from Fuller Youth Institute, article by Kara Powell
Maybe it’s because I grew up swimming. Or maybe it’s because my oldest daughter is now 13 and a full-blown teenager (in ALL senses of the word).
Either way, I can’t stop thinking about an image that Lisa Damour uses in Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood.
In the midst of inevitable parent/child conflict, Damour writes:
“Your daughter needs a wall to swim to, and she needs you to be a wall that can withstand her comings and goings. Some parents feel too hurt by their swimmers, take too personally their daughter’s rejections, and choose to make themselves unavailable to avoid going through it again … But being unavailable comes at a cost … Their daughters are left without a wall to swim to and must navigate choppy—and sometimes dangerous—waters all on their own.”
While Damour’s research is focused on girls, I would say the same imagery holds true with boys.
As parents and youth leaders, kids need us to be a wall. A wall of support that doesn’t withdraw or abandon them. Even when kids withdraw from us—often hurting us in the process—they need us to be the adult who stays steady.