Rearing Children is like Towing a Trailer
Parenting teenagers is in many ways similar to hauling a trailer. Parents can be likened to the cars and teenagers to the trailers.
When you tow a trailer, you are leading the trailer with the car you are driving.
The first thing about hauling a trailer successfully is that the car must have a big enough engine in fine working condition. If the engine is not powerful enough, the trailer will not move no matter how grand a trailer it is.
In parenting teenagers, parents must first focus their attention on themselves instead of on their teenagers. Parents should make sure their own lives are in order. Are they setting good examples for the children? Do they have their values straight? Are their lives finely tuned? Do they have sufficient power for leadership?
Parents sometimes ask me to talk to their teenagers who are not behaving properly according to them. Without excusing the teenagers, I must say, a lot of times, the difficulties are created and maintained by the parents without them knowing it. As a parent of two teenage boys, I feel the first order of brining them up properly is to conduct my life properly.
After making sure the engine is powerful enough and that it is in good running order, you want to make sure the trailer is securely hitched to the car. You don’t want the trailer to break loose as you haul it.
This is to demonstrate that the relationship between parents and children should be close and secure. If the relationship is not close, it is almost impossible for parents to lead their children. The best way to remain close is still through the process of communication and doing things together. Teenagers tell me the reasons why they cannot communicate with their parents are: parents do have time, they don’t understand, they are not concerned, they jump to conclusions and scold them, and they tend to make a mountain out of a mole hill.
The perception of teenagers may or may not be right, but we, as parents have to deal with it. Even if we want to change our children’s perception we still must start with it and then try to change it.
Another thing about hauling a trailer is that if the car were to move suddenly to the right or left, the movement might cause the trailer to swing likewise. Conversely, if the trailer should begin to sway from side to side because of a sudden gust of wind, the car might move from side to side also. The key here is that no matter what, the driver must keep the car in control. If the car is out of control, the trailer will most definitely be out of control and it is useless to ask the trailer not to move from side to side as the wind is blowing it. The trailer will move and it is up to the car to keep it in line.
Parents should understand that life’s sudden gusts of adverse wind on them or on the teenagers will definitely affect not only them but the other party as well. Experiences of parents and their children do affect one another as they drive through life’s many storms, the key is the parents and not the children. If parents can keep the car of their lives going straight, so will the trailers of the children’s.
When you are hauling a trailer, you often look back or through the rearview mirror to make sure the trailer is still there. Occasionally stop to check the hitch to make sure it is still secure.
Teenagers may be taller than their parents, but they still need constant care and attention. They need to know they are loved and appreciated. They need to know their parents’ caring eyes are upon them.
Hauling a trailer may take a longer time. It may also wear out the car sooner. It may even be more hazardous as you drive, but the reward is also greater.
Next time you see a car with a trailer, remind yourself it is the car that is leading the trailer and not the other way around.
Happy motoring – with a trailer.