Actually, I do drive my kids places and, since I am currently the only driver in our house of five busy children, I feel like I do a lot of driving! My out-of-town husband insists that our teens take up the slack by creatively finding ways to get around town.
Although friends and acquaintances try to sound as though they are impressed with our parenting decision, I’ve noticed that they keep driving their mini-vans and 15 passenger vans to and fro many times a day and to many activities.
This past year, as the leader of a Speech and Debate club for teens, I have been the sounding board for frustrated moms of other teens and I’ve learned something!
Moms of teens are tired. Moms of teens are frustrated. Moms of teens wish their kids were more grateful and more aware of the sacrifices their parents make for them.
I submit that part of encouraging gratefulness in our teens is allowing them the opportunity to work hard to get places!
My time as a mother is valuable and gas is expensive! Our local bus system is decent and affordable and our young people (soon to be independent adults) can get themselves around town (by golly!).
Still, when I find that our family seems to stand out because we let our kids find their own transportation occasionally, I do wonder, “Are we being too hard on our teens?”
One doubt-slayer is John Rosemond, a psychologist who has written syndicated columns in newspapers for many years. His advice is always loaded with sensible, matter-of-fact horse sense (for a psychologist) and I have just recently learned that he is a solid Christian.
Dr. Rosemond wrote the following “rights” for children and I found them to be a breath of fresh air. These are helpful reminders for parents of all ages of children.
The Bill of Rights for Children by John Rosemond
Because it is the most character-building, two-letter word in the English language, children have the right to hear their parents say “No” at least three times a day.
Children have the right to find out early in their lives that their parents don’t exist to make them happy, but to offer them the opportunity to learn the skills they will need to eventually make themselves happy.
Children have a right to scream all they want over the decisions their parents make, albeit their parents have the right to confine said screaming to certain areas of their homes.
Children have the right to find out early that their parents care deeply for them but don’t give a hoot what their children think about them at any given moment in time.
Because it is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, children have the right to hear their parents say “Because I said so” on a regular and frequent basis.
Because it is the most character-building activity a child can engage in, children have the right to share significantly in the doing of household chores.
Every child has the right to discover early in life that he isn’t the center of the universe (or his family or his parents’ lives), that he isn’t a big fish in a small pond, and that he isn’t the Second Coming, so as to prevent him from becoming an insufferable brat.
Children have the right to learn to be grateful for what they receive, therefore, they have the right to receive all of what they truly need and very little of what they simply want.
Children have the right to learn early in their lives that obedience to legitimate authority is not optional, that there are consequences for disobedience, and that said consequences are memorable and, therefore, persuasive.
Every child has the right to parents who love him/her enough to make sure he/she enjoys all of the above rights.