The Real World: Vol 1

My relationship with my child.  Of the many issues that families deal with, this is one that easily hits the top 5 of families with teenagers.  I can certainly understand it, after all, every loving parent wants to have a thriving relationship with their child.  Except, that child really isn’t a child any longer.  They are a creature that resembles my child, but…bigger.  And moodier.  And sometimes they want nothing to do with me.  Making the transition from child to teen will, for most, require a change in the way we interact with our kids.  Those parents that are able to change their approach are typically the ones with less headaches. Tip #1: Focus on the real world.  Start by accurately reflecting the real world in how we interact with our kids.  Real world idea: nobody does stuff for me when they don’t like me.  Try allowing the one who has shown impressive Respect to choose the TV show or Game we play tonight.  Experiment with making two meals: one that is delicious for everyone who has shown Responsibility and completed their chores, and one that looks like a boring slice of bread for anyone who hasn’t completed their chores.  Begin transitioning from a parent who offers your TV for the same kid who throws a tantrum, into a parent who regularly changes the wifi password (and hands out the password to anyone who has been Fun-to-be-around).  In short, give good stuff to your teen when they are Respectful, Responsible, and Fun-to-be-around.  When they aren’t these things? Well…don’t give them good stuff. Shocked?  Isn’t this mean?  Isn’t this showing favorites?  Remember that our primary job as parents is to prepare our kids for the real world.  So, I submit a radical idea.  Perhaps the cruelest thing I could do to my kid is to get them used to a world that is fake.  A phony world that looks nothing like the real one.  To one day be rudely awakened to find that the world mom and dad had me prepped for was nothing like the real one. Conversely, perhaps the kindest thing I can do for my kids is to prepare them for a world that is no shock at all.  A world that looks surprisingly identical to what they grew up experiencing.  Want something in life? Work for it. Want someone to help you? Make them like you so they actually want to offer help.  Hey, I recognize this world!  Its the same one I’ve already been practicing for a decade!