Friday, January 25, 2008
Kid Puzzle Pieces
If you're still with me, I got four questions that had to do with raising hooligans. I'd thought to lump them all together, but after remembering that the average blog reader hangs around for 96 seconds, I decided on one at a time.

Gretchen at Good Enough For Now asked me "How do you maintain your mom-grown up daughter boundary? I want to know how to transition from authority figure to shoulder-to-shoulder friend. I have a daughter, my mom is deceased; my mom and I never got it right, and I don't want it to happen to my daughter and me."

I think maybe the best advice I could give you would be to put down the baggage of your relationship with your mother, especially since she's deceased. Look at the relationship with your daughter as fresh and new and full of possibilities for all you didn't have with your own mother. I do tend to climb on a soapbox just a bit when I see mothers concentrating too much on being friends with their kids and not accepting that somebody has to be the grownup, the parent, the authority figure. Being a friend is a lot more fun, but they have lots of friends, they may even have an adult or two out there who functions as more of a friend. They have one mom, so be it. Be the authority first, and the friend when they need that, but not in place of the first. If you have a situation where you have to choose, go for the boundaries because that is what will make them feel safe, even if it makes them yell and complain a bit. A healthy house is not necessarily a quiet one!

As your daughter gets older (and your son also) you will naturally slide toward being less of an authority figure whether you want to or not. They do grow up. Dr. Dobson said in a magazine article that he thought it was much safer to give a kid responsibility, a chance to fail, while they still lived at home, where you could catch them a bit if they blew it. Don't wait til they are completely away from home - college - to let them go. Rather turn loose a little more each day, giving them responsibility for taking care of themself, let them fail now and then, let them live with the consequences of their actions, praise them when they handle it well, and love them when they don't. Then when they fly out of the nest they will be more ready. If you don't shift the responsibility enough from you to them, they won't feel capable of running their own life. You know they aren't so great at it yet, but don't tell them. They need the confidence to at least try.

When our kids were late jr. high teens we gave them money, monthly, that covered their clothing purchases, their entertainment, lunch money, gift purchases, etc. Our only stipulation was that the money was spent on activities we approved of, they had to go to two youth retreats a year out of that money, and they had to eat lunch. They learned to budget from that. They learned to decide whether the Abercrombie shirt was worth the extra it would cost them beyond what we'd given them. We were pretty strict, set a lot of rules, and made sure they followed them as much as possible. When they didn't we let them live with the results. Even simple things like not taking a backpack to school when they forget it will help them not forget it!

Kids can become somewhat independent while you are still paying the big bills. When they went away to college we were paying the bills, but the school did not release grades to us. They were their grades, and they were the one who would be trying to get a job with those grades eventually. We paid for a class once. We expected them to pass that class the first time and they always did. They paid for books and quickly learned about buying used books and reselling them to get the money back.

If you open your hand and release the areas of your relationship that require your 'authority', as they are able to handle them on their own, you have the opportunity to be a bit more of a friend. By the time our kids went to college we didn't need to tell them our opinion on anything, they already knew. What we thought, what we expected, what they were capable of. All three of them still phone now and then asking for our opinion or some guidance on this or that, but we try not to offer unless it's asked. I would not want to have anyone take the hard lessons I've learned in my life, and many of them were learned by failing then getting up and trying it again. As a mother, I'd like to protect my kids from any heartache, but that would rob them of some valuable lessons. Sometimes it's awfully hard to stand back and let them figure it out themselves, but if you can't let them get a zero in a class because they left the paper at home, or miss lunch because they left their money, then you rob them of time management skills, learning to come up with a Plan B, etc. Better to fail a test in 7th grade, than in college when the class cost $1500!

As they grow up, become more responsible for their own lives, you get the wonderful freedom of being friends. We certainly didn't do it perfectly, but I'm proud to say all three of our kids graduated from college in a resonable amount of time, attend a church weekly and tithe, have chosen great life companions, the ones with kids are doing a great job of raising them, and they phone us regularly. Now and then they ask our opinion. And we still pray like crazy for each of them daily. This side, after raising kids, is absolutely wonderful, so enjoy the next ten or so years you have of doing what you do, then you can enjoy the relationships that have grown out of all that hard work. And don't overwhelm yourself, you only have to do it one day at a time. xoxoox


  posted at 7:07 AM

Subscribe in a reader
Past Chats
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008

  • Filed Away Neatly
    Busy Buzz
    Creative License
    Dusty Stuff
    Family Affair
    Girl Talk
    Glimpse of the Heart
    Photo Album
    Slavin' Over the Stove
    The Price is Right

    Search This Blog


    Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

    Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

    About Me

    Girl Raised in the South

    I have a deep, abiding love for full octane coffee, sewing, knitting, quilting, reading, cooking, gardening, God and my family - not in that order.

    My Complete Profile

    Family is Everything
  • A Chelsea Morning - Barb
  • And Baby Makes Three - Leslie
  • Creative Worship - Chris
  • Flight Song - Mom
  • In The Midst of It - Sarah
  • At A glance - Krissy
  • In A Moment - Mandy

  • Recent Comments

    Fruit of the Spirit

    Family Friendly

    Family Friendly Blogroll []

    Family Friendly Blogroll [-]

    Blog Design by:

    Powered by:
    Powered By Blogger

    Meter by: