A man once asked Jim Fay (a premier trombone player) if he could teach him to play the trombone reasonably well. Jim told the man that if he gave him 5 years, he could have him playing almost anything.
The man lamented. “Five years? In five years, I’ll be 60 years old!”
Jim asked him thoughtfully, “And how old will you be in 5 years if you don’t learn to play the trombone?”
This is a light-hearted reminder that, you guessed it – it’s NEVER too late.
We know parents who didn’t start applying our principles until their offspring were in their twenties. And honestly, those have been among the most dramatically awesome stories we have heard.
Sure, there is great benefit in starting early. When we set better limits early, our kids test our overall limits much less. Some ounces of prevention will definitely pay off.
But please take heart and fear not if you are already dealing with teens or even older ones as you discover Love and Logic techniques. It is always a good idea to set better limits. It is always a good idea to figure out what we CAN control. It is always a good idea to share thinking and control. It is always a good idea to respond with empathy instead of wrath and lectures. These are the core ideas in Love and Logic and they will serve families and professionals from all walks of life and in many different situations.
As our kids get older, two of the important aspects we can still control are:
1.The example we set.
2.What we provide.
Is it powerful when our teenagers see us consistently behaving responsibly? Does that guarantee they will exhibit responsible behavior? Unfortunately, no – but it is comforting to know we are still in control of some things.
One of the most important elements of setting good limits with teens and older kids is what we provide. This might include things like cell phone service, internet service, use of vehicles, paying for their insurance, paying for college, and more.
We know parents who set limits using statements such as:
“We are happy to reimburse you for classes in which you earn a C or above.”
“We provide internet service after chores are done.”
“I provide use of the car as long as you are putting in __ job applications per week.”
We would not be exaggerating if we told you that several families with kids well into their 20’s have told us that finally setting limits over these things they could control was life-saving.
For more, check out Love and Logic Magic For Lasting Relationships.