You cannot step into the same river twice.
Heraclitus [Philosopher 544 BC – 483 BC]
Parenting teenagers forces us to operate in unknown territory. I have found it to be complex and ever changing. It is not intuitive and what works in one situation or kid, doesn’t work in another. Parenting forces us to be dynamic, flexible and friendly towards the future. Some time ago, I was given the advice to allow/expect my teenagers 3 chances to do really wild, or destructive, dumb, dangerous and even illegal (victimless) “incidents” that they got caught doing. Once three incidents occurred, we could then declare a pattern has developed and a different intervention would be needed (e.g new school, therapy, military etc) .
This “3 strikes” approach allowed me to relax, keep the warmth and find the funny. Giving kids ages 13-18 three passes to make huge mistakes creates needed psychological space and freedom for the teen and the parent(s). It creates a way to support their autonomy, to promote learning from failure, to fail better next time. Part of their developmental work is to give up some of the “good child” and let more of the “rebellious child” out. We are weeks away from the youngest turning 18 and he still has 2 strikes left……. here’s to a quiet and steady presence with those teenagers.
If somebody is gracious enough to give me a second chance, I won’t need a third. Pete Rose