For seven months now I've been writing an advice column I was asked to write for Insight, a Tampa Bay newspaper. Then two months ago, another newpaper, Epoch, asked if they could cross post the advice column. From time to time I publish some of the questions and answers here on my blog. Here's one that published last month. It comes from a reader who is getting hassled by family for the way she's raising her kids.
I am often criticized by my family for how my husband and I are raising our kids who are teenagers. The ironic thing is - some of their kids have gone off the deep end, so to speak, yet they criticize me for being strict. It’s very frustrating.
My best advice to you is to get yourself a blindfold and a good pair of ear plugs. You'll need it to block out what family members and friends who don't share your values will say.
My husband and I often heard these things over the years:
“Aren’t your expectations a little overboard?”’
"Do you really think all this discipline is going to work? Isn't that just doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? That's kinda insanity if you ask me..."
"You don't let them stay overnight with friends from school if you don't know the kids parents well or agree with their values? Isn't that kind of controlling?"
"Kids will be kids. We did a bunch of crazy crap too when we were kids. Why should your kids be any different? You turned out alright in the end."
"You should just let them go out with whoever they want to, and not worry so much. You're too strict. You're like a parent from the 1950's or something..."
"You're so old school."
"You can't put your kids in a bubble, you know."
Okay, so hindsight is 20/20.
Most of the people who said things like this to us now have older teenagers or adult-children who are a rip roaring mess! I'm so glad I had tough skin while raising teenagers. At the end of the day you're the one who's going to have to answer for how you raise your kids. So raise them right. You're not raising kids, you're raising adults.
Go forward with confidence!