Q: Always love your articles Kim! But its so hard to let go of trying to control people and situations! This its especially hard as my kids get older and trying to trust in them to make good choices!
A: Hi Christine, great to hear from you and you’re so right! A parent’s desire to keep their children safe often results in the natural instinct to put them in a bubble so they won’t get hurt. The art of parenting teens is about the negotiation. You are bargaining for their safety and they are bargaining for connection, power, freedom and fun! This naturally scares parents especially when you remember the trouble you got into at the same age. Making mistakes is how we learn–children and parents alike. You want to allow your children to make mistakes but in a situation where you are reasonably assured they have the skills to keep themselves safe. Talk it through. Tell them your worries and let them come up with a plan to put your mind at ease. It’s not easy but it’s a lot better than always telling them no, punishing them for disobeying, and tightening the reigns even further. They will avoid you like the plague and you will never know what is going on with them. If you want to have real influence in their lives, you have to hold your ground on the safety issue and let them explore the rest of what they want. Support them when they make mistakes and encourage them to become all they want to be.