When raising teenagers we parents need a little guidance ourselves! What a challenge we have before us! But it is a wonderful challenge because if we guide them in the best way we can, we will watch all that potential become a wonderful adult! I have recently borrowed a copy of Parenting Teens with Love and Logic to help in raising my teenager. This book presents the idea of loving your teen enough to enable them to make their own decisions and allow them to live with the natural consequences of their mistakes, which really appeals to me.
Part 1: Chapter 1 introduces the reader to some pretty hardcore teenagers. I kind of read the stories and thought "Glad I don't have those teenagers!" But it does kind of scare you into thinking "But what if I stuff this up (parenting). I could have these issues on my hands. What would I do?"
Now I am just itching to get at the strategies! Foster Cline and Jim Fay go on to identify the challenges facing parents of teens and of course the challenges teens themselves face.
Geez! The real world ain't such a warm and fuzzy place as my teen would like to think! So the teen years for us have only just started and there's a few warning bells going off. Nothing like what the book has put forward. Just stuff like not doing his chores, huffing and puffing about the place and not coming home on time. What I would call pushing the boundaries a little.
"We're going to teach you how to apply them [principles] in the task of helping your teens become responsible adults". Isn't that what we all want for our children? Okay give me the good stuff! Love and logic parents don't resort to anger (guilty), lectures (guilty), threats (guilty) and repeated warnings (guilty). Okay that's four counts of guilty and still nothing to come away with. But I am hooked! I want to be a Love and Logic parent...where do I sign up?
So that's Chapter 1 and I guess in reflection it is about our parenting journey when raising teenagers. We know our destination, raising a responsible adult and we know that this journey is fraught with danger and challenges. We know that some of these dangers and challenges are not even ours to have.
Travelling through outback Australia is often along tracks that are almost indistinguishable from the rest of the landscape. Having an excellent, detailed map of the area you are driving through is essential as well as information from local authorities. During the drive we come across bends, corrugated tracks, huge potholes, deep sand drifts and wildlife that are not on the map. To navigate through these obstacles the driver sometimes leaves the track and rejoins it further ahead. The entire drive is spent slightly deviating from the track but we still arrive at our destination. Along the journey the driver is assisted by markers, GPS, two way and their own observations of the landscape. Our parenting journey is the same. Sometimes we get off track, so we need the map and some tools to get us back on track again, but our destination remains the same.
Join me in thinking about our parenting journey this week. It might be useful to think about how we know when we're off track. How do you get back on track?