[Discuss-sudbury-model] parenting teens

From: Ann Ide <ann.ide_at_rcn.com>
Date: Tue Sep 28 14:39:00 2004

Hi everyone,

Just when you think you're getting the hang of it, a new stage comes along, right ? My son is now 14, and I'm feeling like I don't know how to make judgement calls as his parent anymore. As a Sudbury Valley kid, he has grown to expect trust at school and at home. So far, I haven't had a problem with giving it to him. But now he is beginning to ask for trust where I am not so sure it is okay. For example, he had 5 friends sleepover here over the weekend, ages 12-13. After dark,they wanted to walk down to the neighborhood center and hang out ( where there is a pizza shop, dunkin donuts, etc. ). Around 10 pm, when they still weren't home, I sent my husband out to look for them. He came back saying they said they would be home by midnight. They were just hanging around and talking; and he was fine with it. He did it when he was a kid, roaming all over. I was not okay with it. We live in a very safe neighborhood. I don't think I am concerned about them being approached or attacked, altho' they could meet up with other kids looking for trouble; but unlikely around here. Still......

I have read that the part of the brain that is responsible for judgement isn't fully developed until much later in life; and that is one reason why so many teenagers make "mistakes". They are convinced they know what they're doing. ( I think teenagers are convinced they know everything else, too. I did! Must be the hormone surges.) Anyway, I know that to learn judgement one needs to exercise it and learn through experience; but how far do I go to allow that to happen.

Some parents allow the girls and boys to sleep in the same room on coed sleepovers; otrhers don't. I'm sure more things will show up. What criteria do I use in deciding how much to let my teenager make his own decisions; and when do I intervene? And, if I do, how do I do it without resentment ? So often it is just an intangible comfort zone, without any rational reason to articulate.

What have you folks learned ?


Ann Ide
Received on Tue Sep 28 2004 - 14:38:51 EDT

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