The fifth and final topic in the series addresses comrades or friends. Years ago when our son Matt was in his early teens, I read an article in our Sunday paper. It gave ideas on how to deal with teenagers and the 5C's, cooperation, curfews, cash, cars, and comrades. We decided to try them, and believe that we had a lot of success. The premise is that when teens feel empowered, have a good set of tools, and earn rewards for good decisions, they will grow up to be productive members of society. Teens would not want to jeopardize their perks by making bad decisions.
Matt is still good friends with many of the kids from grade school. We liked having kids around, and had a pull-out couch and extra mattress in his bedroom for sleepovers. In high school, there were kids from other junior highs. He made new friends through sports. We asked him to not hang around with kids who would get him into trouble. All of his friends were planning on college, and were focused on getting good grades. Athletes needed to maintain a passing grade in order to play sports. We could back off because his coaches played the heavies. We were lucky. Matt never looked for trouble.
By this time, Matt knew that his good decisions had earned him priviledges. He was working towards no longer having a curfew. He had a car, he played sports, and he worked a part time job. We were confident that he would not be willing to give these up. We were beginning to see the benefits of working on the 5C's.
I know he avoided parties that he knew might be trouble. He said it just wouldn't be worth it.
Our son was making the right choices, and it made our job as parents easier. My husband told Matt to "throw us under the bus" if he ever got in a sticky situation. He was to say that his parents were terrible, and he just couldn't get into trouble. We know things happen fast, and things can get out of hand quickly. We went over the "what if'" scenarios, just as we had when he was younger.
We survived it all because we had a plan and we stuck to it. As always, no idea is one size fits all, so take what you like and leave the rest. Have a good week everyone.....