Why You Should Get Other Adults to Parent for You

We all try to encourage, guide, and nudge our kids, with the hopes of them becoming great adults. We try to get better at knowing what to say and when to say it. Then your version of something like this happens. You’ve been telling her for weeks to try out for soccer. She gives you zero response. Then she tells you she is trying out for soccer.

You think, “She is finally listening to me.” Only to find out it’s because Grandpa thinks she should. You want to say, “Are you kidding me? Grandpa, Smampa! I’ve been saying that for weeks.” I used to get extremely frustrated during these moments. Then I realized that was just me being ruled by my pride. Here’s why you should get other adults to parent for you.

1. You may be missing something.

If your kids aren’t listening to you as much, they probably aren’t talking to you as much. Ouch. But sometimes, other adults in a kid’s life may know something you don’t, something necessary to help guide him in the best way. It also models to your kid that not only is he not alone at home, he is not alone in life.

2. You need others to safeguard your child.

As our kids get older, it’s natural for them to start wanting some autonomy. And we want them to believe in their ability to make decisions. But in their search for independence, they must try things on their own. Having other adults in their lives helps safeguard this process.

3. You may be giving your kid bad advice.

We are anything but neutral about our kids. This wild love sometimes leads us to give advice based on our fears and hopes, which is not always a good thing. Other adults often can see what is actually best for our kids because they have less invested, which can lead to seeing things more clearly.

4. You sometimes need to bring in a pro.

There are six people in our family and five of us have been to counseling. But the thought of taking yourself or your kid to a counselor can be scary. I promise you, counselors are emotional wizards at calming fears. It doesn’t matter what you tell them—they never freak out. If you and your kid need a counselor, see a counselor.

5. You feel less pressure as a dad.

Knowing your kid needs more than you is humbling. But hopefully, it also gives you the relieving realization that you don’t have to have all the answers. It’s a great day when you are finally able to admit that sometimes you don’t know. It’s even OK to say to your kid, “I don’t know. But I bet we can find someone who does.”

Having other adults in your kids’ lives makes you a smarter, calmer, and happier dad, which makes for a smarter, calmer, and happier kid.

Sound off: Other than you or your wife, what adult is having the most positive impact on your kid and why?

Huddle up with your kid and ask, “Other than me, what adult helps you the most?”