(This post was written by Chuck Carringer, Pastor of Family Ministries)
As parents, when our children are young, we have control. Sure, there are moments, experiences, and maybe even brief seasons when we question how much control we really have. Overall, when our kids are young, parents determine the “what, when, and how.” As our children become older and move into their later teenage years (and certainly by college age) parents must move from control to understand. In the control years we often rely on rules & commands. I believe that parents should start a subtle shift to influencing their children instead of solely using control in the middle teenage years. The reason this is significant is that when your child goes to college, they can do basically what they want. As parents, at this point, we have little to no control. I want to have influence with my children when they are young adults. Influence is based on relationships.
In order to influence my kids when they no longer live under my roof, I need to invest heavily in our relationship before we reach that critical juncture. Parents, reduce the control and increase your influence as your teenagers age. By making this shift, we increase the likelihood that our young adult children will desire our involvement when it is their choice.
Parents of older teenagers, which do you rely on more, control or influence?