It all changed a few summers ago when wanting our then 13 year old to experience the deliciousness of no plans or schedules after all the stresses that school brings, we decided to allow him to truly enjoy long languid days spent hanging with friends. BIG MISTAKE! This is when his desire to completely sever any and all parenting began to fester.
There is a great NPR story documenting why we need grandparents and the importance of matriarchs and patriarchs in the animal kingdom. This story refers to young elephants on a game reserve in South Africa who, because of overcrowding, were placed at Pilanesberg National Park reserve, without their elders. Things went disastrously wrong. The elephants went wild killing rhinos and attacking tourists,
Teens NEED adults in their lives:
“You need parenting!!!” is what we continuously tell Thumper when we are being met with resistance. There is an advantage to this that he may not get at the moment but it gives him an excuse to blame his strict parents before making poor choices and therefore hopefully, abstain from actions that could result in negative implications. Did you know that being strict is the new cool?? No?
I get that the toughest part about parenting is the resistance and anger one receives when laying down parameters, but what Baddy and I have learned is that the anger is a result of the possible scheming of a plan where authority is unwanted and we are getting in the way. The angrier they get, from punching in walls to threatening to leave home, the more scheming the plan.
Here’s a tip for you, if your teen threatens to run away to another family that has less rules and is more lenient than you, let him/her know that any family harboring a minor could get in serious trouble. We don’t want that now do we? So instill the parameters now and stick to the rules because soon your strength as a parent could and will weaken.
Hang on with your teens and don’t buy into the anger or the threats. You are still their parents and you rule!
A typical conversation with our teen
Thumper: Why can’t I go camping with friends?
Baddy: I know you really want to have your total freedom and go somewhere far away from where any parents can find you playing
as hard as you possibly can with girls who have twice your experience but it ain’t happenin’ final final.