Except in extreme situations, you can no longer tell them what to do. It is ignored. Yes, things can be taken away, certain privileges, but it is a balance. The days of telling them what to do, and having them listen and do, are over. There is a subtle chasm crossed.

A freshman in high school.

Parenting changes. It is no longer command and control, but coach and guide.

Parents who do not cross the chasm lose their effectiveness and the anger grows on both sides. The result ends with little being said, doors being shut.

At this age, parents can suggest, set an example, and offer an ear of concern. An era of mutual respect is essential.

This does not remove setting boundaries and defining standards. These still need to be done. When the boundaries are ignored or not adhered to, a penalty is necessary. When the standards are not met, a discussion needs to happen and an understanding re-established.

A game is being played, guided by coaches and enforced by a referees. It is the game of developing a young life.

The best thing a parent can do is set a good example. Do what you want them to do. Say what you want them to say. Be the best person you can be.

20-year effectWill it be followed? Probably not directly. This is where the ultimate a-ha moment happens. Later in our lives, we often say, “I have become my parents!” It is a truth in life, or as I call it — The Twenty Year Effect.

Smart parents say and do things which they want their kids to say and do, but there is a twenty year delay. Parents know it; kids do not. Parents are planting seeds which take root, but won’t sprout fully until twenty years later. A strong adult is produced!

Don’t get frustrated. Set the stage. Be patient.

Plant the seeds. Set a good example, and coach a good game.

The future of your son or daughter depends on it, and they may thank you for it… twenty years later.