When I had four tiny humans aged six and under, I thought for sure I had puncture wounds from the pecking.
Ten years later, it turns out, their beaks get bigger.
(In all honesty, I love my teenagers and prefer this age to previous ones. But still…)
In parenting, we keep coming back to basics—responsibilities. Who is responsible for what?
Shielding teenagers from the consequences of their behaviors is taking away their responsibility. When responsibility is misplaced, the wrong person bears the consequence and struggle.
And when I steal their struggle, this is a short-sighted attempt to make things easy. Growth and freedom are rarely easy and always fought for.
I can hear some of you now … but wait!!!
- They’re not ready.
- They are too young.
- I don’t want them to feel bad.
- I don’t want them to suffer.
- If I don’t do this, they won’t … fill in your blank.
I know. I feel you. Now that they are so near adulthood, the consequences seem lasting and the dangers loom larger.
Yet, letting them bear the consequence is how real life works. This doesn’t have to be an ordeal, full of angst, or a screaming match.
Oh, they may peck at you like a chicken and flail about like Kermit the Frog.
But you can calmly empathize and state facts. (You may go into the other room and do your own Kermit impression. But come back!)
Your protective gear to the pecking is staying setting a tone of peaceful communication and letting the consequences fall where they belong.
With persistence and patience, they’ll grow to be responsible adults, ready to fly the coop.