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During the middle years of High School it becomes frustrating waiting for some students to develop a mature attitude to work and to their education.
This at times seems like a hopeless task. The great tension for most parents is watching their child turning an adult physically but not having necessary emotional maturity to control themselves well – consistently making bad decisions. Many parents feel the agony of being responsible for this but don’t know what to do.
Some parents indulge the child/adult but then the problem escalates as the Australian cultural virtue of freedom is demanded - which the adolescent generally feels to be a right. Often counselling help is sought, however the basic problem remains.
The truth is that the adolescents need the security of parental discipline. Parents can be mightily manipulated by juvenile demands for freedom rather than by a demonstrated maturity. If this critical discipline is released too soon the effect is rather like what happens when the silk strands of a chrysalis are cut before the developing butterfly is finished developing. The tragedy is that the beautiful wings, which allow the insect to fly, are malformed and the gorgeous creature never gets to fly and dies early. The tragedy for students is that their most critical years of acquiring maturity are short circuited. The student arrives to physical adulthood without the maturity to act like a responsible adult. This spells disaster and pain for everybody.
The years of adolescence may be likened to the construction of a cement wall. Very strong wooden forms are necessary which allow the wall to stand until the concrete sets. The discipline and love of the parents is the formwork. The concrete is the student who will one day stand up in resplendent, firm, adult maturity. The problem is waiting long enough for the concrete to set, the transformation to happen. Each of them is different and their curing time is individual. Until it does the formwork is necessary. Recognising this point takes patient endurance.
As a teacher I am acutely aware of the grief parents go through and am very anxious to see their child grow up and mature in preparation for real life. My contribution in supporting parents may be small, but I team with parents in a way which magnifies the total effect.