TWEENS AND TEENS

Parenting - - In This Issue -

I don’t like Rus­sian dolls. They are so full of them­selves. (I’m tempted to get some Rus­sian dolls and have them in my of­fice

just so I can use that joke when­ever some­one walks in). But I want

to use the Rus­sian doll anal­ogy for our kids. We get this lit­tle per­son,

our baby; we get to know them and un­der­stand them but then time

passes and sud­denly (it can cer­tainly seem sud­den) we have this

big­ger per­son. It’s like a new Rus­sian doll has been placed over the

top of the smaller one. They are still our child, but the lit­tle doll we

knew so well is in­side this big­ger one. And the big­ger one re­sem­bles

the smaller one, but un­like Rus­sian dolls, there are dif­fer­ences and

dif­fer­ences can be pro­found.

When a baby be­comes a tod­dler, a new child ar­rives. When a boy

gets that surge of testos­terone at about five he can be­come re­ally

dif­fer­ent. When the hor­mones crash into our chil­dren at pu­berty

we won­der if aliens have stolen our real child and left some­thing

com­pletely dif­fer­ent. The Rus­sian dolls that get added next have

curves or fa­cial hair... is our lit­tle baby still in there some­where?

Make friends with your kids over and over again. Make friends

with your tod­dler, and then again with your school-age child, your

ado­les­cent, your young adult. They change and change and change.

You have to keep mak­ing con­tact and build­ing the re­la­tion­ship. You

might grieve for the old dolls – so take lots of pho­tos – but the new

dolls are beau­ti­ful, too, and they des­per­ately need you to get to

know them.

Fi­nal thought: In­side of you is an 18 year old, and a 12 year old and

a 7 year old and a 3 year old. And that’s why par­ent­ing can be so

much fun. Your in­ner child has a play­mate!

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