One time, I watched a tearful, broken mother. She’s being interviewed about the arrest of her son for murder. It happened right in her own house. Her son was shot and wounded during a gunfire with the policemen. The mother was charged with obstruction of justice -hiding her son to cover for him and the consequences of the crimes he committed.
It may or may not be true of this mother in today’s headlines. But the fact is, there are indeed some parents who condition their children to think that Dad or Mom will always cover for them. Children are not allowed to experience consequences for misdeeds. Psychologists call it a classic case of “rescuing.”
Honestly, I admit that I too have traces of a “rescuer” when it comes to my own children. It can be hurting, especially with rebellious teenagers. In the case of my own children, I may look pretty heavy to them when it comes to “house rules,” among other things. The truth is, I cannot run them; they run themselves. I need to understand that teenagers are almost an adult now. Independence is a natural next step.
Of course, I still have the same function as Dad to my teenagers. But I need new ways from what I’ve been using to fit their age or stage of life. Every morning, I pray for each of them. It’s the best I can do. Reaching out to them as best as possible, I need to learn and practice to close my mouth and listen more.
However, it still doesn’t guarantee that my children would make wise choices and transition into adulthood in good health. They may still choose to bang their heads against the walls. That is their choice, hurt though I may be watching them. In that case, I may have to leave them flounder. Even enforce loving discipline. And allow them to learn to be responsible for their own consequences and heal their lives from them.