A Shift in Parenting
My daughter is 15 years old and a freshman in high school. I recently attended a “parenting through high school” seminar that really changed my parenting lens.
One of the biggest takeaways for me was, “kids should be 100% independent by senior year.” However, independence does not equate to having any rules or guidance. Our job is to help them learn to think for themselves, make good decisions, and be there to help them dissect what went wrong when they make mistakes (and you have to let them make plenty of mistakes!).
Instead of telling them “be home by 10:00” or “don’t drink at the party” you help them come up with rules and boundaries and understand why they’re so important. So you say, “you’re going to ____ tonight. What is an appropriate time to be home?” Or, “what would you do if all of your friends are drinking at the party?” And don’t accept answers that are not appropriate. If they say, “I’ll be home by 2:00 a.m.,” then you discuss why that’s not a good idea. If they say, “I would never drink at a party,” you have a discussion about peer pressure and how they need tangible actions they can lean on to get out of that situation.
It is not easy at the beginning of this parenting tactic but they get better and better with it over time. That way, when they’re off to college and you’re not there to make or enforce rules, they have the tools in their toolkit to make good decisions.
I’m not going to lie. It’s been tough to make this shift, especially when I have to watch my daughter fail.
But we’ve been taking the moments in stride and learning from each experience. I was upfront with my daughter about this shift because I wanted her to understand why things were changing around here.
So far, it’s helped our relationship grow stronger (as long as I remember not to say, “I told you so!”).
Did you have a shift in parenting at any stage? Share in the comments what you did or how your perspective might have changed.