Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Growing Up

What is the process of growing up? How do we successfully make the transition from children to adults? It can't be purely a matter of getting bigger and hairier. I'm wondering if 18 is the magic year when a young man begins to move toward becoming a man.

What can you do to move your child to the point where he or she takes responsibility for his or her actions? Is there a systematic way or does it just happen over time? Do some people never grow up? Are some people always feeling responsible for others? I have lots of questions and no good answers.

When your kid's in that zone between child and adult, what can you do to help her or him move forward? Hesitant to nag, can you end up being ineffectual? What's the right amount of guidance, encouragement, butt-kicking?

Of course, this line of thought assumes there is one way for everyone, and maybe that's the problem--everybody is a little different, and we all have our own set of imperfect parents.

For example, suppose I feel overdirected as a child, while also being neglected. As a parent, I then make sure my kid has lots of freedom. And what does he do? Enjoy it as long as he can--putting off the troubles of the real world as much as possible. Who wouldn't? Is there anything wrong with that?

Taking responsibility for one's actions creates a sense of purpose--a feeling of self control. It brings the ability to make choices that can create a big difference in your life. Can it be instilled, or must it be distilled--from experience? You have to find a way to realize that you don't have many options--until you take on the work of taking care of yourself.

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