I finished reading Our Last Best Shot: Guiding Our Children Through Early Adolescence a few days ago and it made me feel both encouraged and depressed at the same time. Encouraged that I am doing a lot of good things for our older children in terms of who they associate with, what activities they participate in, and nurturing their ambitions for the future. Depressed because so many children don't have the same opportunities that my children do with poor schools, few good friends, and even fewer quality role models. So many adolescents are ruining their prospects by engaging in sex, drugs, violence, and topping it off by flunking out of school.
I see such a disconnect between the care and hyper vigilant parenting that goes on with babies and toddlers and the emotional neglect of older children. It seems that parents spend so much of their time and energy baby proofing every room in their home and taking toddlers to music lessons and Gymboree that they plum burn out by the time the child is ready for school and certainly before they are pre-teens. I have seen some bad behaviors that cause me to worry in my own children, but for the most part they are good kids who know who they are, gave good friends, are getting a quality education, and have other adults in their lives to help guide them.