So your child is doing things you are not that happy about, or having problems that they complain about. When do you butt in, and when do you stay out of it? The question is often a difficult one, but the truth is, as a parent we always want to stick our nose in, and solve all problems, but in order to raise healthy, happy children, we need to give them the chance to solve some of their own problems. The following are some tips for when to butt in, and when to stay out of it.
1. If it is about their friends. Children often fight with their friends, and it is usually about silly or stupid things. They may come to you for help, or want you to do something about it. You may want to call the other child’s parent, but it is important that you allow your child the opportunity to work things out on their own.
2. If it is about their expressing themselves or deciding who they are. Often kids will have problems and do things as a result of trying to determine who they are, what they want from life, etc. They may go through phases where they dress or act a certain way, or get involved with certain people, maybe even people you would prefer they not be friends with, but the fact is, if it is their way of finding who they are, do not butt in, as often kids will rebel, and make choices out of spite, or as a way to prove to their parents that they are grown up. So do not get involved unless they are at risk.
Your child’s taste in music is pretty harmless.
3. Minor things. Sometimes it is tempting to micromanage your child’s life, but unless it is going to impact their future, and really matters, do not step in. For example, what movie they see with their friends is not going to matter, but the classes they take may, as it can affect their likelihood of getting into college, etc. So, stay out of things that do not matter.
1. Puts them at risk. If their behavior, activity, or situation is dangerous or putting them at risk in some way, then it is time to butt in. Are they in trouble of addiction? Are they risking teen pregnancy? Are they being stalked or harassed? If so, then butt in.
2. Illegal activity. If your child is somehow involved in illegal activity, it is time to step in. Shoplifting, drugs, vandalism, and the like are all illegal activities that if your child is involved in requires that you step in and put your foot down. Butt in if their actions are currently illegal, or if they are thinking about doing things that are illegal.
3. Impact their future negatively. If your child is doing something that is going to put their future goals at risk, butt in. If the problems they face can hurt their future, then butt in. If not, then let them work it out on their own.