One of the hardest parts about raising young dudes and dudettes to adulthood is that we have to, at some point, let go. After all, that’s the whole purpose of parenting: raise them as best your able and then let them go out on their own to start making their own mistakes.
It’s difficult when those kids who you’ve been feeding and guiding and mentoring for so many years start to act in ways you know you didn’t teach. Sometimes that can be something as silly as liking your arch rival’s college football team instead of your own, to something as serious as going out and stealing stuff, or worse.
As much as it hurts to admit this, young dudes and dudettes aren’t simply the sum of the bits we cram into them. They have their own thing or thirty-two to say and, by golly, they’re going to do so. Often. And loudly. So what can we do to offset this?
Well, that’s not exactly true.
Contrary to what some parents might believe or hope for, children are not born a blank slate. Rather, they come into the world with predetermined abilities, proclivities and temperaments that nurturing parents may be able to foster or modify, but can rarely reverse.
The goal of parenting should be to raise children with a healthy self-image and self-esteem, ingredients vital to success in school and life. That means accepting children the way they are born — gay or straight, athletic or cerebral, gentle or tough, highly intelligent or less so, scrawny or chubby, shy or outgoing, good eaters or picky ones.