Friday, January 2, 2015

Parental Accountability is overrated

Parents working with acting out teens and young adults can get caught  in their own ideas about integrity.  Though striving towards consistency is especially important at stressful times, parents need to be willing to evaluate and change what they're doing.

You can change your mind.  Especially regarding promises.  Say you promised that you would buy a new smart phone for your daughter if she got all Bs in school.  And she did.  Except that she dropped one class, was thrown out of another plus a ton of dangerous behavior.  You can change your mind.  You can decide to not get her that phone.  You do NOT have to explain.

You can change tactics.  Again related to school, let's say you told your son that he was not going out on the weekend, if he is getting Fs in any of his classes.  Assuming you can tell.  This goes on for months, he continues to fail his classes, you continue to block him from going out on weekends,  With various success.  Is this working on any level?  Except that maybe you will stubbornly keep going in one direction.  Is it motivating him to raise his grades?  Maybe it's time for a change.

Or over-involvement out of fear.  Especially hypvigilance.  Let's say you've decided that you are always going to know where you 14 year old son is.  Any time of day or night.  This can suck up your time and eneregy.  And you never really know anyway.  And what good does it do you?  Are you going to pronounce yourself a failed parent the first time something happens where he isn't where you think he is.

Parents sometimes think they have to keep things exactly equal among siblings.  If you let one kid get his drivers license when he is 16 you are under NO obligation to do so for your next child.  You do not have to justify this to her or to the community.

Parents need to do what they think is best with their children.  Even if it doesn't play that well with the outside community.  Just because you said you were going to do things one way does not mean you have to continue.

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