Dear Ooph Reader:
First, let me start by saying, I am beyond grateful for all of you who take the time out of your already busy lives to stop by Ooph and read the posts I write. It means the world to me and validates that what I am trying to do here is worthwhile. Your comments, emails and discussions on Facebook are the best parts of this site.
I write nearly daily on Ooph not because of the number of hits I am trying to accumulate, though I won’t lie, your patronage feels good. I write not because of the money, however when someone offers to pay, I certainly don’t refuse. I write because I love the tween and teen years. I love my own and I love your tweens and teens whom I’ve never met. I know that these years can be difficult and we parents of these aliens need a place to congregate and commiserate and join in laughter.
I have parented now for nearly 18 years and all too soon (August) my oldest son will be leaving me to forge his own path in this world. While I have loved every single day, month and year of raising him, nothing compares to the joy and closeness I have felt to him over the last five years. He has become someone I can discuss politics, religion and current topics with. He is someone I laugh with and share inside jokes with. My 16 year old son is no exception. They provide so much joy in our home that instead of being panicked about my seven year old creeping towards the tween years, I am excited.
They say you can’t be friends with your kids and in the way the quote is meant, I agree. You cannot allow them to do whatever they want, you can’t parent so that your kids think you are cool. You are their parent and parent them you must. However, you can be their confidant and the very use of that word implies a friendship. Not the kind I mentioned above, but the truest kind. Someone they can come to no matter what. No matter the topic. No matter the trouble. They trust in you and believe you are their safe haven. Someone who will be there to talk them through the tough times, require that they do the right thing and hold their hand when they face the consequences of their behaviors. Both good and bad.
I hope when you read Ooph my message is clear. Conversation and communication. You can’t possibly expect your child to talk to you when there is trouble on the horizon, pain in their hearts or to share their greatest successes unless you have open and honest dialogue and you have it often. I have talked with my boys their entire lives. We have giggled our way through conversations of sex when they were little which translated to deeper conversations when they became teens. We have talked openly and honestly about drugs and drinking from the time they were old enough to understand and continue to do so now. We talk about all things, sometimes willingly, sometimes begrudgingly. But still we talk.
I share the goings on in the world with you here on Ooph in regards to teen life in the hopes that it will create conversations between you and your tweens and teens. Conversations where you listen and empathise. Conversations that are hard, that require a mutual trust, one that grows each time and creates a situation where they come to you when they are in need. I hope you read my weekly Table Talk posts (my most favorite part of this site) not because I want the clicks. Because it is in the silly conversations that you build laughter, trust and a “friendship” that will last a lifetime and most importantly will make you their go to in times of need.
I hope you read the technology posts because, in my opinion, it is the hardest part of raising this generation. They are not equipped to navigate it alone. They need your help. They need you to know what is going on in their world no matter how much they despise the intrusion.
I mostly hope that you find a community on this site. One that helps you cope with the hardship of raising tweens and teens. One that makes you laugh and say, “OH, I can so relate.” And one that makes you walk away and want to be pull your teen in close with the knowledge that your time with them as you now know it is coming to a close. You will want to look back and think, “Those were the best of days,” not, “All we did was argue.”
Thank you so much for reading. I truly hope I provide value to your life, your tween’s and teen’s lives and your relationship with them.
One of my favorite parenting quotes which I cry over most days lately is: Though the days are long, the years are short.
Enjoy these years.
If this is your first time on the site and you are looking for my parenting posts, start here.
P.s. If there is any topic you would like to see covered on Ooph, please hit the contact button and let me know. Even if it is just a question you would like to ask of the Ooph Community.