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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had an odd moment today when I was talking to co-workers and it came out that I don't feel the need to micro-manage my teenagers or give them a bunch of rules. It was awkward, and the reason why is because I just forgot that feeling that my 17 and 19 year olds are young women who are perfectly capable of making decisions that are in their own best interest isn't a mainstream view. I don't have agendas for my kids -- I'm fine with them having their own dreams and goals (after all, it's their lives). I don't feel the need to keep them from growing up. I accept and embrace it.
 
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I think one of the interesting "outcomes" of attachment focused parenting, is that the relationship is close enough to weather these teen years with a sense of trust. Not every day on every issue, but the core value of mutual trust is there.

I've been enjoying that myself. When people talk about "oh, the teen years, blah, blah" we kind of scratch our heads. Our oldest did give us a bit of challenge but the lines of communication never shut down and we still enjoyed him. A LOT.
 

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I am the same way. My teen just turned 17. We've had the sex talk and we don't allow sleep overs with people he's dating (I was allowed thisb and looking back I see how inappropriate it was) but I trust him and he's a good kid. I don't think We've had any major conflict other than the occasional attitude which he quickly changed when I pointed out.

He recently moved in with his father after living with me 7 years, he seems happy and I'm glad that I could let him go without feeling like I was being rejected. I look at parenting a teenager as training them for adulthood and giving them the tools they need to succeed.
 

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I look at parenting a teenager as training them for adulthood and giving them the tools they need to succeed.
Yes! But 'training' not in the sense of making sure they do everything "right" by controlling their choices. Training in the sense of giving them most of the responsibility and autonomy they'll have as adults, with the parental safety net still there in case they need help fixing their mistakes.

My middle dd has been living partly on her own (i.e. without adult presence for 4+ days each week) in a town 90 minutes away from home since she was 15.5. She has been managing school, work, volunteering, extra-curricular activities, studying, cooking, cleaning and grocery-shopping.

A couple of weeks ago I was at a homeschool moms' support meeting (my 12yo is homeschooled), and the topic was "nurturing independence in tweens and teens." I was stunned at the level of micro-management and control most of the other parents were exerting on their 12-through-16-year-olds' lives... Letting a teen choose to do math in the afternoon vs. the morning was presented as a step towards independence. :eyesroll

Miranda
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The exact issue in the conversation was whether or not it's OK for high school seniors to play board games after school at one of their home if no parent is present, and the group contains both males and females. I think its lovely for the kids to hang out and play board games, total fine if they do it here (I work), and quite humorous that it isn't allowed at certain homes. I don't get it -- do some parents really believe that Risk or Cards Against Humanity will suddenly deteriorate into an orgy?
 

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One of the things that amazes me is the amount of young adults I come across in my field of work who don't have a clue about cooking, cleaning, managing time etc. it seems a bit irresponsible for a parent to not teach their children these important life skills
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
One of the things that amazes me is the amount of young adults I come across in my field of work who don't have a clue about cooking, cleaning, managing time etc. it seems a bit irresponsible for a parent to not teach their children these important life skills


yeah, we started getting serious about those skills when our oldest was 12, so about 7 years ago. Our teens are lovely to live with. They do their own laundry, cook dinner, take care of pets, maintain the garden, etc.


It's actually a little sad to think of about them moving out. It's going to be so much more work to run the house because they do so much of it!
 

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It's actually a little sad to think of about them moving out. It's going to be so much more work to run the house because they do so much of it!
We joked when dd17 moved out that we were going to have to insist she come home weekends to cook for us. She said she'd be the first teen in history to move away to go to school and have to send care packages home to her parents.

Miranda
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
We joked when dd17 moved out that we were going to have to insist she come home weekends to cook for us. She said she'd be the first teen in history to move away to go to school and have to send care packages home to her parents.


I'm very concerned about our plants. Our backyard is gorgeous and it is all because of DD#1. She finished with community college this month and starts at the state U in our same city in January. The commute from our house is to there is icky, and parking down there is impossible, so my DH wants to get her a little apartment walking distance to campus, which is a lovely idea. Except for the poor plants.
 

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I agree with you. DS is 15 and basically makes his decisions. He is about 1/2 complete with community college and asked for a little break in class load this term- not an issue with me at all. He has pretty much full control of what he takes, when he takes it, homework etc. Of course he can control his free time and if he wants a friend over etc, thats not an issue. Ironically he is about even for xmas presents with video games and traditional board/card games. I sure hope he doesnt wreck havoc on the world when left alone with lego's. OMG- a 15 yr old home alone with lego's. lol
 

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Well, I was that kid who got left alone and then did things I'm sure my parents, had they known, would have wished I had not. But the good thing about not being super authoritarian meant I wasn't climbing out my window and seeing them as an obstacle I just had to figure a way around. They could have been more involved, but they weren't punitive and did give me credit for making some good choices. Maybe there are kids out there who are docile enough that they don't totally rebel against things like not being allowed to have co-ed board games, but I wouldn't have wanted to have known them back then and I'd worry about them now.

Sounds to me like you are making good choices.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, I was that kid who got left alone ...

This is actually the first year that I've had a job when I get home significantly later than my child gets out of school, and my youngest child is a senior in high school. Considering that I was fully a SAHM until she was 14, and then did different things (worked PT, went back to school, etc) it's hard for me to think of her as a kid who got left alone. None the less, I have come home to a group of teens eating pizza, drinking Mountain Dew, and playing board games. Mostly, I've worried about the total amount of caffeine that late in the day.


