It was late, I was flipping the channels and I got sucked in by the show "Intervention."
I guess we all have a fascination with taking a peek into the lives of others (oh, Hello, dear reader!) Sometimes it is nice to see that we are not alone in our daily craziness. Other times, it makes us thank our lucky stars that our biggest problem with our kids is an occasional lapse in judgement rather than a consuming addiction.
It's hard to grasp how parents can get to the point where they allow their child to run the show. I know we all have baggage that we bring to our parenting gig - perhaps guilt over some real or imagined situation that leads us to "go lightly" when it comes to discipline. Maybe a desire to make things "better" for our kids than they were for us. Or perhaps, after awhile, you just get tired of fussing all the time. I've been there/done that on all counts.
I have yet to see a situation, though, where erasing the consequences for a young person has served them well. In last night's show, a young woman was addicted to pain killers and her family was so afraid that she would run off that they would actually take her to prostitue herself in order to get drugs. Her mother didn't want to tell her "No." It was tearing apart their entire family.
The other day I talked about the importance of keeping the lines of communication open with your kids - but that's a two-way street. As much as you need to be there to listen to them, to support them, you also have to step in and put your foot down when you feel that they are endangering themselves or others. And you have to pick and choose which situations you're going to help them with and allow them to suffer the consequences of their actions from time to time.
I thought it was tough to clean up after them all the time when they were little, but the hardest part of being a parent is knowing when to tell them that they have to clean it up themselves.
It's a balancing act, for sure. But I think that learning to dole out your "interventions" early-on, in small ways, can prevent the need for a big dramatic "intervention" down the road.
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