John Cowan - Other Adult Influences

Publish Date
Thursday, 14 September 2017, 5:01PM
Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

By John Cowan

Occasionally, you might have rough patches in your  relationship with your child, especially during the teenage years.  And it is also very normal for there to be times when your child seems to get on far better with some other adult. It’s very natural to be jealous, “How is it my girl only grunts at me and yet she chats away for ages with her girlfriend’s mother!?”. “My boy thinks everything I say is stupid, but if his coach says something it’s always brilliant.”

In actual fact, if that other adult is a good influence, then you should be grateful that your child is getting some extra adult influence . Rather than responding with jealousy, welcome this added support for your child while you work on restoring your relationship with your child. If you criticise that other adult, you could just worsen your relationship and maybe make them even more loyal to the other adult.

Even if you do have a good relationship with your child,  your youngster might be able to talk more frankly about their problems with another adult that isn’t as close as you are – especially if you are part of their problem.

Teenagers in particular can benefit immensely from a range of good adult role models. Build into your life the opportunities for your children to interact with other positive adult influences: your friends, relatives, church, sports clubs and so on. My emphasis, of course, is on ‘good’ adult role model – not all of them are good, not all of them are safe.  Welcome the positive, but always keep your eyes open and your instincts switched on.

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About John

John has been with The Parenting Place ( for seventeen years as their senior writer and presenter.  He had various roles working with youth and families prior to that but actually started his working life as a scientist in neurophysiology at Auckland Hospital.  As well as writing and speaking, John is frequently on radio and television.

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