Tweens Pre Teens

The strength of a mother’s love is one that can never be broken. A mother has the strongest bond to her children that any two people can have. Her children are her life’s blood. I can remember the first time I felt this bond and the helplesness it can create. My 16 year old daughter was nine months old, and her father and I took her to the beach. For no apparent reason, she started having terrible difficulty breathing. We rushed her to the hospital and they kept her overnight with me by her side, hooked up to a heart monitor and breathing monitor. They took blood from her little heels as I stood there watching her fight for her every breath. All night I held her while she frantically tried to breathe and cry. The doctors never did figure out what was wrong. It was unbelievably hard to see her struggle while I could do nothing to help her.

The second time I felt this incredible bond was when my 14 year old son disappeared on his sister’s bicycle at the age of two and a half. I ran crying and screaming his name up and down the streets of our neighborhood, desperate with fear. I called 911 and the police were there within 3 minutes. They found him around the block on the next street over. Four police cars roared up and down the streets of our neighborhood looking for him. All I could think was, “What if someone took him away from me and I never see him again?” I don’t think I could have lived. It really makes me to this day feel for those parents who have missing children. How can they go on with their lives not knowing where their child is? Every time I see a missing child ad, I study the face of that child and pray for him or her. It brings tears to my eyes and fresh grief.

When children are small, a mother worries about losing them, and one moment of not knowing where they are is enough to freeze her heart and make her blind to everything else around her. When they grow up to become teenagers, she worries about losing their souls. All those things she taught them can sometimes be thrown back in her face, and the words they use to disagree with her can make her cry with anger and grief over what they could be making of their lives. They want to grow up and be independent, and some of them will say things that break her heart, in their effort to convince her they don’t need her anymore. In these times, when she wants to hold them for dear life, she must let go and let them live their lives. Hopefully, with a lot of prayer, they make it through these years without any negative effects. And hopefully, she can rest in the assurance that most of what she taught them will somehow stick in the back of their minds. It is tough to watch her child, whom she loves more than life itself, do things that she knows will hurt them ultimately. Some of them do drugs, some of them take to alcohol, some to a life of sexual promiscuity, to stealing, to breaking the law in other ways. All of these things, I don’t believe, are the fault of the parent and how the child was raised. A lot depends on the self-esteem of the child and who he chooses to hang around. If a child wants to be liked or accepted and doesn’t believe he has the personality it takes to make friends on the merits of his personality alone, he will follow the crowd he sees as “cool.” As a mother, she must strive to build his self-esteem while he is young. She must always talk to her child regardless of her fear of the subject matter or his reaction to it. If something bothers her about what he is doing, she should not ever be afraid to speak up. At the very least, she needs to let him know she is saying something because she loves him and doesn’t think that what he is doing is in his best interests. She may be saving his life. Is the fear of rejection by her child worth it to perhaps help him make a decision he may not have made had she not spoken up?

A mother never loses the need to protect her child, no matter how old he gets. When that child goes off to college, do you think her worry stops since he is not going to come through the door every night? In some ways, this increases the worry. Her child is now free to make his own decisions without her input. It is so important to let her child know he can always come to her for her support and advice. He will learn this if his mother advises him all through his childhood. It will give him the comfort of knowing he has someone to rely on during times of struggle, who wants the best for him. This in turn will boost his self-esteem and help him to make good choices throughout his life. She needs to be forgiving if he does make a bad decision. If she allows mistakes to be made, he will respect her advice more readily on other issues with which he is confronted.