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Last Updated on August 30, 2016 by Diane Hoffmaster
I've never been known as a particularly flexible parent. I wasn't that mom that let her kids wear pajamas for three days because they were obsessed with Spiderman. They didn'tt go on week long binges of only eating things that are orange. They were not allowed to take all the cans out of my pantry and build their own personal house of cans on my kitchen floor. I'm just not built for that sort of flexibility. I've gotten a lot of grief for that over the years from various 'fly by the seat of their pants' friends. They didn't understand that my children napped at 2 PM. Every. Single. Day. Not at 3 PM....not 'oh, we'll just skip a day'. Nope. Not in my house. I ran our household with military precision.
So, needless to say I had a lot of control over my kids when they were young. Not that I did not give them choices. Would you like apples or grapes with your snacks? Do you want to wear the red dress or these pink shorts? Do you want to go to the park or story time at the library? Those are all choices that allowed my children a TINY bit of control while still allowing me to have my anal retentive schedule, menu and wardrobe adhered to without argument. It has worked for us for many, many years. My kids are well adjusted and I am not stressed out because we have no comprehensible schedule. But, now they are teens.
I have discovered as they have gotten older that I have less and less control over my children. I don't get to pick their friends by only inviting certain ones over for playdates. They eat away from home frequently and will happily inhale every neon blue food or beverage they can find. I cringe every time I see it. My children...who have been raised on organic, hormone free milk and non GMO, whole grain crackers are eating neon colored Twizzlers like they are crack. They have opinions about their clothes that I don't always agree with. And since they now have a bit of their own money to spend who am I to tell my daughter she can't spend it on One Direction socks or 14 neon colored tank tops. As long as the important parts are covered do I just let it go?
At what point is losing control of your kid an acceptable thing? And how far to you allow their 'self expression' to go before you have to put a halt to their quest for freedom and individuality? Is it okay to dye your hair purple? Just because your kid's hair is purple does it really change who they are as a person? Can't purple haired people be on the honor roll and be a hard worker and attend an Ivy League school? Do we force our children to test the boundaries of our control by making those boundaries too firm? If I say no to purple hair will she one day show up at home with a tattoo?
My kids are just now entering their teen years. My son will be a Freshman in high school this year. He is already making choices based on HIS wants and desires as opposed to mine. Which is a GOOD thing, I know...but it's hard to realize that my control is beginning to slip. I see the next few years as this out of control slide where they may stay on the right path but they also have a huge chance of going off course and ending up in a ravine, destined to live at home in my basement for the rest of their lives. All because I gave up control.
So, tell me, fellow parents of teens....how much control do YOU give your kids? And is it really us giving them the control or them taking it from our hands forcefully?
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.