I was fortunate to attend an event where Mack Ogren, president of the JH Ranch, was the keynote speaker. The JH Ranch is a wonderful place focused on delivering biblically based principles to parents and their children. The JH ranch teaches about the journey of transition as a child grows up. Understanding the different stages of the journey can be the key to having a healthy and fulfilling relationship with your child. The different stages are as follows:
1) 0-5 years: Your primary role as a parent is a Caretaker. Your responsibilities should be centered around Protecting, Providing and Praying for them.
2) 5-12 years: Your primary role as a parent is Cop. Your responsibilities should be centered around Teaching, Training, Disciplining and Praying for them.
3) 12-17 years: Your primary role as a parent is Coach. Your responsibilities should be centered around Teaching, Modeling, Encouraging and Praying for them.
4) 18 years and older: your primary role as a parent becomes like a consultant. Your responsibilities should be centered around Listening, Supporting, Advising and Praying for them.
Understanding the transition from Cop to Coach can make a big difference in the relationship with an adolescent. It is no longer your responsibility to discipline them like you do in the previous stage. You can't just say "Do it because I told you so." They need an explanation and the same amount of respect that you would give an adult. Being a teenager is tough, so for every correction, they need nine praises. Tell them you love them and are praying for them. If they don't have your love and affection, they will search for it somewhere else. And never forget that parenting is one of the greatest leadership opportunities we will have in life. In Galatians 5, the character traits of a Godly leader are stated as: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control.