Avoid These Areas Or You’re In Trouble As A Parent

Listen to a conversation about this topic on our podcast.


Here is a good way to think about where adolescent minds are at. Middle schoolers are asking, “Do you like me?” and high schoolers are asking, “Do I like you?”


In middle school, our hearts are looking for affirmation. In high school, our hearts are looking for identity. As you parent high schoolers, here is one area where you need to let go and one where you need to hang on. I’ve not only worked for 30 years with thousands of students and families, but I’ve also had 3 of my own! I’m not an expert, but I can help point out a few things that will help you as a parent.


High schoolers appear on the surface to be pulling away from us as parents and adults. And in a sense, they are. But it’s important to understand where they NEED to become independent and where they DO NOT NEED to become independent quite yet.




Let me say this right off if you want your students to grow up and be mature and responsible adults, learn to let go. Many parents don’t know how to do this. Some parents are too immature emotionally and can’t live with their kids being on their own. This is dangerous for parents and kids. Don’t do this! They must learn to fly on their own, and high school is the stage where this transfer needs to begin to take place.


You will stunt their growth socially if you ‘hover.’


As you parent a high schooler, remember that it won’t be long until they are out “on their own” as an adult. Let them experiment with social interactions that will challenge them. Train them on how to have a conversation with adults. (my requirement before my kids could have their own smartphone)




Rule #1: ATTENDING CHURCH WAS NON-NEGOTIABLE in the Eckart household. Over the years, I’ve heard many parents tell me, “Well, I don’t want to turn off my kids from faith, so I allow them to decide whether or not to attend church/youth group.” This is a huge mistake.


I will tell you that if my parents did this, I’m not sure where I would be spiritually. If I had a choice to sleep in on Sundays…ummm, I think I would have done that! When I didn’t feel like going to youth group, and I had the choice to opt-out, I know many times I would have. And each time I did, it would have become easier to miss more and more. I learned this discipline, and it has brought huge benefits in my life.


Parents’ desire to keep their kids engaged long-term in their faith is great, but allowing them the choice at this age is not responsible parenting. They are too immature to make this choice on their own. And the more they are removed from the rhythms and community of faith in their teen years, the more they will separate from it. Take my word for it, this philosophy doesn’t work out well long term. I have a 30 year perspective on this.


Geoff Eckart
CEO & Founder
Never The Same



Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash