Your Kid Secretly Hopes You’ll Be the Bad Guy


Over 75% of teenagers surveyed say while they want their independence, they would CHOOSE for their parents to stay on top of them and not just let them do whatever they want. Here is why:*

  • Teens see our taking charge as a form of love and security. In fact, many kids say when parents are not in control, they feel unsettled (not that they will often admit this).
  • The majority of teens say they respect parents who take control and lose respect for parents when they do not. They begin to discount the parents’ authority.
  • Even good kids need watchful attention. When we have rules in place to govern behavior, it can often provide the way out of a difficult situation with friends.
  • Kids appreciate rules more when they understand the reason behind them. Teenagers surveyed indicated freedom was their chief desire. When they do not understand the reason behind a rule, they simply see the rule as an unnecessary infringement on that freedom.
  • Kids of all ages will naturally test boundaries at some point. Be ready, and stand by them.

Consistently, the research suggests teens of all ages want their friends at school and their parents at home. Our generation of parents often find themselves in the quandary of choosing between being liked by our kids and actually being their parent. This is highlighted well in a previous two part series entitled, “We Are Not Friends.”

As a parent, we have all seen others who were more concerned with being the “cool” parent than actually parenting their child. If we are honest, that is the easy route to take and one that is appealing in a lot of ways. But if our kids are honest, most of them want us to be the parent, set the boundaries, and then stand by them.

Until next time,



*Feldhahn, Shaunti, and Lisa Rice. For Parents Only: Getting Inside the Head of Your Kid. Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books, 2007.

About Jeffrey D. Potts, Ed.D.

Raised on a ranch in the Texas Hill Country, Jeff Potts, Ed.D., grew up learning the importance of hard work and family values. A graduate of Baylor University, he has master’s degrees from two universities and earned his Ed.D. in teaching and learning from a fourth institution. Potts launched his pedagogical career in the 1990s, working full-time with students and parents. READ MORE→