"At what age should I let my child...." is a difficult question for every parent. Especially when you have kids that push to move ahead faster than you, as a parent are ready to let them. Kids are all unique and will want different things at different ages. Here are a few ideas to help:
1. Plan Ahead. Teach your child to live in the present.
"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven" This biblical quote(you don't have to be religious to use it) is something I used many times with my children. It is important to remind children that they will never be the age they are right now,ever again. So enjoy it. Live in the present because you can always go forward, but never back. I used it for topics such as dating, driving, sex, shaving legs, wearing makeup. Talk about it with your kids, preferably before they reach the age they think they are smarter than you.
2. Set Rules Together
This means you must communicate. When your child comes to you with a request, sit down and talk about it. Ask questions and figure out why your daughter wants to wear makeup in kindergarten. You don't want to make your child odd, but you also don't want your child to be the trend setter other parents hate.
Be reasonable. If you try to be understanding and reasonable your child will also try to abide by the goals you have both set. This is your opportunity to explain your beliefs and your fears. For example, explain why you want them to wait to single date until they are 16 years old. Girls will probably not understand that they are not secure in their ability to say "no" to a good looking young man before then. Boys are just not ready to take on the responsibility of a girl friend before 16, maybe even 21! Hanging out in large groups is fine and probably a lot more fun. If you can calmly discuss the reasons with your kids, they will surprise you with how mature they can be.
3. Do it Right
Teach them how to appropriately handle the behavior they are requesting. Don't expect because they know enough to ask permission they know what they are doing.
*When your daughter starts wearing makeup, teach her how. (Too much make up is not flattering or makes her look like a "ho".)
*Texting. Teach them when is it not appropriate to text? While driving or during class.
* Drivers License. (Take the time to drive with them. )
4. Give them an out.
Sometimes children think they are mature enough to handle a particular behavior and realize they are not ready. Parents are the perfect scapegoat. Let them out with some dignity. You do not need to say "I told you so."
*Sleep over. if they want to come home early, give them a cell phone to use
*Party that goes wild. Before they go, tell them if at any point they want to come home you will pick them up and not question why.
5. Pay Attention. It is through your child's behavior that you learn of your child's needs.
If you refuse to ignore the above steps and react out of anger with a statement such as, "Absolutely Not! " and/or "Because I said so" you are setting yourself up for failure. Anger will not change the behavior, it will only put a temporary end to the request. The behavior will eventually resurface in another form at a later date. Why? Because the behavior of your child is an exhibition of a need that requires fulfillment.
When a baby is hungry, she cries
When a toddler spies a toy he wants, he takes it.
When a teenage girl dresses risque, she is looking for the attention of teenage boys and she has found a way to get it.
Don't get angry at your child, help them. Tell them how much you love them and then teach them.
6. Safety First to ease your mind while children are spreading their wings.
Know your child's friends.
Know their friend's parents
Make sure your child has a way to contact you at all times and you them.
Remember, your goal is to teach correct principles so they can eventually govern themselves!
Thursday, September 2, 2010
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