Feb 23, 2012

Boundaries of Conformity

"A parent's role is educating, not control. The child must eventually become his own adult self."

Teenagers are interesting- I note as I compare my 14 year old with who he is now to he used to be just a few years ago.  He has become his own thinking personality, his views are expanding, negotiations on fairness have elaborated and he's adamant on being who he wants to be.

Puberty births a whole new life. Before puberty, children do as told and accept others for how they are- loosely.  A child at walking and talking age begin to explore- but they don't know boundaries, they must be learned and they learn through trial and error.  The child will often test these boundaries to determine if the boundary is flexible. This is learning. Every thing a child tests builds his foundation.

Children, in general move about the social norms of the parents' standards whether or not the standards are liked.

At the age of puberty, they focus on boundaries again.

Imagine yourself standing in the center of a large circle. The circle drawn in permanent marker and cannot be changed. The circle represents law and other social standards. Standing in the center means you dont cross the lines, you dont break the laws, you conform to the boundaries.

During puberty age, a teen may begin to test laws and standards to determine whether or not they are flexible. He has also noticed that everyone's standard circle is different.  He is motivated to discover or build his own circle and may choose to experiment other circles. A parent may constantly try to pull him to stay in the circle or to force them to conform to the their liking but the teen must be valued for his newly growing self.

I, as a mother, respect that.  I know parents who will not allow their boys to grow their hair, for example.  I see no point in forcing an appearance on my child.  He knows that when he starts working that his employer may require short hair but until then, he is building his "circle."

Healthy and successful parenting comes through guidance and support, not punishment and condemnation.

A parent's role is educating not control. The child must eventually become his own adult self.

Read Understanding Parenting

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