While attending a seminar today, the leader, Mervin Charles made a profound point about parenting. Here is the key statement:
“It takes a very different skill set to be a good parent of a small child than it does to be a good parent of a teenager.”
Now, read that again.
I personally know people who say, "I am good with babies." I know other people who say, "I am terrible with teens." And vice versa! You know, this may be old fashioned, but with a baby or toddler, the main priority is the outcome. You care about development. But, you tell them what to do so that the outcome is safe and best for the child.
As children grow and become older, outcome still remains important, but the value of their development really rises! There may be times when you have to dictate the outcome, but there are many times when they need to try, make mistakes, learn and develop the ability to make wise decisions that you are not dictating. Development involves them making some decisions on their own.
Some people are better at telling kids what to do than they are at letting them figure it out. As with all things, finding the balance is so important.