We All Have Choices
Question:What can I do to make my 15-year old son be more responsible for himself and his behavior? No matter what I do, nothing seems to change.
Answer from Tim Sanford:Using the “Three Rules of Life” will make your parenting a bit less complicated. If you’re a human being – and breathing – these rules apply to you.
Rule No. 1: You Live And Die By Your Own ChoicesPeople and circumstances influence us. We can’t control that. But we do have control over our response to those people and circumstances. We all have choices, and our lives will move in the direction of either life or death with every choice we make. It’s call free will – given to us by God himself. This is true for your son, which means he lives (or dies) by his choices… not yours.
Rule No. 2: You Can Choose Smart Or Choose Stupid
Since he is in control of his choices, the question for him then is “Will he choose smart or choose stupid?”
Remind your son that he doesn’t get to decide which actions and behaviors go on the stupid list or which go on the smart list. Neither do you. The smart list and stupid list have been predetermined for all of us.
Rule No. 3: There’S Always Somebody Or Some Circumstance Whose Job It Is To Make Your Life Miserable When You Choose Stupid
When you choose stupid, sooner or later that choice will come back to bite you. There’s always and “ouch” to a stupid choice. This is where your influencing power really comes to life.
When your son chooses smart, give him the credit. When he chooses stupid, see that he reaps the “ouch”. It might come from a girlfriend, peer, boss or you. The consequences might take the form or getting dumped, losing a job, failing math class, getting arrested or getting grounded for a week.
While there’s nothing you can do to make your son change, what you can do is reward smart choices and give consequences for stupid ones. That is your job. And in doing so, you are strongly influencing him to be responsible and mature and to choose smart.