I had to make some hard choices this weekend with my teenage son. He was not taking responsibility for his actions and was blaming the poor results of his actions on other people. It was really hard for me, as a mother, to inform him that he no longer had access to his cell phone or Internet as these were the avenue for his poor choices. Those are things a teenager depends on for his communication with his social circle and occasional entertainment.
However, it was not hard for me to suspend these “luxuries” because I felt they were essential – he didn’t grow up attached to these electronic devices and I have certainly went without them before myself. It was hard for me to take these things away because I was scared. I was scared of how he would react. Would he run away? Would he refuse to function until I “gave them back”? Would he get really angry? Would he do something really stupid or dangerous? Would he try to get back at me in some way? When you are dealing with a 17-year-old boy you ask those questions.
It reminded me of when I had to make another hard choice three years ago with my eldest teenage daughter. I was also scared. I thought, “will she be depressed?” or “What if she hates me?” and so many other fears.
Reflecting on these two situations got me thinking – how much better would our parenting be if we always made choices based on love instead of fear? I have been aware of this choice between love and fear since I was involved with a wonderful parenting enrichment group fifteen years ago but I still find myself falling back into the “fear-based” choices from time to time. Do you ever find yourself doing the same thing?
Have you ever ignored poor choices a child made because you were scared of a tantrum or a reaction from them if you tried to stop them?
Have you ever avoided asking a child to do a chore because you want to avoid the battle that will come with the request?
Have you ever given a child a cookie or handed them an Ipad to keep them quiet?
Have you ever given into a child that was screaming and making demands?
Have you ever prevented a child from doing something because you were scared they would get hurt (and perhaps that fear was not realistic)?
Have you ever…?
In my situation I realized that if I had not been so fearful of my son’s reaction to serious consequences I probably would have suspended the phone and/or the Internet months ago and avoided letting the irresponsible behavior go on for so long. I wish I had done it earlier. But at least now it is done. He has the chance to take responsibility, grow and learn and I was able to make a decision I was scared of. I was also given another opportunity to remember that when we make decisions based on love – I love my son, want him to learn responsibility and grow up to be happy and independent – instead of fear – we are better parents.
On the Earthschooling forum I am reminded daily how important it is to support each other as parents and share these “scary” stories as well as the “good ones”. It is great to know that all parents have challenges and that we can all work together to overcome them. We don’t need to be fearful of making mistakes or sharing those mistakes with others. I have been a parent for nineteen years and I think I will always be learning new things – even when I have grandchildren!
Join our wonderful group of Earthschoolers to get daily support on these parenting issues and more – for free! Along with the complete and dynamic Earthschooling curriculum all members get free curriculum, parenting and well-being support for not only their lessons, but also any questions they have about parenting or natural well-being. All questions posted to the forum are answered daily by our staff, me (Kristie Burns) and other Earthschooling members.