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TO THE POINT: Parenting is an energy thing
February 25, 2018

Parenting is an energy thing

With my child finishing her formal high-school qualification this year, all I can say is that each season of childhood is different, and it is very important to know what to focus on, when. You cannot afford to spend energy elsewhere because it matters where you need it! Some of my thoughts on energy:

· Managing your energy and helping your kids manage their energy, is key!

· Knowing what energy is required when, helps.

· Energy is finite so you need to manage it, and re-energize appropriately.

· When you give more energy than you have available, you feel drained. (don’t we all know what that feels like...)

· Parenting is an ‘energy’ thing.

I have listed some primary objectives to focus on in each phase of Childhood Development here. In short I can say that the biggest difference between the primary school years and high school years is that high school requires more emotional energy, whereas when children are young you need more physical energy.

When they were young I remember being physically tired because one is physically busy. So then it really helped to have a good night’s sleep or even naps (if you could fit it into the day)! Their daily routines, activities and even schoolwork was easy to help with. One had to deal with discipline issues more often, and even those were relatively simple because the issues were not too complex (although for some youngsters a lot of emotional energy is required!)

However as children grow older, they become physically independent, but still require support and encouragement in a different way.

As their parents our roles change to being mentors, requiring more wisdom and insight than before to be able to help them effectively. Mentors need to be available with enough emotional energy to handle all sorts of ‘conversations’ with our teens. These conversations can be positive and uplifting and a delight to all parties involved, but sometimes they are also difficult and strained and filled with a lot of negative emotions. It is then that we need special energy not to shy away from these situations.

Emotionally available parents are one of the fundamentals for a healthy childhood.

When you are confronted (usually unexpectedly) by difficult situations and you don’t know what to do, the easiest thing to do is nothing. But as parents, we should not do nothing, but rather see these as excellent training opportunities to lead, guide and mentor our children. Don’t ignore the issue, but rather discuss it with somebody you trust, pray for wisdom and think about a strategy on what to do.

Whether the situation is sibling rivalry, anger, dealing with disappointments, struggling with time management, not being able to focus or even not knowing what to do with their lives - any matter young adults may struggle with requires a lot of sensitive wisdom. We owe it to be there for them when they need us as parents.

For me it has become very obvious over the past few years how the type of issues my husband and I had to handle with our children, have changed in complexity. This has required more emotional energy, forcing me to attend to my energy levels in a different way than when they were younger.

It is also interesting for me to note that a lot of the things we need to handle requires research, thinking, discussing and never just an easy answer..... But all said, it is a joy and a privilege being a parent of amazing kids!

What a responsibility we have. May we manage our energy levels so that we can be emotionally available for our children when they need us!

Until next time, Willemien

Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye. (H Jackson Brown)

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