One of my favorite mantras is that the job of being a parent is being our kids best parent rather than their best friend. As strongly as I believe in that, I also believe we can be cool to our kids by doing things that support being their best parent. This may seems at odds, but truly it’s not.
It’s so easy to complain about our teens. I know I’m guilty of too often dishing out criticisms, admonishments, and lectures. I worry that my boys might be doing drugs, drinking, or some other peer-pressure stupidity. But, they also deserve my support when they do well and my understanding when they slip up.
My 16-year-old, Will, recently bounded into my office, eager to talk. Wisely, I pulled away from the hypnotic lure of my computer, and faced him squarely, ready for whatever followed.
Normally, when Will comes to talk to me, I am concerned that he either wants something or is going to confess something that I wish I didn’t have to hear. This time, I listened. And I listened and I listened. I smiled, I nodded, I grunted. But, mostly I listened. He had made a remarkable discovery! What was this remarkable revelation? “Life is complicated and full of wonder and amazing things. Where did life come from? Why do we sleep? How does our brain work? Why are there different languages and how did they evolve?” He literally rambled off these and other subjects, as if he’d just discovered the wheel!