Being a parent may be one of the most joyful experiences imaginable. Although, we sometimes forget about the joy of being parents among all the tantrums, whining and fighting. The days feel too short, we are tired and our patience level can be low.

Life with young people is rarely calm. From wake up until bedtime, children of all ages require attention and energy from their grown up caregivers. Although parents of teenagers have a little more freedom, the mental demands remain substantial.

Teenagers are still assembling a picture of the universe and they need our support. How can you be close with your teen who is building their independence? I will explain some options using a lens of equality to give examples.

“You look fantastic today. I love what you’re wearing.”

“Thanks. I know. This skirt will swirl perfectly on the monkey bars. I am really good at monkey bars. Dad, did you sign my report card and put it in my backpack? Yesterday you forgot and it was very embarrassing when I didn’t have it for the teacher.”

I can’t decide if my five year old daughter is self-confident with natural leadership qualities, (a good thing), or a bossy, narcissistic, perfectionist (not so good).


Raising children in a small town has its advantages. It’s never far to get from school to the pool, and from there to the arena, and then back home. If you’re stuck, you can usually call any number of parents to give your child a ride home. But it also has its downsides.

Superman is my son’s favourite superhero because he is the leader and he is the strongest. Or so he says.

“But he doesn’t show up for work.”

“Well only when he is catching bad guys and doing more important things. Metropolis would be toast without him.”

“Oh, well that’s okay then.”

“Yeah... isn’t it?”

There comes a time when most children will ask: Do you always have to tell the truth?

And the response will inevitably be: To your parents, yes, you must always tell the truth.

“Is it always bad to lie? “


In the early days of my career I worked, on numerous occasions, as a medical volunteer in India, Nepal, and South America. It was rewarding work and something I will likely return to once the kids have taken flight. The second of these trips, to South America, was the most enlightening.

“There are people who think that art exists for its own sake, but I do not think so. Art exists for the human species. I think that all of the people who love art, those who teach art, and all of you, should burn with the obligation to save the world.”

Many of us grow up expecting that we will graduate from high school, go on to university or college, meet the man/woman of our dreams, get married, and raise a family. We are socialized in North America to believe that this is "normal". Many of us do just this, and to a large degree, do it successfully. Some of us do it less traditionally; we do it in multi-generational, multi-cultural, sole parent, blended families, and all with a measure of success. What keeps us all on the same page are the values we have, not only as parents, but as a community.