Loving Your Teenager (In Spite of Themselves) - Part 7 of 7 - Letting Go & Being a Cheerleader
by © Judith Tramayne-Barth
Realize you do not own your child, you just have them on loan for eighteen years. If you have done your job (parenting) correctly, they should be ready and able to leave your nice comfy home.
Animals kick their young out when it's time. You should too. Maybe not literally but figuratively. If your child decides to work instead of seeking a higher education, expect them to pay for living in your home. By insisting on this, you are preparing them for going out on their own. Should they whine or complain, sit them down and list out just how much it would take for them to rent an apartment and pay their own bills. Make sure they know it's a privilege you're granting by allowing them to live in your home.
Don't allow your teen to use your home as a hotel. Tell them you expect them to still pitch in when things need to be done around the house even though they are paying room and board. You have to so why shouldn't they? Once they decide to go out on their own, make sure they know you don't have a revolving door. Sure you love them and will help out but they don't need to know this yet.
Be a Cheerleader
This is the single most important aspect of being a good parent. Every thing else aside, you should always be cheering your child on. Rah-Rahing is good for their growth and self-image. This doesn't mean you rah-rah for every inconsequential thing they do. Too much rah-rahing and it loses it's impact. No this type of cheerleading is for the major decisions they make even if you don't necessarily agree. It is their life and must be lived according to their wants and desires.
Sometimes you will have to bite back your desire to tell them how stupid their decision is but do keep quiet. They'll find out soon enough if it is and it will be your job to soften or present the positive side of their learning experience.
Life's lessons can be hard but they do build character. You found this out so allow your child to find out also. Curb your protective instincts and cheer them on to greater heights.
After all, when parents do their job right — taking the best part of how they were raised and adding to it — the next generation can't help being better.