Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Affluenza: Why parents should let kids Fail

Recently a 16 Year old was sentenced with only probation after pleading guilty to four counts of manslaughter by intoxication and two counts of assault by intoxication.

What in the world would lead a Judge to make that decision? What kind of legal defense do you have to not end up in prison?

Well it turns out you just have to have "Affluenza." If you want more detail on the case you can read about that in this Time Magazine article.

The point that was established during the trial was that Ethan Couch's life suffered because his "wealthy" parents had never let him experience a life consequence. To quote a psychologist in the case Gary Miller "He never learned that sometimes you don't get your way."

It is easy to look at the case and see it as a life of luxury enabled by lots of money. Please understand that the fault is not in the wealth, its that the parents covered for him all his life. As a Youth worker, and simply an observer of life around me, I have seen this happen no matter what the family financial situation.

As a parent you have 2 main responsibilities:

  1. Teach your child values that enable him/her to add to the world around them.
  2. Do your best to keep them alive.
As a parent you must let kids experience the consequences in life. When you take the consequence away you take the life lesson away and handicap your child in the long turn. 

In no way do I mean parents should not help their children, but there are situations where the best way to help them is to let them hurt in the short term.

When you child never starts a homework project till the night before its due, DO NOT finish the project for them after they fall asleep. Let them get a bad grade and if you have taught them that grades are important then they will be more likely to start the next project sooner.

When your child complains about being disciplined in class, do not participate in bickering about the teacher. You teach your child that no matter how they behave if they can argue it then they can get away with it. There are basics about how to behave in life and being able to argue well does not mean that your child is well behaved, usually it means the opposite.

If your child wants a car, and you can provide that for them, then sure let them have a car. If your child wants a car that has more features than getting them from one place to another then make them get a job to pay for it. If they wreck the car, let them ride the bus for a while instead of just getting them a new one. 

Let your kids fall,  let them experience that sometimes life hurts. Let them know that even if it is within your ability, they should not always get what they want, especially not when they want it.

You should let kids fail so that they can learn from life. When you can learn from life around you then you set them up to continue to learn even after they grow up and move out. Letting them fail will help to keep them alive and teach them values that will help them the rest of their life.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Parents and Teenagers - Communication

Teenagers actually want to talk with you about their stuff.

Yes you read that correctly. No, I'm not crazy.

Teenagers want to be able to share both the good and the difficult things that are happening to/around them in life.

The difficult part of communicating with your teenager is accepting that they want to talk to you and then looking objectively as to why the conversations are not happening.

Teenagers live in a world of Chaos, constantly trying to figure out who they can trust or what  is going to actually help them in life. Teenagers, though they may not realize it, are afraid. Some perceive their lives to be mostly out of their control. Others realize that their future is up to them and that can be even more frightening.  The noticed or un-noticed fear affects the way they interact with the world around them especially the way they communicate with you their parent. They all WANT to talk, most don't feel like they can.

So if you find it difficult to talk with your teenager, or think I am a lunatic for suggesting they actually want to talk to you, ask yourself these questions.

Can your teenager tell you something that absolutely breaks your heart as a parent or for them as a child without you interrupting them with a volcano of emotion?

Have you prioritized your life in a way that allows time for a long conversation? on their terms and not just when they are in trouble?

Can your teenager trust you to just listen? Or do you jump into advice mode before they finish processing and verbalizing what they are trying to say? Or do you jump to judging and punishing before compassion and love?

(I am not saying don't punish I'm saying punish after clearly exhibiting that your love for them is unchanged by what was talked about or happened, and that the punishment is intended for their long term benefit)

Have you respected things they are interested in? have you talked with them about things you are interested in? and not reacted negatively if they don't share your interest?

Last and most importantly if you think your teenager doesn't want to talk with you about their world -

Have you asked them about it? Do you pay enough attention to notice when they have something they want/need to talk about?

I understand clearly that some parents will not get to the point of great communication with your teenager either because of current life circumstance or the history of parent child relationships in your family. In that case let me plead with you because it is still true that your child WANTS to talk to you.

If you cannot provide that ear for your teenager yourself, please find an adult or group of adults to connect with that you trust and respect to be that listening ear for your child. Otherwise they will rely solely on the wisdom of their peers (or the internet) and that is like playing Russian Roulette with 5 bullets in the six shooter. Can they thrive in life with just the wisdom of peers (and the internet)? yes its possible, but the odds are not good. We all need the wisdom and influence of someone who has experience, and we can't benefit from the wisdom without feeling like we can talk. So please communicate with your children/teen about life.

As Always thanks for your time and giving this a read. If you enjoyed it share it with friends, you can do so easily with one of the buttons below. I pray that you will embrace life in the Love and Grace offered to you through Jesus Christ, and that you will always remember Jeremiah 29:11.  – For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, Plans to Proper You and not for harm, Plans with Hope for the Future.