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The Rules of Parenting, 2nd Edition by Richard Templar

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RULE 83

Don’t stand in front of a speeding train

You already know your children need to be allowed to make their own mistakes (Rule 79). So far, so good. Now, how many of these decisions are you going to let them make for themselves:

  • Riding a motorbike?
  • Playing truant?
  • Using the F-word?*
  • Trying drugs?
  • Smoking?
  • Having sex before they’re 16?

Hmmm, yes, tricky. It gets harder, doesn’t it? Are you seriously supposed to let them do all of that? Well, let’s look at it another way: how are you going to stop them? Your options are getting pretty limited these days. You can yell at them (see Rule 84), but that doesn’t bother them as much as it did when they were 5. And anyway, they can yell back louder these days. You can ground them, but any teenager ...

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