We have a responsibility, as parents, to grow adults. This is huge. And wildly difficult. Not only because we’ve never done it before but because each child is so unique that each requires their own unique touch.
When my very amiable daughter was 15 and we had reached an impasse on an issue, I used a very similar but different approach with her. I asked her,”Can you have faith in me?”
Instead of making demands on the basis of authority, I appealed to her heart. I empathized with her that she had strong feelings and opinions that differed from mine. I then reassured her that I loved her with all my heart, that my job was to make decisions I felt were best, even if I turned out to be wrong, and that my goal was to give her the best life possible. Since we disagreed on what the choice should be, I simply asked her, “Can you have faith in me?”
Turned out, she could and would.
Seems to be that worked out a lot better than a simplistic demand with no explanations. Our kids need to know where we are coming from. Sometimes we don’t have all the answers. Sometimes we are just going on a gut feeling. But it’s okay to tell them that. Then ask for their faith in us. They will be quicker to show us faith than blind submission when they know our motivation is undying love. Wouldn’t you?