Oh those dreaded words. Why on earth did I encourage my teens by telling them how mature they have gotten? What was I thinking? Oh yes, we as parents want to encourage our teens and letting them know how they have grown and matured, however, those words will backfire on you one day.
Teens today use your own words right back at you and this is one of them. Don’t get me wrong. I love to encourage my girls and see them exceed in ways that will build their character and self-esteem. I believe every parent has that desire to see their teen excel and be on their own more.
But as they age, there comes more responsibilities and independence. We must to a point allow them that opportunity to grow in these areas since it determines their outcome as an adult. I have one leaving the nest and another thinking they are old enough to pretend they are leaving the nest. I can’t treat my almost 16 year old like a 12 year old. There comes a time in which I have to determine what level of maturity she is now to allow her to do the things she has her heart set to do.
All teens think they are mature enough to date, mature enough to drive, mature enough to get a job, mature enough to wear make-up and so on. And some crazy teens think they can be mature enough to get married, live on their own or have a baby. Yes, there are teens out there that think this.
So how do we handle a teen that’s in “maturity” crisis? When I say crisis, the term “I’m mature enough!” is said so many times that you begin to wonder if you have a hearing problem. Being desperate, they think this is their only out when it comes to a sticky situation or something really desirable that they want to do.
You can give them your thoughts on it and maybe they’ll listen. Most times however, they don’t like your answer and then use the “my older sister was allowed” or “you were that age when you did it” and so the drama unfolds and you wished that word was never created.
So honestly, how do we deal with a teenager who wants to show you how mature they are? I believe that goals can go a long way in this area. Set short and long term goals for them. So if your son wants a dirt bike, prepare a list of things to show proof that he is mature enough to get that bike. Let him talk to others about cost, care and how to ride one as well as what ages do best with that bike. If he can’t follow through with his list, then the ball is in your court and what your next course of action is.
Do make the list encouraging. Don’t make it so difficult that the poor kid will NEVER get that totally awesome dirt bike. Use wisdom on what goes on that list and what age appropriateness for the things they want, like a phone, a computer, etc… When it comes to something more personal like dating, that is something that needs to be handled by the parents and parents only. But also be willing to compromise so that you are comfortable and the teen feels like they still gained that maturity.
In the end, everyone in the family will mature when all is resolved.