Thoughts on Parenting Adolescents

It occurs to me that it would be important to state that my daughter has approved of me writing about our experiences. For the sake of helping others, she has been willing to sacrifice a certain degree of privacy. And, writing about these experiences has helped to solidify my learning.

My daughter turned 17 last week and I experienced both a sense of joy and of loss. With each year that has passed I have had to adjust to the many changes that she has experienced developmentally. For instance, right now as she learns to drive and increasingly goes out with her friends at night, I have had to learn to trust that she would be okay. I remember a conversation that I had with co-workers about 5 years ago when I was unable to locate her after school. She was to get out of school around 2:30 pm, and I was trying to reach her at home around 3:30. It only takes about 20 to 30 minutes to walk home from school, so I began to panic when she wasn't at home. I was about to jump in my car and look for her. The fear had gripped me so that I did not care that I was in the middle of my workday. This was sometimes the way that fear worked on me. I was imagining that some stranger abducted her or that she was somehow injured "out there" in the big scary world: many parents' nightmare. Thank goodness that my friends were there. My colleagues talked with me, helped me to see the humor in my over-reaction, and helped me to settle down. They pointed out that, reasonably, I did not have to worry because Melody had shown such trustworthiness while growing up. I told them that I wasn't so much worried about her trustworthiness, but about the people out there who prey on others, the people over which I have no control. And, that is the bottom line: I have no control over the big world out there. I could spend my life sheltering her from potential harm, or I could allow her to have some space to breathe, to explore, to grow. I thank God for my friends that day. They helped me to stay on the ground when I was spinning out of control with fear. Sometimes we need others to help us to keep things in perspective. I will say this, however, I bought her a cellphone shortly after that experience so that I could keep closer tabs on her whereabouts.
blog comments powered by Disqus