License to Parent
This is the first of a two-part series in which I tackle some of the cultural myths that many parents may have fallen sway to.
We will find that some, if not all, of these cultural myths have no biblical basis to exist. The answers to these questions are taken from the experience my team and I have in working with troubled teens at Shepherd’s Hill Academy, a therapeutic boarding school.
1) I Have No Right to Snoop
Should parents be allowed to snoop? A valid question many parents don't know how to answer.
Essentially the answer is, yes! You pay the mortgage and your name is on the deed. You have the responsibility ensure your home is safe from cultural vices. To do this effectively, you may need to snoop through your teen’s stuff from time to time.
Even if your teen has a job and buys his own things, everything he purchases is still under your roof. This is basic accountability and will help you know how your teen is really doing.
2) It Is OK for My Teen to Date
The concept of dating really wasn't a good idea years ago.
Considering today's sex-saturated culture, it's even more wise to establish boundaries to prevent dating.
One example: If you think your teen is responsible enough for dating, you at least need to ensure there is a responsible third party to oversee the date.
3) Your Teen Needs a Longer Leash
Your teen depends upon you to help him make healthy decisions.
As your teen grows more responsible, giving him a longer rope may be wise. However, entrust a teen with a longer leash too soon and he may find himself in trouble.
A longer leash should not merely represent more liberties, instead a longer leash needs to also be viewed as more responsibility.
If your teen is properly trained early on in life with responsibilities, they will be more likely to maturely handle the liberties they receive.
4) Your Teen Needs an Allowance
Allowance should be reserved for the most responsible kids.
Simple chores around the house should be required no matter how busy your child is with extra curricular activities.
Washing dishes, cleaning their bedroom and other routines need to be expected without compensation.
However, it would be wise to create a system that compensates your teen for bigger projects in the home to improve their level of responsibility even more.
Trace Embry is the Founder and Director of Shepherds Hill Academy, a Christ-centered therapeutic residential program, as well as a private accredited boarding school for troubled teenagers. He is the Host of the "License to Parent with Trace Embry Radio Program." He is also a public speaker, and teaches parenting classes. Visit his parenting blog at "Insight for Today's Culture with Trace Embry."