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A Letter to the Teenage Parent

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To the Teenage Mom,

I know that finding out that you are pregnant can be so scary! How do you tell your parents? How do could you have let this happen? How will you raise the child? I know! I have been there and done that. If I could sit and have a chat with my teenage self after I found out that I was pregnant, I would say– own up to your responsibility, but remember to keep the respect for parents. Be more kind towards parents as they find out and not aggressive, but it does hurt them to see us travel down this road. Even though you think your world is ending, it’s not, it’s just beginning. Just because you are a Teenage Mom, maybe your life isn’t going as planned, but it’s okay to not have the same ending as you planned. Don’t get too caught up in “making things work” with your baby’s daddy if things aren’t going as planned. I used to beat myself up because neither of my oldest two children had their dad…we didn’t have the family I thought at the time we should have. If it doesn’t work with your baby’s father, don’t ever use the baby as a weapon. Never let your child hear you bad mouth their father. Respect them too–even if they aren’t doing right by the baby.  Give them the opportunity to know their father if their father’s are willing.  You can still be young, but be smart and remember that you are a role model for your child. Don’t drop your kids on other people. I know we still want freedom, but remember to be responsible. Don’t worry about what people say about you. They don’t know your situation and the people that talk worse about others are those who are the most miserable. Let your child know how much you love them. I know the “easy” way out may cross your mind, but no decision about your pregnancy is ever easy–the quicker you realize, the better off you will be. I don’t think women should abort their babies just because they don’t want them. If abortion has crossed your mind, be sure to pray about it and think of all the women who would die to be in your shoes right now. A baby isn’t a mistake–you’re not a mistake. Whatever problems you are facing will eventually go away. You will and can be such a great mom! 🙂

To the Teenage Dad,

Teenage Dads get such a bad rep–they really do. I know a lot of men say that they will take care of their babies, and I really think they have good intentions of it, but seriously, if you get a girl pregnant, take care of your responsibilities. I know many men who encourage abortion, don’t ever use the line “I can’t take care of that baby, get an abortion.” Never encourage abortion. I don’t care how hard the situation may seem! If you encourage anything, encourage making an adoption plan! I can think of countless babies that have never met or known their fathers–or they have fathers that want to be a father when it’s convenient for them. Make a vow to yourself and your child that this will not be you. If it doesn’t work out with the baby’s mom, don’t let that keep you from your child. Support your child always, and always know that even after they are 18, they will still need their Daddy. I know it can be easier said than done, but respect your child’s mother and never let that child hear you say a cross word about their mother. If you have to work at McDonald’s–get a job and support that baby! I don’t care if your whole paycheck goes to taking care of that baby! If you get visitation rights, take advantage of them! If you don’t get visitation rights, fight for them! Your child NEEDS you! If you don’t get visitation rights because of “how you are” then realize that it’s not ALL about YOU!  So many men walk around with nice shoes and the latest game systems, but remember it isn’t about you anymore. Respect your baby’s mother’s parents. They are hurt and let down–end the end remember it’s not all about you, even though they may put it like it is. Put your baby first. I know dad’s don’t have all the responsibility of carrying, delivering and caring for the baby, but try to be a part of every bit of it. You can and will be a good father! Don’t accept anything less than being a good father!

The Importance of Spending Time With Your Kids

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As kids get older, they really don’t want to “hang out.” But, we have something in our house called “parent dates” and “family dates.” I mentioned in the marriage section how important it was to date our spouse and spend time with our spouses, but it is also so important to gain relationships and become close to our children as well!
I have really liked the idea of the Daddy/Daughter Mom/Son dates, but we just do something like taking the kids out to eat. On the weekend, we will rent movies. And I will go ahead and admit, we have good intentions on spending more time with our children and buy board games, ect, but sometimes lives get busy. Our children, the older they get, they attend extracurricular activities, church events, friends, ect. But, we try to have talks with our children. We were good with eating at the table and spending at least 30 minutes without television, laptops, and cell phones, but weeknights are crazy so we try to eat at the table at least once on the weekend and if it’s possible, during the week. We have back yard time, where we go outside and enjoy our backyard and talk with the kids. I thought that the oldest would be the worse with this time, but to our surprise, he loves backyard time!
With all the busy going on, schedule if you must, to make time with your whole family! Make time for your kids. Take them on family dates, and by the way, you don’t always have to spend money on dates! Go to the park, to the lake, go grab and ice cream, or look for freebie things to do!
This week, I challenge you to spend time with your children doing something! No griping, no arguing, but really connecting with them.
Lord, spending time with each other is so important for the important relationships in our lives. Lord, please help us to make special time to spend with our kids. Help us to connect with our kids and build lifelong relationships! On our dates, help us to make special memories that we will never forget!

Until next time…be encouraged!!!!

The “Baby Pass.” Can the Baby in the Family Get Away With “Murder?”

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Often times if we have multiple children, we fall into letting our youngest child have the “baby pass,” and sometimes, we don’t even realize we are doing it. For instance, my husband and I have yours, mine and ours scenario. Well, we knew the baby was going to be spoiled. It was a planned child. A baby we had prayed for. When our baby was born, it wasn’t that the baby was more important that the other children we had…but we knew it was our last child so we babied the baby too much!
One day, one of our oldest children was very upset at being punished. It wasn’t the bratty, “I’m so spoiled and how dare you punish me” type of upset, but it was sincere hurting, upset. Our oldest child began to weep tears of how the baby never gets in trouble, how we just think the baby is so cute and never does anything wrong, and how the baby needed to start getting in trouble more!
At the time, I really didn’t think too much about it, but we began having major tantrum issues with the baby! And it hit me! My oldest child was right! We let my youngest get away with anything and it had gotten out of control! At the littlest whimper, our baby got exactly what they wanted! That is when we realized, we weren’t running our house…..our toddler was!
We began to really start trying to enforce some rules with our toddler, which was an even bigger nightmare. Our toddler didn’t share at church, had fussy tantrums, told us ‘no.’ How could we let our baby become such a little monster? I mean, with our previous children, we were all about “yes ma’am,” no ma’am,” yes sir,” no sir,” thank you,” you’re welcome,” sorry.” So, what made things with the baby so different?
After months of strict discipline with the baby, things began to get a little better. We still have times, even years later, where I try to pull the, “Well, you are older!” “You should know better.” Well, in all reality, the baby knows better too!
We all tend to baby the baby too much, but we never intend to hurt our other children in the process. Talking to my oldest child, they’ve expressed to me how they have felt like I liked the baby more. My husband and I never meant to make our baby a spoiled, unruly child that believed they didn’t have to mind…but it happened. If you see yourself being THAT parent…try to do equal punishment because believe it or not, if you have other children, they see it and believe you are picking favorites! I think we start to become THAT parent when we bring the baby home and start giving the baby so much attention, we can’t put our other children to the side.
Lord, we know babies are blessing, but we pray that we won’t treat the babies of the family any different than our other children. Show us that they need some sort of discipline too. Teach us the best way to parent our children–each of them.
Until next time…be encouraged!!!