It is so hard to keep up with teenagers. There days are rarely the same. Their friends can change quickly. Their plans are almost fluid-like.
Our parenting tries to allow for flexibility to explore while keeping chaos down. As we continue our journey into the end stages of the molding phase with almost half of our children– it becomes hard to balance.
You see, we balance many schedules at once. Both in adults and teenage responsibilities. As our children get older, they develop their own interests. They develop their own responsibilities (like jobs and clubs). As the adult providers, we still have to work full-time. Plus, we are balancing all the other schedules as a whole.
While we can see where our children need to explore, we can’t have four kids with different rules, running wild. We would never know where they were, who they were with, or what they were doing. Since they still reflect on us (or for real, because we are still the ones responsible for what they do) we do have requirements to help both scheduling and personal responsibility.
I’ve been told it is to rough on teenagers. Well, two aspects of this– with the first being that they shouldn’t be monitored. If course, most of these people have young children who are still fully controlled by their parents. But either way, my vision is that we need to know. The world isn’t as safe as even it was when I was growing up. Plus accidents do happen (we have already been there). Where do you begin looking for your child, if you don’t know where they were going– who they were with– what the plan was? The second aspect– taking away the freedom in the face of inappropriate behaviors. Because you must learn that there are consequences to life (and not just when you are a teenager). You choose to be late– you get into trouble (at a job you could get fired instead).
Really, the balance isn’t just to help control the chaos– it is about raising responsible adults. Making them accountable for their own planning, then ensuring we know where they will be and who with is about teaching them time-management and responsibility. It’s about teaching them about others besides themselves– because their life isn’t only going to be able themselves.
Every day there is a new challenge with parenting. Sometimes it is simple and other times it is hard. Scheduling has really been pretty mid-line challenging, which has been made hard at times by (non- well meaning) family members. That’s a whole other aspect of parenting, when things that shouldn’t be AS challenging become super challenging because everyone thinks they should step in (and not with telling us– but going straight to the children). But I think that I would like to share some of the parenting challenges that exist with raising teenagers! It is so hard to find places that write about the challenges of teens– when it is so easy to find the challenges of babies/toddlers/preschoolers!