Will Our Kids Resent Their Growing Up Years? Maybe.


I’ve reached an interesting place in my motherhood journey, and I thought maybe we could chat about it today. I’m walking that road many of you have walked before me, and many of you will walk after me.

I’m parenting big kids and little kids at the same time. I’ve got teens and I’ve got preschoolers, and every age in between.

And sometimes my brain struggles to keep them straight. Sometimes I accidentally ask the teens if they have to go potty instead of to the restroom, or offer to cut their pancakes for them. My mind is trapped in preschool-land, and has been for the last 15 years since my first child was born.

Then there’s this part: I expect more from my little people at times because I think they should have “gotten” it by now. When I’ve only just begun teaching them something. It seems like I’ve been teaching “someone” that lesson for years, well… because I have. Just not this particular child. My mind is a mess.

Please tell me you get as mixed up as I do.

Parenting different age groups is a tricky endeavor. But do you know what my favorite part is?

Seeing my big kids fall in love with their younger siblings. It’s so beautiful. Behind the parts I adore about having big kids and little kids, there are parts that scare me a bit too.

At times I think my bigger kids will end up resenting the way God designed our family. It’s big, it’s loud, sharing space is mandatory, the dishes and laundry never end, and there isn’t much quiet unless you head outside by yourself. Which we sometimes have to do to find some peace.

My worries about my kids despising our life fade away when I see them in action. They’re really great kids. They seem to be thriving, even though it’s crazier around here than I’d like. Even so, is it really my responsibility if they despise our life or not? This life we’re living for the Lord, following His lead? Should I really concern myself about all that?

No, it isn’t and I shouldn’t. Our kids have their own free will, their own chance to practice patience and selfless giving they’re learning so much about. So I’m not responsible for their reaction to our life. I’m responsible to lead them toward Jesus. I’m responsible to love, teach, and train. But I’m not responsible for their response to it all.

That’s a comfort. It still stings to think they might not look back and have warm, fuzzy and appreciative feelings about their growing up years, when their parents worked tirelessly to hold it all together, while depending on the Lord for every second of it. It hurts most that they might not end up trusting Jesus as their Savior.

But do I really want to live my life as an outcome manager? We’re pretty good at this, aren’t we? We like to plan for and find solace in our proposed good outcomes. I’m learning that outcomes aren’t meant to be managed by the likes of us. Author Emily P. Freeman really got me thinking about this concept in her book A Million Little Ways. It’s a book I come back to time and again.

Will our kids end up resenting their growing up years? Maybe.

All the outcomes become less important as we lay our worries at the feet of Jesus, trusting the outcomes to Him. It’s truly the only way to have peace about any of it, and peace is an outcome I can get behind.

Amanda Bacon

Amanda Bacon

Amanda is a stay-at-home mom of eight kids and has been married for sixteen years to the most helpful man on the planet. She is an adoption advocate and encouraging voice for moms everywhere.
Amanda Bacon

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  1. Nancy says

    As a mom of many, yet just a few years behind, as we still are all little, I look for encouragement from those just a little ahead on the road, but not too far ahead that they’ve forgotten, someone still in the trenches. So thank you! Some further thoughts from someone else further along than myself: https://www.generationcedar.com/main/2015/10/do-you-feel-sorry-for-children-helping-their-siblings.html

    Let’s not believe the lies! Let’s speak truth to our children. Let’s cast the vision for them and pray that the seeds we plant will reap a bounteous harvest!

  2. says

    This is a really great post that ministered to my heart. Thanks for sharing! Oh, and if it makes you feel any better, I once tried to put a pacifier in my husband’s mouth… so I get the “brain has never left the little age phase.”

  3. Bethany Davis says

    Hi Amanda,

    This was an awesome post. I know a family who has three biological sons, and they adopted a daughter from overseas when the daughter was 10 months old. Their second son kind of has some hard feelings of how the parents raised him and his siblings. The Mom always bought what she could from various secondhand places, or tried to get things for less with using coupons. The second son now has to have every single thing brand new, will not buy secondhand to save his life. The other two sons and even the daughter are always bargain hunting for what they can. The daughter still buys secondhand clothing and whatever else she can find that’s in good condition. You are not responsible for how your kids turn out. When the second son rebelled about 15 years ago, it took the mother years to finally learn that it wasn’t her fault for the decisions the son made. The mother did all she could; stayed home and home schooled the kids, didn’t go get a job herself even though things were very hard financially, they enrolled the kids in the best home school program there was around, they taught the kids all the sound biblical truths, yet this one son still rebelled. The family had devotions every single morning and evening, even though the youngest two kids would beg the father not to have devotions because of the mountain lions prowling around outside. The devotions were still done. This son has come back somewhat, probably isn’t totally where he should be, but he sort of sees the light now. The other two sons and even the daughter, don’t have any hard feelings as to how they were raised, but thus is the difference in people. The daughter might do a few things differently someday when she is able to get her own house, but that’s to be expected.

    Even though I do not have kids of my own yet, nor do I see having kids in my near future, I have done and said a few things that are related to having kids. I chuckled at Darbi’s comment about when Darbi tried to give her husband a pacifier. I also asked one of my sister in-laws if she had to use the rest room when we were out somewhere. When she said no, I said, “Are you sure?” Thankfully, she was gracious about it and said that she was sure. I’ve also caught myself trying to help my older nephews with simple things that I know they can do, or caught myself thinking that my younger nephews and niece can do more indepth things than they can do at their ages.

    Thanks again for sharing this.

  4. Bethany Davis says

    P.S. I’ve also known of people who had absolutely the dream childhood, yet they still find something to complain about. Then I’ve known others who had nightmare childhoods, yet they are the most non-bitter people that I know. It can go both ways. Have a good weekend!

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