Once upon a time, I thought I knew something about raising 2-year-olds.
And then I had one.
No longer do I claim to know anything about raising 2-year-olds. As near as I can tell, every child is VERY different. Every day is very different. You do the best you can, and pray like crazy!
Once upon a time, my husband and I also felt pretty comfortable about our ability to interact with teenagers. Having spent our entire married lives taking turns teaching and serving the 12 to 18-year-olds at church, we naively thought raising teenagers was going to be a breeze.
And then our children began their teenage years.
No longer do I claim to know anything about raising teenagers.
In fact, recently one of our teens found me in hopes of counseling about a pressing social decision. I listened for awhile, then said, “Well, I did that when I was a teenager. It was a dumb decision. You shouldn’t do that.”
Days later, they did it anyway.
Feeling a little betrayed and a bit more upset, I stewed over the situation through a day’s worth of household chores. Hadn’t I straight-up said that was a bad choice? How could I have been more clear? Why on earth had they done it anyway?
In the midst of these musings, a familiar phrase came to mind: That they may learn by their own experiences.
Looking back, I could see how much knowledge was gained from each choice made as I grew and developed in my parents’ home. Of course our children are going to make choices and learn and grow as they work with the fruits of their decisions, too. That’s the whole reason we came to earth, after all.
That is also the whole reason our Heavenly Father sent His Son to save us, so we can learn and grow without each wrong decision permanently altering our destiny. Because of Jesus Christ’s Atonement for our sins, each repentant soul can get back on course. He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (John 14:6)
Conclusion? The same theory applied to raising 2-year-olds is also helpful in raising teenagers: Every child is VERY different. Every day is very different. You do the best you can, and pray like crazy!
In the mean time, I am trying to breath deeply, step back, and allow space for myself and our children to continue learning through our own experiences. “Otherwise, [we] could not be agents unto [our]selves; for if [we] never should have bitter [we] could not know the sweet.” (Doctrine and Covenants 29:39)