A couple of weekends ago, a friend was telling me how she was driving under the influence on New Year’s Eve. Of course, she knows better than to drink & drive but I suppose she thought she hadn’t had too much to drink and was perfectly capable of driving. I asked her why she didn’t give her keys to someone else and her response was “No worries, I was taught how to drive while drunk”. When I heard that, I almost dropped the phone!
At the time her comment seemed ludicrous but the more I thought about it, the more I thought about how parents are teaching their children things with the disclaimer of “Don’t do this but in case you do, here’s how.” In my friend’s instance, I’m sure she was taught not to drink & drive but in the event she found herself in a predicament where she did have a few drinks, then she should drive slowly and carefully.
Another illustration of this is when parents tell their teenage children not to have sex, but still arm them with birth control just in case. How can you teach someone NOT to do something but still give them the tools to get it done? I know, I know – kids are having sex anyway so it’s up to the parents to teach them about using protection. The flaw with this argument is that parents are essentially saying that it’s okay to have sex as long as you protect yourself – and that’s dead wrong.
I think that you should reinforce what you teach to your children and if they rebel, let them realize the consequences of their actions for themselves. It’s called “Tough Love” folks…