Wednesday, December 5, 2007

They still need us

Though teens are very actively pushing us away, they still need us. Our role with them changes. Since we want them to act more independently, we loosen our controls on them. They are making many of their own decisions and choices. They must learn to follow through with their responsibilities. They don't always want our advice, and must learn many things on their own, in their own way. They are very capable. And.... they need us to support them.

When kids get into middle school, they often don't want to be seen with their parents. So naturally, we back off. We participate less in school activities. We trust them to do their homework without us. We hope they are making wise choices with friends. And.... they still need us.

Studies have shown countless times that teens who have positive, supportive, communicative relationships with their parents are far less likely to get into trouble with unwise choices. Of course, this relationship doesn't just blossom at adolescence. We must work on it from day one and learn to adjust our expectations to their age and developing abilities.

Communication... Respect... Unconditional love and acceptance. These are the foundation for this relationship. Yes, it can be hard to sit on the sides lines and watch them falter. We want to help them avoid some of the same missteps that we took. We can be there, but their life will be their own. So, even when they are pushing us away, we can let them know we care and we will listen.

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