My husband and I are constantly doing things backward or going against social norms. So, why would our parenting journey be any different?
Prior to having any biological children, we applied to be family teachers (house parents) in a group home. This was more than just a job; it was a lifestyle. We were to parent six boys (at a time) for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Due to the needs of these boys, we were not permitted to have any additional obligations.
With a love for children and a background in community counseling (marriage and family therapy concentration), I told my husband that we can do this! With a degree in accounting and finance, he hesitantly agreed. I mean, how hard could it be?
The job trained us for two weeks in behavior modification, non-violent crisis intervention techniques. Once in the home, we received ongoing coaching and training.
As newlyweds and new parents of pre-teens/teenagers and with two weeks of training, we were quickly thrown into the fire. We were in need of A LOT of prayer. Not only were we parents of older children, but our children came from a variety of different family backgrounds and environments. Most, if not all, of them had mental and emotional health concerns.
For a little over two years, we gave all that we could give to our sons. We prayed for them, encouraged them, taught them, and most importantly, we loved them. Due to the nature of the job, we resigned from this lifestyle shortly after giving birth to our biological son. Raising six teenagers along with one baby came with many different challenges that we no longer felt led to take on.
Fast forward a few years, we were now parents of two and ready for another shot at parenting. We assumed that because of our parenting experience, we would be ahead of the game. But little did we know, we still had SO much to learn. The following are a few things that were different for us:
1. Raising a child from birth is a whole lot different from raising teenagers.
2. Our teenage boys had to learn to love and trust us in different ways than our babies have grown to love and trust us. Because the teenage boys were hurt, abandoned, etc., it was more difficult for them to let their guards down — understandably.
3. We no longer had a coach or received ongoing training with our biological children. There was no formula.
4. And even though family teaching was a lifestyle, we would often receive eight to 16 hours off per week. In parenting, you get absolutely NO days off.
So, now that we have been parents twice, I'd like to share with you some of the many lessons we have learned and continue to learn. Allow me to walk alongside you as your coach or trainer as we embark on this parenting journey together. Cheers to no days off and loving your life as a parent!