“Our job is not to raise big children but young adults” – Michelle Obama

james shone

By James Shone

This is an adaptation of a quote from Michelle Obama which I really like. To take the controlling approach with teenagers does them no favours, instead we should have in mind that we want to create adults that will cope in this world. I really enjoyed meeting Alicia Drummond, creator of the very successful ‘Teen Tips’ this week.  She was quite clear about the importance of having this approach and allowing our teenagers more control of the small things – for example encouraging them to book their own appointment or a table in a restaurant… small things but significant.  Alicia also stresses that the world currently needs our young people to be socially confident, socially competent, creative and have an ability to think critically.  If we as parents do too much for them or put too much pressure on their performance academically this can hinder them rather than help them.

I also encourage parents to adopt the ‘beside’ posture which means that we are ‘journeying’ beside them rather than between them and the world. We should often be asking what they think they should do, rather than instructing them to do it. We want them to have a robust confidence in decision making  so that when they move on and out of home they make the right choices. I could go on and on but let’s try and remember that our key job is in preparing our young people to take on the challenges of adult hood.


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