When I was 12, my Dad asked me to put water in the radiator of the family car. I was really excited that he trusted me with such a manly job. Once I opened the hood of the car, I was a little intimidated with all the wires, hoses, and parts. I took the cap off of what I thought was the radiator and began to fill it up. Proud of my accomplishment, I excitedly told my dad the task was done.
Imagine my surprise the next day when he informed me that I put the water in the oil reservoir and not the radiator.
It is pretty clear that I wanted to do it right, I just didn’t know how. Though this was an expensive mistake on my part my dad recognized that I didn’t need punishment for this. I needed teaching.
Now that I’m a father, this has been a valuable example for me to follow. When one of my children does something wrong I always ask myself, “where is the teaching aspect in my response?”
I’m not saying that consequences are a bad thing, just that consequences alone are. As parents we need to take the time to equip our teen with the necessary tools to be successful when the situation arises again. It’s not easy, but it is worth it.
It’s way more valuable than a trip to the mechanic.
Jason Gibson draws from his experience as a parent, clinician, and researcher to deliver practical truths that are relevant to today’s family. His work has focused on supporting families and children in all walks of life including those who struggle with emotional, behavioral, and cognitive disorders. Currently, Jason is the director of the BabbCenter for Counseling in Nashville,TN. He has bachelor and master degrees from Appalachian State and Florida State and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Kentucky. He and his wife Julie have 3 kids with one on the way!