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).

9 replies »

    • Thanks!!! It seems to be working for the most part. But half the time I sit there, after one of the decisions I am not so comfortable with, chew my nail and hope that everything works out. And it usually does (thankfully).

  1. Agreed, it’s a very hard job but the latitude you give your children in allowing them o discuss the reasons why they should do something, instead of an outright No. means you’ve made the job a little easier for yourself by raising children who speak to you instead of doing things and then being found out.
    xxx Hugs xxx

    • That’s very true. I remember when they were cute little toddlers, I used to think about when they became teenagers and what if they didn’t talk to me or even worse thought I was stupid, out of touch. But thankfully, that hasn’t happened, and I am so grateful. Thanks for the comment!!!!

  2. I really like your analogy to “spotters”. I can just picture gym class when the trampoline comes out. I am going to share with my sister who has 2 teen boys as well. Raising teens is an interesting adventure to say the least.

    • Thank-you. Actually my boys are into weight-lifting right now, so I have vicariously picked up all the lingo (I had forgotten about spotters for trampolines – that’s brilliant). The teenage years are trying, but I think if the foundation has been laid down at a much younger age, it is not so bad. Like my Mum says, if you got roots, you can grow anything (she is a big gardener, amazing green thumb). I remember when I was in Grad school one of our instructors in Child Development told us that the teenaged brain is very much like that of a toddlers, so one can predict how a child will be in their teens, based on their behavior as a toddler. I always thought that was kind of nutty, but now having teenaged boys, and recalling their toddler years, I would have to say she is spot on.

      • Both of mine were, one more so than the other and it has certainly carried through. One was always the diplomat, the other said exactly what he thought, he used to call me ‘ wady’ when he got mad at me. Or the time I was complaining about the size of my posterior, and blaming it on having children, and he told me “Mummy, I’m 11 now, I think you need to find something else to blame your big butt on.” Oh thanks for that my sweet child. Ahh! the joys of parenthood.

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