Respect for 16 year olds? | Teaching Self-Government

Respect for 16 year olds?


            I am having some obedience struggles with my almost 16 year old. (July) I have been faithfully listening to your cd's. and trying to use the right lingo and doing medium.  The middle and bottom children, there are 13 of them, are doing better and so am I.  If I listen every day we do so much better.  I just wondered what you meant in one of the cd's; I believe it was cd3, about when they were not complying,  She kicked two holes in her walls that her father just finished. She is not a super ugly child she is just having hard time learning that she is not my equal.  I have homeschooled for years but in high school they get to choose, but only as long as they are obedient and no major changes in their character or heart.  She has had those and I have removed her from school to home.  If you have any suggestions I am open.  All privileges including room have been taken from her.  She is trying to comply with a chip on her shoulder.  I started praying with her in the morning so she can hear my heartfelt concern and love for her.  I am trying to stay positive but keep the low tolerance/ mercy level going.  Write if you have time.  I have shared your knowledge with my daughter in law.  Thanks for your gift of listening to the spirit.”



            At age 16, children perceive that they know more than their parents.  In some cases, they even do know more than their parents.  However, no matter the education or understanding, youth are never above respecting their parents.  It sounds like your daughter may not respect you right now.  The praying is a great thing to do.  Keeping your tolerances low is also good.  If parents tolerate too much, the children don’t learn to pay attention to their own behaviors as well.  This stops self government from happening. 

            If she kicks holes is walls, this is out of instructional control behavior.  Make sure to teach to it.  Also note that she is trying to tell you something.  She is probably trying to tell you that she is frustrated.  Possibly she thinks you don’t understand her or that you don’t see what she wants for her life right now. 

            Pull your daughter onto your team.  She may be one of those children that needs more one on one time than the others.  Have regular mentor meetings and special counseling sessions with her.  Schedule them special.  Ask her things about her life.  Don’t talk about what you want from her too much.  Tell her stories from your youth.  Show her you are a real person.  Help her set goals for the things she wants.  She should know that you support her in her appropriate pursuits.  Be humorous.  Be open.  Tell her what she can do to get more freedom at home.  This is usually what youth want the most. 

            There was a time in my life when I didn’t get along with my parents.  They never let me do what I wanted to do.  We were always arguing about little things.  I tried to go to friend’s houses as often as I could, because I couldn’t handle the feeling at home. 

One day at a friend’s house I was explaining my frustration with my parents to my friend’s mom.  She told me something that changed my life; something I will never forget.

She asked me, “Have you ever thought of just doing what they ask you to do?” 

I came back with, “That would never work.”


“Give it a try,” she said.  “I bet that if you diligently do whatever they ask you to do for a week or so, they will give you more freedom to do the things that you want to do.”

I promised my neighbor that I would try this approach.  I went home, and said, “OK” to everything that my parents asked me to do.  I had decided to obey, they didn’t make me, so I was in charge of my own happiness, and I was happy. 

After about a week and a half, my parents were giving my all kinds of privileges.  If I asked to go visit a friend, they said, “Sure.”  If I asked to have friends over, they said, “Sure.” 

Life was good again, because I had decided to make it good.  I had decided to follow their instructions and counsel.  I had decided to respect their authority from God to parent me. 

            Teach your daughter exactly what to do to get what she wants.  Ask her what she wants and then tell her you want her to be able to get what she wants as long as it is appropriate.  If you tell her what to do and she does it, then follow through with your word and help her get what she wants.  She does need to know that it will take more than a few days though.  She needs to show you that she has had a change of heart and wants to make the family a great place. 

            Tell her you need her to be the example of self government for the rest of the children, because they will all watch her.  One of the highest levels of communication is telling someone what you need.  Try to get your relationship to this level.  Tell her that she will have to follow the same system as the other children even though she is older.  But, if she masters the system (that means she always does the basic four and doesn’t go out of control), then she can graduate from having synthetic consequences.  She would be on strictly natural consequences at that point.  

            My 12-18 year old youth were on the same system my young children are on and they did wonderfully.  So, you can use the same government system, you just have to keep in mind what each child needs and wants at their respective ages.