When your child was very young, it was your job to guide their choices and strongly impress your opinion upon them. That was the right thing to do.
Now that your child is an adolescent (about 10+ years), you have a different responsibility. It is important for your child’s maturity that they learn how to think for themselves. What this means for you is the need to change from giving directives to asking questions. This is going to be different for both of you. Your adolescent will likely be frustrated that you are not simply telling them what to do, and you will need to rethink how to engage them with your insightful questions.
None of us want our children to simply follow the loudest voice in their peer group. We don’t want them to agree with different points of view without thinking through what they believe. That process of questioning themselves can begin with you questioning them. It will force them to think about their choices and be able to explain them to you in a way that wins you over.
Be prepared. This might reveal that they have different ideas than you have about plans for their future and even about different social topics. Give them some room to explore their ideas while they are still growing and changing. Make sure you have done your homework before you attempt to challenge them and that will give you some leverage in the conversation.
If you start when they are a younger adolescent, you can both grow through the process. By the time they are 13+, the conversations are likely to be much more emotional but even more important.
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