What is the primary cause of problems during the adolescent period? It’s a failure to transition from a directive to a mentoring parenting style. Remember we talked about the “point and click” kids? They don’t know how to make decisions for themselves. So you got to say “Please do this.” “Please do that.” .
You’ve got to tell them what to do now. If you keep telling a child what to do … when you get to the adolescent stage where they don’t want anybody telling them what to do … you’re going to have a problem! Also, directives, when you’re telling somebody what to do … you’re not teaching them what to do …therefore they’re going to stay dependent. That’s OK … at the dependent stage.
But, even then, again, you follow the neurological stages. The more they can understand, the more you teach them how to think at a higher and higher levels. Kids from age 3 to 5-7 can start to do a little bit of this .. You can teach them new meanings and things like that. Then from 5-7 up to say 11 or 12 … when they start hitting the adolescent stage you can teach more and more and more … as the brain develops higher level reasoning … a great time of explosive learning. So this is actually when the “Mentoring” stage starts. 🙂 It Begins at age 5-7 and up … So they’re becoming less dependent. And I mean think about it.
Now we raise a child from 0 to 18 and we send them out on their own. They are “supposedly” an adult at 18 … But many times at 18 years of age they are still NOT an adult. They still don’t know how to maintain a job. They don’t know how to have relationships. They don’t understand things. They have no idea how the real world works. How office politics works. and so on. And off they go. But think about the old days. A 100 hundred years ago, the average Life Expectancy was about 55-60 years old. And 200 years ago it was about 35-40 years old. So say 150 years ago … by the time you were 12 it was as if you were like 30 years old.
So you were taking over the family business at 11-14 years old, most of which was agricultural. So it was farms or maybe a simple family business. Very few people worked for other people, except after the industrial revolution. So you were a skilled craftsman or something like that and you had your own family business … or you had a farm. Just a few people worked for other people. So you were out there and you were already running your own business at 12 years old! Wow! You were already married sometime between 12 and 14. Some of those laws are still on the books … I think in New Hampshire (USA) You don’t need parental consent if you’re a woman and you’re 14 years old. Or you can marry as young as 12 with parental consent and you can marry as young as 12 if you’re male in New Hampshire. So kids can Often Handle MORE Than we Think.
So, we want to move them from directive to mentoring as soon as we can … again, following the neurological stages. So, teach them as much as they can understand, you know your child, you know what they can understand. The goal is to push them at about 80% of their Capacity … Teaching them a little bit each day. As They learn … It builds their self-esteem. The goal is to Move from Directive to Mentoring at a Steady Pace. Not too Fast. Not too Slow. Think of it like you’ve got an employee. Your child is your employee. And when they first come in they’re in the training stage and of course you’re just telling them what to do and they do it and they try to duplicate it and everything is totally, totally, directive.
A little later, they’ll take on some nuances and things like that. They will try to put their own flair on it. That’s where they start moving into their own thing. But, as you mentor them and you try to teach them why you do things, help them understand the corporate goals, see the bigger picture, understand other people’s jobs, maybe move them through a couple of jobs … You start mentoring them. You start moving them up and what you want to do is you want to get them from being an employee to being a manager, so that at some point they can RUN that business. You can go off and retire and just collect checks from them and they could still be running the business. THAT’s what you want.