I AM not a fearful person, but I worry. The news headlines are troubling. Kids taking LSD, teens swan-diving off balconies, high on synthetic drugs, children sexting, and one punch, a coward punch, can kill a young man. And it got me to thinking.
Underneath every headline, parents say the same thing: This is a good kid, a straight-A student, this kid never does anything wrong.
It feels as though those kids could be my kids. Those kids are not much different to my kids, raised in families similar to mine.
I’ve been thinking about long-range family forecasting lately. No, that’s not a thing, it’s a term I made up to describe how I think about the future of my family. What are my goals? How do I want things to turn out. What sort of family do I want to have throughout the terror of the teenage years and beyond, into adulthood. How do I want us to interact with each other?
Predicting the future for my family
This long-range family forecasting on the surface seems straightforward and you might dismiss it, thinking, ‘Well, I want what every parent wants” but that’s not necessarily the same for every parent. Some parents want their kids to be independent and move out early, so that the parents can get their lives back and start living for themselves. Others want their kids to remain with them forever and can’t bear the thought of them ever moving out. (I’m not one of those!).
Close your eyes and think for a minute – what will your kids be like when they hit adulthood. What do you think they will be doing? Will they go to university? Will they have a car? A job? A part-time job? Will they have a large group of friends, or are they more likely to have one or two mates or ‘besties’?
And while you’ve got that picture in your head, put yourself in that picture. How do you fit into their lives? Are you irrelevant? Or are you an integral part of their personal support structure? Friend or foe?
For me, I pictured something like a cross between a friend and a tourist guide for life’s big moments. Someone my children seek out to get help with big decisions, but also someone with whom they share life’s smaller moments and fun times.
When my kids are 18 years old, and possibly have moved out, maybe not, I want them to love coming around to see Mum and Dad. I want them to be connected to us, to call for advice, to drop in and see us when they get a new outfit. I want my daughter to call and suggest we go out for manis and pedis so she can tell me about the new boy she met. I want my son to bring his clunker of a car around for Nick to look at and get rid of the weird noise that happens when he gets to stop lights.
I don’t want to be the sort of mum whose calls they ignore, the sort of mum who triggers fits of eye-rolling and long sighs because she’s so nosey and frustrating.
So – now that we’ve decided what we want to be and what we don’t want to be, how do we make it happen?
*shrug* No idea. But I’m going to find out. I suspect it starts with a solid grounding, and a good foundation built on love and understanding. But those are fuzzy, non-specific ideas. I want real tools, specific things that will bind us together.
And I’m going to blog about it and hopefully start a conversation about how we can create resilient families. How we can future-proof our kids, so that the pressures that seem to be unavoidable – peer pressure in particular – don’t knock our family off course. So that we get through adolescence and early adulthood with a family that is not just hanging together by a thread, but thriving as a cohesive unit.
New purpose for Moore4Mums.com
I’m taking my blog in a new direction and I’m going to start blogging with a purpose. From now on my posts will be focused on how I can create a resilient family and how I can tether my children to me, if only in spirit, while they are free to roam the world.
What are parents most concerned about and what do we fear when we think about the future for our kids? Let me know and I’ll interview experts to find the answers.
Photo by vastateparksstaff