I'm Sink (Yes, people really call me Sink in real life.) My husband and I have 8 kids, 13, 13, 15, 15, 17, 21, 23 and 25 years old. I am a high school teacher -- I need to practice my sarcasm somewhere -- and my husband is a private practice therapist -- which I must admit comes in handy. We often say that we know just enough to really mess things up.
Happy to share my perspective on this teen raising thing...I tend to tackle things by making lists...lots and lots of lists...So here's one that I wrote late one night as I was waiting for my 17 year old to finally come in the door after an evening out with friends:
What I want my teenagers to learn as they reach the going-out-at-night-with-friends age:
1. Be respectful and considerate of people who worry about you.
Right now it is your parents who worry, but it won't always be parents. It might be college roommates, or eventually a partner or a spouse. There will always be someone worrying about you. Think about their worries. Practice and learn how to be considerate now - while we're around to teach you.
2. Stop, and think for yourself.
Ah, just because friend 1 and friend 2 (not all that different from Thing 1 and Thing 2)say, "Let's drive to the movie theatre that is 35 miles away along a interstate highway because the seats are more comfortable" doesn't mean that you need to agree that it is a good idea. Stop, and think -- Is this really a good idea? What time will I get home? Will my mom be worried about me? (See #1.)
3. Be responsible.
Making safe choices is something we all need to learn. Right now the decision is, "Should I get in the car with 4 other boys for a long, fast ride in the dark with a boy who has only had his license for 6 months?" You may have to think about other safety issues in the not-so-distant future: Should I get into the car with a driver who has been drinking? Should I drive after I have 3 drinks? Eventually responsible decisions affect people who depend upon you....people who share your worries.
All in all, the whole idea about this parenting thing through your teenage years is:
How can I, as your mother, help you to learn how to be a respectful, considerate, responsible and happy adult.
That's all it is. I'm just trying to teach you. Your job is to be willing to learn.
Posted originally at A Bigger Cup