The problem with raising empowered kids

Max is turning 12 in a few weeks. At that point he’ll be 2/3 of the way to being an adult (18). He’ll legally be able to drive before then. I want him (and all my kids) to be ready for that. Other than having fun, that’s my number one job as a parent.

  • I want my kids to be able to think for themselves
  • I want them to question authority
  • I want them to stick up for themselves
  • I want them to do what THEY think is right
  • I want them to understand what is right
  • I want them to be able to take care of themselves in ANY situation
  • I want them to be able to fend for themselves
  • I want… well too many things to list here

In order to do this I empower them however I can.

  • They climb on counters and use scissors and power tools
  • They choose their schools
  • Max and Charlie set their own bedtimes
  • They know how to cook half a dozen meals each
  • They have a say in how we (as a family) spend money
  • They have their own money (and their own ATM cards as soon as they’re old enough)
  • They question my choices
  • They ask cool questions

The problem with empowered kids is when I want them to just shut up and do what I say.

  • When I don’t want my 4-year-old to take apart the scissors.
  • Or when I don’t want my 7-year-old to fill up the biggest bowl in our house with random ingredients from the kitchen (including half a bag of sugar) and call it an experiment.
  • Or when my 9-year-old just doesn’t want to go to school and doesn’t want to live in Italy.
  • Or when my 11-year-old… damn can’t think of anything, but I’m sure I’ll have some examples soon since he’s almost a teenager.

But even when I hate it, part of me knows it’s the right thing, and I just have to get some perspective. Have a snack. Listen to music. Go for a walk. Read a book. Take a nap. Walk away. And enjoy the magic…