Maybe there are kids out there who are docile enough that they don't totally rebel against things like not being allowed to have co-ed board games, but I wouldn't have wanted to have known them back then and I'd worry about them now.
yeah, may be it relates to why many of her friends think their parents are a**** and want to leave the state as soon as possible. She's a bit torn because while there is a lot of pressure to leave, we have really nice weather here and our state uni has an excellent program in her area of interest. She feels no need to get away from us. Yet she knows the norm is to want to get away from parents.


(I suspect that some people would say that she feels no need to get away from us because we aren't providing an appropriate level of structure.)


I don't get the hang up on males and females socializing together. She's always had as many (or more) friends who are boys. She's going into a male dominated field. This isn't the Victorian era. Why would I want to give her message that interactions with males are all about SEX? How would that be helpful to her?
 

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The exact issue in the conversation was whether or not it's OK for high school seniors to play board games after school at one of their home if no parent is present, and the group contains both males and females. I think its lovely for the kids to hang out and play board games, total fine if they do it here (I work), and quite humorous that it isn't allowed at certain homes. I don't get it -- do some parents really believe that Risk or Cards Against Humanity will suddenly deteriorate into an orgy?
Based on the things that my older children have told me about times when I thought they were playing board games (or some other equivalent) I could say that things are not always as they appear....... :wink:
 

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I don't get the hang up on males and females socializing together. She's always had as many (or more) friends who are boys. She's going into a male dominated field. This isn't the Victorian era. Why would I want to give her message that interactions with males are all about SEX? How would that be helpful to her?[/QUOTE]


I think it is fair to say that for males there can often be more of a focus on sex than for a female. I think that is just a reality, based on research on biology and brain development. I can remember being a teen myself and fairly naive. I kind of wish someone had shared that with me. It might have saved me from a few dilemmas I found myself in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I think it is fair to say that for males there can often be more of a focus on sex than for a female. I think that is just a reality, based on research on biology and brain development. I can remember being a teen myself and fairly naive. I kind of wish someone had shared that with me. It might have saved me from a few dilemmas I found myself in.

We are pretty frank as a family. We don't value being naïve as much as we value knowing enough to keep ones self safe. Rather than imposing rules, I've talked to my DDs about how to stay safe in different situations, what to do if you start not feeling safe, etc.


None the less, I don't know that I agree with the notion that boys are more sexual than girls. To me, it seems that some people are more sexual than others but that it doesn't follow on gender lines. Even in this day and age, boys are more likely to brag and girls to keep secrets, so it seems difficult to tell at a glance who is actually thinking about and wanting to have sex more.

Based on the things that my older children have told me about times when I thought they were playing board games (or some other equivalent) I could say that things are not always as they appear....... :wink:


If everyone is fully clothed and drinking soda out of soda cans (no mixers in sight), while the board game might not be the main thing, I'm curious what they could all be up to -- other than socializing. (BTW, I'm an ex druggie so I'd pick up on any signs of mind altering substances).


I had a nice chat with my DD about this today. I told her that I know that sometimes my parenting is off from mainstream, but that I wondered about this stage of the game. I asked her approx. how many of her peers (high school seniors taking AP classes and treating their futures very seriously) still have parents who micro mange their social lives, have rules about boys/girls socializing without a parent, etc.


She said that it is very mixed, but that the level of parental oversight doesn't correlate in any way with teen behavior. One girl she knows whose parents are very strict who is actually completely out of control and very secretive. At the same time, she knows some kids who have zero rules because their parents are totally checked out, and those kids are serious about school and not getting into trouble they know they are all they have. She also knows kids with strict parents who are pretty good kids, but want to leave the state, and she suspects their is a higher ratio of kids with checked parents in the gen ed track.


She suspects that kids who feel loved and supported and whose parents trust them to get on with their own lives are a minority.
 

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I think it depends on the child. Some kids are fine at 17 being on their own, and others need more supervision. It depends on the kid's level of risk taking, and willingness to break rules. And I think parents who haven't experienced both, don't realize there is a spectrum of maturity.

When I was 17, my parents moved out of town, and rented an apartment for me so I could stay and graduate with my senior classmates. I played D&D with a group of 25-27 year old men every other weekend (almost 30 years later I am now married to one of them), and often had coed friends over to play monopoly. But I was a weird kid. I didn't date, and went to church twice a week.

Meanwhile, my sister was extraordinarily irresponsible. She partied, smoked pot, and was constantly pushing boundaries. Same parenting. Same household. My parents had to watch her like a hawk. And now that she is an adult, she's thankful they were so heavy handed.

I am just glad that my parents were savvy enough to realize they couldn't parent us the same.
 

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The board games hang-out scenario makes it clear that it's not about the rules and expectations you have for your teen but about the whole ball of parenting wax and the entire history of the parent-child relationship. Yes, playing board games could be a ruse for kids to sneak some drugs and booze and have sexual trysts. Because I was a teen who was brilliant at sneaking about, misleading my parents and making opportunities for all sorts of things they would have disapproved of, I know that anything is possible.

But it's not just a matter of freedom and responsibility, but about all the other parent-child relationship stuff that backs it up, the work of the previous fifteen-plus years. It's about the empathy and communication and openness and parents not putting themselves above reproach, being willing to learn from their teens, admitting that they have faults and make mistakes and are learning and trying to do their best, and expecting only that much from their teens. It's about the many-years track-record of open communication and acceptance and mutual trust and incrementally managed responsibility, the nurturing of executive function skills like risk-management and long-range planning, and the way set-backs have been managed and learned from.

If this is the paradigm under which a teen has grown up and thrived, there's no point in her sneaking about being devious. My 17yo could easily attend wild drunken parties or have boys stay overnight, though she doesn't. If she is having a mixed-gender group of choir friends over after school to play Settlers of Catan in the dining room, why would this be the opportunity they take for an orgy or vodka shots?

Miranda
 
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