A hundred years ago, we read stories of how how kids were to speak only when spoken to, and how parents enjoyed a more influential voice in their teens’ lives. In most cases, the acceptable style was command and control.
Over time, life changed. The change was caused by access to information. Culture began playing a larger role in shaping kids. Research says that peers and media (even social media) enjoy a larger percentage of influence in a teen’s life than parents do.
As Baby Boomers became parents, they determined they didn’t want the same challenges they had with their parents. In response, they chose to buddy up with their children.
They didn’t want to lose them to cultural temptations (as many of them had experienced), so they chose to be the “cool mom” or the popular parent. In fact, many acted like a pal more than a parent. They chose to trade the pursuit of control, which past generations of parents modeled, for a pursuit of connection.
As we lead our kids, there are different phases where our leadership morphs into a new style, always loving but ever guiding the emerging adult.
1. Discipline Phase (Ages 1-5). This is when children learn boundaries.
2. Training Phase (Ages 6-12). This is when children learn to initiate good behavior.
3. Coaching Phase (Ages 13-21). This is when you guide their own decision making.
4. Friendship Phase (Ages 22 and up). This is when you enjoy the fruit of love and respect.
1. Ensure your voice is a large one, by placing boundaries on media, guiding choices, and offering autonomy to adolescents as they earn trust.
2. Place a priority on honoring people and valuing relationships. Respect for every family member (even siblings) is essential.
3. Determine you’ll gain their respect more than their love. If you need to be “liked” by your children every week, you’ll never be a good leader for them.
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