Last year Jim Konrad, an editor of a Connecticut newspaper, and contributing writer for the Partnership at drugfree.org wrote about some of the lessons he has learned over the past 14 years of parenthood. His son was just completing his last year in middle school and they were gearing up as a family to embrace high school and all that stage in life brings. Here are a few of his lessons learned:
1. Don’t impose your standards for pop culture. My
kids hate most of the music that I listen to today. But they love a
bunch of the songs I listened to while growing up in the 1970s and then
in the 1980s, and I really like a lot of their songs. When my mp3 player
comes out in the car, the kids plug into their iPods. But we can
usually find something we all like on the radio. The same is true for
clothing. Years of arguing about how many inches of boxers can be shown
in public yielded me nothing. The jeans or the shirts remained as saggy
and baggy as my son wants them to be. But you know what? He doesn’t want
them to be that saggy and baggy anymore. Now, about that haircut ….
2. Do impose your standards for morals, ethics and faith, without worry of peer pressure.
My son wants to see all kinds of movies, and I’d like to take him to
many of them. But movies are rated R for a reason - they have adult
content and he is not yet an adult. So, even if his friends are watching
these movies, he isn’t (as far as I know). And, really, do either of us
really want to be sitting next to each other during an extended
romantic scene? Also, remind your children about your values and what
they mean to you — and even explain how you came to them (many times
it’s by making the same mistakes you don’t want them to make). That
includes faith. If you want them to live it, you have to live it too.
3. Act now, or forever hold your peace. Too busy to
chaperone your child on a field trip, but you’ll do it next year? Or you
will think about coaching that sports team next season, but not now?
You probably won’t. The older children get, the more independent they
are. So take advantage of being actively involved with your children as
much as you can for as long as you can. By high school, you will almost
certainly be more a viewer of your child’s activities than a
participant. So that’s why next week I’m going to play kickball with my
10-year-old daughter at school for an hour — because she asked me to.
4. Let your child experiment with (almost) everything.
My children have played sports, taken lessons in dance, music and judo,
participated in Scouts, rode horses and more. Some activities were
long-term, others for only a few weeks. But they got a chance to see
what they did and didn’t like to do. Sometimes those activities were
expensive, but the memories and experience will last them a long time.
And if they stay busy by finding something they like, they may be less
prone to experiment with things you don’t want them to.
The Drug-Free Coalition of Tippecanoe County encourages all dad's to embrace fatherhood and continue to help us make Tippecanoe County a healthier and safer place for kids to live, learn and play! Thank you for doing your part and enjoy this Father's Day!