My two oldest girls, Nicole and Kristin, are fourteen months apart. Growing up, they were more like twins—doing everything together, including becoming women.
I read lots of books on how to help girls through puberty, and I talked to them, at the appropriate time about the changes their bodies would undergo in the very new future. I was careful to explain that this was a normal, and even a wonderful process, and nothing to be scared of. I didn’t want them to be surprised. I wanted them to know what to expect.
But I was surprised, completely caught off guard in fact, when my girls emotions began to change. Nicole first, and Kristin close behind. It felt like someone had swapped my two girls out for two strangers.
Where were my little girls who used to be so happy? Why did they cry so easily now? What were these moods that, like an afternoon thunderstorm, seemed to appear from nowhere?
I may have been surprised and confused by my daughters’ emotional changes, but God was not. Just as he designed a young person’s body to change and develop into manhood or womanhood, he also ordained for their emotions to develop and mature.
Remember, God is the one who created our children to be emotional beings, and feelings are a good gift from him. And so it is a beautiful thing when a child’s capacity to feel begins to blossom and grow. This season of mothering does come with all kinds of challenges, but also exciting opportunities to help train and tend those emotions into deepening passion for God.
These years of change aren’t meant to be a battle: parents vs. our children’s emotions. Rather, by the grace of God, they can be a grace-filled season of learning. We can lead our children to understand and appreciate who God has made them to be and teach them how to cultivate and enjoy God-glorifying emotions for the rest of their lives.
Janelle’s up next with a story about her transition from youthful to mature emotions.