September 14, 2009
Teenage Manifesto from My Son

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We interrupt this blog to bring you the most recent manifesto from my 15-year old son. If you have a teenager (or will), the following epistle will be worth the 3 minutes it will take to read.

"There are a couple of main rules for parents to live by in order to have a happy teenage child:

Let them live, but not unsafely.

Trust them. Keep in contact, but let them contact you, not the other way around.

Accept mistakes, but the second time around give them something so they regret it.

In your generation, staying out until midnight wasn't exactly the cool thing to do, but for some reason it is now. Once your kid has a cell phone, let them stay places late as long as they call you when you ask them to. How late completely depends on their age.

Raise them so they know that lying is wrong, so they can talk to you about sex, drugs and alcohol without feeling the need to hold things back.

Let them have parties, and don't insist on being in the house. Just say that whatever is broken when you get back, or whatever is not cleaned up they will have to pay for or have consequences for.

They can choose their own friends, only if they can control them when at your house or in public.

Let your teens express themselves. If that means wearing chains and listening to heavy metal, so be it. If it means painting their own room and writing poetry you don't understand, that's also fine.

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One random tip: when they start listening to music you don't like, soundproof their room. It's no fun having to turn down the volume. The best way to listen to music is when you can feel it in your ribcage.

Talk to them, but don't force them to talk back.

Don't introduce them to caffeine, they'll discover it in time.

Buy them one amazing present every one or two years because even though you both know love isn't shown through exchanging possessions, it feels great to get something you know your parents had to put aside money for, and they did it for you.

Don't force your religion or political beliefs on them."

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at September 14, 2009 11:39 PM

Comments

Good advice.My teenager is 17 and these guidelines were on the list of the UNITED PARENTAL FRONT in our family also.
When given the freedom to be themselves and learn from their mistakes in a safe container, our children develop the critical thinking and experience necessesary to boldly go where no human has gone before...into their own lives with a centered self and enthusiasm and patience for teaching their parents!

Posted by: Jayna Nelson [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 14, 2009 09:47 AM

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