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Swimming with the sharks with a life jacket (isn’t good enough)

I know we want our children to grow and be independent, but you can still parent while they have independence.

My daughter is 18 and will be going to college next month, but my daughter still says, “Mom, is it okay if xxx and I go to x? Sometimes it’s, “Mom, xxx wants me to go with him to xx!” The answer is always either, when and then sure! I know she’s an adult, but it’s the respect that I have with them, she has for herself and we have as a family.

It’s not being strict, it’s setting boundaries and allowing her to have accountability. That same accountability goes to him and even the female friends she is with. I look right into his eyes and say, “I trust you with her. I believe in you!”

I’ve been her age so I’m realistic, but I don’t make her feel that age has anything to do what is ‘supposed’ to be by the world’s standards.

She has full control of what goes on when she gets to where she’s going, but sometimes kids need to know that you care in order to care about what they do! I care about her body, her future, her decisions... on return, she will do the same. No one is perfect and I don’t expect my kids to be perfect. My sons are real grown and they do the same when they are in town! It’s their foundation.

When you ask them to check in, assure them it’s not checking up! If anything should happen, you can:

•Say what they were wearing

•Who they left with

•The last place they were supposed to be

•How long they’ve been gone.

•An expected time to return

It’s smart parenting, not helicopter parenting. Give them their space without throwing them into the water with the sharks just because they have a life jacket. Believe me, they will thank you later. If you raise them that way, they’ll think nothing of it.


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