Parent Talk: protecting kids from poor choices


Situation: A single mother is struggling with her 14-year-old daughter who wants to do her own thing. In the past, the daughter has made bad decisions – run away from home, made poor choices in friends, and the mother feels she is too young to have a boyfriend. The conflict for the mother is that she made bad choices in her past, too, and wants to protect her daughter from making similar mistakes.

How do you protect kids from making bad choices?

Parent Talk tip: Diane Moore suggests that when you parent out of fear it can make you appear weak to your children and, in turn, your children feel weak and powerless. She uses the example of working with a dog and stepping out as the the pack leader. A dog knows if you’re afraid, and your teen will know too. She suggests that telling children what to do leads to misunderstandings because they don’t understand that the parent is trying to shield them from pain.

Moore advises that the mom explain she understands what it feels like to have a broken heart, and express out of love, “If you want to learn the hard way, you can.”

Moore encourages the mother to be a strong pack leader, be at peace and resolve, “I’m going to do what I need to do as a parent. I’m going to be a strong pack leader. But I’m going to do it out of principle, and out of love and understanding, rather than fear.”

The podcast is included at the top of this post.

Diane Moore is a certified family life counselor and parent mentor with a private practice in Vancouver. Parent Talk is her radio talk show heard in Portland, Vancouver and Boise. Today’s tip comes from a conversation between Moore and one of the show’s callers. It has been edited for time.

Audio produced by Ed Stortro

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