APSGO Parenting Blog

Who are the 3 most important people in your teen’s life?

  • Their employer
  • Their landlord
  • Their bank (teller, loans officer, bank manager, etc.)

These are the people our teens will be dealing with for the rest of their lives. These are the people who decide to employ them – or not, to rent to them – or not, or to lend them money – or not.This is worth keeping in mind as parents, because those people won’t make excuses for our teens. Either they measure up or they don’t. Either they show up and get the work done or they don’t. Either they pay the rent on time or they don’t. Either they pay their bills on time and improve their credit or they don’t.

A note on disorders: Those with physical disabilities want to be treated, as much as possible, like everyone else. Those with “disorders”, however, expect special treatment, which compounds the problem, because they believe everyone will treat them differently – and they won’t.Do you care about your teen enough to prepare them to be independent?

Here’s how it works:Our teens are dumb when they want us to do something for them.And our teens are smart when they want it and know we won’t do it for them!Discrimination of lowered expectations:”She’s working, and it’s enough that she buys her own clothes and bus fare.”

Working with the expertsThis was the most useful portion of the workshop for me, because this is where Helen pointed out yet again that the real experts in our teens’ lives are us.We’ve been taught that teachers and principals, social workers, therapists, doctors, psychiatrists, and CAS workers are the experts. The truth is they’re not. In fact, they know little or nothing about our teens or us. Most of their “authority” comes from books, and they certainly don’t have the experience that we’ve acquired over the years.

The experts have less experience than we do, and they have less power than we think they do, and that we so readily hand over. Did you know you don’t have to let a CAS worker into your home just because they ask to do a home visit? The only time you have to admit a CAS worker is if they have a warrant.Here’s the overriding and oft-repeated message:

You don’t have to campaign to be your teen’s parent.You already have the job.
So what does this mean? It means that you don’t have to convince or prove to anyone that you’re fit for the job. You already are your teen’s parent. Period.

My court experienceWhen my eldest son was 15, he was charged with truancy. True to form, he failed to show up for court. But I was there, and the judge asked, “Why isn’t your son here?” I replied, “In the same way that I can’t make him attend school, I can’t make him attend court.” After a brief shocked silence, the judge said, “Right. I get that.” Apparently this was new information!

You call the shots!
A mother of 5 in our group was meeting weekly with her entire family and a couple of CAS therapists to work out their differences, but the 1-hour sessions had become all about “Let’s bash mom,” and she was pretty distraught.

I asked her why she was volunteering for this abuse, and she just looked at me dumbfounded. So we talked it through, and she came up with a plan.

Five minutes into the next meeting, she said, “Clearly this is turning into another mom-bashing session. So I’ll just go have a coffee and pick you up in an hour.”

The room fell silent. No one spoke. No one breathed. The meeting ended shortly thereafter, and a CAS worker phoned her a few days later to let her know the file had been closed because clearly the family could manage fine without their help.

Yes, you really can be the authority in your own life!

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Association of Parent Support Groups in Ontario (APSGO)