Pamela Cantor in For Parents Only on Feb. 22 advises a reader to "refuse to approve" her 17-year-old son going to parties where there will be lots of liquor. She also advises the parent to "refuse to allow" him to spend time with kids who abuse alcohol and tell him he'll have to "earn that trust again."
For the past several months, I've been a volunteer at a family crisis center for runaway and throwaway teen-agers. Overwhelmingly the kids tell me that their biggest problem is their parents telling them what they can't do, which friends they can't see and, worst of all, when they have to be in at night. These are just a handful of the 2 million kids who run away each year.
It is my contention that parents don't show enough trust in their kids. Kids shouldn't have to prove anything to their parents. Parents don't give their kids enough credit for being trustworthy and responsible human beings. The kids at the shelter all assure me that if their parents would show a little more trust in them and not make all their decisions for them, they would probably not get into any trouble at all. They only ask for that chance.