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Acceptance and Identity are very challenging in a world that provides so many alternatives that are wrapped in false promise

REGARDING: Parenting Waze; Time Magazine (Pg 59) August 17th 2015.

It is convenient to use computer navigation for driving however no program will ever be as good the parent you are to your family, or I am to mine. I have twin boys who are teenagers.

I believe boundary, structure, expectations, accomplishments, and affirmations are the foundation of a successful parenting strategy. Learning by making mistakes is what life has been about for those who will not learn from more experienced people in their lives. Your 20 year old son may not make a pediatrician appointment, while my 13 year olds will not always put away their clothes, wash their faces, or make their beds. We must never forget the developmental place in time they inhabit, and the social world they navigate in school.

Tasks of acceptance and identity are very challenging in a world that provides so many alternatives that are wrapped in false promise. Young people are faced with more information while trying to become autonomous. The variety and quality of role models has never been greater for good or for bad. I do not believe my sons make stupid mistakes, just mistakes that are made from lack of experience without full consideration of risk and reward due to an age appropriate impulsive, reactionary problem solving process. Many adults lack the ability to thoughtfully consider their responses to stress as well, as we see in daily driving and interaction in lines, and other anonymous social situations.

At this point in my parenting life I believe my responsibility is to continually point toward a goal of self-sufficiency, industry, creativity, compassion, acceptance, pride in self, pride in work, and overall confidence in oneself. I choose to affirm and accept my sons as they are, while separating who they are and what they do. Making a bad choice does not make a bad person it just makes a learning experience.

As the co-captain of the family ship with my wonderful partner, we observe while my young mates try to work the lines, ask for help, and go ashore on leave (a metaphor for leaving the house every day and returning) . My ship, and home, will be secured with experience, love and perspective, waiting for their return. I will not turn over the helm of our family to someone who’s not qualified to navigate my life, or think through the long term results of planning and action, just as a captain will not give a mate the helm on a stormy night. I will let my sons work the lines, do the tasks, and fail as they will, but it is ultimately my responsibility to set the course by example. The parenting course we have set began with the construction of our family values, goals and identity.

I have addressed many of the responsibilities of parenting in my book “4015 days” which I would like to discuss with interested people. I have also just published “Virtual Immersion Drowns Holistic Development”, a book about the influence of virtuality and small screens on child and family development. Sincerely, David Carr, M.A.

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