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How best to advise children in late teens through mid 20's regarding their more relationships before they become serious relationships? once they establish that they are serious relationships? What should they look for, ask, consider before making more getting more committed in the relationship?
"Advising" a late teen or 20-something can be a minefield. Have they asked for your advice, or are you feeling the need to put your advice in front of them because you don't like the choices they are making? The complex thing about helping maturing kids make good choices is that a lot of the time, our gifts of advice to them are left unopened. They've done the learning already of
lookng for, asking, considering. They've done a whole lot of soaking in over the past years -- watching how you've done relationship, learning (for better or worse) from how you've made choices and how you've lived with your choices. So here they are at a point in their journeys where they are making some choices for themselves, by themselves. Some of those choices we aren't pleased about, some of them are downright disastrous. They might be making mistakes with the wrong people, and their choices may end up being expensive ones with a lifetime of consequences. If they come to you and ask for help in all of this, terrific. Choose your words carefully, keep your arms and mind as open as you can, extend grace. If they don't come to you, your "advice" will not only be unwelcome. It may put even more distance between you and them than there already is. Try your best to follow the same track: Choose your words carefully, keep your arms and mind as open as you can, be extravagent with grace and love. Try to remember that their choices are their own. We really shouldn't be taking credit when our children make great choices, nor should we try to take the reins when our grown kids choose poorly or they don't make the choices we would have made for them. A very complicated dance -- this loving and letting go.
Posted On 2007-05-20 13:56:06
Discussing relationships is an ongoing conversation that often happens through out a child's life. It's starts with the relationship that you have established with your own child when they were babies, to how to treat and be treated by friends when are children. It expands as they grow but the basic concept is having self respect, boundaries and trust.
As children become interested in the opposite sex which can happen in preschool, they are often modeling what they have been exposed to. As they get older it is up to the parents to guide age appropriate male/female relationships. A third grader who goes on a "date" supported by parents because they think it is "cute" is being set up for developing boy/girl relationships before they are ready. The same goes for encouraging boy/girl parties that will include party games such as Truth or Dare etc.
When teens are in High School many are eager to start having some relationship with the opposite sex. Some are not. If your teen is, then hopefully they have other interests as well that keep their attention, and excitement. It is also healthy that teens who are in relationship have other friends that they spend time.
You never know when someone is going to fall in love, or lust. Educate your teen. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference and any crush can be quite a thrill. Again self respect, boundaries, as well as their own future goals help to keep relationships in some perspective. Teaching and modeling healthy relationships to your child is another ingredient to shaping a young adult on how they choose relationships.
What I think we all want for our children is to love and be loved, for them to make good choices as they explore their own relationship development, and for them to love and respect themselves.
Posted On 2007-05-06 20:15:02
The type of relationship that you have with your children will initially set the parameters within which any conversation can be held. It sounds like you have an open relationship that can handle this type of sensitive discussion. Regardless most teens are head strong,generally confident and do NOT like to be told. With this in mind having discussions about more general topics such as career goals and aspirations, will gently lead them to a balanced approach to relationships as they navigate what for most teens is an exciting yet stormy time.
Culture will also be an area of pressure and concern for your child. Discussing your expectations and the "cultural" demands laid by your community will help them put relationships into perspective however a clear understanding should be made that these pressures are secondary to their "individual" growth. Ultimately two overridding issues will surface.... we all seek approval primarily from our parents and secondly LOVE can change everything. All of the common sense in the world can quickly be undone when cupid strikes. Regardless of the circumstance some general rules of parenting will help, support, don't dictate, guide don't drive for them, love unconditionally, discuss don't argue, sometimes accept that you simply agree to disagree, remember; friends we choose, family we are stuck with!
In summary we must try to make the natural parent "padded world" as big as possible to allow them to grow as they get older. Accept that they will sometimes hit the sides and crash but try to make the falls as gentle as possible with love and support.
Posted On 2007-05-03 07:40:26
At least once a day, I find myself realizing that my children are just like me when I was their age - and they are only 7 and 9 right now yet like me, they seem to know it all (mostly the older one). I think I know what lies ahead when they are young adults as I know how I reacted to parental advice combined with my years working in student affairs on a college campus. Despite the best advice, intentions and warnings from family and friends, when it comes to relationships in these years, we sometimes follow our heart, sometimes follow our instinct and sometimes follow our head. Many times, we are not even sure which emotion/feature is directing us. I do not know if there are any best questions or things to look for but I always advise this when it comes to relationships at any level - most conflicts in life are a result of either poor communication, poor expectation setting in the beginning or a combination of the two. Pay attention to these areas and focus on how to make both strong in any and all relationships. Finally when it comes to knowing when you found Mr/Mrs. Right, we have all probably thought we found it at an early age as I know my heart was broken when I was 17. But I now have my soul mate, Tracy and the best way I describe love is that we each always strive to make the other person happy before we make ourselves happy and as parents we now include our kids above our individual needs. For example, when Tracy is eating a great meal when we are out, she always wants me to taste it to enjoy it and vice versa. Watching young adults mature to adulthood will never be easy regardless of the subject but if we instill solid values and provide support along the way, good things usually happen despite possible challenges. Good luck.
Posted On 2007-05-02 15:54:57