Growing Up and Away?

A friend of mine recently expressed frustration with the way that everyone seems to write off their kids around the age of 12.  He said that he hears people say very matter-of-factly things like, “Well enjoy your little boys now because it won’t be long before they are teenagers and they stop loving you.”  Or they sadly bemoan, “Yeah, I miss those days when my kids hugged me everyday and meant it.”  Or they state in exasperation, “I don’t even know who this kid in my house is anymore.”

My friend is worried about this happening to him.  He has three boys under the age of 7, and he is absolutely loving them.  He told me about how his oldest boy is learning to share and sacrifice for his little brothers at times.  He described it as absolutely beautiful.

And then he said, “I don’t want to lose my connection with them.  I don’t think I have to, but everybody is telling that it will happen, as if there isn’t anything I can do about it.”

My reaction is simple.  Nonsense.  Those naysayers are all wrong.  DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM!  You do not have to lose your connection with your child, your grandchild, your nephew, the player at the end of the bench on your little league team, or any other young person who is not blindly trusting and adoring every adult in his or her life anymore.  You just have to change along with them. son

You have to learn that they are changing, and so is their love language.  So they are not going to express love or simple appreciation as a doting child.  And you are going to have to change the way you express yourself to them.  And there are plenty of other things to know and to do that are different than the first decade of this child’s life.

But the GREAT NEWS is that there is no reason that you have to lose the connection.  And even better, there are many ways for you to re-connect or begin a connection that was never there.  It’s never too late.

10-14 can be the best years of a child’s life, and you can be a part of that.  In fact, you can be the catalyst that makes it happen.  You can be the difference.  You can help a child grow up well, and you’ll probably end up with a friend for life.  And that is what this website is all about.

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Author: Andy Kerckhoff

I'm a husband, father, teacher. I'm doing my best, wishing I could do better, and trying to help others to effectively lead kids through early adolescence.

2 thoughts on “Growing Up and Away?”

  1. This article is so important! I made the decision several years ago that I would do my best to see that there is still a connection with my son as he grows older. I had encouragement from parents that were successful with this so I knew it was possible. I read a great book called DO HARD THINGS written by teenagers about how we need to stop assuming that teens are going to act a certain negative way and set higher expectations. So far so good. My son is turning 13 soon and although I have had to change along with him there is still that foundation of unconditional love, listening and hugging……..not in public of course:)

  2. Many people do automatically assume that there will be a distance between kids and adults as they enter the teens. An interesting thing I’ve observed as I have a lot of interaction with many kids besides my own, is that most people basically ignore the kids around them once they are no longer young and so “cute and lovable.” Does anyone out there remember the impossibly awkward ages of about 11 – 15 when people didn’t really give you the time of day? I LOVE to engage with people of this age especially, because I find them mostly receptive to the attention and respect you give them. I love to do this so much in fact, that I make it my mission to make these rising young adults feel validated, valuable, and loved. Its amazing and rewarding to see these usually blown-off young people have a look in their eyes that says, “wow, this adult actually thinks what I have to say is important.”

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