Sat 18 Jan 2014
My only child, Joshua is 9. He is officially entering the “tween” years. God give me strength. LOL
Joshua has always told me everything…from what he had for lunch to what the kids on the playground did, said, etc. Other moms said their boys gave them monosyllables at the end of the day. “How was your day?” “Fine.” Meanwhile Joshua talked a blue streak.
Then about a month ago, his attitude started to deteriorate. So I did what I thought I should do – cracked down. Corrected every bad attitude, every roll of the eyes, every backtalk. Those of you who have raised children into their teens know what I effectively did was alienate him. He clammed up…stopped talking to me all together. I was confused. I was doing the right thing – expecting him to be respectful to me and his dad…right?
Then I prayed. I should have prayed long before I did, but I think God was letting me learn a hard lesson. Always pray first – not after you talk to friends, read books and research on the internet. Pray first.
It wasn’t immediately apparent what I should do, then it struck me. I was effectively telling him he wasn’t allowed to vent. When he complained about his homework, I told him to stop being negative. When he got overtired and didn’t want to get ready for bed, I told him to obey. No wonder he clammed up. Jeez…I vent all the time! About the cable guy, about the lady in front of me on the highway, you name it.
So I tried something new the next day after school. I told him he could tell me anything he wanted to tell me in any tone of voice he wanted for 5 minutes. Guess what…after about 3 minutes, his whole demeanor changed he started telling me everything about his day and he was happy and animated again! Yay! It worked.
The following week, I mentioned it in passing to a wonderful friend who has older teens. She said that her son used to get in the car after school so angry that he would be spitting nails. She told him he had 10 minutes to spew and then he had to have a better attitude. World.of.difference. Apparently I am not the only mom to try and succeed in giving out the “vent” license!
So – if you are having trouble with bad attitudes in your tween – give them the opportunity to get stuff off their chest. Don’t take it personally, don’t correct it, don’t tell them what the Bible says about it, just let them vent. You just might find that your child’s overall attitude will improve by leaps and bounds like Joshua’s did. : )