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October 13, 2015

Lead Them to Manage Themselves

Educate your children to self-control…and you have done much to abolish misery from their future and crimes from society.”
(Benjamin Franklin)


There are few things I find more self-sabotaging than parents trying to manage their kids’ behavior. Recently I was in a conversation with other parents of teenage boys, and they were complaining about having to work so hard to get them up, out of bed, and off to school. Junior is in high school.

“I’ve tried different alarm clocks.” “I’ve tried different bedtimes.” “I keep trying to cook a better smelling breakfast, hoping that will entice him from his cave…”

Of course, I couldn’t keep totally silent: “What has he tried?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you guys have talked about all you’ve tried to wake him up-what has he tried to wake himself up? Who’s problem is it? Has he asked you to help him, or do you find yourself asking him to help you?”

Our job is not to manage their behavior; our job is to help them learn to manage themselves.

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