My teenager will not: smoke, do drugs, drink alcohol, be sexually active or rude. School, grades and college will be important.
What a great fantasy this is! No problems, no hassles and no fear! Instead, what about expecting that your teenager will do drugs, smoke, have sex, be rude to you and drop out of high school? Then, when they are only rude and drink, you’ll really be relieved!
Seriously, the point I’m hoping to make is this: We will be happiest when we learn alongside our children who they really are. You can feel excitement and joy when your children’s brain is maturing and they let you in on the journey. Too often kids feel that they are a constant disappointment to their parents. What they often hear is the underlying, hidden message “You aren’t good enough. You could be better; you could do better. I’m disappointed in you.”
Work on letting go of the fear of the unknown of who your children will turn out to be. You may try to control their behaviors, yet it seems the more you hold on, the more kids shut down and don’t share who they are. Instead, learn to listen, accept and support. Don’t worry, you can still set limits. Acceptance does not mean that chaos will follow. Rather than put your children in a cage like a bird, feed them in the nest and help them gain strength so they can fly away. With your unconditional love, they will always fly back.