Don’t hover! Give kids a chance to learn on own

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By The Staff

This week we take a look at Asset #32, planning and Asset #33, decision making. Earlier this week, I had a call from a parent who had me change my focus for this week.

I would like to focus on kids who have poor decision-making skills or don’t plan and how we as adults relate to them.

As adults, we need to help kids take responsibility for their actions, without going down one of two bad paths.

We should not hover but rather allow them to suffer the consequence that befalls their choice. We also should not turn a blind eye toward believing it could have been our child.

Here’s how it would have looked when I was a kid. If the teacher has said Bernadette was sticking pencils up her nose, I would have gotten a shot to the arm and been told not to stick pencils up my nose.

Some parents today would resemble a scenario like the following one.

Staff: “Bernadette was sticking pencils up her nose.”

Parent: “Bernadette wouldn’t do that.”

Staff: “We have a photograph of her doing it.”

Parent: “That isn’t her.”

Staff: “We actually have video footage with sound of her doing it.”

Parent: “Well, what did you do to make her want to put pencils up her nose?”

Sometimes we have to let our youth see that if they fail to think or plan that everything doesn’t come out rosy. We just don’t live in a perfect world and no one person is at the center. I know that seems ridiculous, but sometimes planning and decision-making is lacking in us all.

When a student does make a poor decision or ends up with an outcome they didn’t plan on, I hope as adults, we rise above the incident and see how we can extend the olive branch to help them achieve future success.

Let’s face it, everyone makes poor decisions, but when someone has done something stupid, let’s not alienate them. Having  a lip ring or hair dyed jet black doesn’t make a kid  bad, so why treat them that way?

If so, let’s take a trip down memory lane and check out your old photos in the grunge look, the leg warmers, the tie-dye, the hippie phase, the cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve.

Do you think your parents were thrilled with that look? Our kids aren’t mini me versions of us, so let them come into their own and treat them with the potential they can have and not the dim version of what today’s styles mean to you.

I’ve heard of instances where kids have been in trouble and adults are the ones doing the gossiping. I think we need to stop for a moment and put ourselves in the shoes of the other parent. How would you feel if other adults were talking about your child and the information wasn’t true?

Adults should admire the friendship extended by youth to those who have a friend that makes a bad choice.  

We all get a clean slate each day and a bad choice neither makes you a bad person or sets you on the bad path for the rest of your life. Tell the youth in your life there’s a new day tomorrow, make better choices with it and then do the same thing for yourself.

Bernadette Lauritzen is the Assets In Action Coordinator for Los Alamos, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board.