Monday, June 27, 2011
Family Time Can Save Your Family!
When my oldest daughter turned 13 and entered into Junior High, I had no clue things would be so rough. I was not prepared for how things would go this past year. I remember back in middle school (which was 6th, 7th and 8th grade for us) life got very rough. Friends you had in elementary school were forming cliques, brands of clothing started to matter, and boys and girls were noticing each other. I had a really rough 3 years. But not as rough as my daughter. Now in Junior High (7th and 8th grade), there are not only the above things mentioned, but text and cyber bullying, drugs and suicides. There are so many distractions that make it hard to focus on your education, your family and really everything! My little girl started to change. She started to distance herself from us. Keep her problems to her self. Not want to hang out with the family. We tried to get her involved in family time, but it was a struggle.
This summer we decided to go fishing with the kiddos. My 13 year old was required to go. The mention of going was met with "Eeew, Gross! Fishing!?" and "I don't want to go, I'll be so bored!". I was THRILLED to see her having a good time with us once we got there and started casting out. She fished. She tanned. She played with the kids and helped them find crayfish and bugs. We have been fishing 3 times since, and there is no more "Eeww", or "I don't want to". Now the announcement of fishing is met by "Let me go get some stuff to bring!", or "I hope we find a turtle!".
What started out as a day of fishing yesterday, catching nothing, ended up being a family adventure! We were at a state park and decided to put our fishing gear back and start walking trails through the woods. We walked and walked and walked together, laughing and skipping and taking in the beauty of nature. Before we knew it, we had no idea where we were! It was so quiet and so green! The birds were singing loudly. We found a stream in the middle of it all. My 6 year old brought her net with us and we walked around the stream, getting our feet wet, catching minnows. It took us an hour and a half, but we walked all the way around the lake and back to our fishing spot! It took some team work and maps, but we did it!
I realized yesterday, that since we have been doing these family fishing trips, things have changed again for my daughter! Because we started doing these family days, she now CHOOSES to sit with us while we're watching t.v.! She chooses to laugh and play with us, when the little ones are being silly. She smiles more. She's getting closer to Daddy again. The summer has been great so far, because there is no school drama. But I would hope we are setting up a foundation for the fall that will help strengthen her when drama does come her way. We are planning to get a tent and go camping together as a family soon. That would have been met by "Eeew, I don't want to be outside". But now is met by "I want to go! I can't wait!!".
If you have a tween or teen struggling, that seems to be pulling away, I think family days (quiet days that really enforce time together and maybe even team work) will really pull them out of their shell and bring the whole family back together. Peace to you all!