I am in a sometimes awkward position of having an adolescent child while I work with a couple hundred adolescents.
Professionally, I think I am pretty good at what I do. I have the skills, the passion, and the dedication to keep me level-headed (for the most part) and consistent. I communicate well with adolescents (generally); I realize this means listening and understanding even more than it does speaking for their understanding.
Contrast this with my dealings with my own adolescent. I struggle to communicate well, and, afterward, can come up with all kinds of things I could have said differently. I think it takes me longer to process to the point of understanding what my adolescent child says to me than what others say to me.
This all reminds me of a time, 18 or so years ago, when I lived in Nacogdoches. My younger brother Rob was visiting with a fellow SFA student. It was later evening, and we had allowed Robbie, 2 or 3 at the time, some caffeine. She was having trouble getting to sleep. These things happen sometimes.
Rob’s friend announced confidently that she would NEVER give her child caffeine.
I almost responded defensively, but then remembered that I was an expert on child rearing before I had a kid, too. So I let it go.
Ever since, I have been a bit slower to give advice. I am especially cautious in giving advice to people who are in circumstances I have never dealt with directly myself.
I am still willing to offer a listening ear and whatever experience or insight I have from my perspective.
These days I am still working on being able and open to receiving the same.