Parenting 101

The holidays are fast approaching and I need to ask you: what kind of parent will you be this year?

Are you going to buy your daughter the newest most wonderful iPhone 6 in space gray to match her eyes because the screen on her present phone is cracked?



Will you look through your daughters phone and discover that she is a part of the sexting epidemic; learn that she is test-texting: providing and receiving test answers between classes; or, figure out that she is one of her boy friends druggies?

Have you purchased the new HP Surface Pro 3 Replica for your son because his computer is so slow and this state of the art device will help him turn out those college applications faster?


Will you finally look at your son’s computer to learn that he has been gaming all night; discover that he is watching porn while doing his homework; or, uncover the fact that he is involved in an inappropriate online relationship with underage females?

Drug trafficking, computer addiction, cheating, gaming and pornography are all addictions that every teenager is at risk to fall into and it is your responsibility as a parent to save them. Are you are living in a state of emotional tolerance and avoidance? If you are, then you are not doing your at-risk teens any favors by being the enabler of these risky behaviors. Let me be perfectly clear on this point: you will not win any prizes for making enabling as your behavior of choice.

Commit 2015 the holiday season as your time to change. This Christmas, take back control of your home and be the parent who is the guiding force in your teenagers life instead of trying to be their friend.

Look at their text messages and check the history on their computer every day and find out what is actually going on. One mom recently shared with me that her daughter studies so hard that she takes dinner up to her room every night and shuts the door so we don’t disturb her; she’s a good girl and I know she’s fine, so I don’t have to check on her. Seriously?! Who are you kidding? What ever happened to having family time and preserving 1 hour a day gathered around the table? Did it ever occur to you that she might be playing strip poker via webcam with her boyfriend?

You know what they say about assuming….

Parents wake up and ask yourself the tough question: what kind of parent am I? Am I the enabler who turns a blind eye to my teen’s risky behavior?

As a coach to parents of struggling teens I have heard a myriad of excuses. Read on.

“Oh, it’s really no big deal; my son is ok; besides he’s not going to listen to whatever I say anyway,” said an Alpharetta, GA Mom.

“It’s just a phase they are going through,” said the Dad of twins in Norcross, GA.

“I have to go to work and I need my rest so if he chooses to stay awake all night it’s on him. I suppose if it affects his school work I’ll hear from his teachers,” said a Mom in Marietta, GA.

But my favorite excuse from a parent is: “If I’m strict no one will want to be my daughter’s friend and they won’t come to our house. I mean, can’t you look around and see all of the money I have put into my home with a pool and pool-house; media center with surround sound; not to mention the game room and arcade downstairs? After all, [Janie] said that is what her friends need to be happy…and we have the best parties, too.”

In case you are keeping score, each one of these excuses is a wrong answer. Yes, it is hard work to be a parent, but if you don’t do it, who will?

Take charge of your own parental destiny. Change does not happen through osmosis. If you want to be the hero in your child’s life, change your behavior first.

Risky behaviors and addictions cannot be managed effectively without supervised treatment and there are many evidence-based treatment options available. So, what are you waiting for?

Find out what is going on in your household; dig deep and find the courage you need to discover whether or not you have a teenager in crisis; then, get your troubled teen the help they need instead of giving them another gift to unwrap at Christmas.

Lane Taylor