Good Morning Friends!!
Pour your coffee and please come sit with me a minute!! Thank you again for mothering faithfully. I know some days are really hard and you feel like resigning (as if that’s an option!). You wonder if anything is sticking to their hearts and minds!!Please know what you are doing does matter…you will be so surprised someday when you overhear them telling others about your parenting. Never grow weary in doing good (and what you are doing is great!!!).
We even want our “in-laws” to be excited about visiting our home!
I know this topic may seem way down the road for some of you; for others it’s go time and you are wondering, “Where have the years gone!!” This is the season that causes me to reflect on what my children have really learned from living in this family…. what kind of people are walking out my door at 18?
Here are just a few practical thoughts to follow up David’s 2-part blog, What Every Parent Ought to Know About Sending Your Child Off to College…
Oldest sister home visiting the siblings!
Our parenting begins to feel like we are preparing to launch a rocket!! It has been an enormous adventure and we are a little insecure about what we have done (or not done) to develop these young adults we are sending out into the world,
We try to stop solving problems, making decisions and managing their lives for them during their last year with us. We are available for counsel and will often invite them for coffee or a conversation, but we really try to stop lecturing and instead get them talking about what they want in life. It’s so fascinating to sit back and just listen to their response to questions like, “How will you know when you have found the one God has for you to marry?” or “How will you choose a church or a mentor?” “What happens if your roommate really gets on your nerves?” or “What happens if you get sick the first week of school?”
Now I do confess to giving them a final exam as each child leaves. I try to make sure they know the things David and I have put down in our Pritchard Faith Vision Statement. That sheet is on our website for you to read. Please know that sheet started years ago and we’ve added to it each time another child has left our home.
Probably the biggest issue for most families is how to transition when people come home for the summer or holidays. Here are some ways to make that smoother:
Have a meeting before they leave and explain that things will never be the same again. Like David said, this is a good and healthy transition. We suggest discussing the difference between asking permission and common courtesy. (i.e. We tell our kids they really don’t ask permission anymore as much as extending us the respect to say “I am going to a movie with friends. Does anyone need me or do you need something done before I go?”
We also acknowledge we will not agree on everything. We talk about how we will handle our differences of opinion without causing drama in our family. That is part of growing up and figuring out how to live with the choices you make in life.
We talk a lot about sibling relationships. We thank them for coming home and what a sweet gift of time that is to us!! We let them know what we would like them to attend with us if possible and then give them the family schedule as much ahead of time as possible.
We talk about money, chores, food, the car situation, and how they can help us while home; more a “state of the union”, an update of the family, than pressing them to take part in everything. We also ask for their help in supporting rather than undermining our parenting with regards to house rules (TV, curfew, language etc.).
Our vision is our older children visiting would feel very wanted, welcomed and loved. We want them refreshed and well fed when they visit us. We know this is borrowed time and we really pray the Lord would help us make the most of it (i.e. both sides growing and sensing a deep connection to our roots)
We always want our home to be a safe, fun and energizing place for our children and their friends. God has entrusted them to us for such a short time. We are so grateful when they come home. We pray they will tell their friends, “You are going to love it at my house!!”