Today's installment is the "just right" parent. Just like in Goldilocks And The Three Bears, we have the parent who is too "hot", the authoritarian parent, the too "cold" parent, the permissive one, and now we have the "just right" parent the authoritative one. This parent gets that their teen is becoming their own person. This parent understands that the goal of parenting a teen is to gradually, over the 6 years of teendom( ages 12-18), first to share control and then finally to cede control over the lives of the teen as they leave the nest. The teen years are a training ground for adulthood. Learning to make safe and healthy decisions about relationships, life's temptations, education and career take practice. Practice makes perfect. An authoritative parent understands that part of practice includes making mistakes. An authoritative parent understands that their kids are not supposed to be mirror images of themselves. They get that their teen has a unique personality and temperament that needs to be respected, supported and nurtured, even if that means adjusting their own expectations of who they hoped this growing child would become.
An authoritative parent understands that a teen still needs structure in their life to be successful, but rather than imposing one, works with their teen to develop one together. Understanding that getting a teen to "buy in" and take ownership of rules and expectations means you have to include them in the planning and implementation of them. This takes time, and I know, it is so much easier to just say nothing as with the permissive parent, or just do it for them, as with the authoritarian parent. Keeping the ultimate goal in mind really helps. All parents want their kids to be successful adults. If we overprotect or under protect our kids, they will be dependent on us for life. And by the way, you are going to want them to be able to take care of you someday, so you better get crackin!
Tomorrow: Tips and strategies on sharing control