Parent Your Kids Early Because You’re About to Get Demoted.

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Cigarettes Will Be the Least of My Troubles.As I continue my career as a school administrator (unless you’ve heard something, and if so please send me an email ASAP… it could be awkward if I show up at work tomorrow), I have learned that parents have a limited amount of time to raise their children.

If I wasn’t employed in education, I would have missed out on this lesson in life.

When I was younger (much, much younger), I thought the parenting cycle was from birth to the age of 18. I believed parents were in charge of their kids until they left for college and moved out of the house.

After working with students and parents for the past several years, I have gained a much broader perspective.

I have discovered parents have only 14 short years (give or take a few months) to instill their values and beliefs into their kids.

After a child celebrates their 14th birthday, parents are no longer calling the shots but are merely acting as consultants.

At this point, teenagers start to take their advice and guidance from anyone and everyone not named mom or dad.

This is tough for some parents to believe, but I think it is true.

If parents have a good relationship with their child during their younger years, they have a much better chance of becoming a full-time, well-thought of consultant (doesn’t pay well, but beats the alternative).

If they have not had a quality relationship, they may end up getting fired as consultant (this is the alternative and it pays much worse… in fact it can cost you money).
14 years. It isn’t a very long time. And as I head into year 7 of my parenting cycle, I am quickly realizing how quickly this time passes.

In a few short years you have to give your kids structure, discipline, manners, kindness, worth ethic, common sense, and an appreciation for education.

It is a big job, but it can be done.

And it has to be done. Because while you can continue to offer advice and guide them for the rest of their lives, their basic values have already been set.

I believe that parents who think they can jump in and fix their kids when they are 15 or 16 or 18 are in for a rude awakening.

At that point a team of the consultants may not be able to change them (or lawyers…).

Then a parent’s best hope is that the child changes themselves. And that doesn’t always turn out very well.

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6 Responses to “Parent Your Kids Early Because You’re About to Get Demoted.”


  1. Jen
    on Oct 11th, 2008
    @ 5:05 pm

    14 is even generous. I’d say 12 or 13. I think there was even a study showing that 7th grade year was highly correlated with doing well in high school. That is, that whatever problems (or lack thereof) there were in 7th grade would be relived over and over, at increasing intensity throughout high school.

    (Parent of two teenage boys and one elementary school boy…)


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