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Parenting teenagers!

Privilege – a hot topic of conversation these day. We are more aware of its effect across the different walks of life and understand that ‘it’s just not the same for everyone’, that where we start in life so often determines where we end up. Still, one of the biggest privileges a person can have is to be part of a loving family.

It’s not until I got older, like most people I’m sure, that I really appreciated the commitment, provision and unconditional love my parents had for me. As a teen, sometimes thinking I knew it all, this love conflicted with the ‘grown up’ I already thought I was (age 14!) and rubbed me up the wrong way.

Being told to ‘get home no later than 10pm or you’ll be grounded’, sounded like punishment and …. ‘Don’t hang around with those people’ sounded like control…. and ‘yes, you can go out but please stay away from this that and the other!!’ seemed to be a restriction on having fun!

What teenager WANTS to be told what to do? And what teenager is going to make these reasonable decisions entirely on their own?

The orphanage leavers Love Russia works with are mostly teenagers. And because of their institutional upbringing, they are emotionally young teenagers too.

Being set ‘free’ in to the big and dangerous world with no one to say – ‘be home by 10’ is a disaster waiting to happen.

Fortunately, there are people who have willingly stepped into this demanding and selfless role – one usually only contemplated because that child is yours, whether naturally or adopted, and years of bonding makes them very much a part of you.

I was admittedly relieved when my teenagers at last emerged out the other side of ‘Kevin syndrome’ ( a Harry Enfield character for all you younger ones) so it’s staggering to me when I think of the work our Mentors do daily. The old maxim rings true – ‘hurt people hurt people’. Thankfully, love heals! It takes time, commitment, disappointment and frustration, but parental love is powerful protection against self-destructive patterns. This Mother’s Day be thankful for the women in your life who taught you boundaries and guided you as you grew! And think of our friends in Russia choosing to invite complicated, hurting young people into their homes, schedules, hearts… and loving them to life.

This Mothers Day, please consider supporting a Mentor as they Mother (or Father) numerous orphanage leavers and struggling young orphan mums in their communities.

Pray for them, remember them, they are a beautiful example of selfless love to us all.

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