How to be a Great Parent

by Megan Taylor Stephens

People say you should foster an atmosphere of negotiation and compromise with your teen. It reduces power struggles and proves that the relationship is about equality, fairness, and democracy. Here’s an example from an actual conversation yesterday.

Her: Can I go to the park with my friends?

Me: Sure. Be home by 10:00pm.

Her: I was thinking 11:00.

Me: Okay, fine. 10:30.

Her: How about I leave the park at 10:45 and be home by 11:00?

Me: How about leave the park at 10:15 and home by 10:30?

Her: Okay, how about leave the park at 10:30 and home by 10:45?

Me: How about just stay home?

Her: Moooomm!

Me: Okay, home by 10:45. 

We then enter a texting back and forth around 10:00 because she wants to renegotiate the contract. Luckily, she came home right on time! I think.

In the end, I believe my teen came out victorious. She hedged her bets that my aging brain would forget the exact time we chose, and ultimately came home at 11:00, exactly when she had originally proposed. Decidedly unequal, unfair, and undemocratic. This parenting tip has room for improvement.

Photo by Shea Stephens (2021)

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