Here’s one for all you parents out there. When your kid starts to spread their wings – and it seems they’re doing it at a younger age with each generation – you have to decide…to clip or not to clip? Do you let them fly a little and possibly fall? Or do you tie them down to the nest and just say no? I suppose it depends on a combination of things – what they want to do, how old they are, what the risks involved are, and so on. So, it’s on a case by case basis. And you hope that, not only will they use the common sense and good judgment you tried to drill into their head, but that you will make the right choice as well. Being too strict will likely encourage rebellion and lack of respect. Being too permissive might encourage the wrong activities and put your kid in an unnecessarily dangerous situation. But cutting that invisible umbilical cord that has tied you to your child since birth is a tough thing to do, and the tendency is to cut slowly rather than with one sweeping blow.
So, when Johnny wants to take the car and stay out late with friends, what do you say? What questions do you ask? He’s got his license, and now he wants his freedom. When Jane wants to go on that weekend trip with classmates, both boys and girls, do you let her? She’s using her own money that she made babysitting. She’s almost 18 and she’ll be off to college soon anyway. She’s almost grown, and she wants to start acting like it. These are tough choices parents face with great frequency, but it seems that doesn’t make the decision making process any easier.