We love our children with all our hearts. For as many years as they have been alive, we have invested countless hours, dollars, and sleepless nights making sure that they are safe and well-taken care of. And how do these children repay us, as they reach adolescence? By wanting to spend every waking (and even non-waking) moment with their friends. I mean, sometimes teens act as though spending time with the family is tantamount to punishment of the worst sort! Ok, maybe it’s just my teens that act like that, but here is the point: I know you don’t want to hear this parents, but it’s time to start letting go.
If part of the goal in Adolescence is to become independent and autonomous – and IT IS, then parents must come to grips with not IF, but HOW they will begin to grant their teens the freedom they so desperately want. I know this is not easy…believe me, I know. Often, we parents wonder if we’re doing anything right. Parents of teens, are especially plagued by such questions as: Should I let her go to the party – Is she too young? Should I let him go on that trip – Is he responsible enough? How can I make sure she’ll be safe? Will he be ok in college? How many times can I call or check in without being a nag? The reality is that we must trust ourselves and our children. Trust the fact that you have done a great job raising this kid so far and will continue to COMMUNICATE and arm her with the information that she needs to make good decisions.
We should also trust our teens and let them know that we trust them! Doing this sends them the message that it is ok for them to stretch their wings a bit and gives them a sense of support and confidence. Plus, you remember what it was like when you were a teen don’t you? I know I never wanted to disappoint my parents. But, let’s remember…no one is perfect! We should all expect that there will be slip-ups by both parents and teens, but guess what? Failure leads to learning and ultimately to success, so go on parents, let go a bit. Gradually, you and your teen will figure out what works best for you and in the end, you will both be happy you did! @ParentingAdoles, #parentingteens
We’ve all done stupid things when we were young. Heck, sometimes I think back on some of the decisions I made as a teen, and am completely amazed that I never got arrested and am still alive and well! It’s unrealistic to think that our teenagers will avoid such screw-ups by learning from OUR mistakes. They have to make their own. Teens are going to slip up…it’s in their DNA. But instead of turning into Judge Judy, perhaps we, the experienced, insightful, and understanding grown-ups that we are now, can help our teens learn from their mistakes, and move on.
To my 17 year-old-daughter, EVERYTHING qualifies as an emergency. I regularly get calls, sometimes even at work, with her on the other end in a complete panic…”Mom, I left my gym shorts at home and I have gym in 5 minutes, can you bring them now, please?!?” or “Mom, I forgot money for lunch, can you bring me something to eat right NOW, please…I’m starving!?!”
Clearly not every situation warrants a code blue, drop-everything-and-leave-right-now response, but I do want my children to know that they can count on me. Just like the notion of unconditional love where we show our children that we love them no matter what, teens need to know that they can count on their parents, even if it means running around all over town like a crazy person sometimes. It is not easy and can certainly be inconvenient and stressful for us parents, but the positive effects for our kids can be far-reaching and super beneficial!