TEEN BOUNDRIES


Elephants are big hairy animals, they have dirty stringy hair, they have dirty toenails, they eat between 100 and 200 kg’s of food per day – when they have depleted the food in one area they just move to another area where there is food. They spend their days hanging out with other elephants, eating, dipping in and out mud pools, eating, fighting for the hottest chick-ellie, eating and just causing general devestation wherever they go.

In fact they are EXACTLY the same as the average teenager.

Lets analyse this, teenagers are hairy, many have dirty toenails, they eat between 100 and 200 kg’s of food per day – when they have finished the food in one area they move to the next area where there is food. Teenagers spend their days hanging out with other teens, eating, swimming, eating, fighting for the hottest chick, eating and just causing general devestation wherever they go.

Parents spend hours tearing out their hair on how to tame their teen, they read books, speak to other parents, watch OPRAH and surf the net. All in the ultimate aim of setting realistic boundaries for your teen.

STOP all this wasting of time frustrated parents …… you are looking in the wrong place …. “where?” you ask in anticipation ………… “TELL US NOW!!” ….. you screech ….

Well my dear friends start looking at what the Game Rangers are doing.

Lets start at the beginning. As you drive into a game park there is an automatic open and close gate, after that there is another gate with an electric thingie that no self-respecting Elephant will walk over, only after this is the manned boom gate, and only after the manned boom gate is the HUGE park area.

The first thing you see when you get to the boomed gate is just inside the gates are huge piles of Ellie doo doo.

“Do the Elephants come right here?” I ask the gate guard

“Yes” he answers (read – “you dumb tourist no we just place big piles of doo doo here for your entertainment”).

“And what do you do if he wants to get out?”

“We just open the boom and let him go through”

“Ummm, doesnt he try to get out the gate?”

“No never, he just comes through, sniffs around and moves back into the park”.

And here lies the secret of setting teenage boundaries. The clever Game Rangers have worked out a 3-phase boundry setting scenario. The first one the Ellie gets to looks all important, there is a boom, a pretty gate house, a guard and the Ellie reckons – “I can beat this – let me show them who is really in charge” – so at the gatehouse he waggles his ears, parks a doo doo and snorts around sounding a looking very important and in doing this the boom is generously opened for him. The real boundry is set just after this but Ellie is not worried about it because he has won, he has got through the gate.

In the park itself there is another set of rules, (let us call it the norms of society) where each animal has its place, and if an animal is not careful, respectful and polite he will be killed and eaten.

When setting boundries for our teens we can set up a fake boom, and when our teen stomps, snorts and parks a doo doo we just open the fake boom (fake boundry) and let them through. They will be so chuffed in thinking they have won that they will not notice the real boundry just in front of them.

This is a win-win situation. They think that they have won and we as parents will know we have won.

In the big world there will be another set of rules and if he and she is not careful, respectful and polite, he or she will be killed and eaten, but you know what …… that is their problem its all part of letting go.

HAPPY PARENTING.

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One thought on “TEEN BOUNDRIES

  1. My 18 year old was invited to spend 10 days with a friend in Knysna over December. The friend is an only child, much doted, on but his parents are very restricting (boundry driven) and he has become rebellious over the last two years. I think that Joshua was invited to go along as a “steady” force. The dad approach my husband before leaving and asked what rules there were for Josh. “What rules?”, Bruce asked. Could they offer him a beer if there was a braai, the dad asked, My husbands reply “Ask Josh”. That caused confusion. Bruce explained that Josh would tell them what was OK and that we trusted him to not do what was not OK. He did us proud. We have been rather slack with boundries for our kids or perhaps just very lucky with kids who go by “right and wrong”. Josh is of the opinion that the friend is rebelling because he is overwhelmed by the rules. What do I know? I am just a parent so that tip comes from a teen. For what it is worth.

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