Today is a big milestone for #2. He turns 16. The 16th year is a new adventure for teenagers. Driving (legally) becomes a reality, most teens get their first job, dating becomes a thing (still unsure how I feel about this), and responsibility starts to increase. With added responsibilities comes added opportunities to start making decisions on their own. With the added stresses of peer pressure, being the pressurer, and trying to look cool, sometimes those decisions aren’t the best. Just ask #2. It is extremely difficult, as a parent, to allow your child to make mistakes when it come to decision making. We want to make sure our children are safe and happy. But, our job, as parents, is to teach our children to live independently from us, to be functional, contributing members of society. For us to succeed in this task, for THEM to succeed in this task, we have to step back and allow all those mistakes to happen. Yes, we still need to make sure they are safe, we need to make sure all of their needs are being met; but, by padding their lives and removing all obstacles, we aren’t helping the next generation at all. We are creating helpless individuals who will not know how to do the most basic of daily living tasks. So, teach your kids that every action, whether good or bad, has a consequence. Let them make those dumb mistakes (boys make those quite often by the way), let them have a little freedom when it comes to choosing classes, choosing friends. Don’t come to their rescue everytime they forget an assignment at home. Don’t throw a fit if your athlete doesn’t get the amount of playing time you think they should get. And, if they do make a bigger mistake, allow them to have to deal with the consequences/punishment of those actions. We aren’t doing them any favors otherwise. Just always remember to let them know, show them, that no matter what they do, you are their safe place and that the love you have for them is unconditional. The teen years, like the years before, pass so quickly. Enjoy them while you can. Happy Birthday #2!