Day 2: A positive spin on independence.
It was time to register for football. I had the sheet sitting on the table and my 13 year was pouring some milk. ‘Mom, I don’t want to play.’ I pleaded again that perhaps he was just not wanting summer to end. It was July. ‘No, I don’t want to.’ I stared at the sheet and almost started to tell him that he had to play football and that was that.
But, I stopped. ‘Ok,’ I said. He looked at me. ‘Really?’ Yes. We’re going to sit this year out. I wish I could say I knew why to stop the pressure or that I was the perfect parent and didn’t keep nagging him for the next few weeks, but of my mouth came almost daily that ‘there might be a chance you could still get in. Are you sure?’ yada yada…
Probably the biggest challenge for me when my kids entered teenage zone was noticing where my rules inhibited their need for independence. This is different for all families and even different for all kids. But believe me, you’ll know when it’s time to let some negotiation into your relationship.
- When there involves banging on her bedroom door or ‘mom come on.’
- When she doesn’t tell you what exactly she’s doing at her friends place. But you are a super smart parent and see her Instagram feed.
- When he drops hints all summer that he doesn’t need new football cleats cause he hates playing. And you still drive him to Walmart to get some? Really?
This separation of them from you doesn’t mean they call the shots now. It means you are going to let them make a decision that might not be within your comfort zone but still within your values as their parent. Trust that you’ve raised a smart person.
Negotiation also doesn’t mean you have lost your authority. Rather you maintain it because you’ve decided to let them choose some paths for themselves. When you cling hard to what was and be the dictator, it shows that your authority is only as good as your control.
Let’s be rational here and realize that I am not talking about making choices to stay out until midnight with the opposite sex…alone. Nor doing drugs, etc…
This is probably the first step of entering the zone. There is no light switch telling you that now is time for them to make some decisions. Just a dialogue between you and your kids.
As they grow independent from your control and form their ideas and decisions, Your relationship actually strengthens because you’ve allowed them to choose you. Sort of reverse psychology. Also like the free will God gave us.