When my husband and I became parents, advice abounded! In fact, it was difficult to find ourselves in conversations that didn't center around sleep cycles, feedings, cloth diapering or paraben-free sunscreen. With sweeping acts of love and affection, our friends and family affirmed us with wisdom and practical help. We felt so supported in our new role. Perhaps our greatest challenge in those early years was learning how to forge our own way and get comfortable with caring for our children within the context of our own personalities, and gifts. We had to learn to live by faith and be confident in our child-rearing. The early years were filled with conversations with other parents who had children the same age. We swapped success stories, cheered one another on as milestones were met; we expressed our woes about temper tantrums and even how to parent more than one child as siblings arrived on the scene. As our kids entered school or began their studies at home, our talks shifted to focus on reading levels and math facts, sports and dance classes, tutors and family vacation spots. Those conversations do continue now, but you know what I've noticed?
Somewhere along the way we all started sharing less.
The fervor to share all that we had experienced in our new days as parents was replaced by silence as our children grew into their tween and teen years. Perhaps as we grow in parenting, we learn that we never really knew as much as we thought we did, perhaps as children grow and struggle or even voice negative opinions, we don't feel deserving of sharing much of anything. Perhaps we parents of older kids simply want to honor their privacy and to share our questions or concerns feels like a terrible breach of their trust.
These days, I'm living in the Silent Years of Parenting.