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SECRETS’ CORNER – Their choice to make

luigimarshall, [email protected]

SECRETS’ CORNER – Their choice to make

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FROM?YOUNG?our parents have drilled in our heads that “you are known by the company you keep”.
They also preached that “the apple don’t fall far from the tree”.
Both sayings are true.
But even with these old sayings which have been communicated in many a warning to children, parents need to own up to the truth that they cannot always choose for their children, as much as they may want to. This is particularly so after children reach maturity.
That’s why this week’s question is so interesting.
It says: Your daughter is involved with a young man who seems pleasant, but his family is known for their violence and run-ins with the police. Should you try to discourage your girl from becoming more entwined with this man, or should you give him the benefit of the doubt?
A parent’s role is to provide the direction and guidance, as well as the moral compass which helps to ground children even when they go astray. That always serves them well and points them back “home”.
But after a while, parents need to let go and let their children live – and make their own decisions.
After all, you were children once too and rebelled against your own parents trying to decide for you. You made mistakes and had to learn from them, so let your children do the same.
Now I am not advocating that when you see your children going astray you should just stand idly by and watch them and say nothing.
That would be just plain old irresponsible and against the very grain of being a parent. That is, when you love someone, you always want the best for them.Instead, you guide.
And if your children do make mistakes, you don’t have to jump in and try to cushion every single blow. Sometimes you just have to watch on and let them make their own errors, see them fall and help them to soothe their bruises.
Sounds easier than it really is, but this is sometimes a necessary course of action.
So while it is also very tempting to try to dictate who your children’s friends should be, parents need to stop.
Children then try to defy their parents’ wishes when this is done. When parents say don’t have “so and so” as a friend, this same friend becomes your child’s best pal.
Sometimes parents are also quick to judge based on class, family background and sometimes colour.
Because someone’s family is bad, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the child is bad. Yes, there is also the saying “the apple don’t fall far from the tree” but sometimes it’s best to leave things alone and see how they play out.
Just share your concerns and caution them, but trust your children and let them trust their instincts to choose wisely. If the friend is not worthy of your child’s companionship or friendship, this will come out soon enough – don’t worry.
These are some of the responses we received on our Facebook page:   
– “I don’t care how pleasant he appears to be, I will not encourage my daughter to become entwined with the young man. What will happen when my grands comes along and want to visit them? That would not a good environment for them.”
– “He is not the problem, it’s his family. Give him a chance. Trying to show opposition will drive your daughter away from your help if she should really need it.”
– “If you tell her she can’t see him it will probably make her want to see him more.”
– “Parents need to let their children live their lives and I agree it would only drive the daughter away . You cannot judge a person on what their family does.”
– “The fruit does not fall far from the tree and even if he is very different from them, if he lives there, he is part of whatever they are doing. Violent, angry people will find reasons to involve everyone else in their confusion. It’s how they function in life. I would point out all of these things to her so that she would be aware of what she may be getting into, so that her eyes will be wide open.”
– “How and where someone is raised influences who they are. It is possible that he ‘rebelled’ and was determined not to be like his family and is a real straight-up guy, but the possibility is that he isn’t. I will let my daughter know all the possible pros and cons and let her make the decision for herself (depends on her age though).”
–  “Denying her may cause rebellion and if he does become violent with her, she may not tell me. So I would talk to her, share my concerns and hear what she has to say. And I would be inviting him over to my house on a regular basis, just to keep in touch with him when he shows his real colours eventually (whether good/bad).”