My wife and I have been parents for 18 years. Looking back, I am struck by how quickly my parenting skills became obsolete. It seems like just the other day my oldest daughter looked at me with tears in her eyes from a minor mishap and pleaded, "Please Daddy, kiss it and make it better." But for sure those days are long gone.
For now she is off to college in Pittsburgh, and what she needs from me is different. We have always focused on teaching our children how to make good decisions. From whether to have some candy to choosing their friends, we have encouraged them to own their decision. We weigh in with our opinions -- often unsolicited -- and reserve final veto power, but they have to make and live with their decisions.
When my daughter was home from college on spring break, she told us she recently house-sat two small puppies for a college friend. The dogs were a little crazy at first, but they settled down and then, she said, "We mostly watched movies."
"We?" I asked.
"Yeah, Mark and me" was her immediate reply, referring to her boyfriend. Her college boyfriend. She added that everything was fine until around 2am when one of the puppies jumped on the bed and started barking.