Monday, October 25, 2010

Parenting Lessons -- That's My Job, No One Else's

My previous post, Parenting Lessons From My Parents... was very much a rant. I re-read it and know that it spurs from the frustration I'm finding with trying to open up the lines of communication with my oldest son who is in the 6th grade.

Two weeks ago, I found out that he is "going out" with someone. Now, I know that usually relationships between kids at his age entail sitting together at lunch and just the title that "We're boyfriend/girlfriend". However, I also know that some kids are maturing faster than was my experience, so I won't be naive and think that he's too young for "The Talk".

So, I asked Paul one day to take Zach to his soccer game. It was a 45 minute drive one way, so I knew there would be plenty of time for quality father/son talk. His task was to strike up conversation and hope that Zach would feel comfortable enough to share some details about his new girl pal or ask questions about girls in general. That evening, I was disappointed to find out that Paul got no information. In fact, Paul came away with the opinion that Zach wasn't ready for "The Talk" yet. Paul said, "Zach's a good kid. He'll make his own choices, and he'll make mistakes. But, he's a good kid. He'll figure it out".

When he said this, I felt a sense of helplessness that I am still grasping to get ahead of. It took a few days to realize it, but I feel like what Paul said is a version of my parent's parenting lesson. And thus, Friday's post.

I haven't completely figured out what the next steps will be. But, we're working on it. What I do know, is that I'm not leaving it up to luck, Zach "figuring it out", or divine intervention. We're the parents. It's our job to provide the lessons.

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