October 23, 2009

Oy vey. Can someone write a clear manual on raising kids? And soon?

Here is where we may have messed up…


But, before that: where the hell is my “raising my children perfectly” manual?

You know, when you buy a new car, you get a book thicker than my waist.

But bring home a new baby? NOTHING. Nothing.

To be brief and not too detailed….because my girls read this…and perhaps some of their friends too.

One of my girls had boyfriends in the past. And when I say boyfriends, I don’t mean in the ‘dating’ kind…it is the talking on the phone, texting, IM’ing kind. And she was collecting them like beanie babies for a while there. We gave her a hard time about it. The WHOLE family did…Myself, Dad, Sister, Grandparents, Uncle…So much so, I think it hurt her feelings. and for that I am really sorry.

Sometimes I forget what it was like to be a teenager. Oh, you remember those hellish wonderful years, right?

I remember what it was like when boys first realized I existed. For me, it was approximately 6 years after I found that they existed. But I think my sweet girl, found them the same time they found her. And boy…did they find her.

Since we gave her such a hard time about it all…now she has turned into a clam. She shares NOTHING. And this makes me sad. I want her to be able to share with me.


I screwed up.

Do you always screw up with the first one? Is that a given? Do I get another chance?

This whole scenario makes me think the Duggars and their 29 19 kids are on to something. Practice makes perfect.

Apparently also being pregnant that many times makes you think of some crazy names that all start with the letter J.

Jjjjjjjj...jonas jamima, jusanne, jauren, jalindsay, ja'eff....or something crazy...

Is it better to know something is going on that you don’t approve of, than to NOT know what is going on at all???

For now on, I will keep my ears open, my heart wide and my words to a minimum.

And with minimum, you know I mean, still a few words. right?

I think this may be for the best.

Gosh, this parenting class is the hardest/funnest I ever had to take.

When do I get my report card?????

Do I get extra points for anything??? ANYTHING????

Have you learned anything you would like to share with the class?


  1. Yikes! You're scaring me. My daughter is nine and thinks the world of me (or so I'd like to think). I can't imagine her being at the age where she doesn't want to tell me every detail of her day. I'm sure your daughter will open up in time. But it's gonna suck until then no doubt. You're doing the right thing. Keep your ears open and your mouth closed and she just might come around.

  2. That's a lesson a lot of us learn the hard way.

    Personally I believe that to an extent ignorance is bliss.

  3. My eldest son is 12 and I'm afraid of those teenage years. I hope it goes well.

  4. I think when you tell them 'this is hard for me too I wasn't given a manual about how to do this' they don't believe it!!!

  5. anything you want to know about raising kids, just ask.
    you can learn from MY mistakes!
    your daughter(s) will be fine. they have a great mom.
    it's all good.

  6. I can really relate to this. I used to think there were lots of ways to do things the "right" way - now I often feel like I'm trying to find my way through the pitch dark or play Let's Make a Deal in how I respond and act as a parent. All I can say is that the older never starts sharing with me unless we have already spent a lot of time together where I'm not parenting or anything - just listening.

  7. Ahhhh, teenage girls... and boys! About 3 years ago, I guess the year my daughter started high school, we started a "joint journal". Its just a cute notebook that we write back and forth with each other on those "things I don't want to talk about to your face". Its been amazing. It gives me a chance to actually think before I speak, and her a chance to read what I am saying and actually pay attention and most importantly VICE VERSA! It really has given us a great way to open up conversations that we typically wouldn't have had. And it gave her an opportunity to tell me things, she may not necessarily have told me to my face. One of the coolest things too is to go back and read the entries back and forth from 12 boyfriends ago. We literally use it as a "journal" that we share. It's pretty cool- oh and completely OFF LIMITS to anyone but each other.

    Good luck! If you find that manual exists, make sure you share it!

  8. Ah, Suz, my friend, I so wish I had some words of advice for you, but alas, I do not. I'm doing a perfectly fine job of screwing up my son, all on my own!!

  9. You are a wise mother already Suz...just listen to your heart and that mother gut instict that is inside you. By keeping your ears open and listening you are keeping the door open. And when the time is right, use your words to teach but not to preach. So often as parents we hear them say something or see something and we jump to conclusions and go into instant preach or fix mode. Sometimes we may be right but when we go about it wrong they never see that because their focus is on feeling controled or misunderstood. Much of the time though, the conclusions we jump to aren't right or off to the right a little.
    When our kids haven't done anything to make us not trust them, they are mostly wanting us to trust them. They want us to believe in them.

