It is time for me to acknowledge that my boys, are not so little anymore. They are growing and changing and that means I need to grow and change along with them. I cannot snuggle either of them anymore (unless they are sick or had a really bad day that is) but I am not really sure how to encourage our relationship in this season.My boys are changing; there are attitudes that were not there before. Some days, especially with my oldest, I honestly am full of dread and fear for who is is. But I have not been given a spirit of fear and so, yet again, my anxieties and worries are answered by Great Waters Press in the form of their new book No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope.
I really love this company! I don’t know if I have ever found one place that has been such an answer to prayers as this one! We recently had the chance to review another one of their newer materials: Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality which came in a very timely manner. I love when God works like that. Be sure to check out that review as well here.
This is written for parents with children between the ages of 8 and 14; those kind of awkward ages where they aren’t really little anymore but they aren’t that big just yet either. Certainly things are changing; my oldest is 12 and every interaction with him is like entering into a danger zone. It is said that in the old days cartographers would signal dangerous, unknown territory with the label, Hic Sunbt Dracones!! (Here be dragons!) This is what my life is right now with both of my boys, although when it comes to my boys, my oldest is right now the biggest mystery in our home. For some time now I have wondered where our joyful, sensitive and sweet boy has gone and who this angry and rebellious boy is who has taken his place? It turns out I am not alone in this experience.
What if we can defang the serpent? It really does make sense. If we can prepare our boys for what is to come so they are aware when puberty begins and all these feelings and changes overwhelm. It makes sense. It’s a much needed reminder – this is a time when we need to listen. We need to focus on correction and teaching because the devil is a liar and he seeks for one to devour. This is a very delicate time in our kids lives; we need to be fighting with them. I fear more often than not I am like that bull in the china shop. I struggle to find peace and balance with my children. My boys especially – quicker to anger, more likely to respond physically – stiff necked and stubborn.
I am a huge fan of the term gormlessness. From a Middle English word meaning “sense”, a lack of “gorm” basically, can be defined as a lack of sense; foolishness or stupidity. I think my boys are full of this! Noises made with armpits or the burps and farts that leave them rolling – over and over again. Sometimes silly isn’t silly; social struggles abound and I admit, being a not so social creature myself, I know I need to love them and coach them more. I think we are in general a socially awkward kind of family – dread comes over me anytime I am in a situation where I need to “meet and greet”. On the bright side, I love being able to have a name for this thing that seems to consume them both at this stage in their boyhood. 🙂
It can be easy in this season we are in to forget that relationships matter. It can be hard but we need to stop seeing the person as the problem; we need to recognize that the actions. This can be tough when the big ones are bullying the little ones; when we are teaching self-control instead of parental control. Repentance and responsibility, so that it becomes them having an understanding that allows them to choose the right course.
Through twelve chapters we deal with issues from hormones to brains that have become mush (I tell my kids this is a sign of way too much screen time); spiritual searching, media/gaming and the need for discernment; relationships, work and stewardship. Every chapter is written in such a way that you feel as though you are sitting with an old friend. The stories they share (so many I can relate to myself – like their first born son – a ringer for my own first born) and their advice, coupled with honest, humble stories of their own experiences, gives me hope. It builds up my faith. There is that iron sharpening iron.
As with every book I have had the joy of reading from Hal & Melanie Young, there is a wealth of wisdom. Both experience and Godly wisdom. Page after page offers advice and truth. There are strategies to help us help them. Reminders to protect and nurture; to love one another. Scripture after scripture speaking to our situation. It really is a breath of fresh air to read these pages; I just wish I would have had this sooner – At least now I know that all the struggles with my oldest son, the challenges with our younger boy – these shall pass. We only need to continue to speak truth and trust God and lean on His understanding.
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