Thursday, April 21, 2011

When parents don't know anything

You know the story. When your kids are small, they hang on every word you say as being right. Then, as they become more aware of the world around them they realize there are various views to the mysteries of life and that yours is but one of them. By the time they are in their mid teens, you don’t know anything. Then again, when you look at those same teens you wonder whom that imposter is
living in your home.

      My husband’s theory is that when a child reaches 13 years of age, aliens come down and remove their brains. He has no idea where those brains get stored, but they cannot be located anywhere on planet earth. You cease to have any sensible conversations with your children until they are around 21 years of age when the aliens quite suddenly return their brains. You just hope they get the same ones back that they started with, unless of course, they fortuitously get an upgrade!

      Ah, yes! Our children are indeed perplexing creatures! My daughter was an extremely strong-willed child. Many a time we got the ‘stink eye’ or the ‘roll eye’ from her because her will clashed with ours. How could we possibly understand her or her friends? After all, we were millenniums older than she was!

      So what do you do when you cease to recognize your teens? The best thing is to be prepared. Just remember when you were that age. What was going on in your world that made your parents’ thoughts and values seem so outdated? Talk to your children about the fact that there are many opinions and
views on every conceivable subject known to Man. Explain why you believe what you do and the benefits in following the values you have set for your family. This way they can more easily process others’ opinions and make informed decisions for themselves.

     Talk to them about the changes they will go through as their body matures. Tell them about mood swings and explain how to handle them. Be careful not to make so many rules that your teens just want to rebel.

      Don’t sweat the small stuff! Do not become the enemy! The idea is to NOT create distance between you and your teens. Make sure you keep a positive, upbeat attitude and a positive home environment. Stay involved with your kids.

      Create a safe haven in which they can make mistakes. Prepare them for the challenges and choices they will be faced with. Encourage them to just talk about their feelings and what is going on in their lives. They don’t always want an answer. They just want you to listen and be supportive.

      I was thrilled to hear my daughter tell me yesterday that she didn’t have a clue about what we went through as parents until she had a child herself. Now it has all become abundantly clear. Our parenting skills were challenged many, many times over with her, but what a privilege it is to have her as my best girlfriend now and for my husband and I to be given an open invitation to positively influence her children.

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