So I recently had an amusing, interesting conversation with my teenage son. By the way, he’s only a newly minted teenager since earlier this year, but in my mind, he’s been acting like a teen for a couple of years now. Just check out that independent, “I can do it, I don’t need you to instruct me” attitude! As I reflect in my safe space (which I’ve cultivated for years now inside my head), I realize that I helped create this monster, or this masterpiece, whichever way you look at it.
Everything has its cost. The more I talk with my boys as if they are adults, the more they take on adult-ish traits. So, should I be surprised that they have the audacity to question me when I’ve encouraged critical thinking all their young lives? How can I not see the “no, Mom, that’s not the right way to do this” statements coming from the mouth of a 10 or 13 year old, when I’ve corrected them in this manner for so long? Did I make major mistakes by promoting expressive discussion while clamping down on disrespectful tones authoritatively? I guess only time will tell.
Parents often wonder where is the balance between fulfilling parental responsibilities of guiding children properly and providing that safe, nurturing home environment? After all, in this 21st century, we’ve seen so much relationship coaching from Dr. Phil and Fix Your Life with Iyanla Vanzant that we are scared to death our kids may end up airing our parental errors for the world to see. So, who can blame parents for erring on the safe, permissive parenting side? And yet, we are also terrified that our children will behave horribly entitled, spoiled, and without class, like so many that we hear about in the news and on the internet…
So, my teen and I were bonding at bedtime when we playfully discussed what grade he would give me for my parenting skills. How did I even get the nerve to ask such a question, I don’t know. I’m not going to share his response here as it’s nothing to brag about. In fact, I gave him a semi-exaggerated sad face. He voiced some complaints which I had heard many times before. Still, I did not correct him but allowed him to share his heart with me. Then, to my surprise, he asked me to rate his “child-ing.” Phenomenal, coming from a 13 year old know-it-all, don’t you think?
What kind of interesting conversations do you have with your kids? And how do you strike that ever so delicate balance, please do share.