Whether a child realizes it or not, a structured home is a true blessing. Those that have it take it for granted and those that lack it usually experience high levels of stress and drama. The degree of the chaos will be determined by the values and morals that the adults have imparted on their offspring.
To be effective, the structured environment must include boundaries and consequences, words and actions, and, most importantly, both parents must be of one accord. If a boundary is violated there must be a consequence. Words that lack action are merely hollow ideals. And a mom and a dad working as a team are a force of nature.
Adolescence will seem, for most parents, like the time of the great uprising. Herein, all the moral values you have taught and modeled will matter the most. The opposite is also true. The values you failed to teach and model will come back to haunt you.
As in the case of one mother who asked me during the question and answer session, after I gave a speech, what she should do since she had never set down any rules for her child. The short answer: set some rules and hang on for the ride. The long answer: WW III is about to begin at your place. Good luck.
Speaking directly to a teen does not mean it is a negative conversation. It will prepare them for the world. Too often I hear adults, mostly parents, skirting an uncomfortable issue for the sake of their teen’s feelings. While we should never attack and insult we should also call death, death. We should call an overdose, an overdose.
The world and its ways do not care what bothers you or your child. Over protecting them from facing reality does not prepare them for it. If anything it places a false veil over the actual events. The best way to deal with the grim realities that accompany a tragedy it to call it as it is.
Reading is perhaps the most vital skill which all youth must possess. And yet the vast majority of the young men I have mentored do not read. Some, very few at that, become avid readers later in life once the school of hard knocks has dealt them some serious lessons. But could this be the great deterrent to those hard knocks?
We will never know. In most cases, they have had no example of the benefits of reading or of books in their lives. Most of the homes I have ventured into are devoid of books. Children that read are usually the offspring of parents who value reading. It will difficult to be a student of life without an interest in reading.
Passive parenting rarely produces teenagers who are problem solvers. When it does it was accidental. If anything, passive parenting serves to produce teens who feel that they are entitled to get their way. These are the youngsters who will behave as if they know more than their boss who happens to have years of experience.
In my experience, I have witnessed this scenario play out dozens of times. The teen openly defies the boss, is fired or reprimanded, but still fails to understand his or her place in the great scheme of things. They go home, complain to their passive parent, who in turn does not set them straight with some actual parenting. Instead this weak parent will call the boss to try to smooth things over for their offspring.
Life as a teenager is hard enough, but when that teen is also immature life becomes unnecessarily more difficult. For those who lack understanding, there is a difference between this stage of life and the maturity that is expected for their age. To be a teen doesn’t mean that there isn’t a level of maturity that could and should be attained.
An immature teen will have a lot of drama in his life. There will always be issues. Their issues will range from problems with others, usually because of gossip, to their inability to resolve age appropriate obstacles. Almost always this sort of teen is devoid of guidance or family structure.
The day they sentenced him to life in prison my heart broke. But the moment had been long in the making.
Over the years I have been asked on several occasions to go to court by a young man. Most of the time he hopes that I will influence the outcome. A time or two this has been the case, however most of the time the sequence of events leading to this moment have already been set into motion. The outcome is a foregone conclusion.One does not arrive in court by accident. It began many, many years ago and it began with willful disobedience.