This past weekend has been very education to my husband and I as parents. A 14 teen year old in our extended family was caught out at 11pm with a car full of teens driving recklessly. When said teen noticed that an adult family member had seen her, she flipped the adult off and had her friend speed away. Said adult contacted the parents only to have them shoot the messenger so to speak. You see this 14 year old gets away with everything from lying to stealing to drugs sadly. She has a mother who believes her child could do no wrong. I and others are very worried for the girl. We want to help but when the Mom will not admit there is an issue…. what can one do?
As a mother with a 13 year old who has done nothing like any of that, I have to wonder if the day is coming. My daughter is polite and kind and helpful. Nothing like the very rude and out of control 14 years old. What is the difference though? One could say it was homeschooling but the 14 year old was sent to boarding school for a while even because of her issues and it was top notch and still…. issues. Maybe it is not schooling.
After talking to great mother with grown children I think I see the difference now. My daughter has a lot of responsibility and the 14 year old does not, and never has. It is a reminder to my husband and I that we need to make sure that our younger children have responsibility too and that they continue to as they grow up. Pair the responsibility with responsible freedom (not driving at 11pm with a car full of at risk teens) and things might not go they way they have for that poor girl.
I don’t know how one helps a teen like that honestly. How does one instill discipline, respect, care, kindness when things have gotten so far? She is turning 15 soon and they are giving her a car. There is not a chance I would give such a child who is such a danger to herself and others a car. She has no sense of responsibility so how can she handle such freedom? She can’t.
Of course there is more than one side to every story and my point of this post is not to get anyone to judge the teen or the parent but to look at your own parenting and see if what your doing is working and if you think it will work when your kids are teens. If something is not working, change it. Ask for help. Seeing the flaws our children have is a good thing, that’s the only way we can start to help them. We are parents and we need to parent, not simply be their friends. We are on their side but because the teen brain is not fully developed, because hormones can cause imbalance, because they lack the experience and responsibility that we do, we sometimes have to protect them from themselves. We need them to respect us and work with us to get what they want and get where they want in their lives. We are a team. If a team member is not doing their “job” or following the rules they get benched right? Not that I know a lot about sports. You get the picture though right.
I am not saying be overly strict. Be solid though. Overly strict tends to send kids wild as much as not parenting does from what I have experienced and observed. But please, if your child has issues don’t ignore them, deny them, or shoot the messengers. Ask for help!