It’s 6 p.m. on a weeknight and you’ve just arrived home after a hectic day. Do you go immediately to the nearest flat surface and lie down, or do you find a way to perk up so you can spend some quality time with your children?
If I had a dollar for every time I heard one of these lines as a child, I’d be very wealthy today. Chances are, you’ve heard them too. Remember how it made you feel when an adult exhorted you to behave, have good manners, stop fidgeting or obey the rules? Sometimes it was boring, and at other times maddening, but mostly meaningless. Remember the feelings of righteous indignation that blossomed somewhere in the region of your chest, when you felt you were right — and that they were the ones who were wrong?
I believe it’s possible to create enough trust and rapport that instead of hiding mistakes or trying to get away with wrongs, teenagers would be honest and seek the guidance they need and know that they won’t be penalized for doing so. I also realize nothing ever happens as expected.
How do we, as moms, dads and other caregivers, stand in this breach and prevent our young from making choices that could affect them negatively? This is a question parents have been asking themselves for millennia. First, it helps to distinguish between the different needs and growth stages of girls and boys.
Before my new job was set to begin, I began seeking daycare services in earnest only to find that most of the good places were full, others bordered on being scary and the really nice ones cost more than our rent each month. But, the more I researched the various daycare centers and visited who knows how many of them, I began to discern some patterns. I also learned some lessons that might be useful to young, inexperienced, unprepared parents like the one I was then.