One of today's challenges for parents is teaching our sweet emerging adults how to make good decisions. For most of their lives, we're charged with keeping them alive so we become really good at controlling things to limit the risks. Sound familiar?
In order to prepare them for flight from our orderly, safe nests, they need to know how to carefully evaluate options and use reasoning to solve problems and make decisions. If we tell them what to do and when to do and how to do, we rob them of the chance to hone these critical life skills. Let's not do that, m-kay?
I give you this prime example: a recent conversation with my 16 year old.
Me: Your job is loading the dishes tonight, okay dear daughter?
Me: Your brothers unloaded and took out the trash. Just get it done before bedtime.
DD: Why do you hate me so?
Me: I don't. I do hate loading the dishes though.
DD: Mom. I want to be an emancipated minor.
Me: Oh...is this because of the dishes.
Me: You do realize that you'll then be responsible for both unloading and loading, right?
DD: No. I'll use paper.
Me: That's a lot of paper plates and plastic forks.
DD: Oh...I'll just hire someone. More environmental.
Me: Ok. That's probably a better idea. So where do you think you want to work so you can pay for the help?
DD: BLK Burgers. It looks fun there.
Me: You're right. And I love their garlic edamame!
DD: Me too!! And I'll probably get some free food. How much do you think they get paid there?
Me: Probably minimum wage plus tips. You might need a second job to make enough money to live on your own and pay for someone to do your chores.
DD: Then I'll be a madam like Greer in Reign. She makes tons of money. (If you haven't seen Reign, it's set in Elizabethan times in France and Greer is a lady-turned-madam. She's quite endearing.)
Me: Yes, I'm sure she does, but if you really want to go into that line of work, we better get you some target practice before you move out.
Me: Well, because present-day madams are usually men and they're called pimps and they dabble in things like drug-dealing and weapons and human trafficking and I don't think they like competition.
DD: Mom, I have my black belt.
Me: Yes you do.
DD: I'll just kill all the pimps...
Me: That's one way to do it...
DD: And I'll steal their business and I'll be really nice to the courtesans.
Me: I'm sure they'd like that but do you really want to kill people?
DD: Not really. I don't like blood.
Me: Yeah, there's that.
DD: Hmmm...maybe I'll just work at BLK and live here for a while.
Me: At least stay until college. There's plenty of time to figure out what you want to do.
DD: Yep. I have options.
Me: Lucky girl. Oh, and thanks for doing the dishes while we had this very interesting chat.
DD: Sure! (With a smile.)
Decision-making process at its finest, people. True story.