Today my son forgot his homework for school. Lucky for him, I was home and willing to bring it to him but it made me wonder…at what age do I say, “You forgot it, you suffer the consequences”? There is no great book of parenting, so there is no right or wrong answer for this question but Christopher is getting to an age where I think he should be accepting more responsibility and so, eventually, it has to happen…right?
Friends of our family recently had their teenager get into some hot water. I’m not gonna say what he/she did and it doesn’t really matter. The parents are our friends and I can’t imagine what must be going through their minds in regards to their teen. You have to question yourself obviously. What did we do wrong? Why weren’t we there to stop it? What happened to our child to make them do something like this? I have to imagine there are a lot of questions that they are asking about their parenting and if they did it correctly. So when does it stop? At what point do you have to say to yourself that you’ve done the best you can and then let him or her deal with the situation they have made for themselves?
This is a tough one. When I was 10, I had a lot more responsibility than Christopher has today. I don’t want to get into the “Back in MY day…” conversation because, quite frankly, my son has an entirely different life than I had. When I was 10, there wasn’t the technology that there is today, there weren’t the pressures and there certainly wasn’t the social fears that we are consumed by today. His lifestyle is COMPLETELY different than when I was 10, so it’s not fair for me to compare my life to his because it’s NOTHING like his. But I’m pretty certain I had certain responsibilities then, I just don’t recall what they were.
This has nothing to do with the love I have for my kids. Honestly, it’s just a question. I’ve read some articles on this topic and none give an EXACT age. Usually they tell you take into account the age, the mindset, what he or she is going to be responsible for and you go from there. An obvious one would be their bedrooms. I think all of my siblings would say that I was the neatest of our brood. Being the oldest of 6, I was always just a clean person. I’m big on having everything put in its proper place and so when our home gets into a little bit of disarray, I get a little crazy. Christopher and Ava are NOT what I would call “neat.” Like most kids their ages, they have a tendency to throw their dirty clothes on the floor, spread their toys out all over the room and are okay with it being that way. I was never that way. So, for me, this tendency is maddening! When is it time to say enough is enough?
I’m hoping there will be plenty of comments on this topic (hopefully my mother can remind me of my responsibilities at Christopher’s age) and I’ll be interested to see what you say. This generation of kids is growing up under such pressure already. Christopher is studying geology in 5th grade & he has been involved in sports all his life. Ava is studying fractions in the 3rd grade and is already having to deal with social pressures at school. I don’t know when grade school became so mature but it amazes me how little time our kids get to be kids. So this makes me want to step back a little bit on the bigger responsibilities. I want them to enjoy being kids! But learning some responsibility is also an important part of growing up. So it’s just a matter of time before I feel I’m going to have to force them to have some and let them know that if they don’t live up to their end of the bargain there will be consequences. It’s a life long process and some have a longer learning curve than others so…when do we start? When do we, as parents, pull out the trump card and finally say, “You made your bed, now you get to lie in it?”
Your comments are appreciated. Aaaaaaand….go.