Influence vs Control

In my work as principal with their struggling teens. Many are still trying to maintain some control over their teens and the results are never pretty. I’m spending more and more time coaching and guiding parents on how to deal. I want to share some of the guidance I gave them.

Just how much control can we expect to be able to have over our teenager’s life and decisions?

Well, here’s my radical answer.


Once a child reaches the age of about 12 or 13 years old, our ability to control our children’s actions and decisions shrinks to almost zero.

How then, can you impact your child’s behavior?

The answer lies in one word: Influence.

Although we cannot control our child’s actions, we can influence the way he lives his life through the way we live ours. 

How will our example trickle down and directly affect our child’s behavior?

That answer also lies in one word: Relationship.

By constantly looking for ways to invest in and improve your relationship with your child, by spending quality, enjoyable time together doing things that he likes to do, you are creating a healthy dynamic through which you can influence by example. 

If you like your child and he likes you, he will want to be like you.

No more fights. No more deep conflict.

Quality time. Laughter. Relationship. Influence.

It’s an investment that takes time and effort, but the idea is very simple.

Those are my thoughts on the idea. What do you think?

Leave a Reply