Family Companionship - Preparing for the Teenage Years

I want my daughter to want the association of her family. Oh sure, it’s easy right now – she’s only four! When she’s a teen, though, I want her to value time with her family more than time with her peers. I’ve only seen a few families successfully realize this desire, but those families were enough evidence for me to believe that it is possible to avoid – or at least peaceably weather – the teenage years.

If our family is to peaceably weather the teenage years, then I need to attend to it now. How I treat my little child now and the relationship I foster while she is still young will be the foundation of our relationship for years to come.

For instance, I need to keep in mind that young children love companionship; they yearn for sympathy and tenderness and seldom enjoy being alone. My daughter believes that what she enjoys, I will enjoy – and I must! If she is sad, mommy is the most natural comforter. I take care of ouchies; a little kiss goes a long way. I provide protection and soothe her when she’s frightened. When hungry or sick, I am the one she instinctively turns to for help.

Is it any wonder why mothers exert such a powerful influence? I must be ever so careful not to wound her young, sensitive heart. I love reveling in her childish joy and gleeful giggles and joining in with her childish imaginary games. I love being the first person she turns to when she needs comfort and reassurance. Never would I tell her “there’s nothing to be afraid of” or to “be tough”. Ever so carefully I try to never treat with indifference those trifling little matters that are of such great importance to her.

The sympathy and approval of mommy is precious to the young child. A smile, a gentle touch, a kiss, a word of encouragement, precious moments, family activities, a shared prayer on her behalf – all bring sunshine and demonstrate unconditional love.

All of these encourage my daughter to confide in me and to unburden her little heart so I can more fully enter into her feelings. While she is little, I am trying to teach her to make me her confidant so I can kindly instruct her and guide her. I want her to learn to speak openly, with frankness and to dialogue about difficulties and possible solutions. The trifling matters in childhood provide good practice for weightier matters down the road. The repeated act of laying out a perplexity before her parents will form the habit of asking for advice.

During her formative years, I must especially guard against becoming over burdened with many, daily responsibilities and cares. My daughter’s tender heart and willful mind requires patient instruction, love and sympathy.  In order for me to win the heart of my child now and throughout her teen years, she must find at home that which will satisfy her desire for love, acceptance, sympathy and companionship. If not, she will look to other sources, where her mind, character and soul may be endangered. I love her too much for that to happen.



 

© 2012, C. Gillan Byrne

 

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References

White, E. G. (1954/1982). Family Companionship (Chapter Title). In E. G. White Publications (Eds.), Adventist Home. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association.

 

Complete Published writings of EGW

Bible Gateway website for KJV

 

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