When my daughters were born, the phrase that immediately jumped into my mind was that they were my “hostages to fortune.” I and any other mother or father had no control over the dangers and challenges that could confront these fragile and precious creations.
Yes, we should try to inculcate those deep values that should guide their choices. However,you also need to get them through adolescence – that time when it is their job to test those values you’ve tried to give them.
The story of severely intoxicated 17 year old girl who fell to her death at the Conexus Centre in Regina is sad beyond all belief.
Moms or Dads need to “street proof” their kids, even if they are in Grade 8. This has to be a very non-judgemental conversation. In fact, you should embarrass your teen with some very explicit suggestions about how they might cope with the stuff you did as a teen.
What did you do as a teenager that now scares the crap out of you? Your children will do the same or worse. You need to have some practical conversations that give them some advice to help them cope. Here’s just some of the things I, in theory, told my daughters:
- If you are worried about how much you are drinking, put some ice cubes in a glass, fill it with coke and pretend it’s Rum and Coke.
- Going to the bathroom with a girl friend is a great way to turn down the volume in any situation.
- If the guy who’s putting the moves on you is going some place you don’t want to go, start crying. If you can, get into the bathroom and lock the door. Be sure to cry really dramatically. This gives you a good conversation starter when you see him again.
- If the party is getting awkward, help the girl who’s throwing up. She’ll be grateful the next day, if she remembers. Everyone else will admire you for being a good person.
I could go on and on, however the point is that you, in your youth, learned some lessons the hard way and figured out how to deal with them. Since you invested all that effort, why not pass it on to those you love?