Teenagers are people who act like babies if they're not treated like adults. MAD MAGAZINE
Here's our dilemna: how tough should we be on our children? They've had to grow up in the spotlight of being 'PKs' ('preacher's kids), with all that entails. A home constantly invaded by meetings and visitors; unrealistic expectations of them as being 'perfect'; a dad who isn't around as much as they like.
I was brought up in a very loving but also pretty free and easy home. We weren't given very strict rules to adhere to. OK, so we had a chores rota to do (that I seem to think fell into disuse when my brother and I hit teenage years). We were pretty much allowed to do what we wanted to do. We'd stay out late, drink alcohol, and generally not be hassled by overanxious parents (although my mum did, and still does, worry about me, it wasn't usually over lifestyle choices.......except maybe deciding to accept a call to ordained ministry, but that's a different story). In fact, our parents attitude was probably one of 'Keep talking to us, and if you make a mistake, learn from it'.
We've tried to adopt that approach, and let our kids have a long leash, if they want it. Of course, they don't always take it. Sometimes there isn't complete honesty about what they are doing, but that more often than not falls under the biblical wisdom of Numbers 32:23, with all the tears revelation brings.
To be or not to be strict, that is the question. The main problem with overstrictness is the tendency for people to react against the restriction, and do it anyway. We've tried to avoid this. Some parents don't seem to get it, and get resentful kids as a result.
Our kids are beginning to wake up to several facts:
1. We aren't as wealthy as some families in the area in which we live (to be frank the absence of multiple motor vehicles and annual foreign holidays revealed this to them long ago).
2. We are a whole lot more easy-going than most parents (oh, the examples I could give, but I don't want to embarrass anyone).
3. There is absolutely nothing they can do that will stop us loving them.
The main fact I have to live with, whether I like it or not, is that kids expect a lot more freedom, and from a younger age, than I ever did. My job is to help them see that such freedom carries with it responsibilities.
We're slowly getting there.........