Brothers and Sisters, Brothers and Brothers, or Sisters and Sisters, close enough in teenage years, and let the wars begin. Who is right or who is wrong does not matter. The casualties of these wars are parents. Early gray hair and shaking hands are what parents have to look forward to. Oh, the joys of having children! And, Lord help me; I would not give my children up for the world.
It always looks like a good idea, at the time, to have our children close in age. This way, your child will have a playmate to grow up with. Right? We also see it as a good idea to have our children at an earlier age, so we will not be quite as up in age when they are out of the house on their own. We realize that our parents give us advice, but they are old and probably do not know anything about how things are done in this day and age. (I see a lot of head nodding and hear a lot of laughter from the older folks out there, right now).
Let us say you have two children in your early twenties that are eighteen months apart. You have set yourself up to have them raised and on their own by the time you hit your mid-forties. You and your spouse can enjoy your later years before entering the retirement age. Well, it may seem to be a smart plan, but it is not necessarily a good idea at all. You and your spouse have not had the time yet to mature as much as you need to be parents. This is not meant to be a slam on you, but there is a lot of truth to it. If you wait until you both are in your thirties to have children, there is a better chance that you will be better prepared for what is about to happen in your lives.
Children turn your lives upside down in ways that are never expected, and are different with every set of parents. The unexpected becomes your norm! If you believe that you know what it is like to have kids, and you do not have any yet, lord help you. You are about to be educated in ways you could never dream of. You think school was hard to get through; welcome to true schooling! The adventures you will go through with these brighteyed little ones are a joy, but also a wake-up call to even the strongest, most levelheaded parents alive.
Reading parent guide books can give you simple solutions to try with your children. You will not find solutions to all the problems you will face as a parent in these books. There will be times when you will have to come up with solutions for your child’s life on your own. You will face problems that have never been written by any author of any book. At times children will send you into the Twilight Zone, pushing every one of your buttons. You are being tested by the best! These angels will at some point become the little monsters you have seen in other children. How about that child yelling at the top of his lungs in the store because he did not get a toy? You will at times, hear people murmur, “They need to teach their children better”. Could you be this parent talked about one day? If you are mentally able enough to handle this once in a while, you are well on your way to having well-behaved children. If you let your little darlings run over you one time, you are in for a long road. This road will lead you into a disaster zone called “The Ultimate Teenager“!
All teenagers are, to put it nicely, a nightmare! If you think your children will be the same lovable creatures when they hit the “Teenage Zone” as they are; now, you are in for the ride of a lifetime! You will swear this cannot be your child. Parents that believe it is easier to raise children close in age will be hit with the double feature of nightmares.
As a parent, you will learn how mentally stable you are. Children will take you to the edge of your sanity and then push harder. This is all in the growing phase for the child as well as the parents. I have heard said, You pay for your sins with your children. This is a distressing reference, but it does hold some truth. You will start to understand the pain your parents went through with you. You will appreciate your parents more. This is the circle of life.
You are a legal adult by age, but you become a grown-up when your first child arrives. You believe you can do a better job than your parents did. This in some cases is true, but for most of us, it is a wake-up call about the wonderful job our parents did to raise us.
How can a grandparent enjoy a child more than the parents? Now, I am a grandparent, and it is becoming clearer to me why this is. I am now going to lay this secret out for you. Grandparents enjoy their grandchildren because once the visit is over, the children go back home! Grandparents are on cloud nine watching as their own children go through child raising struggles. Your parents tried to teach you. Well, now it is your turn! You will find yourself acting the same as your parents did with you. You will finally know the nightmare you put them through.
You will start looking forward to the day that you and your spouse can have your home all to yourselves. Your parents will ask you, “Do you remember when we told you to wait to have children and not rush into it?” They will laugh when you answer, “No.” They will always be there for you, as you will be with your children. However, the advice for you will only come when you ask for it. No longer are your parents bound to raise you. They tried their best with you, and now get to sit back and watch how their teachings took hold. Yes, your parents made mistakes, and yes, you will too!
Parents have the hardest job known to the human race! We do not understand this until we become parents ourselves. You may look at the way other parents raise their children and try to follow them. This will help in some ways to give you a starting point. However, children need unique teaching designs set for their understanding. Parents with multiple children understand this. Although you love each child with the fullness of your heart, you will find your love different for each of them. This is the awesome thing about love, it can expand in as many ways as is needed. If you do not think so, just talk to parents who have four, five, six kids or more. They will tell you they love all their children, but in different ways for each one. Because of this, I believe the definition of love should be a bunch of question marks expanding into the unknown.
Children are a blessing from the good Lord above. Children may bring you closer to God as you cry out for his help. Be patient with your children and allow them to go through the different phases of life. This will help your offspring to become well-rounded adults. Disciplining your children is showing the love you have for them to grow up to be the good people they can be. Allowing your children to “run the show” is telling them you do not care how they turn out in life. A respectful adult comes from the years of love and training given by their parents. There is no magic formula for raising your children, but you must do the best you can for them, as your parents did for you.
Children are hard to raise. They, at times, will have you wondering if there is a grand solution to raising children. The only thing I can tell you is, do not rush into having them, and love them no matter how crazy things may seem. I hope in some way this helps. If you are a teenager reading this, try to take it easy on your parents. They are doing their best for you. Take care, my friends, and do not forget to follow me. Remember, we are all in this together.