Teens and Independence

I often hear parents say they wish they had a manual on how to raise caring kids. Of course, there are many including the work of Dr. Michele Borba, who is one of the leading experts on nurturing character in kids.

After reviewing hundreds of articles, book excerpts, interviews etc. from many of today's top experts I have a question that isn't answered in the current research. As my kids have grown and I used the strategies that clearly do work.....I stand back and take a look at my teens who are about to become young women and I have to ask...where is the line?

Are they the caring, compassionate people they are because of the tools these amazing experts have provided? Is it because of my tireless (ok....I admit it...I am tired) dedication to their character and morals along with all of their other developmental needs? Parenting is truly a creative, inspirational journey. It is not like building a house or any other occupation. It's a labor of love and an ongoing effort in insight. But mostly it's about teamwork. Parenting is a way to convey your wishes and hopes onto and through your child, and then it becomes the hardest form of love there is.

Truly effective parenting isn't complete until you release your child and allow them to embrace the world on their own terms. You will know you have been successful when you know in your heart that regardless of where your child goes, what kind of job or relationships they create, or what their future holds, success is measured in one way. Will they make their corner of the world a better place? Will they give more than they take? Are their hearts and lives about others more than themselves? That is the unmistakable mark of a good person, regardless if that person is about family, business, politics, or culture.

I am taking stock of these benchmarks daily, forcing myself to shift the focus from academics, social accomplishments or other societal benchmarks. While they can all be worthwhile, none will create the true benchmark of a good person. So examine your priorities and parent according to your goals for what you want to nurture in your child. One day at time....one virtue at a time...until time removes the veil and your child is grown. What will your child's veil reveal?

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