About 2 years ago Aime and I met Camden. He’s a great guy who loves to hang out with my youngest son. Cam is a High School student and VERY tall. My son is 6 years old and VERY short. They make a great pair. Cam is one of those guys that you want your son to grow up to be just like. I’m excited that he agreed to guest post today and offer his perspective on a transition that every parent fears… the high school years. Pay attention – we’re going to learn something today!
When dealing with the different voices of parenting, especially the higher levels, there are always two sides of the coin. On one side, the parent’s deal with problems they are faced with as they move from one voice to another. On the other side is the child who is trying to learn right from wrong, good and bad, not to mention make major decision regarding their future. The first three voices of the journey are training stages (Protect, Teach, and Model) that teach children everything they need to know. However, it’s in the Coaching voice where parents MUST relinquish control over the children they hold so dear. This step backwards can cause at least 2 major problems.
- If the parent steps back too quickly child might make poor choices due to little real world experience.
- If the parent does not step back then the child learns to live life with a protector who swoops in and fixes things the moment they go wrong.
The main problems with these two examples are that “home” and “acceptance” is not synonymous.
THE WILD CHILD
This child has been virtually abandoned. Parents have taken a step back and said “Okay, we showed you how, now do it.” This makes as much sense as a person calling himself a pilot by saying “Okay, I’ve seen many people fly planes, now I can do it too.” Emotionally this approach says this to a child, “I am done speaking into your life and I expect you to be able to solve your own problems.”
THE SHELTERED CHILD
The reverse approach is no better. My mother often asks, “Do you think a fairy is going to clean up after your mess?”
The irony of the situation is that she will then clean up whatever it was that was messy. This child has been trained to expect that dishes clean themselves, clothes put themselves away, and any project will magically do itself eventually. This approach can potentially be damaging to a child’s emotional health as well.
The child learns from this approach that they’re incompetent. In this kind of a household failure is so unacceptable that the parents are willing to fix it themselves rather than leave what their child created… or, at least that what the child hears.
The ideal message to give your child is this:
“I want to see you succeed on your own, but if you fail, we still love you and welcome you at home. I don’t expect you to be perfect, I expect you to try.”
There is no universal plan to achieve this message because every family is different and every child is not alike.
…plus I’m just a high schooler myself; I don’t have all the answers!
Dad and/or Mom- How’s the transition feel from your side?