Sometimes a Kid Has to Dream


How do you handle your child's ridiculous or over-the-top plans for the future?

Q: Our 16-year-old son is talking of going to a local community college after high school and living with one of his friends. He says he needs to find a job soon so he can prove to his friend's mom that he is hardworking. I was so shocked I just listened and haven't said how I feel about this whole thing. What would you say to this obviously delusional teen about his grand plans?

I would just nod my head and say things like "That's very interesting" and "More power to you!" and "No man is an island." Note that what you say doesn't have to make a lot of sense. You would need to make sense if you had even a small chance of causing your son to realize that his fantasies are nothing but that: fantasies. That small chance does not exist; therefore, you are relieved of trying to talk him out of his "grand plans."

Yes, your son is delusional, but anyone who is not/was not somewhat delusional at age 16 isn't/wasn't having any fun. Why, at age 21, married with a child, I still thought I had a shot at becoming a rock star. In fact, I still think I can become a rock star. I'm still delusional; therefore, I'm still having fun.

Let's face it, your son's fantasies are harmless. Furthermore, they reflect a strong need to emancipate, which is good. They also reflect the desire to become a responsible, contributing member of society.

In the life of every delusional teenager, reality—not the youngster's parents—will be The Great Awakener. In the meantime, let the young man dream his dreams.

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