Today’s podcast is titled “The deal with teenager” and is the first part of a two-part series on handling the delicate balance of privileges and responsibilities with our teenagers and young adults.
Parenting teenagers is like flying a kite: it’s all in the art of giving enough rope and maintaining tension. Should the kite ever land in a tree, would you rather be around to help your teen untangle the mess or leave them to figure it out? Some parents will say “Let them figure it out on their own, they have to learn eventually.”
I take the longer view on that one: my teenagers might figure it out by cutting all the strings and burning down the tree, leaving them with no kite and a burnt down neighbourhood; or I might help them figure out how they can climb the tree, untangle the strings and, should they have to cut it, do it in such a way as to preserve as much of the kite’s functionality as possible. Then hopefully they will have learned something about getting kites out of trees and will be better equipped to do it themselves the next time it happens.
I once met a parent who was looking for advice on handling a request for money from a young adult child. We got chatting about lending money to our kids. She said: “I only ever lend money to my children because I want to teach them the importance of paying back debts.” I said: “I’ll let the bank teach them the importance of paying back debts when they repossess their cars. As for me, I’ll teach them that their family always has their back.” We worry a lot about what we might teach our teenagers by helping them out of a hard spot; but there’s a whole wide world of people out there who don’t love them. Let the world teach them hard truths: you’re the only one who can teach them unconditional love and support. I wrote a blog post about that, you can read it h e r e.
As promised in the podcast, this is a picture of our Subaru after it took a pick-up in the teeth. For the whole story, you’ll have to listen to the podcast.
The podcast opens with an update on my blogging and the deal with teenagers — including how our car got smashed — start around the 8:30-minute-mark.
Thank you for listening and please come back for part 2.