We are on page 17 in the 2007 edition of this book, with a section entitled, “Planning Ahead, Looking Ahead: Your Child As A Teenager”.
Author Elizabeth Pantley recounts that she has three teenagers in the home and a kindergartner, and how working on both ends of the parenting spectrum is such a wonderful thing. I have to say in my own limited experience of having a twelve year old, an eight year old and a three year old that I feel the same way. Having older children makes you a much better parent to the tiny children under the age of seven!
Elizabeth points out three very interesting questions based upon her experience in having both older and younger children in the home and urges us to all ask ourselves (I have re-phrased these questions a tiny bit):
What would I have done differently with my older children?
What would I do differently with my younger children?
How might I approach parenting if another baby were to enter my life today?
She offers this wise parenting exercise next: “….take the time to envision your child as a young adult. Capture the most important traits and values you hope to see in that beautiful person as well as the relationship you will have with that incredible human being. Use your vision to guide you as you make the most important decisions in your daily life.”
How you parent today DOES affect how your child will be as a teenager. Elizabeth writes, “When it comes to the typical misconduct that parents of teenagers struggle with, the seeds of those behaviors were planted way, way, way back – when the teen was a baby and toddler.”
A chart is offered on pages 20 through 23 that lists some typical teenager behavior, the behavior that might be preferred by other family members instead, and how to plant this seed when a child is young. It is interesting food for thought; take a look!