Today I am happy to bring you a guest post by Teri Lynne Underwood. I have had the privilege to get to know Teri through the world of Twitter and the blogosphere. I trust you will be blessed by her post.
To Intervene or Not to Intervene … That is the Question!
My girl is eleven. She’ll start middle school in the fall. To say that I have a great deal of anxiety about this season of her life would be fair; after all, those years of puberty and early adolescence are, even in the best of circumstances, filled with enough hormones to make any child seem absolutely crazy! C is a funny, talented child, she’s always had a wide circle of friends, and though academics is not high on her priority list, she’s managed to stay an A/B student thus far.
When Angela asked me write a guest post about a parenting topic I’ve wrestled God over, I realized I struggle in so many areas trying to discern what His direction. Today I’m going to share about one of the many areas where I still wrestle with God about how to do this overwhelming job of parenting. Maybe you can relate?
How involved is too involved for a parent to be??
I’ve heard positions from, “You can never be too involved” all the way to, “Let them live their lives.” And while I realize the answer must be somewhere in the middle, I confess that daily my dot on the parenting involvement spectrum line can be found in many places between being a helicopter mom and a laissez-faire parent.
Two of my greatest desires for my daughter are that she learns to seek God’s desire and plan first and that she treats others with grace and compassion. Many lessons in these areas begin in her relationships with others. As an only child, sometimes she is at a disadvantage in social situations. She hasn’t had to learn the delicate art of compromising before someone gets in trouble or how to read facial expressions to know she’s about to go too far. As she has gotten older, the “girl drama” has increased – exponentially! Each afternoon we review the day after I pick her up from school and rarely has there been a time when some sort of interpersonal issues has not come up between some of her friends.
My counsel generally begins with this question, “What do you think about this situation?” Together we can usually sort out the best way to navigate the circumstances. She is able to manage her relationships and learn how to sort out conflicts and encourage reconciliation. But what about the times when we can’t?
When do I step in and play “the momma card”? I’m never quite sure where that line is between giving her the opportunity to resolve her own conflicts and intervening on her behalf. Does anyone else find themselves in that dilemma?
For example, we are currently in a situation where a few girls have been teasing, talking about, and tormenting C for several months. All of these girls are older and she doesn’t deal with them every day. But, at least once a week one or more of them has made a snide remark or given her a dirty look … and it hurts her. “Why don’t they like me?” And my momma heart breaks.
Do I step in and talk to their mothers? Do I gently pull these girls aside and ask them if they realize they are hurting C’s feelings? Or do I explain to C that there are just times when people are mean? Or all of the above?
Being a momma is hard work! And raising a daughter who is dependent on God but able to stand up for herself is a huge challenge. Consistently I find myself turning back to God’s Word and praying James 1:5, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without finding reproach, and it will be given to you.” (NASB)
Learning to trust our children to God’s hand is a lifelong process. Every day we choose again to give back to Him this gift He has given to us. And every day we seek His face for the wisdom and grace to guide them to Him.
What do you struggle with as a parent?
Teri Lynne Underwood
Teri Lynne writes from her home in south Georgia in between driving the taxi for her 11-year-old daughter and helping her pastor-husband however he requests. She describes herself as a girl who longs to connect the hearts of women with the heart of God. She writes daily at Teri Lynne Underwood: Encouraging Lives Where the Sacred and Secular Collide. In May 2011 she released the eBook, Parenting from the Overflow, which inspires moms to parent out of the abundance of their relationship with God. You can find more information about her book on the Parenting from the Overflow website. And, of course, she’s on Twitter and Facebook!
Remember on Friday you will have a chance to link up your blog post about something you have wrestled with God over.