Childhood is Fleeting

I was intrigued by the title. 

“Quit Doing These 8 Things for Your Teen This Year if You Want to Raise an Adult.”

So I clicked and read the list of ways to make your teen more responsible, autonomous, and ready to function in the real world. Several of my Facebook friends reposted this article, some saying their teens already do all these things; others posted wondering about the merit of the author’s suggestions. 

This article struck a nerve and left me feeling conflicted. 

Where exactly is that tipping point between raising your children to be capable, self-reliant adults while still providing them with a safety net and unconditional love?

I really don’t know.

My teenage years were so different from those of my own teens. There was no social media to document my every awkward moment. I was a senior in high school before I gave any thought to applying for college. I participated in after-school activities that I enjoyed without a thought as to what would set me apart on a college application.  

The article suggests that you walk away from doing these 8 things for your teen this school year:
1. Waking them up in the morning
2. Making their breakfast and packing their lunch
3. Filling out their paperwork
4. Delivering their forgotten items
5. Making their failure to plan your emergency
6. Doing all of their laundry
7. Emailing and calling their teachers and coaches
8. Meddling in their academics

I cringe a little because I still routinely do five of the eight on the list for my thirteen year old twins. Despite that, I’m teaching my girls responsibility and essential life skills. They take pride learning to do things for themselves. I don’t expect them to consistently do these tasks, and they know I’m there when they need me. Always. And this gives them security.

Childhood is fleeting; it is not adult bootcamp.

A teenager’s world is a strange limbo between childhood and adulthood. One minute they are independent and self-sufficient, the next they want you to fix their problems, make their mac ’n cheese, and give them a hug. I have no doubt that my daughters will one day be responsible adults. But for now, I want to give them a chance to be children just a little longer. If that means I wake them up, make their lunches, and do their laundry, so be it.

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