by Samantha S. Daviss

As a mother, I have learned to let go. When my babies started to crawl, I allowed them to become independent. When my babies started school, I was excited to see what their future held. And now that one of my kids is in the thick of his teenage years, I am not one of those moms that is holding him back and restraining him from becoming a young adult; because I know all he is doing is spreading his wings and trying to figure out who he is at this point in his life.

However, I am noticing that there are some external influences in his life that affect his personality and his personality traits that are not favorable to me or his friends. And as a mother, I want him to be his own person, and be independent, but I don’t want him to make mistakes.

I have been doing a lot of reading and a psychologist wrote, that teenagers are like toddlers. When they started crawling and walking, we didn’t scold them for their independence, or yell at them; so, we shouldn’t do that with our teens.

However, we need to set boundaries with them. Just as we did our toddlers. We told our toddlers they couldn’t go near the pool, or stick their fingers in the light sockets, or be in the bath tub alone; so, we need to set similar, yet age appropriate boundaries for our teens.

However, as parents, we don’t need to be naïve, we need to expect that those boundaries will be pushed, pulled and broken at times; and we need to be prepared for that. Therefore, we need to have our plan of attack, and our retaliation. But for the most part, as parents, we need to accept our children, guide them, don’t allow them to make drastic mistakes; and I feel if you see them making mistakes whether its towards their peers, to themselves, in school, or whatever the case maybe; you as the adult, their parent to ensure that they be the best person that they can possibly be for themselves, for their peers, and for their family.

You remember the mistakes you made. It’s okay to tell you kids about your past, to use your past as an example of what not to do. You can leave out some of the gory details, but I think the ol’ “live and learn” adage is okay.

Also, when you can see an external influence is having a negative effect on their personality; I feel as a parent it is okay to step in and make a change in their lives. To remove that factor. Or point out that factor in their lives.

Kids have such a hard time figuring out who they are, what they want to be, and struggling to please friends, parents, teachers, and themselves, that I feel they get lost in the shuffle. So just remember, we didn’t scold them when they started to crawl, so don’t scold them when they start to spread their adult wings. But remember boundaries are a necessity.

And those they love the most, and are the most comfortable with, are the ones they lash out at the most; or tend to treat with the most disrespect. I don’t know why this is. I guess they aren’t seeking their approval any more, they know they have your unconditional love; so just remember to keep loving them no matter what.