The beginning of the teen era and the end of the child era.
My boy is thirteen tomorrow, 13 OMG, 13, where does time go? The beginning of the dreaded teenage years have officially landed on us literally!
The ‘I’m all grown up now and I don’t need you to tell me what to do’ attitude is all well and good but being ‘grown up’ requires other skill sets. Being a teenager and holding the label doesn’t work. We need to make sure we re-adjust their mind sets and lead them onto the path to independence.
What are these skill sets we need to make sure they acquire?
- Waking them up in the morning
If you are still waking little Johnny up in the mornings, it’s time to let an alarm clock do its job.
- Making their breakfast
My morning alarm is the sound of the kids banging kitchen cupboards. My job is to make sure there is food in the house so that they can eat breakfast independently.
- Filling out their paperwork
I have 3 kids, which requires a lot of planning, organizing and fine tuning their extra – curricular activities at the beginning of the school year. My daughter takes responsibility for completing her own paperwork but not my soon to be teen. So it is time to put the ‘I am grown up now’ to the test and hold him accountable. A lot of form filling awaits him in the next 6 years and I have no intention of doing it for him.
- Delivering their forgotten items
The story of my life!
Making our off spring independent comes with a price we parents pay. By letting go of their forgetful hand we may cause them pain and suffering. Tough luck! This year I said I refuse to drive back and forth to school to deliver a forgotten project, reader or gym bag!
- Mum no longer to the rescue!
If School projects are done the night before they are due, I won’t run out and pick up materials last minute to get a project finished. Never again!
If they fail to plan then they are planning to fail and this has to be on them they must suffer the consequences!
- Emailing and calling their teachers and coaches
If my boy has a problem with a teacher or coach, he is going to have to deal with it. There is no way I am going to question a coach or email a teacher about something that should be between the authoritative figure and my child. Truth be said he got the hang of this last year!
Don’t be that over involved parent. Teach your child that if something is important enough to him, then he needs to learn how to man up and handle the issue himself or at least ask you to help them.
- Meddling in their academics
Put the pencil down parents. Most of the time, I honestly couldn’t tell you what my kids are doing for school work. We talk about projects and tests over lunch, but we’ve always expected our kids to own their work and grades. Every blue moon I will ask the kids to pull out their files and show me their grades because I want them to know I care. That’s it!
And if they can:
- Choose kindness over popularity
Our kids need to share and choose their words carefully, but teens face new pressures. Peers encourage them to exclude someone, or post a cruel comment on social media. They must know to do the exact opposite.
- Stand up for what is right
Our children need to become people of principle as they enter the teen years. Standing up for what’s right is respectable and goes a long way.
- Walk away from trouble
Trouble can take the form of underage drinking, smoking, drugs or a wide range of other possibilities. We have to teach our kids what to say and when so they’re prepared when they find themselves in a situation like this.
- Take responsibility for mistakes
Nobody is right all the time. We have to teach our kids how to own their screw ups and make right their wrongs.
THEY are on the right track!
What is your parenting goal? Is it to raise competent and capable adults?
If so, let’s work on backing off in areas where our teens can stand on their own two feet. I know they’re our babies and it feels good to hover over them once in a while, but in all seriousness, it’s up to us to raise them to be independent capable people.
I want to feel confident when I launch my kids into the real world that they are going to be just fine because I stepped back and let them navigate failure and real life stuff on their own.
Thirteen might be a small number but it’s also a very big one.
Dedicated to Christos Thoma
Happy Birthday Baby