Parenting teenagers is a tricky process.
I always feel that they parent us, as much as we try our best to be good parents to them. At least, my son has often made me feel that way with his unexpected wisdom. Unexpected, because we just tend to assume certain things of a growing child often as a result of our own pressure and anxiety to do the right thing.
Watching him grow has been a very rewarding experience, as I’ve had the privilege of learning so much in the process. He has taught me that sometimes things are not as difficult to handle as I might fear and that love and logic work best.
This is why there came a point when I felt the need to let go, give up control, so that he could grow.
Being a good parent requires knowing when to push, when to back off, when to help, when to let them make mistakes, then being strong enough to watch them go
Our job, as the parents of a growing teenager, is to ensure that he gradually develops independence, self-confidence and self-esteem, helping him take control of his life. This is neither simple nor natural and takes a lot of ongoing effort.
The thing is, even though he’s growing at a normal pace, physically and emotionally, we often have problems coming to terms with it. After all, wasn’t he the little bundle of joy we brought home what seems like just yesterday? It is as though we’re stuck in a time warp, as we want everything to work out perfectly, yet find it tough to let go.
Why isn’t this process easy?
Teen brains as well as adult brains are not always adequately developed to make good decisions consistently. So it is my responsibility to help my son cultivate his decision making skills by alerting him to the risks and teaching him to consider alternatives – all this without passing judgment and threatening.
To do this, I had to give up control.
I’d love to know what your thoughts are about teenagers and the issue of control.