Have you ever parented like this? You’ve “powered over.” You become tough-guy parent because that is something you can control because anxiety has triggered you and you feel like you are losing control of your teen. From this book that I recommend in the Bravester store:
“As a bad substitute, many of us replace relational vulnerability with impersonal behavioral technique, hoping it will do the job. But our kids smell it. They know they are being managed, not parented.”
The book is The Cure & Parents by Bill & Grace Thrall, John & Stacey Lynch, Bruce & Janet McNicol. Remember that I only recommend parenting books that are worth reading and never shame you. This one is also an easy read with lots of “a-ha” nuggets. (Which is why it is one of two parenting books in the store.)
Sometimes the right thing for you to do as a parent is to tell your child a story about you. That painful story. That humiliating story. The story filled with regrets.
This is always a tough line to walk. When do you tell your kid about the screw ups of your life—and what you have learned from those screw ups?
When do they find out about your sinful past? Your sinful current past? (There is a different answer for both those questions.)
When does your child see you as vulnerable? (Note: Maybe closer to the abstract operations stage of development.)
May the Holy Spirit prompt you (holy tension which I define as the discomfort of being stuck in between but knowing that if you can make a brave vulnerable decision something holy is going to happen) loudly and clearly as to when these times are. I am praying for the loudly and clearly because that will make your obedience to how God is leading so much easier.
From the book:
Parents who can only tell their story through the glorified lens of spiritual sacrifice and superior commitment to God end up with children feeling only shame and failure when they can’t respond to life with such ironclad victory. And then later, when they discover their parents didn’t really face life with such heroic faith, it’s too late. The child feels lost, with no clue how to navigate real life. They desperately need to hear the stories of what God has done and what still is remaining to be done. This is the gift of authentic faith. God always loves a good story. And a good story means all of it. Pp. 110-111
Parenting is humiliating. And humbling. Where God is glorified through you. What a gift you can be to your teen. To have your teen’s trust is a gift to you. Even if you need to have that humbling moment.
When we as parents are honest about our own fears and feelings with our children, they will learn to be honest with themselves and us as well.
When do you tell your child that story about you? Sooner than you would like. When the Holy Spirit loudly and clearly prompts you because you are living a good and redeemed story and now is the time for your kid to hear it so he/she knows he/she is loved, parented (what a wonderful verb to be parented!), and not managed.
Embrace the vulnerability. Trust the holy tension.