“REMEMBER WHEN YOUR teen was a baby just learning to walk? What a milestone. You didn‘t want to miss any of it, and you were very supportive and encouraging. You would take her little hands in yours and start walking along with her—but you knew you had to let go in order for her to walk by herself. You also knew she might fall when you let go, but you had faith that this was just part of the process. So, you let go, and she took a few wobbly steps and fell. What did you do? You probably encouraged, Look what you did You took a few steps. You can do it. Let ‘s try again. You were both having a great time. When she got tired of the game and didn’t want to practice walking anymore, you backed off and waited awhile. You knew she would master walking in time, and you were having a ball supporting her in the process. Meanwhile, you prepared her environment. You childproofed your home. You covered sharp corners and removed breakable objects that could hurt your child. You created a safe space in which she could expand her skills. We call this bridge building, and we think of you as a bridge builder. When your children are small and helpless, you build bridges that have sides close together, so your children have safety with room to move about, experiment, learn, and grow. As your children get older and more skilled, you move the sides of their bridges farther apart so they have more room to move about freely while continuing to be safe…”
NOW YOU HAVE a teen who is learning to be an adult. Where are the sides of the bridge today? Are you closing them in because of your fears? Are you expanding them to support her process? Do you know you have to let go before she can ever master adulthood? Do you know that when you do let go, she will stumble and fall? When she falls or makes a mistake, do you understand that this is just part of the growing process? (Didn‘t you stumble and fall and make mistakes?) Do you encourage and cheer and show your faith in her to make it? Do you offer guidance and teach skills in respectful ways that invite listening and provide practice—whoever said that practice means perfect? Practice is part of the developmental growth process.”
Want to read more?
The above is an excerpt from the fabulous book by Jane Nelsen & Lynn Lott, Positive Discipline for Teenagers. Read more here.
Image Source: Positive Discipline Blog