Managing vs. consulting your teenager

Michael Riera, PhD Educator, Author & Speaker, shares advice for parents of teens on how to change your style of parenting to be good parent when your child becomes a teen
Parenting Teens: Managing vs Consulting Your Teenager
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Managing vs. consulting your teenager

When kids are born, the parents metaphorically are the manager of their life. They organized their life, they sign them up for classes, they take them to the playground, they set up play dates, and kids love us in this role, they love us as the manager, they look up to us. If you go into a kindergarten class and kids are clinging to their parents, they’re showing them off to other friends, it’s just a wonderful thing. Then somewhere late middle school, early high school, adolescence; they unceremoniously, without consulting with us, fire us as the manager of their life. They basically say, that’s it, I’ll take over from here. When this happens, parents do one of two things: They either abandon their kids, I got fired, okay well I’ll go with my life, good luck, I hope things work out, you know, first one who gets up in the morning let the cat out, if you’re the last one you make sure you lock the door and set the alarm; Or they end up fighting for control. They litigate for wrongful termination for next 3 years, in which case, nobody wins because you get into that battle about you wanting to stay the manager. When the reality is that when they fire you, that is what they’re supposed to do, that’s how they’re going to develop their independence. So the first thing we really have to do when they fire us is, grieve a little bit, get over it and then our job is to get re-hired as the consultant which is different than a manager. It’s not the face to face paradigm, it’s actually about a half step back, side by side relationship with them and from the consultant role, we can begin to think more about influence than control. Now you can have a healthy relationship with your teenagers as they go through adolescence.

Michael Riera, PhD Educator, Author & Speaker, shares advice for parents of teens on how to change your style of parenting to be good parent when your child becomes a teen


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Michael Riera, PhD

Head Of School, Brentwood School

Michael Riera, PhD, Educator, Author, Media Personality, and Speaker. Michael Riera is the Head of School at the Brentwood School, best-selling author, award-winning columnist, educator, television commentator, and national speaker on issues of children, adolescents, families, and parenting. Mike is the author of Right From Wrong: instilling a Sense of integrity in Our Children, Field Guide to the American Teenager, Uncommon Sense For Parents With Teenagers, and Surviving High School. His most recent book, Staying Connected To Your Teenager, was launched with three appearances on Oprah! For eight years he was the Family Consultant for CBS The Saturday Morning Early Show and also hosted an award winning television show on the Oxygen Network, Life in Progress, as well as his own daily radio show, Family Talk with Dr. Mike. Mike has worked in schools for over 20 years as a head of school, counselor, dean of students, teacher and consultant. 

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