As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am trying to blog a bit more about raising my girls into the teen years. One theme that continues to bubbling in the house is age. The kids think that once they reach a certain age they will get certain privileges or if a sister got to do something when she was 10 then I will get to do the same thing at age 10.
I have a feeling that this is a common theme for most of us and in the average family setting an age to date, drive, go on a work trip with daddy may work. For our family it does not. Parenting four very different girls, two with a traumatized past, throw in a flux of birth order and twinning and whammo: I cannot do the normal. It doesn’t matter if Meg got to golf when she was 8 and Enu had to wait until 9. Turning 16 does not mean you will get your license. Show me you are responsible and then we will talk.
So what are our buzz words? Maturity and Responsibility. You may also hear some Follow-through or accountability come out of our mouths. So how are we measuring maturity? Behavior towards adults, ability to follow through a chore or assignment, completing commitments and a show of sound judgement. Kids if you are reading let me explain sound judgement. If you break a dish and leave the glass without telling me about it, you are not showing sound judgement. Sound judgement means you do not run away from something, but face it head on and know when to call an adult. It’s okay not to know everything. Asking for help shows us you are learning to be responsible, not asking for help when you need it is a sign that you have some issues still.
Rolling your eyes, talking back, mumbling meanness under your breath does not bode well for getting more privileges in this house.
One of my biggest pet peeves is blaming others and not taking responsibility for ones-self. I sometimes feel I am to hard on the girls. Then I go out into the world and realize that I wish others were as hard as I was. There is nothing worse than having a problem, reporting that problem and having the clerk/manager/owner do nothing but blame someone else.
This way of parenting brings out a lot of “That is not fair!” statements. It is tricky and heartbreaking to say no sometimes, but parenting isn’t easy and sometimes you have to say no, you are not ready for this yet. Will I have to tell that to a 16 year old wanting her license? I hope not, but I will if I have to. Will my child have a cell phone just because everyone else in her class got one in the fifth grade? Not if she cannot control her impulses and doesn’t demonstrate good phone manners, not to mention that our girls have no need for a cell phone at this time.
Show me. Prove to me you can handle it and I will gladly give you what you want. I don’t want to hold you back, I want to make sure you can fly baby girls! Fly and be ready to do the amazing things you are going to do for the world.
Do you have age milestones in your family? How does this work for you. What are your buzz words for teaching your kids to become responsible adults? Do you think my having older adopted kids mixed with some home-grown ones complicates things or is this universally difficult?!