Think back to when you were young, maybe your teenage years. How was your relationship with your parents? Do you feel like they understood you?
There was most certainly a time in my teenage years that I couldn’t relate to my parents. It felt like they had never been young before. I couldn’t connect with any decisions they made.
Maybe your parents didn’t allow you to go to a party, or hang out with certain “bad influence” friends. You felt ready to conquer the world, but they were standing in the way.
We forget what it’s like to be a child the older we get. Instead, we think we know all the answers. We’ve lived through it all before, haven’t we? This thought process creates a disconnect between parents and children.
I remember my mother asking me questions about specific phrases that teenagers used. I laughed so hard because she seemed so old; she was in her 30s.
We try to make sure our children don’t make the same mistakes, but our kids don’t see it that way. All they see are the limitations placed on them. These limitations come off as mistrust.
So How Do You Bridge That Gap?
Imagine yourself the same age as your children. Think about things you wanted to do. Now imagine what it felt like not to have the opportunity to do them.
It’s important to remember the lessons you learned while growing up. How easy it is to be lied to; how hard it was to do things on your own. You knew the value of a dollar, but only by its misuse.
What It Takes to Be a Successful Adult
It’s important to realize that if you try to control every situation, you may harm your child’s growth and development. You could be depriving them of experiences that will set them up for success. Focus your parenting on allowing children to learn lessons in their own way.
My son hates having to do laundry, but now that he’s moved out, at least I can rest easy knowing he can use a washing machine. I try to think about what life is like for his friend who has never washed clothes before. How prepared is he for the real world?
Take Finances for Example
Most schools don’t teach children how to balance a checkbook anymore. How sad is that, regardless of how much money you have, you still need to know how to keep track of it. Most teenagers don’t know the real difference between cash and credit. If we don’t teach our children how to maintain their credit correctly, they’re going to learn the hard way.
Focus your parenting on the areas necessary to help your child become a productive member of society. You may be surprised by how they turn out. That doesn’t mean that little Johnny needs to go to every party, but you also need to have a better excuse than “I said you can’t go.”
Yes, there are times where you have to make decisions based on your child’s safety. Help them to understand your intentions.
If There’s Something Significant They Want
Give them steps within reason to achieve it. Now, if they want an expensive car, naturally, they’ll have to learn how to save up enough money to afford one on their own.
Parenting is hard, but we have to acknowledge that growing up isn’t easy. Just like any relationship, it takes effort on both parts to make it successful. You have to make tough decisions as a parent, but those tough decisions should be used as lessons for your child. Don’t just “say no” to your children because it’s easier. If you want to bridge the gap, you have to build trust.
If you allow your child to attend an event and they do something to break your trust, you now have a legitimate reason not to let them go next time.
You need to communicate that to them. Put the responsibility of trust on them.
Can you handle that?
Last modified: June 1, 2022
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