People say to me all the time “Oh, your children are growing up so fast”. Generally they are seeing physical changes as the children grow taller and voices deepen etc. Yes, they are growing up but it is more than physical – they are growing up morally, spiritually, emotionally and socially as well.
Growing children will bring change to our family
Growing up means that our children
- may need us to relate to them differently
- they may need different boundaries
- they may challenge previously held beliefs or values
- they may need more food, more exercise, more sleep (or possibly less sleep!)
- they may need more or less study time
- they may need different toys or activities to fill their day
- they may need more responsibility
- they may need a different routine
- they may need more time to talk to you
They are growing up!
Don’t Resist Change
Our first reaction to change is often resistance.
Why is this? Change is an aspect of growing up, of maturity – it is a good thing. But we tend to want to hold onto the old ways, the ways we are comfortable with, the ways we can manage. Change breaks our routine. Change makes all things new. Change creates a sense of fear deep in our heart and that is unsettling!
[Tweet “Parents often hold onto what is comfortable but we have to let them grow up.”]
But really, what are our options? Have you ever tried to ignore change, tried to keep on going as if life never changed gear? I have. It never works. Change, growing up change, is outside of our control and when I ignore it – it only results in stress. Anxiety about uncertain times ahead is understandable. Times of change are the times that we need to rely so heavily on Jesus – God never changes. There are times that He maybe the only stable thing happening in your life.
I, the Lord, do not change. Malachi 3:6
So how to handle ‘growing up’ change?
We can see this as a necessary evil or we can see it as a blessing – after all we don’t really want a 13year old who has to be told what to do all the time, we want there to be change, we want there to be maturity, we want them to do what is right without direct instruction.
So what is our problem? Change happens unexpectedly and that is what throws us off guard. But when we start to get our head around the blessing of change, we can start to be intentional in this season.
- Assess your children and understand developmental changes you need to expect – know what is normal (from a Biblical perspective) for each age group. Talk to people who are ahead of you in the parenting journey. Prepare yourself
- Assess your family life in light of who your children are now. One thing we have done in this area is change our back yard – the swing is not so important now – but table tennis is. Bedtimes are another thing that change over time, and what TV or movies we watch.
- Determine your family values – these things are timeless – they don’t change just because your child is now older. Respect, Orderliness, Responsibility are values that are for life not just for childhood.
- Keep your eyes on the goal knowing that each change is a step on this journey. Your goal will be different than ours – one of our goals is to have our children as morally mature, self-governing people who love God and serve others. There needs to be change, there needs to be maturity for this goal to be achieved. Can I see the growing up happening in my children as them walking towards this goal rather than an inconvenience?
Are you ready to embrace the changes that are happening in your children? They are different people than they were yesterday, a week ago, a month ago, last year. (So too are you to be honest!).
Relationships are always growing things, we cannot box our children, we cannot prescribe how their life is to be but we can get to know them, grow with them and enjoy the journey together – if we can accept change.
Children Grow, Things Change – a journal entry as I notice things changing in my family
Celebrating Growing Up (18th birthday parties)
Letting Go is a Heart Issue for all Parents: What do you believe about your children growing up? It is a heart issue we all have to get sorted.
When Letting Go doesn’t Have to Hurt: Letting go doesn’t have to hurt – we have been training our children towards this day.
Are your Children Growing Spiritually? We want to know that our children are growing spiritually – but we have to be careful not to make it a checklist of things they should be doing.
Be Intentional in a Season of Change: In the midst of being shaken, confused, hurt and angry because of change, we can focus on Jesus and find peace, joy and hope.
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