As my daughter navigates her adolescent years, I am learning that I should also change my approach, learn new parenting skills and unlearn some "skills". Or else.
Here's what I have realised. It is easy to lose one's child at this stage and age. Why, they are vulnerable and are torn between pressures and expectations from two worlds; peers or parents.
With that in mind, below are tips that can help parents with centennial adolescents to navigate this often temptous phase.
One, I won't jump into conclusions. If I suspect that my child has done a mistake, I won't allow my mind to run wild with all sorts of imaginations. Before I accuse and pass judgement, I'll have all the facts.
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Two, I'll always hope for the best for my child. I'll let my child know that I have high hopes for her.
Three, I'll give my daughter the benefit of doubt. So many times have I thought I was right about a matter concerning my daughter, only for baby girl to prove me wrong.
Four, I'll accept that I don't know everything. Heck, I'm not Uncle Google. I'll swallow my pride. It won't cause me constipation. If and when my daughter asks me about a matter that I do not know about, I'll not be afraid to tell her the whole truth, and nothing but.
Five, I'll give my child accessible ears and shoulders. I want to be the first responder she comes to when she is faced with life's dilemmas.
Six, I'll be reasonable. Even if my daughter has committed a Himalayan blunder, I'll allow reason and good sense to prevail when I'm administering punishment.
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Seven, I'll have an open mind. Someone once said something to the effect that the mind is like a parachute; it only functions when it is open. Having an open mind does not mean that I necessarily agree with my daughter's viewpoint. It means that I'm willing to crawl out of my cocoon (or cave) and get a feel, even if fleeting, of what's outside my comfort zone.
Eight, I'll read widely. I'll stay informed. Information is power. I'll set aside my prejudices and, for instance, listen to the music that's got a hold of her. It is from this informed perspective that I'll be able to constructively critic my child's choices.
Nine, I'll watch my tongue. In anger, many parents curse their children. Words are not just words. They have power to transform a child's life.
Ten, I won't stop trying. It may feel like my child isn't getting it. I'll keep talking. I'll keep praying. Drops of water hollow out a stone, not by force; but by constantly dropping.
Eleven, my old folks' slave-driving parenting style may have worked; but that does not mean that I should just copy and paste. I'll find what works for my child, and make it work. If I've been in my child's life all along, I'll know what works for her.
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Twelve, if I'm incensed or indignant, I'll keep it righteous. As Ephesians 6:4 (AMP) instructs: "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger (do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by showing favouritism or indifference to any of them], but bring them up (tenderly, with loving kindness) in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."
My revise editor just reminded me that my daughter wasn't a millenial but a centennial.
"Man, that makes me feel old," I thought.
"I just learned today that you are a centennial," I told baby girl later in the day.
"Dah-dee?" Pudd'ng piped. "Does that mean you're a centurion?"
I don't feel old. I feel ancient.