Un Prepared for Adulthood
Emerging from a childhood full of abuse and neglect, I was not prepared for adulthood. The years of abuse left me broken and troubled, the neglect left me unequipped emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and practically. Sadly, rather than inspiring 20 something me to strive for a better life, instead I wasted many years in rebellion. With tremendous gratitude for the gift of new life, I press on now, seeking to forget those wasted years and pursue days worthy of the gift I have been given, a full and rich life, a healthy and delightful family.
Not sure when life began to make more sense, and how to live productively and wise, I look back and see a slow gradual increase. Small step by small step learning and growth has taken place. It is wonderful how those small steady steps build momentum and real change becomes more evident. Have you ever noticed that? Small steady steps build momentum.
Passing it On
Our youngest child turned 13 a few months ago. That means that the youngest of our children are marching steadily to adulthood, and Praise God, they march free of the tangles their mother stumbled along in! That gives me so much joy and excitement. The freedom that they don’t even know they enjoy makes the momentum that I am experiencing build all the more quickly for each of them! In these years between 13 and 18 there is so much they can be taught, that they can tuck away and be prepared for adulthood!
Over the coming months I will be exploring many topics to assess if I have covered them well with my teen daughters. Topics of spiritual and emotional preparedness and physical health are current topics that are being discussed pretty regularly at this time. Taking the time to write about these topics and even post them here will help me in the process of dotting the i s and crossing the t s of offering my daughters the gift of enter this new season.
First of all…
Spiritual and Emotional Preparedness
One of my favorite things about parenting teens is the conversations. As our children mature and grow into emerging adulthood there are many topics to cover, many questions to ask and to be asked. Topics about family history, those “skeletons in the closet” can be discussed, examined and seeds be sown in the minds of the teens. It is important to teach them about rest and depression, about addiction and when to ask for help. There really is so very much to talk about. And don’t be afraid to call in help. One area where I have truly lacked knowledge and skill is healthy conflict and resolution. So we called in help. Don’t be afraid or timid about calling in help. And let your kids know you are seeking help. That just might allow them to seek the same some day.
Physical health habits should be built from a young age. My husband was great about getting the kids out hiking and cycling at very young ages. It seems more challenging now to get everyone out, but to make it more appealing to the reluctant family members we will still try to vary the activities. Hiking, cycling and swimming will be regular family activities when the weather is warm and dry.
Nutrition is absolutely necessary for good health, and those habits are best laid when the children are young. One thing I did when the kids were younger, and should start doing again, is let them pick out something new from the produce section when we shop. Getting to choose the new food makes it more likely the kids will try it! Getting the kids in the kitchen preparing food also helps to continue the willingness to eat healthy, delicious foods, and even be adventurous in trying new foods.
One thing to note about physical health habits, they tie into good emotional health as well!
It might be amazing, but the things I wrote here about preparing teens for adulthood are mostly things I learned a little later in life. I’d like to encourage you to not only teach your own kids and prepare them for adulthood, but look around for those who need that same help in your community. There are many young adults who may not be prepared for adulthood, but may be receptive to kindness and wise words.