This is often easier said than done – as parents it is our natural impulse to want to smooth our kids’ paths as much as possible. But recent studies have shown that kids who are over-parented actually wind up as “anxious, narcissistic young adults who have trouble coping with the demands of life.”* At the same time, I am not advocating that you step back from your teenager’s lives altogether. It is a new and complicated world out there, and our kids are dealing with much more pressure than we knew – witness the high rates of suicides, drug addictions and drinking. It is important for us to be involved enough in their lives that we can discern the danger signals quickly enough and can catch them before they go down.
The bottom line is that like most parenting activities, this too is a tricky walk on the tightrope, and it is good to ask yourself this question often: Am I doing for my child what he is perfectly capable of, because I am afraid he will fail, or am I simply checking on him to ensure his safety, and provide the right encouragement and structure to make his own decisions? If it is the latter, take a bow, because you are an involved parent!