October 11, 2006
High school senior demonstrates problem
Our son, a high school senior, arrived home early last
Friday evening from a classmate's party. It was 8 p.m.,
and I asked if he was OK. He said he became uncomfortable
when the parents hosting the party began passing out liquor.
Are they crazy?
Contributing to the delinquency of minors may not have
been on their minds, but a police officer and judge might
sharpen their understanding. These party-hosting parents
abdicated their responsibilities. Thoughtless and insecure
adults, wanting to be "pals" of their children,
rationalize providing under-age youth with illegal substances.
They should be stopped before innocent lives are lost.
How wonderful that you have equipped your son with
problem-solving skills, integrity and common-sense, enabling
him to exit a potentially explosive situation. Growing
up is tough enough for adolescents without having destructive
temptations provided by neighbors, friends or parents.
Society has a criminal element that dispenses illegal
drugs, uses the Internet to seduce and misguide youth
- but parents from your own community?
Your description of two misguided parents suggests some
adolescents deserve protection from immature adults,
regardless of their biological connections.
Here are some central principles surrounding the teen-parent
- Parents are not pals and peers. They are the source
of life and values. Resistance to parental authority
is not as much personal as hormonal. Responsible parents
distinguish right from wrong, operating as mature adults
in order to provide authoritative perspective.
- Trust in healthy relationships is a byproduct of
constructive behaviors, consistently demonstrated.
Mistakes are occasions for learning. Glossing over
negligence, rudeness and irresponsibility will not
- Respect is earned by parent and child and is sustained
through listening and mutual support. When feelings
are hurt, apologies and forgiveness must remain the
relationship's centerpiece, encouraging give-and-take.
- Independence comes after dependence and inter-dependence
have been mastered. Demanding independence too soon
is naïve, especially when precipitated by anger
and frustration. Autonomy emerges one successful step
at a time, requiring knowledge and practice, coaching
- Reassurance is not always agreeing with or bragging
about the actions of a young adult. Building confidence
and character does involve listening, and when necessary,
challenging thoughts and actions.
- Responsible parental love includes limits. Limits
are the grounding principles that clarify direction,
encouraging risk and maturation.
Adults and parents, in addition to nurturing and protecting
Hold them accountable.
Help them grow and mature.
Encourage them to become their own person.