When our children are young, their values are our values because they are not yet able to think for themselves in this way. When our children are adults, our values are not necessarily their values, because they are able to think for themselves and live by their own values. Adolescence is the chaos that bridges these two realities.
There is usually a gradual shift between imposing our values on our children in their youth and emancipating them from our values in their adulthood. This doesn’t happen overnight, but slowly throughout their preteen or teen years as we give them more and more age-appropriate autonomy and freedom. Because this gradual shift depends on a child’s age, maturity level, and emotional intelligence, it will look different from family to family and even from child to child. Only you can determine if your child is still beholden to certain values you have that they may not share.
For example, when I was fifteen, I wanted to stop going to church, but my parents felt that I was not yet able to make that decision on my own and that I was still beholden to our family values as it related to church attendance. So, I continued to attend with them. When I was seventeen, I asked my parents to reconsider. They determined that, though they did not agree with my decision, I was then old enough and mature enough to make that decision for myself. Therefore, it might be appropriate to set a boundary for a certain time in your child’s life and renegotiate it as needed as they mature.
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