    I think all kids get to an age where they stop sharing so much with us parents and share more with their peers. This is all part of that "letting go" process that they start many years before they actually leave. The closer it gets to them flying from the nest the more independance they need to test out. Ugh!

    And you are so right, this parenting gig is the hardest yet the funnest and best gig we will ever do. I still give you an A Suz and you get extra points for caring enough to notice screwing up. XXOO Happy weekend! Lori

  10. Ya know... we've had our own umm 'moments' of late, so I don't think I am qualified to be giving any advice. But ya know, when I screw up, at least it's a learning experience for all of us at our house. And makes me all the more aware of my need of grace and mercy. And that is extended toward our kids too. : )

  11. It's interesting, how the most open relationship with a child can become a lot less open as the child becomes more of a woman (or man). It's happening here, too, and it is (supposedly) age- appropriate, but very hard to adjust to.
    I know that feeling in your stomach, when you wish you could just take back those words, and eat them (even if they gave you indigestion).
    I think the apology that you've written here, and your renewed awareness of her sensitivity, will help both of you.
    You are a great mom.
    And yes, I think all first children get the brunt of our ignorance! What a hard position in the family - it could explain a lot about society! Hugs to all of you.

  12. Actually, if you recall your teenage years, I'll bet you were rather like a clam yourself. I'd be more worried if she WANTED to share every little detail of her life. She's simply growing up in the right way. She's finding independence in not telling you everything and that's a good thing. All that will change in a few years.

  13. I was the oldest in my family and I'm happy to say my parents corrected their mistakes on the 2nd and 3rd child,ha! I bet your daughter will end up opening back up to you.

  14. We had a son first, so a teenage daughter was a piece of cake in comparison. But take heart, my son was amazed at how wise I became after he turned 20!

  15. awww suz, it'll be alright, i promise. they are growing into their own and part of that is separating themselves from the parents so they can discover who they are. its painful but part of life. the teasing MAY have promoted it quicker but i dunno, i have 4 grown and its all the same with all of them. i like to view them as a butterfly... they crawl into themselves and emerge into the beautiful adult they have become. HOWEVER, even with that said, i would still watch for tell tale signs of real withdrawal, depression, secretivness rather than just privacy... changes in grades or behaviors... anger... if there is none of those things, then no need to worry. i like the idea of the journal notebook someone said up there... you are a wonderful mom, and you love and encourage them all in the right ways... yeah we want to prevent big mistakes and accidents, but i have learned that its more important to let the kids know that if they DO make a big mistake, you will always be there and they can always come to you about anything, nomatter what. because above all, you love them even with mistakes and faults.

    hope that helps...

    love ya,


    being a parent is the hardest but most rewarding job on the planet.
    oh, speaking of planet, click on the green botton on my blog for interesting info on organic food..

  16. I think you get your report card when your grandkids come along, and your kids begin to appreciate how hard it is to be a parent!
    A manual would be good, but it sure would have to be huge to be of much help. Every child and parent is different. No easy rules apply. Finding the right path is tough, but as you say, there's a lot of fun to be had along the way.

  17. Oh my dear...everything you have ever written shows the kind of love and respect you have for your kids. They know this. I am in no way able to give advise...just follow your heart, I'm sure you will land on your feet.

  18. Ah it's just a phase, you'll see - you can't rush these things. Boys will be boys and girls will keep secrets until they don't matter much anymore and then the floodgates open :)

  19. As a father of four girls with no major problems, these things worked out for us.

    1. no phones in their bedrooms - left on a shelf in the family room.

    2. Never tease - it is a form of abuse.

    3. Go for rides together with no radio or I-pods on.

    4. Listen, listen and listen with no advice without being asked and then make it very short.

    5. As their father, I had a "date" with each once a month. Now they are grown and have families, this tradition still exists.

    6. No hidden agendas - they are smart enough to see through them.

    Good luck and God Bless.

  20. Been there, done that! The only thing I can tell you is that when they leave the nest and call home, then they will tell you way more that you really want to know! Wish there was a happy medium. I agree with Jenn, sometimes "Ignorance is Bliss".

  21. I am horrified of the dating year. So thankful I have a boy though! PHEW! I would like to know how I am supposed him not to have sex until he is married when the whole world is telling boys to have as much sex as possible. MAN!

  22. Hardest job ever. And you don't get your Final Grade Report until you're all done and it's too late to change anything.

    Just do your best, and pray a lot, and rely on God's grace to make up for where you lack. That's what I do. :)


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