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Clarifying Choices

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And I must remind us, fathers, that clarity in our job as parents is extremely important. In fact, I maintain that clarity, to a great extent, determines influence. In fact, in 2008, New Yorker Magazine ran a comprehensive article about kids and lying. It reported that:

In a study of teenagers regarding degrees of honesty and deceit, researchers found that most parents believe being permissive will encourage openness and honesty from their kids. Parents of teenagers would rather be informed than strict and "in the dark." However, researchers discovered a "no rules" policy simply doesn't work. One researcher noted: "Kids who go wild and get in trouble…have parents who don't set rules or standards. Their parents are loving and accepting no matter what the kids do, but the kids take the lack of rules as a sign their parents don't care—that their parent doesn't really want [the] job of being the parent… Ironically, the type of parents who are actually most consistent in enforcing rules are the same parents who are most warm and have the most conversations with their kids." Though some rules result in arguments between parents and teens, only 23 percent of the teenagers surveyed considered these conflicts harmful to their relationship with their parents.

As a parent, I will actually do a better job of parenting if I am clear about what is right and what is wrong. If I clarify their choices, I will more effectively influence their behavior.

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