Being really honest with yourselves :-)
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|Fri, 06-06-2003 - 11:48am|
My sister and I have vastly different ideas on parenting a teen. As a teen, she feels she made a million mistakes she hates to even think about. She has 4 great kids heading towards their teens and has very idealistic ideas on raising a teen. examples: no dating, EVER; courtship is the way it will go. Complete restrictions on music they listen to, now or in their teens & that if music is being played she disagrees with that they WILL come home immediately. Consequences only for noncompliance behaviours, *why* is not relevant. My parents were pretty lenient with her (she's the youngest of 4) and strictest with me (oldest). They think it's because of that that they had the fewest issues with me. I disagree with that completely; they just didn't *know* the issues with me. My sister thinks the leniency she was given - in spite of their never knowing at the TIME what she was doing - was wrong. She is very afraid her teens might repeat the mistakes she made and is determined that it will not happen. And she basically is not at ease with teens, period.
I wasn't a perfect teen. My parents were very strict. I had the 'no dating till 16' rule that was enforced & that I did abide by, but it sure didn't protect me in any which way when I did start dating. In fact, I think that worked against me and my parents; by 16, with that rule so enforced, I figured I was then old enough to know what I could and couldn't handle but that doesn't change with a birth date. Whereas if a guy had been expected to spend his time with me WITH my family only till at least 16, I think I might have learned more about relationships & myself (at least that worked with my older dd). I did lie. I did smoke. I hated hard drugs. I wasn't into parties. I moved out at 17, 18, 19 and for good at 20. However, in spite of all the things I did wrong, I don't really *fear* what my kids might do and I do believe that they will get through whatever they go through. It doesn't mean I don't suffer if my kid is hurting - I DO, at times unbearably -but I KNOW that they will pull through.
As a parent, *how* I parent has been definitely influenced by how I was raised, what did and didn't work. I have only three iron-clad rules: attitude, how they treat others and NO lying. Everything else is taken on a per-situation basis and dealt with accordingly or decided on accordingly. I don't think every kid is 'academic' and that grades are the be-all and end-all altho doing your best IS what's expected (altho my parents did raise me this way). I think learning to successfully navigate relationships and becoming a successful *person* is at least as important, esp in the teen years, when THEIR emphasis IS on relationships of all kinds.
So question: do you think you're as strict or as relaxed as a parent to a teen as you are because of what you were like as a teen? If you made all kinds of mistakes growing up, do you think you fear more what your teens will do and put lots of restrictions into place? How much of what you were like as a teen & how your relationship was with your parents influences how you parent your teen now, do you think?