11) Embrace Age-Appropriate Failures and Struggles
Which is easier, a child learning delayed gratification when they are a toddler or at elementary school age or when they are a teenager faced with the temptations of a thrill activity or drugs? It’s much easier to deal with a younger child’s tantrums than the results of the ineffective choices of engaging in risky impulsive behaviour. What is the saying …‘bigger kids, bigger problems?” Need I write more?
12) Listen to Your Kids When They Tell You About Themselves
The recovering addict that I have been supporting told their parents that they were an addict when they were in their late teens. Given all the drama and current cultural trends around interventions (reality t.v. and current news), and the tendency for this young person to be dramatic, the parent dismissed the statement. The parent thought that the statements were an overreaction and that their child was experimenting with drinking and learning limits through experimentation as typically happens with young people. The parent focused on the hard work and achievements of the young person, not further questioning the young person’s statement of being an addict. The assumption: everything would work its way through and be okay.
Not! This statement was a proper self-assessment by this young person which was ignored. Maybe if this statement had been pursued and the individual challenged, recovery might have begun years prior.
On this point, here is a post written around Maya Angelou’s statement, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” It’s a great reminder for us all in all aspects of our lives, not just parenting.
In summary, parenting is not easy. It is probably the toughest role you will assume in your entire life. It will bring the most joyful soul-seeded moments and the most heart-wrenching. No matter how hard we try, there is no such thing as the perfect parent. We all do the best we can do, with the knowledge and skill we have at the time.
On the other hand, what we can do is keep our eyes and ears wide open so that we can ponder thought-provoking points that can motivate us to proactively pivot on our parenting choices so that we can prepare our children to potentially avoid
the pitfalls of the disease of addiction. These 12 proactive parenting points are humbly presented by two people battling the disease, trying to make sense of how it began.
Parenting is like addiction recovery; it requires what I call a mindset of optimistic resolve (MOR), day by day and moment by moment.