Let me just tell you what an awesome
older brother and amazing teenager that Aidan is. So last night Liam was sick throwing up. I wanted him to come into my room to sleep so that I could help him etc. Aidan had woken up when he heard Liam crying (this boy never cries) so he was comforting him. Liam has the issue of waking up a lot at night and he will often climb into bed with us, Aidan, Violet, or Breya. He knows not to wake Avagrace. So Liam in all his tears asked if he could sleep in Aidan's room because he "misses him." I said no Mommy is going to take care of you tonight. So Aidan sat with him while I got sheets and things, but came over to ask if Liam could sleep in his room. That he didn't mind taking care of him. I was like "Aodan it's puke! You will have to run his back and dump the throw up bucket and have him wash his mouth out etc. He said " I don't mind, I know what to do, I promise if it gets too much I will tell you. Please I really want him to know that I am here for him!" Now if that didn't make me melt I would have insisted. So I still woke up and helped in some capacity each time Liam was sick even though I was annoying my teenager, lol. But Seeing such love just warms my soul!! I still have tears in my eyes writing this! And other than all the warm gooey's and the pride I was thinking about this....
My kids are experiencing things that nobody wants their kids to experience. "Grown up things" explained to them at their level of understanding. Unavoidable discussions and situations. While it can weigh heavy on their little hearts, they all know that God gives them experiences to learn from and use in their lives. Dr. Phil loves to say that "1. Don't ask your kids to deal with grown up issues. And 2. Don't make them deal with situations that they cannot control." I agree with the sentiment but I disagree quite a bit as well. I am not going to talk about # 2 other than to say that I believe communication on their appropriate level is always the best practice. Children in theory cannot really control much. They cannot control what we are making for dinner, unless we ask them to. They cannot control their sisters life altering condition but talking to them about it is a whole lot healthier than not talking about it! They cannot control the tornado season or if their family has a shelter or not. But they can learn how to handle the affects of these situations. They can control their emotions in a sense. Will they be scared but not frantic because they know the plan and have mom and dad with them? Will they choose to be frantic because they don't know what is going on? Etc.. But his first statement is what I am really talking about today. ☺️
So, for example in response to # 1, finances. I have found that teaching our children the difference between needs and wants as well as the ebbs and flows of life that sometimes life brings "feast or famine" (so to speak-famine is a pretty strong word that I would not use but you get the point). In my opinion, it is a whole lot healthier to talk about things than pretending that nothing is happening or keeping things from kids that already know something is going on. Our kids knew this year that they had to pick one gift request for Christmas because presents were not a necessity. I know that this was a bummer and some of the kids were a bit sad when we first talked about it. One in particular was truly miffed. So we talked about. We talked about IT A LOT. We reminded them of what our family's focus is right now. (Post fire stuff) we talked at length about Christmases that were over the top. We talked about having zero space in the house we are staying in. We talked about priorities and ways to give to others. We talked about the REAL meaning of Christmas and what the meaning was behind those 3 gifts that baby Jesus was given.
When Christmas came we saw a very different Christmas that we had seen before and that we anticipated. First my children have always made gifts for each other. Yet this year there was an abundance of handmade gifts. Then they received gift cards from both of their sets of Grandparents before Christmas. This was so that they could go out and buy things that they really wanted but also learn the importance of a budget and prioritizing what it is you need or want. We had one child who insisted on buying something for each and every family member before she picked out something for themself. We did not make that known and so when two more of our children wanted to get gifts or a gift for one or more other family members it was even more touching. Then the last two kids both picked out something that they knew everyone would like! All without a single suggestion or prompt from anyone. So all of that was under our Christmas tree along with some needs from our "friend-like-family." So when they opened the book and 1 big-deal toy from us that they did not know if we were going to be able to get for them or not, it was the most excited and grateful that we had ever seen them. They did not have that expectation of a gift or gifts. They did not know that their Grandparents would do what they did. They did not know that their sibling/s would spend their own gift money on others. When it was all said and done my kids said that this was the best Christmas ever. It was simple, and special, and we really saw God's Glory!
I have found Communicating with my kids and telling them what is happening (again age appropriate) has given them security not worry. Knowing that in life everything is going to be alright because we are in HIS Hands! Aidan's actions last night could be picked apart by people in many ways, "he didn't ask for a kid," "he's not the parent," "he's just a kid, don't give him adult responsibilities" etc...but not trusting my 13 year old son with a responsibility that he really wanted and supporting him in it was a blessing to all three of us. I am so grateful for my children and learned to stop listening (99% of the time-I am only human) to the critics long ago! So my fellow parents, LOVE your children, KNOW your children(really truly know their hearts, their hurts, their strengths, their weaknesses), and do what is best for YOUR child!! It is as simple as that! Because parenting in this way will look different for each child and quite frankly, that is the way it should be. After all we are all individuals!