They say independence comes with the teenage years and I’ve witnessed my teenager go from clingy, in-my-face for every little thing, to closed door, on the phone, not interested in anything from Dad except what’s in my wallet. Oh, and a ride whenever he wants to go somewhere. I know part of this is good, but the other part wonders when to trust they are ready to be on their own?
Trust must be earned. Some things you just don’t trust, don’t take the risk, no matter what. A teen’s brain just isn’t fully developed, as hard as that is to believe, as the brain doesn’t really fully mature till their mid-20s and, in the case of boys and men maybe much later or never. Don’t trust me on this; do the research, as it’s a fact.
Am I to be his buddy or his Dad? For instance, at school he got mixed grades on his first progress report but acted totally defensive when I questioned him. “Let me take care of it, Dad,” he said. How many excuses add up to a cover up?
This is my question, as the boy who adored his Dad has become the moody alien everyone predicts of teenagers. And, now, he wants to date. What are the rules for dating for a 15-year-old? I asked him what it meant to date and he really didn’t have an answer. He also wants to be allowed to stay in the home, without an adult, on the occasion we go out of town without him.
Dating, we’ll figure out. Staying home alone, an emphatic NO. Sometimes, trust isn’t enough when temptation and other kids can provoke behavior that otherwise just wouldn’t happen. Oh, and regards the buddy or dad question. I’m his dad; that is my role, whether he always likes me or not. But, then again, what do I know, I’m just a guy.