Welcome to our new blog series, "Raising Strong Children in Today’s World."
For those of you that do not know me, my name is Lori Doerneman. I have been married for over 30 years to my college sweetheart, Russ. We have 8 children (four still living at home) and we live in south central Kansas.
I love my life. I love love love it. I love our rich Catholic faith. I love my husband. I have some strengths and plenty of weaknesses but overall, I think I have a pretty good heart. I love people and love parties and I love being a mom.
I thought that would be MORE than enough to raise fabulously strong adult children.
I was wrong.
What happened? Well, I missed the boat when it came to parenting the children in the realm of love, lust, sex, puberty and such. Here’s the funny thing. I thought I had done a great job in that area. I am a very open person and I thought that I had covered those things.
To be fair, I did talk often about some of that. But I missed some key aspects. KEY.
This blog series is about delving into those key aspects of parenting.
My end goal: to prepare the hearts and minds of mothers for the real journey of raising strong children in our world.
What do I mean when I say “Strong Children?” Interestingly, your idea of a “strong adult child” and mine will be a tad different, because we are different, but since we are both mothers, we will most likely think along the same lines.
By the way, here is a recent picture of my older kids. They are super competitive and they love to work on their physical strength.
But that’s not the kind of strong that I am referring to!
I invite you to just pause a moment and think on this question: what characteristics and traits would you like to see in your children when they become adults?
If you have a pen and paper handy, jot down those traits.
Now I’ll share my list with you. I desire that my adult children have:
Compare your list to my list.
I am sure they are not exact, but pretty similar, right?
As parents, we have DESIRES for our kids. We want them to be strong in our world.
Now, I will bet that your list did NOT say, “I would like my child to be an addict.” My list did not have that, either. We don’t want our children to fall into addiction. We just don’t. That doesn’t even enter into our thinking.
It’s important that I share just a bit of our history with you so you can clearly see what this blog series is all about and why I feel so strongly about it.
A little over ten years ago I was busy mothering my eight children. I went downstairs to deliver some sheets into my sons’ bedroom. I opened the door and found my oldest son, Eric, engaging in inappropriate content from the internet and getting ready to ‘take care of himself.’
That’s the moment where my Mommy Blinders were ripped off. My precious, beloved son was actively consuming p*rnography. (Note: some filtering systems will block this post if I use the actual word...)
Friends, that moment derailed me. For weeks. I didn’t know how to handle it. I was totally unprepared. I had this understanding/idea/notion that my kids were all on a certain path. I thought I saw all of their choices. And I was pleased and proud by those choices.
The fact that my child was watching p*rn didn’t exactly compute.
I didn’t feel comfortable sharing this new THING with others, so I stayed quiet. As you can imagine, I felt extremely isolated and it seemed like that moment was the worst thing ever.
But as I look back with the eyes of faith, I now see that moment differently. That moment was the place where a real relationship with my son was actually born.
Yes, the blinders were ripped off. And yes, that hurt. But that enabled me to see that there was a problem and then figure out how to best help my child.
It was not easy. The entire realm was foreign territory. At first (after the initial shock wore off), it was all about gaining information. I read. Researched. I learned facts and statistics.
Now, I am not a quiet person and I actually develop my thoughts during the writing and speaking process. So I wrote a lot. I talked a lot. I shared what I was learning with friends, priests, principals and such. I learned from them.
I was eventually asked to be a speaker in our diocese.
This is where the story gets interesting.
If I would have stayed on that path, I would have taught mothers some good things, yes, but it would have been in a fear-based, holy Hannah, do not ever let your child out of your sight type of way.
So what changed the trajectory of my journey? Eric. Through the grace of GOD, my son joined forces with me about five years ago. That was the surprise of my life and since then we have given lots of presentations, spoken to many parents on this topic and co-written an online course, The Parenting Dare.
For those of you that don’t know Eric, he is now 27 years old and is currently working as a mechanical engineer.
He is about to be married to a wonderful woman and is an extremely confident, out-going man.
He also has this unique trait of needing to say things authentically. He is not satisfied with repeating what everyone else has said about something.
There have been many, many times when I have written a thought or expressed an opinion about how this Challenge affects kids and Eric would stop and ponder. Then he would invariably say something like, “I can see why you think that, in fact, I’ve heard that from the so-called experts...but that’s not how it felt to me.”
And then we would have deep discussions about it, conversations that would sometimes span days and weeks as we held the problem up to the light and figured out key components of it and how they affected him and others.
My perceptive and extremely articulate son, more than anyone, has changed the way I think about this challenge facing our young people.
And that very real shift in how to look at the Challenge, how to step into your role and how to engage with your child about this topic is the gift we want to give you in this series.
So if you’d like to engage in more authentic ways over real topics with your child, then I invite you to go on this journey of “Raising Strong Children in Today’s World.”
Note: I told you earlier in this post that I would not DESIRE “addiction” to go on the list of traits that I would want for my young child. I still hold true to that. And you will see, through this blog series, that I work extremely hard to guide my younger children around this particular addiction.
But I am no longer afraid of addiction. We serve a very big God and He can create beauty out of our ashes.
What I hope to accomplish in the upcoming weeks: I want to give you the eyes to see the Challenge of p*rnography and how to help your children become p*rn resistant. It’s not about ignoring or running from the problem. It’s about acknowledging it and helping our children process what happens when they see it so they can learn to reject it.
Raising fabulous strong adult children is possible. And it is fun. You just have to be willing to think differently about the process.
Okay, so you may be wondering:
Who is this blog series for?
Looking ahead: in our next conversation, we will take a look at the most amazing trait that you have as a mother.
Link to Post #2.
P.S. This email series is important and serves as a huge first step for mothers. For those that will want more, we have a proactive course, “The Parenting Dare 2.0.”
P.P.S. If you have had a "holy Hannah" experience like the one I described above (where you found your child consuming p*rn), I encourage you to read "Now What," where I share five steps that helped me get my sanity back. We also have tools you can utilize.
You can access it through ourFree Resource Library.
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