My father—a father of six—once shared with me his personal parenting philosophy:
If you want to influence your children in a certain way, you should probably do so before they turn 15.
My father’s view is that after the age of 15, children aren’t paying much (if any) attention to their parents, even if you think they are. There’s a 15-year window of opportunity available to parents, and then the window snaps shut.
I love that imagery. It’s been a useful parenting tool for me. I don’t know if Dad is right or wrong, but as a mother of two 12 year olds, I’m guessing he’s closer to right. Interestingly, the closer our daughters get to age 15, the more right my Dad’s words seem to me.
This week at Barking at Kathy, I will reflect on my father’s wisdom, and on why his words reverberate for me.