So much of what I hear in the news and from parents regarding teens is that they are not making good choices. Teens are drinking alcohol, taking drugs, avoiding schoolwork and homework, and not meeting other responsibilities. So what is this about? What can we do as parents to create change?
In today’s world we have taken a point of view that we need to manage our children’s lives. Parents have taken on much of the responsibility of making choices for their children from the time they are small, including decisions about what they eat, what they wear, who their friends are, sports and other activities, and home and school work. I often observe parents micro managing playtime at the park as well.
What if our children don’t actually require management? What if they are infinitely more aware than we give them credit? What if the key to having a child who makes expansive choices is a child who is truly empowered to make choices for their own life?
Two tools that you can use to begin to empower your child are, allowing your child to make choices and eliminating the need to judge their choices. The first is to allow your child, no matter what age to make choices. For a small child it might be in selecting their clothing each morning or choosing from a selection of food choices and allowing them to eat only what they desire to eat, not forcing them to finish everything on their plate. For older children it might be choosing the time of day that works best for them to do their homework or deciding if they would like to eat breakfast or skip breakfast.
The second tool is to eliminate judgment of your child’s choices. What if every choice they make brings them a new awareness? Would you be willing to allow your child to make choices that you may not work out well for them? Could you look at those choices as just a choice that created a different awareness so that they might choose something different in the future?
What if the greatest gift of empowerment for your child is allowance of their choices?