Saturday, July 28, 2007

Respect and Teens

To this day my children (aged g24, b22, b20) and I maintain close and open relationships. I won't presume to say that they tell me 'everything' that goes on in their lives but enough to have me at times throw my hands over my ears laughing "Too much info!!!"
Keeping an open line of cummincation with them has always been a priority with me. As young teens I told each of my children, "I don't expect you to be perfect. I am aware that at times you might try things, drinking, partying etc. All I ask is that you be smart and responsible and don't do anything that makes you uncomfortable or is harmful that might put you in a dangerous situation. If you ever find yourself in a situation or position, such as being drunk or with someone you are uncomfortable with, please phone me and I will come and get you. I will not lecture you right away or give you a hard time because your safety is more important to me." It didn't mean that I would dismiss the situation and act as though it never happened, but we would sit down after it had passed and discuss it. Believe it or not this worked well throughout their teen years and proved to me anyway that it was the right approach to take with teens.
On two different occasions two of my children and their friends brought home a teen from a party that was suffering from alcohol poisoning. On both of these occasions they were afraid to go home because of how their parents would react. It wasn't that I 'brushed it under the rug' or handled it lightly but they knew that my initial reaction would not be to 'freak' out at them. They were taken to the hospital and I phoned both parents and spoke to them so they had a chance to digest the situation and react initially a bit more calmly. On both occasions the remainder of the teens and I sat up late into the night discussing the dangers of what had happened and how to avoid it in the future.
I must say that I was proud that they had not gotten into that situation and that they had the good sense to look out for their friends. They proved they were true friends.
Again, I'm not saying my children were perfect. Sure they did their share of partying, but so did their mother and father in their youth.
We can't be blind and think that our children will never do those things or be self righteous and act as though we never did them either. At times, we have to remember what it was like to be that age, the things we tried and experienced and what helped us get through it with little or no harm. Then we have to hope and pray that we have laid the groundwork to produce responsible, sensible children that are never afraid to come to us when we are needed the most.

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