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Latitude – scope for freedom of action or thought

‘L’.  We are almost half-way through the alphabet.  For the last 14 days I have been pestering my family for ideas for each day of the alphabet.  Today, I give credit to my husband for his contribution – Latitude.

Of course when I think of latitude, longitude comes to mind.  What is there to write about that kind of latitude that wouldn’t just completely bore the reader to death?

How about the latitude we give (or don’t give) our children?

I think that is probably one of the hardest aspects of being a parent of two teen-aged boys, allowing them the freedom to make their own decisions and giving them the latitude to make some mistakes along the way.

I have found it is very hard to not to give my opinion, and say what I think the boys should do, when they come to me for guidance.  We spend a great deal of time discussing things, they give their reasons for why they should do something, I give my thoughts and concerns as to why they shouldn’t, it’s a back and forth thing.  Open lines of communication are imperative.  If teenagers aren’t talking to their parents, latitude isn’t probably the biggest concern, there are larger issues needing immediate attention.

Kids don’t learn from their parents’ mistakes, they have to make their own.  As parents, we have to give them enough latitude (or rope) to let our teenagers make their decisions, but be close enough to save them from their not so stellar decisions, before they hit the ground.  Parents are kind of like the “spotters” for their kids’ lives, staying far enough away so the child can deal with the burdens of growing up, but close enough so if their child buckles, they are there to help them with the weight.

Parenting is one of the toughest jobs you will ever love (most of the time).

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