Commitments

19 Dec

Below is an excerpt from the Treading Water section of The Dad Connection.

If we understand that very often our teenager is generally overwhelmed with the effort it may take them to perform in their individual environment, relate to old and new friends, articulate their interests and emotions, learn what they are being taught, work is some study time, play sports, and on and on…(that was exhausting just thinking of it) then it becomes more obvious that accurately organizing and keeping to a ‘schedule’ might not exactly be high on their priority list; in particular, things (almost anything) that have lessor importance than the exact moment they are in….which is everything to a teenager.

Parents have to be able to ‘absorb’ this time. It is not exactly about being patient. Being patient is very often a passive behavior and absorbing time is more active. We are consciously restructuring the timeline to accommodate changing experiences while still holding on to some semblance of a schedule. We absorb this time by anticipating the interruptions and just expect it. We know there will be endless times where a surprise, “But Mom, I’m supposed to be there at 3:30!”, (and, of course it is already 3:30!) changes our plan. This is hard. Faulting our son/daughter should not be the first reaction, going into a time adjustment should. By not connecting to the tension that typically occurs when breaking a set schedule we are engaging the beginning of the process of ‘absorbing’ time…we are creating a buffer like a shock absorber between our need to get everything done and the loving connection to our child. When a car goes over a bump it doesn’t stop; the shock absorbers soften the impact and stabilize the car and it continues on it’s course. It is not quite the same as patience as I describe in my book but it does requires a similar sense of restraint.

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