How and when did this happen?
It seems like just a short time ago there were diapers, then dolls, elementary school, junior high… Now 16 and driving!
Last week our oldest daughter turned 16 and now has her driver’s license. The good news is that the state we live in puts a fair amount of restrictions on her ability to drive so that takes some issues off the table immediately.
However there are a host of other issues and fears that parents face besides driving. I believe for us it is finding the balance between being to involved with, close or hovering; and being too distant and uninvolved.
There is natural tension in that most teenagers want their parents to be distant from them to a point. On the other hand it is natural for parents to want to draw closer as their children push for more independence.
Here in lays the dilemma. As teenagers increase in their natural and healthy desire for autonomy parents usually react or over react out of fear. This becomes an emotional push-pull dynamic.
It’s extremely difficult to slow ourselves down and not react out of fear to situations that arise. After all we want to keep our kids safe! Right?!
But sometimes in our efforts to keep them safe we drive a wedge in the relationship that creates more damage in the long term.
So what to do?
Try having a conversation with your kids. A real adult conversation. One where you invite them to problem solve with you. After all they will be adults soon! What better way to help them enter the adult world.
Let me put it another way. Maybe it would be a good idea at some point to start parenting with our teenagers instead of at our teenagers.