Lead or Follow — A Parent’s Dilemma

I was scanning the headlines on TwinCities.com (Pioneer Press) and read an editorial that left me completely deflated. The premise was that despite doing the “must dos” on the checklist for great parenting — specifically parenting that will help prevent kids from getting into drugs, alcohol and addiction – this particular parent’s kid started doing drugs and was addicted.

Most people feel like they’re doing everything they can to encourage their kids to make good choices. So, all this conscious effort, but now I have to accept that my children may choose a reckless path anyway? Ugh. What else can you do?

Some tactics we’re trying: praying together, sports, giving financial and personal responsibility at home, talking openly and regularly, being visible and the most annoying, elusive one: modeling the way. Not modeling any preferred “way” in my college scrapbooks, but thankfully I grew up. Hopefully “Do as I say, not as I did” actually works.

I even did several Internet searches (favorite one is posted below) on helping kids avoid the addictive substances path, but they’re all missing what I think is the most important point: what if it doesn’t work?

To steal the lyrics from an Everything But the Girl song, “If you’re lost I’m right behind. ‘Cause we walk the same line.” Maybe I just need to keep myself strong, empathetic and connected to the girls for when they mess up, because they will, right? Maybe not drugs and alcohol but some other mistake.  And try hard to do the things mentioned earlier, because they may inspire making good choices, but they’re also the right things to do.

And now, let go.