You expose tender seedlings to the outdoors gradually. That is what makes them strong, beautiful, useful plants that offer healthy fruit and delight you for a long time. Plants thrive on sun and water. They don’t thrive when it is cold, frozen and windy.
Children and adolescents are a bit like young plants: they need a home (in other words, a nursery, a place with boundaries and forgiveness) to come back to after exploring the outdoors. If you shower them with care and with forgiveness, teach them what is appropriate, teach them boundaries, give them a place where they are welcome, they will develop well.
They may not have a midlife crisis later on; they won’t have to “break down”, “break out”, find themselves in intolerable conditions in mid-life, feeling that life has passed them by or that they were living other peoples’ designs for them. They most likely won’t rebel in their 30s against whoever they project on to be their parents from a long time ago — essentially, it is the parents they rebel against, argue and wrestle with –, or get pulled into dramatic situations, because they have learned in their home to disconnect on time (!) from what harms them and makes them unwell… and to go back to themselves, introspect, redirect their course, develop their strengths and their potential… They will not spend time in prisons, rehabs, long court cases, endless therapies that show no results, or thick regret – because someone was there for them when they were growing up.
Men who were taught nonabusive way of relating won’t abuse their partners, have sex addictions or consume trafficked women or children.
Women who were taught nonabusive ways of relating won’t get tricked and lured by the promises of ill-willed men and understand who is good to them, who is able to stay good to them and who supports them.
There is one time to be 15. It is when you are 15.
A lot of unhelpful advice is being given by people who are not particularly successful parents, but sound like they know what they are talking about: assertive and self-congratulatory hot air and mediocre or bad results. Not a peep about how unhappy their offspring is.
Those who I consider successful parents parented pretty much in the same way a gardener cares for his plants: slowly, with patience, watching what works for the individual plant, allowing more of that, keeping elements and pests at bay, and, later on, as the crops mature, with a sense of letting go and confidence that everything was given for the plant to keep growing and living.
May it be of benefit. Love begins with you.
8 June 2019