her or bug her when we've spent time together. It provides quiet time to have important conversations, calmly discuss challenges and to encourage and support.

I find that it's very easy to keep myself busy and time can go by very quickly, even just an afternoon. It could be easy to let a day go by without quality time beyond dinner and bedtime. While I try to be very available, especially in the hours after school, I am reaffirming my efforts to make sure we spend quality and quantities of time together. It has brought an added sweetness to our home and I realize it helps all of us get through hard times better and to not let hard things get us down as much when we feel like a team and not alone to tackle life.

Spending time with our big kids has a major impact on the decisions they will make in their tween and teen years and I want to keep working on being a connected and loving parent who can help a child make great decisions and find happiness in life. I can definitely see, feel and hear a difference in our home when we spend time together. Big kids need us!

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