So I was watching my TIVO'd Oprah show the other day and it was about children of divorce. The whole show was fascinating and heart wrenching at the same time. Kind of tangentially, Gary Newman, an expert on divorce and providing healing for kids, said that he and his wife have 5 children. When they become teenagers he and his wife sit down with the child and two other special adults.
They tell their children that they will always be loved by Mom and Dad, and may always talk to them about anything, but if they need someone else to talk to these two people are good ones. These two people also love the child unconditionally and are endorsed by Mom and Dad as people who will give them good advice. The children and the two adults are told they can talk any time and they don't even need to tell Mom and Dad what's going on. Gary went on to say that this way he hopes his kids will get better advice than just from their peers.
Part of me sees this as an amazing stroke of genius. The reality is teenagers will not bring every problem to their parents. They want to assert their independence, but sometimes there's also a level shame involved in decisions they've made. They know they've done something stupid and they don't want to look stupid in front of Mom and Dad.
The other part of me panics. It seems like a real relinquishing of power or of knowing your child.
What do you think?