Mastery Over Compliance

We stay connected with our teenagers as they pursue their independence not by trying to make them compliant to our wishes but by staying focused on their developing mastery in and over their lives.  Our job is to help them become experts on themselves and to help them discover what they want for themselves.  This is definitely not top-down parenting, but neither is it laissez-faire parenting.  Instead, this approach recognizes that healthy teenagers need to struggle with and for their autonomy; when parents recognize and embrace this developmental reality, the relationship is able to sidestep many of the struggles associated with stereotypical teenage rebellion.  Issues of independence and dependence, viewed through the goal of mastery, become a continuum rather than a dichotomy.

— Michael Riera, PhD, Staying Connected to Your Teenager, p. 95

Leave a Reply