Needing You More

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As my children grow older, I realize finally what my friend Cathy meant when she said my children would need me more, not less, as they approached the teen years.

My three younger children, 7, 5, and 3, need me to orchestrate baths, prepare their meals, and take care of a myriad of other details. For them, cuddling, reading stories, and playing together are the basics of how I nurture them.

My three oldest children are currently 14, 11, and 9. While they are all potty-trained, feed themselves, and are independent about their personal care, they are growing more and more into their personalities and emotions. Nurturing is more emotional than it is physical at this point.

Nurturing is relational.

And wow! In case you hadn’t noticed, people, even young ones, are complex.

I feel like my learning curve is heading straight up into the sky! While I’ve got this little kid thing down pat, it’s the big kid thing that has me shaking in my boots. (And sometimes I forget how tiring this little kid thing can be, too.)

My boys are becoming men — before my very eyes. Their personalities are developing. And so are the things that challenge them. It’s no longer simple things like

  • He took my Lego.
  • Where’s my shoe?
  • Can I go, too?

No, life is more complex than that. Instead the challenges are trickier:

  • How do I instill confidence in this child?
  • How do I help him know that he’s his own person?
  • How do I nurture him in a way that honors God and how He’s crafted him?

The questions go on and on. And while I’m scared to death of messing up, I’m thankful to see it now. I see my need for God. I see their need for God. I see their need for me.

Better to see it now and have to work and pray a little harder, than to miss it. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say, “The LORD is great!”
But as for me, I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer; LORD, do not delay.

Psalm 70:4-5

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  1. I hate to tell you this — but it will only get harder as they get older! Just wait until they are learning to drive, attracted to the opposite gender, looking for part-time jobs, trying to decide whether to go to college and what to major in . . . . whew!!! 😉

  2. My oldest will be 20 very soon. Our relationship has changed so much over those 20 years, and I’ve learned so much about her and myself in the process of helping her grow up. But I think what surrpises me the most is how much she has taught me about so many things. Children are an incredible blessing.

  3. so, so, so true. i have these same thoughts now of my children – ages 9 and 11. they are with me for so little time. how do i help them negotiate this life?

  4. There is a huge brain and personality development that takes place in the early teen years that sets a person for life. We’ve been bombarded with the information about brain development being the most important in children 3 and younger, while this “second chance” is virtually ignored. I can only imagine how hard it is for parents who miss this opportunity (for various reasons).

    1. Interesting! I don’t think I have ever heard that, even in graduate school education classes!

  5. My two are 16 (girl) and 13(boy) and I hear you…it’s scary. But oh how I love who they are becoming! And it is so rewarding to see the work of those early years come to fruition in these later years. We work so hard for them to become strong and independent and then we find ourselves saying “how and when did THAT happen?” lol. Prayers and blessings to your family Jessica. You are not alone!

  6. I had heard similar information as LizA but had not looked into the topic. I just googled the teenage brain and the first links were to PBS, National Geographic and Harvard Review. I bookmarked the articles and have some reading to do. My son is 15 and this year has been a struggle for many reasons. I am hopeful these articles will provide some insight and suggestions to help all of us.

    1. My second son is 15 now, and I just wanted to mention that although I enjoy my teens so very much, there are some odd ugly moments where I can only imagine he is having a testosterone overdose… But, then my sweet child surfaces again, and wants to come and sit on my lap for a hug. 🙂
      I agree that teens do need (and mine appreciate and even demand) a great deal of together time, discussing, talking, coaching… Its well worth spending that together time if at all possible. (At 15, 17 and 20, they are people I really like and think highly of…. a sweet reward!)

  7. My “children” are not anymore, but I suppose due to my own lack of skills, they have and always will be a mystery to me. Just when I think I have something nailed, I find out differently. One time I asked a mother who appeared to me to be successful at mothering, what her success was attributed to be. Her response was “I decided a long time ago I would be the best mother out there” That was her only input. I guess she thought the rest of us who were struggling had decided long ago to be the oger under the bridge!?

    1. Wow, sorry your friend wasn’t more helpful. I guess the best advice I could give is to try to find an opportunity where your son or daughter will just talk, about anything, and then just listen a lot. Even if its just casual conversation, you can catch a lot between the lines, or a look in their eye. And just let them know you love them and are there for them. Surely its ok if you havn’t figured them out, because people keep changing and evolving through life.

  8. Things are physically easier when they get older (except for staying up late waiting for them!), but mentally and spiritually much more demanding!

  9. You said it well. My boys are 14, 13, 12, 9 and 4. (My daughter is 7). My boys need me MORE than ever lately. I have to laugh at when they were all babies, I THOUGHT that was the hard part!!! Ha!!! I suppose it will only get harder from here on out…. Yikes….

    1. I also have to add this funny for all you moms… I am a Nurse and deal with mostly elderly patients. I love talking with the ladies who have raised 6, 7, 8 or more children and I always have to ask them their “secrets” to staying sane and doing it all.. One of my patients told me just last week…. “Honey, there’s no secret. It’s just God and vitamins”. I LOVE this… I think it sums it up pretty darn well ! I will remember it always…

      1. Yes, harder than I ever imagined… wouldn’t you agree? But I’m also enjoying watching my boys grow up and become men. It’s neat in many ways, but tough !!! I just think back to when they were babies, and I thought that was hard. But, teens are sooo much harder! I figured by the time kid #6 is a teen, I’ll be some kind of pro at this!!!