Parenting Superheroes

I've been running into alot of SuperParents lately- those that make most of their kids' decisions for them, protect them from consequences or rescue them from the full force of consequences. But isn't it part of our 'job description' to protect our kids? At what point have we gone from protecting them to enabling them? My husband and I have been having many talks about this subject, as we are entering Round 2 of parenting in our family. There is a big gap between our first and second-born, so Seth is almost 22 and Noah just turned 13. The younger two are not far behind at 11 and 8 years old. We can see the many ways we enabled Seth- the overwhelming guilt we felt about our own failings nearly incapacitated us as parents, and we often rescued him or warned him to death instead of using proper discipline.

I thought http://www.crosswalk.com/homeschool/11628692/page0/ this article at Crosswalk made some good points about SuperParenting-

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Counter to what some people might think, I find that the most irresponsible teens come from the most responsible parents. I call them "Super Parents." They are so fixated on fixing problems that they fix all of their teenager's mistakes as well. They don their cape and fly off to badger a teacher who has given their teenager a bad grade. They run faster than a steaming locomotive and bend steel bars to get their errant teen out of jail. And in everyday terms; they pick up their teen's room, manage his money, pay his speeding tickets, wash his cloths and rush him to school when he oversleeps in the morning.

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Teenagers behave irresponsibly when they've not had to be responsible for their behavior. They do not magically become more responsible, mature, or wise as they get older. They learn experientially, and they get wiser by living. They learn by being given responsibility and by facing uncomfortable consequences for failing in that responsibility or making bad decisions.

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When a teenager first misbehaves, parents can nip it in the bud by applying disproportionate first-time consequences. Unless a child learns a memorable lesson the very first time they are caught, each wrong deed can be a stepping stone to more serious missteps.

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A parent is his own worst enemy when he waffles or makes idle threats in regard to consequences. It takes effort to properly discipline children, and that's why it is easier for parents to warn, warn again, and then resort to yelling angry warnings instead of simply applying consequences. Warnings serve to tell kids that they have multiple opportunities to avoid consequences, and they quickly learn just how far they can exasperate their parent before the parent takes action. So, the house ends up in a constant state of chaos and everyone feels lousy.

What do you think parents can do not to fall into the trap of enabling their kids? Do you think kids should suffer some natural consequences, and how do you create memorable consequences to deter them from making the same mistake again? How far do you go to prevent your kids from making mistakes?

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