Years ago, when our son was in junior high, he finished his school year with a typical teen attitude. He had a summer job lined up, but had two weeks between school ending and his summer job beginning. Knowing those two weeks would be challenging for us, I wanted to work out some of his attitude by having him serve somewhere during that time. I drove him to the local thrift store, informing him that he was going in there to apply for a volunteer job. He was not happy, but I said “your happiness is not my biggest concern at the moment,” because I wanted to build character in him.
He got the job, and was required to sort through donations and whatever else they asked him to do while he was there. At the time, he told me how much he enjoyed the job, but I knew he was bluffing. Still, I went along.
In high school and college, he thanked us many times for parenting him the way we did, and that he clearly saw the difference it made compared to his peers. He is now in his mid-twenties and said recently that he remembered that experience, even though he didn’t like that job, because it helped him adjust his attitude. He also learned how to serve without receiving anything in return. Today he lives on his own, has two degrees and is very successful working in sales. He works hard and is happy and well-adjusted. Tough love is hard when it comes to parenting, but we found that keeping the future in mind and knowing what it would take to get our children there, would pay off down the road.
Parenting With the Future in Mind
The Dr. Laura Call of the Day Podcast