The same madness is repeated every generation.
We must somehow cause ourselves to recall how things were for us when we were kids and teenagers to more fully understand our kids. Even though we and they could be fooled for thinking things are different, there’s one thing that always remains the same.
It’s the life-stage cycle. Young people will always seek to forge their way; their DNA is wired (at that stage of life) to do as they do. It will never be different.
This madness we repeat, because we refuse to learn, is so avoidable.
But it means throwing out all our legalistic and outdated ideas—those that were and are still destined never to work.
What is apparent here is a parent’s wisdom only goes so far. It finishes its effectiveness at around the age of twelve or fifteen at most, with most teens—it’s not a universal truth but it’s as close to it that it begs no argument.
And clearly the major focus is not about the “personality” of the almost-grown child at all, but it’s the bold ignorance of need in them to find ‘their own way’ in life. This is not a bad thing; it’s normal. Any focus on personality versus cognisance of simply ‘the stage’ they’re in trivialises the issue, and further, completely misses the mark, whilst simultaneously and tragically exasperating any targeted youth in clear hearing distance!
Our role is to provide safety. This is a thing mothers clearly struggle with compared with fathers. The mother’s DNA is structured in such a way as to ‘keep them alive’ whilst Dad is happy to enjoy some of the risk of the process.
Safety is not just about physical safety—it’s emotional and spiritual safety more.
We must understand that we’re on a hiding to nothing; it’s our lot as parents. The quicker we acknowledge and accept this and just get on with being their safety in any event, the better it is for all.
A safety “sample”:
è Be the adult.
è Be the rock they can lean on.
è Don’t be offended if they don’t take your advice or even accept it. They want to (and deserve to) make their own mistakes—just like we did!
è Be man or woman enough to take a step inside your kids’ lives and see things from their viewpoint. It’s a marvellous world ‘in there.’
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.