I am writing this on day seven of an eight-day vacation with my bride of seventeen-plus years, and my three sons, aged 15, 14 and 12. We have enjoyed amazing adventures and wonderful family moments, but as is the case in all families… there are limits to how much togetherness one can truly tolerate. Lucky for us this vacation appears to be just the right length.
From the day they are born, all children test boundaries. When our first child was born in 2000, my Father (who at that point had 30+ years of experience as a pediatrician) offered us only one piece of parenting advice. Holding our day-old daughter in his arms, he looked up thoughtfully and said,
“Make no mistake about it… you start raising your teenagers, today.”
As our oldest grew, and we added to our family at a brisk pace, and the sage words of my Father echoed in my ears every time I was tempted to give in to the boundary testing antics of our four children. […]