If you’ve ever lived with a teenager you’ll know this is especially true – you know those days when you’ve set a boundary you thought was reasonable only to be left with no idea whether you’ve been too strict, too soft or you have the perfect balance and do everyone else’s parents REALLY let them do that?
When we’re in the midst of family life and things are a challenge it can be very difficult to see the wood for the trees. Whether you have a new born baby and you are wondering if you will ever experience the joy that is sleep again, or a teenager or even an adult child who is giving you cause for concern.
I am a little embarrassed to admit that after a massive battle with one of our teenagers (who will remain unidentified) I actually sent my best friend a text to check whether or not it is unreasonable to insist on no hands down your trousers at the dinner table – (even if you are scratching your leg and not other parts of your anatomy). In the midst of the debate I seriously began to question myself, so adamant was he that I was utterly unreasonable! I think the word he used was “ridiculous.” In the intensity of that moment I lost my bearings and just needed some help to rediscover them. That check in for me, with someone who wouldn’t judge me, helped me to keep calm and to know I needed to hold my ground, whatever my teenager’s view on this.
There are times, as a parent when you really begin to doubt all that you thought was reasonable or to question your values and boundaries and a check in elsewhere can make all the difference. Sometimes we need to shift and sometimes to hold our ground, but doing so confidently and positively can make all the difference to our relationships with our children.
Perspective is what we need to keep us going on the days where it feels relentless and hope is lacking. When my daughter was tiny and it felt like I would never sleep or shower alone again my mum was there reminding me it is only for a short time. On the tough days I needed that – a gentle nudge to treasure what was beautiful and know that the difficult bits wouldn’t last forever.
Sometimes someone holding that mirror up to us or helping unpack what really matters or just talking it out with someone else can make all the difference and give us what we need to deal with the next step.
Reflection: Who do you have who helps you find perspective?