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At what point do we rescue or stop rescuing our child?

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High school years… This is the period in a young adult’s life when they begin moving on from having always been dependent and reliant on you the parent to becoming independent and self-reliant. It is a transition full of uncertainty and trepidation for many an adolescent and parent. It is a time when negotiating takes place with a dialogue about who will do what and when they will do it or when it has to be done by.

Keep in mind that we all make mistakes and some of them cost more than others. They don’t just cost us in financial terms, but also both in terms of accountability and responsibility. Very often as a parent you have to work through decisions about what you are willing to do and make up for in the life of your adolescents’. More often than not, it is unclear just which direction you as a parent should take and head in because at some point the question then is “should I as a parent, allow my son or daughter to handle and take care of the situation or problem? What to do right?

Obviously, you need to make a decision. Think firstly about the present problem and how you can assist your adolescent to work through it. If for instance, your son or daughter leaves their clothes lying on their bedroom floor, is this an irritating and or minor problem? And if so, how often are you prepared to take care of it, and should you decide to take care of it? What message are you communicating to him or her? Are you saying that little things are of no importance or that it is okay to be a taker and not a giver? If the problem turns out to be a more major one, say for example he or she is failing their final grade, drinking, using drugs or maybe it’s to do with a bank overdraft, the initial question as the parent you are probably asking yourself and want clarity on is most likely “is this a first time offence?” If it is a first offence discuss the problem calmly.

Have a talk with your son or daughter about the order of choices and thoughts he or she had prior to their decision and action taken. Try to help them understand the seriousness and consequences of such actions and decisions, and how they can possibly guard against repeating them. If it turns out to be a repeated major offence, look at what the pros and cons for helping your son or daughter are? Seek the required and appropriate help needed. Find out about outside resources that are available for you both to join allowing you to advocate your child’s care plan with, for instance, school officials, physician, therapist, church leader or perhaps law enforcement officials and assist with getting him or her back on the right path? Look at all available options for where you can obtain help for your child.

It is very difficult to see your child in pain and struggling. As parents, we are making decisions always remembering that we are preparing our children for going out into the world competent, confident and strong knowing right from wrong. We cannot do everything for them. Let them work with you and work things out; allow your son or daughter to work things out by themselves knowing that you are always there for them irrespectively and unconditionally when needed. Our children are a lot stronger and wiser than we give them credit for. Bear in mind that they shall at some point in their lives do what they want to do with it and make their own decisions etc without you… it is part of the circle of life…. Our job is to provide them with the best tools we possibly can and guide and support them whilst enabling them to make the right choices and decisions in and for their own lives.
© Mary Alade


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