Family Magazine

The Gift Of Independence

By Joanigeltman @joanigeltman

I found this wonderful comparison on facebook. I am older than almost everyone being a baby boomer so the "moms then"  was my absolute childhood! Probably not for most of you Gen Xers, but  you probably did not grow up with the moms now column either. I'm guessing you grew up with parents somewhere in the middle. Anyway have a good laugh!
The Gift Of Independence
I know the world can be a scary place. God knows we are bombarded with it these days by bombings, and opiod addiction and vaping and politics and climate change and scary stories about teens.  These are crazy making for parents. It makes us want to hold tight to our kids and keep them as safe as we can. Sometimes that holding tight for safety has mixed messages. Often parents say no to giving their teens the independence to safely navigate the world that will soon become their life when they leave home for college. But they give them access to drugs and alcohol in the house and technology that can potentially create addiction, contact with questionable people and way way too much access to cell phones, media and distractions with no supervision. But when their teen asks to take public transportation to go into "the city" parents quake in their shoes and say no.
I am always so shocked when I ask teens to describe their "world" to me. It is a world of being chauffeured by parents or UBER to friends houses, activities and parties because many teens now show little interest in getting their license. It is a world of houses and hangouts that never change from week to week. Rarely do I hear teens talk about getting on the "T" to go to "the city." I have talked to a lot of college students who go to schools on suburban campuses who never leave their campus to investigate the wealth of culture and energy that a "city" can provide, even when colleges provide shuttles to the closest public transportation. Somewhere along the way we have scared our teens.
Taking risks, safe ones mean doing something new and challenging. It means figuring out directions, destinations, and making decisions without knowing the outcome. When is the last time your teen came to you for permission to do something like that. When my daughter was a senior in high school her group of friends wanted to go on a vacation after graduation together. My daughter asked if she could go. My answer was if you have the money and the will, go for it. I remember many of the parents wanted and did take over the planning of the trip for these girls, suggesting destinations, getting them the best price, finding the best airline etc. There was even a "parent meeting" to discuss the trip. Always the rebel, I refused to go. What is the point of an adventure, or can you even call it an adventure, if mommy and daddy do all the planning.What lessons are learned?
I remember my own post-high school graduation vacation I took with my 8 best friends. The planning was actually more fun than the week we had in Hyannis. Looking for the cottage, doing comparative pricing, and deciding which cape destination had the potential for the most boys took months of planning. And when we opened the door that June day to our very own cottage rental we felt euphoric. We had planned and talked and argued for months, and now here we were.
Open the door and send them out to play! Encourage your teen to take safe risks, to venture out of their comfort zone without your help. The confidence and competence they will feel and take away is worth it....for both of you.
PS If you work for a large company or corporation perhaps you'd like to talk to your HR or work/family department and investigate whether they would like me to come and do one of my lunchtime seminars for their employees. Here are some of the seminars I offer to companies!!
Understanding Your Child’s Temperament and Personality Strategies For The Future
Is your child:
·   The adventurer ·   The lawyer ·   The child who always says no ·   The anxious/shy child ·   A combination of all 4
 This one-hour seminar describes these personality styles and gives parents the strategies to bring out the best in their child both in the present and implications for their development from childhood through their teen years.
 Audience: Parents of all ages
Sibling Rivalry Learn the development impact of age differences in sibling relationships and rivalry When to intervene and when to let nature take its course Strategies for healthy sibling relationships Audience: all ages
Positive Discipline ·  Use the Power of Understanding to get your children ready to listen and accept. ·  Learn when and how to use "I get it" moments. No more arguing, no more fighting! ·  Learn how to be clear and consistent and manage your own frustration. ·  Learn how to set a limit and make it stick ·  Learn to Use a variety of techniques to manage troublesome behaviors. Audience: all ages
Joani’s Top Ten Parenting Tips 
The secret to parenting is to keep it simple. Learn 10 simple, concrete practical tips useful in those daily moments of stress as a parent when you wish you had the "right thing to do and the right thing to say! Audience: All ages
Adolescent Psychology: The Parent Version 
·  Learn how the brain affects your teen’s behavior. It’s the battle of the thinking brain VS the feeling brain.
  • Learn Effective strategies for arguing-The Four Ways Of Fighting.
  • Develop effective strategies for keeping your teen safe as they explore the new world of teen life.
  • Learn how to teen-proof your home and cell-proof your teen

Sexting. Texting and Social Networking: What’s A Parent To Do? 
  • Understand how the “emotional brain” of a teen gets “turned on” by social networking.
  • Understand how the “Imaginary Audience” influences your teen’s performing on social media.
  • Learn which apps are safe and unsafe
  • Learn strategies to monitor and set limits around phone and internet use
  • Learn how your own behavior with phones and computers can positively and negatively influence your teen.

Drugs and Alcohol: How Does Your Teen’s Personality Style, and Your Parenting Style impact their experimentation with drugs and alcohol? 
  • Identify your teen’s personality style and risk-factors with drugs and alcohol
  • Identify your parenting style and how it influences your teen’s drug and alcohol use
  • Learn effective strategies and scripts to keep your teen safe

College Bound:
  • Understand the emotional journey of your college bound high school student
  • Understand the emotional journey of a parent of college bound high school student
  • Learn strategies for making this process successful and positive

With over 40 years of experience working with families, Joani's approach, using humor, storytelling and easy to use tools make the job of parenting just a little bit easier. Joani Geltman MSW  781-910-1770

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