Generational Parenting ~ An article written by a former student of a therapeutic boarding school
The problem with generational parenting is that the world is changing around you while your child is changing as well. It makes it hard to realize that hovering over your child and watching their every move isn’t always the correct step. Kids nowadays want to grow up as fast as possible without any of the responsibilities of doing so. New generations of kids/teenagers typically want to “have their cake and eat it too.” With that being said it doesn’t mean that you give your kids the leniency to do whatever they want, it means that you have to provide steady structure while allowing them to learn responsibility. Kids, teenagers, and young adults are a lot more intuitive than we like to give them the credit for. They see the fault in our ways and they can sniff out the inconsistencies. It’s imperative that you put in place a structured environment of rules and responsibilities and stick to it. When you let up in one area, say curfew, it leaves leeway for them to pressure your resolve in another area. They need to know you care, and they need to understand you’re the boss. They really don’t need you to be their friend and when they’re angry, that usually just means you’re being effective. I can’t even count how many times I screamed the words “I hate you!” when all I really meant was, “CRAP! You’ve won for now!”
The best way to lay out a structure for your child, or children, is to understand their individual needs. I grew up with three brothers and each one of us had to be raised differently. The eldest had a very mild temperament and for the most part didn’t require too much hands-on attention. He just rode along the structures in place in a calm manner and in some ways raised himself. Was he perfect? Absolutely not, but in comparison to my middle brother and myself, he was a cake walk. The middle brother had a mouth and a temper, but was reclusive, so his needs had to be altered. He was also clever, so the respective parenting had to be constantly adapting and easy-going. Lastly came the third, myself, the “black sheep” you could say. I was hell on wheels. I had a mouth, a temper, a desire to be heard, and a rebellious streak to go along with it. I was an odd mix of the first two and my parents tried adopting a hybrid structure for me. I broke it. Ultimately it took a lot of falling and a lot of picking myself up again. Sometimes I had help, and sometimes I didn’t. The reason I out lined all of this is to try and show you that there’s no one right way to deal with your kid(s). Just keep yourself on your toes, talk to others who are going through similar situations, gather information on what works and what doesn’t, and most importantly, be willing to admit you have been doing something wrong. This isn’t about being right or wrong, this is about your child’s well-being.
The term “helicopter parent” has been coined to describe the overly watchful parent. It may seem harmless, but your child needs to have the impression that you’re guiding him or her to being an adult, and that you do trust them. When they break your trust, deal with each indiscretion respectively and appropriately. I’ll leave you with this; don’t try controlling your kids. It’s not a checks and balance ordeal where someone’s winning or losing. You’re in the driver’s seat; don’t let them put their hands on the wheel until they’re ready, but remember that your job is to allow them the control of ‘driving’ their life. Allow them to learn, make mistakes, take responsibility for their choices, and apply those lessons without you rescuing them from the consequences of those choices.