Adulting tip# 12: if you don’t want your parent to manage your shit then you must manage your own shit in a timely manner. #adultingishard
I am a parent to a teenager. I love teenagers. They are proto-people. They look like younger versions of us but they are still developing. A Lot of the things they are doing, they are doing for the first time. There is a LOT for them to learn. They are usually just confident enough to Think they know what they are doing and just clueless enough to get in to trouble while doing it.
Our son is a pretty responsible kid. He’s always been worthy of our trust so we’ve tried to give him the room to make his own mistakes whenever we didn’t think it would harm him. It’s hard for us to remember that sometimes, but its a lesson we think he needs in order to be a viable adult someday. That said we do have rules about schoolwork. We’ve modeled the behavior we wanted to see from him when doing our own homework while we were in college.
The rules are:
Always try your best. Anything else is just cheating yourself and will come back to bite you in the ass later.
Pay before you play. No video games until the days homework is done
Don’t leave it until the last minute. Its reasonable to break up big projects into smaller chunks but leave plenty of time in case of unexpected delays in getting a project done.
If you need help, ask for it. Don’t wait. Ask early and often. We may not know the answer but we may be able to help you find it.
Those pretty much covers all of it and they all have the same consequences for failure. If you don’t want us all up in your shit, micromanaging your life and double checking every aspect of your calendar and social time then follow the rules.
All of this really comes down to first trusting him to make the right choice then letting him do it while back stopping him from falling too far if he made a bad decision while still letting him feel the consequences of those choices.
All of those rules though have a counterpart for us parents.
Always try your best. Always acknowledge that attempt and whatever success that’s been had. Provide helpful advice on ways to make it easier only once the effort that’s been put in has been acknowledged.
Pay before you play. Model this always. Don’t be a hypocrite. They are always watching.
Don’t leave it until the last minute. The same as above.
If you need help, ask for it. This goes triple for parents. We don’t know everything and shouldn’t pretend we do. If we are stumped on an issue talk to other parents. Read up on the issue. Talk to professionals. You aren’t failing if you aren’t perfect and all knowing, you are just human. See rule #1 for a reminder of what to do if you are unsure.
The kids are watching. Be the person you hope they will be one day.