09 Apr Raising Children to Young Adults (14 – 21)
Many clients will say to me, “Oh, my children are almost grown.” At 14, 16 or 19 they may be a head taller, however, both their heads and hearts are still very, very young.
They have little or no relative experience, their brain development is only halfway complete and their hormones are often way beyond their grasp.
Your work has just begun…
As much as nurture and nourish, protect and provide dominate the under 14 years, this next stage requires your mentorship.
All 14’s need a job, in order to have technology and trinkets, they need to do chores daily. This is a big life, it never bypasses practical and fundamental skills and organisation.
The pillars become:
Every decision needs to bear these essential determiners in mind.
Instilling a work ethic early ensures the individual has a feeling of worth, value, independence, service and punctuality.
Mentorship requires more of you as parents, leading by example and expressing from the highest part of yourself. It requires honesty, integrity, determination and self-examination.
This stage is when children may become mirrors, reflecting your deeper, darker soul. All your fears will surface. The greatest being, losing them. Mental health is at the forefront of almost every aware parents mind.
Recently, a young man close to our community took his life.
My next blog post being from an address I will deliver in a couple of weeks, regarding the young learning to grieve and how to appropriately deal with death.
That said, your fears around alcohol, drink spiking, drug experimentation, car accidents and risk taking are rarely justified. Teaching caution, educating your teens and keeping those all too valuable lines of communication open, are key.
Until they are living entirely independently of you and your support, you, as their parent, have every right to know where they are, when they’ll be home and who they are with. They are your responsibility – it is really that simple. (Oh, and please do not buy alcohol for minors.)
If they don’t like it, help them pack, before you have the police knocking at your door. There should be no reason for them to not respect you and your home enough to provide you with this basic information. Legally, the buck stops and rightly so with you…
This is not your children’s choice, as an adult, it’s yours.
They will, during this time, become sexually active. I, for many reasons, have raised our girls to believe that you only make love to someone you love. When the care and respect is there, boys have to learn to step up and feel deeply. To connect is not a bad lesson to learn.
Falling in love is one of the most incredible experiences in life. Don’t deny them that, through misinformation from friends, the internet or other sources.
Let us return to helping youth balance their young lives…
They require these in equal measure and it is your job to help them achieve this. For example – study, relax, reward. Or the advice that there is no such thing as can’t – tell them they may do it differently, but they can do it. As life rises before them, use the before mentioned barometers of Money, Time, Energy, Love to help them take responsibility and find balance.
If they live in a family in a home, they need to invest in it. It is not a resort, it is a safe haven they need to respect and feel gratitude for.
Contribution and service emerge during this stage, as do laziness and apathy. Your allowance of how teens balance this is up to you, it’s very personal.
I know one thing for sure, adults I would wish to work with or for, relationships I would want to have and families I watch grow, do it better when they are raised more from a place of contribution and service, rather than laziness and apathy… just saying.
So, to recap:
Money – when they earn it, they value it, and make better decisions. When a young adult lives at home and works full time, the split is a third contribution, a third saving and a third to spend.
Time – is a place for them to discover who they are and who they want to be. They need to learn to use it wisely.
Energy – determines whether they are well or unwell and has many indicators (a whole session there…)
And Love – why do I mention it last? Not as a footnote, but as a reminder. Everything comes from it, everything empowers it and everything returns to it.
They say teenagers are difficult, they are not. They are surprising, funny, honest and full of potential. Raise them as such.
Always be the parent – they only get one of you.
Never be the friend – they have plenty of those.