There came a time that my parents faced one of the perennial questions of child adolescent-rearing. Do you keep your child on a tight rope, so they can’t go out and hang themselves, or do you trust them, or more importantly, trust the job you’ve done raising them? If you trust your kids, are you sticking your head in the sand or are you allowing them to prove themselves?
When I, at age 14 or 15, started to be drawn into a crowd that walked on the wilder side of life, my parents were concerned. I have no idea what kinds of conversations they shared with each other as they watched and worried. I do, however, remember vividly the way they communicated their concerns with me.
I was called into the den where they both sat. Dad invited me to sit on the arm of his recliner. Mom came to the end of the adjoining sofa. Though I knew something was up, sitting with them like that, I felt safe and unthreatened. Daddy and mom outlined to me what they knew about each of my friends and what they were involved with. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with that information, but that was quickly cleared up for me.
They told me that they thoroughly trusted me and trusted my judgment. I was being told about their concerns so that I could make educated, mature decisions about who to hang out with and when. They had faith in me.
I guess they made the right decision on how to handle that situation with me, because that simple statement of trust changed everything for me. Peer pressure no longer held sway over me. I began to seek out more like-minded friends. In fact, I now like to joke that I went way too easy on my parents, as the rest of my teenage years was spent in a relatively saintly fashion.
I hope I do as well with my own.
© Laura Hedgecock 2011