By Janet Lund
“Mommy!” I quietly cried to myself.
I watched in horror as not one but two pieces of my protection popped out of the crevice in the rock and slid down my rope. All I had now keeping me attached to this cliff was my fingertips and tiptoes. “Janet, what have you gotten yourself into?”
Lead climbing was vastly different from any rock climbing I had done before. Fifty feet up with nothing and no one to catch my fall. Never had I experienced such fear. I was 24 years old but felt two decades younger. Oh, how I wish my mama’s arms were there to catch me.
Clinging to the rock, I tried to figure out what to do. Nothing but “Hang on tight!” came to mind. “Yes, I’m already doing that, thanks!” Thank goodness my husband Joel was below. He ran for help. If it hadn’t been for our guide nearby, who was helping fellow students at the time, I don’t know what I would have done. I didn’t have the skills or experience required to get myself out of the situation, and I was too terrified to problem-solve my way out of it.
Thank goodness for our guide! Our rock-climbing class provided us with the chance to practice, talk through hypothetical situations, and to have someone guide us.
Your Turn to Guide
It’s the same with your children. They are learning new things all of the time. They need practice, a chance to talk scenarios through, and your guidance. The last thing you want is for your child is to be alone in a situation that they didn’t know how to handle and have them quietly crying out, “Mommy!”
That’s one of the big reasons why moms get so anxious. We worry about the “what if” situations that come up in our child’s life. So, we naturally want to protect them, wrap them in cotton, and keep them home.
But after the first few months of life, we just can’t do that anymore. As our children get older, we must stop doing all the protecting. We need to teach them to protect themselves. Here is how you do that, no matter how old they are:
Steps to Guide Your Child
1. Make time for your child every day.
2. Listen well as they share about their day.
3. Encourage them to share more by saying, “Tell me more about that.”
4. Ask clarifying questions.
It is important to do this for several reasons:
1. It keeps you dialed into what is going on in their world.
2. Builds relational glue between you. (A useful foundation for the teen years.)
3. Creates a routine of sharing with you. (Helpful to have in place before the teen years.)
4. You can gather little insights into their relational dynamics with friends.
5. You can stay tuned into how they get along with their teachers.
6. It keeps your finger on the pulse of their comprehension in classes.
The Importance of Guiding Your Child
Why is all this information important? Because it prepares you for life-changing conversations. Seriously!
You will be able to guide them and equip them to deal with difficult situations like a friend’s gradually increasing verbal abuse, a member of the opposite sex invading their space bubble, or how to respond when a friend offers them drugs.
You can help your child become more relationally intuitive, dialed into their physical surroundings, and grow confident enough to say no.
Plus, your one-on-one time keeps you in the know on how well your child and their teachers communicate with each other and whether your child is comprehending what they are studying. Kids, especially teens, already feel insecure. Talking with you about not understanding a class just makes them feel stupid. The last thing they want to announce when they come is, “Hi, Mom! I feel like an idiot!”
On the same note, verbal and nonverbal communication with anyone can be challenging. But with teachers, the intimidation factor complicates it even more. Assure your child that asking for help is a good thing. It communicates to the teacher that they want to understand and that they are trying. Everything a teacher could wish for – a student that wants to learn!
These are all skills we use as adults every day. But your child can’t just pick them up through osmosis. They need your guidance.
Ultimately though, we can’t prepare our child for every situation possible. So, we need to lift them in prayer daily and guide them on their faith journey. God needs to be the Guide of guides in their life. Your child needs to know they can turn to God anytime, anywhere, in any situation, and cry, “Abba!” And He will be there.
Growth. Guidance. Grace.
Janet Lund is a relationship coach who specializes in nurturing the bond between moms and their teen/pre-teen daughters. She leads moms through coaching, speaking, and songwriting. Janet has spoken and performed in Canada, the United States, and Norway. Follow her on facebook.com/momkeepcalm and visit her website at momkeepcalm.com for parenting tools and words of support to be a calm mom.