When your kids were young, they gave you “father-of-the-year” coffee mugs and begged to hold your hand while walking down the sidewalk. But everything changed when they entered their teen years. Children who once hung on your every word suddenly feel like they don’t need you as much anymore.
We all know that while teenagers may not think they need their parent’s guidance, they will still make poor decisions without their father and mother. So, when you feel like your child is slipping away, it can be tempting to pull them closer. You do their laundry, you order their food at dinner, and you help them prepare for school projects. Why? Because you’re their parent!
Though, according to Mark Gregston, this type of parenting may be causing more harm than good for your teenager.
Mark is an author, speaker, national radio host, and the founder of Heartlight Ministries, a boarding school for troubled teens. We recently caught up with Mark during an exclusive audio interview inside Kirk Cameron’s The Campfire. He says a common mistake many parents make is failing to switch from a teaching model to a training model as their children age.
So, what’s the difference between the two? Mark specifies that many teach their children how to do things when they’re young, and this typically means the parent is doing the activity for them. The parent shows a child how to fold the laundry, how to pick up their toys, or how to communicate with adults. However, when that child turns 12 or 13, the parent should then allow their child to do these things completely on their own.
“Parents do so much for their kids that we’re not allowing our kids to take responsibility and to be in control,” Mark shares.
Does this mean your child might fail a biology test because you didn’t remind them to study? Perhaps. Or maybe you have to patiently endure an uncomfortable conversation as your child awkwardly communicates with another adult. Though, these are the important moments that will challenge your child and prepare them for adulthood.
Wouldn’t you rather your child learn from their mistakes under your roof verses when they are away and alone at college?
Mark says the children who are not given enough responsibility at a young age are typically the children that start acting up when they’re older. All because “they just want someone to give them attention.” Hear more from the interview below.