Being a Good Parent During Your Child's Adolescent Period (Part 3)
A child’s adolescent period scares many parents. They are expecting a teenager to rebel and defy. Perhaps they remember their own childhood, perhaps it is a common belief. But this period doesn’t need to be too painful. Parents just need to keep in mind three things:
1. A good parent is happy.
2. A good parent is patient.
3. A good parent is fair.
3. A parent must be fair. For teenagers a parent is good as long as the parent is fair. Fairness, or justice of a parent, is “more important than food, sweets, toys, and even love” according to S.Soloveychik. Only a fair parent becomes a natural authority and a role model to follow and to respect. The problems of poor parental authority and children’s rebelion turn out to be problems of justice.
“It’s not fair!” A teenager is indignant about her mother, because the mother doesn’t let her to hang out with a boy. A girl understands the consequences of sexual activity, which her mother is trying to protect the daughter from. The girl’s feelings are hurt mostly not because the mother is afraid for her and therefore doesn’t let the girl to be friends with the boy, but because the mother doesn’t believe in her daughter’s intelligence. Her mother can suspect her in doing wrong! Mother says it is out of love that she doesn’t let het daughter see the boy. Also it is for the sake of her daughter’s safety. But the daughter feels that the mother does so out of fear, simply for the sake of mom’s peace of mind.
It is not fair for the girl, because she doesn’t sense honesty in her mother’s words. It doesn’t teach the girl about healthy relationships and develop her intelligence. By forbidding the child from seeing her friend the mother may protect the child from possible risks. However, the mother misses her only chance to teach her daughter valuable skils in relationships. When the daughter grows older and meets men it will be too late to learn those skills. This is an injustice to the daughter.
What does it take – to be fair? Honesty and courage. If you fear so much for your daughter, talk to her about your fear, honestly and openly. Discuss what you both can do to eliminate that fear and increase confidence. You can compromise. Your child will appreciate your fairness and will start learning about her responsibility.
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