The teenage years are an exciting and sometimes trying time in human development. It is normal and natural for teens to begin pulling away, pushing limits, trying to stand on their own. Many teens realize the power of free will and begin to exercise this in earnest during these years. This is a vital time in human development so it is important that parents find ways to empower their children as they guide them through these years of change.

So often we as parents attempt to control our seems “easier” to just tell the kids whats what. The challenge with this is that as soon as we take on role of demanding from our children, resistance and rebellion can occur. Why is that? It creates a power struggle. We as parents personalize our kid's rebellion rather than embrace it as an expression of their agency. Our role can be to empower the kids to redirect their energies of rebellion into development of healthy boundaries and behaviors. The children in the world this day in age are very sensitive to attempts at control. They nearly automatically push back, its physics really, the law of opposition in all things. The youth believes that parents cant possibly understand what they are going through, they believe that the world of today is so vastly different from the world their parents grew up in. So we see the rift between adolescents and their parents needs to be bridged.

What if there was another way? What if it was possible to empower children to govern themselves by degrees, over time? What if we were able to erase the imaginary line that pits parents and children against each other? What if we could engage our children in development of healthy boundaries and value systems?

In behavioral modification parenting systems we teach our children how to jump through hoops to avoid a consequence. Therefore, when the consequence is gone the behavior returns. In positive peer culture environments we teach our children to be susceptible to peer pressure. Albeit at the time it is positive, the susceptibility to peer pressure makes them vulnerable to negative peer pressure when they return to their original environments. We have found that teaching your children to self govern through healthy core values allows them to become constant in any environment. That is the solution, let us explain.

The world simply would not have so many successful people in it were it not for more effective ways of parenting. Yes, one could argue that some of the success of people is a reaction against the broken parenting style used on them as children, however there is also a great number of effective parents that have greatly impacted their children, leading them to success. We have watched, we have practiced, we have studied these folks and worked to develop a more effective way of approaching parenting.

Value Based Parenting creates the foundation, leans on the foundation of all that is important and fundamental for success. How is this done?

Here is how:
Parents work to firmly identify their own values. Parents and guardians are the hub of successful Value-Based home environments. This can be accomplished by identifying what is of greatest importance to you, as parents, in life. Is it family? Is it good communication? Integrity, honesty, accountability, openness, kindness, prosperity, success? A good way to identify our core values is to look at where we spend our time. There are exactly 168 hours in the week. Outside of time spent meeting necessities such as eating, sleeping, and grooming what are we spending our time on? Do we spend countless hours at work? If so, then what is the value there; could it be hard work itself feels rewarding to us? If so, this is likely one of our core values. What other activities do we engage in? Do we find our minds straying to that future vacation we have planned, if so what is the value upholding that? Is it the value of play? Is it family time? Is it alone time? We recommend following this line of self exploration through to establishing your top ten values, your ten core values. As you do this you may find that your time spent is actually not fulfilling your deepest desire, or not in alignment with your values. This is indicated by a feeling of dissatisfaction with the way your time is spent. This is helpful feedback, as now you have the opportunity to modify how you are spending your time, thereby getting more in sync with your own values.

Once our personal values are established we have found it very beneficial to aid our teens in establishing their own core values, so that value based language and interactions can occur in the home.
One may ask how is it that core values empower self governing behavior? We find it does for a number of reasons. Firstly, the act of clarifying values many times helps teens refocus their behaviors to uphold their values. Secondly, having core values creates internal accountability, absolutely vital to the development of self governance. In other words, when we know what we stand for it is much easier to stand up. Thirdly, parents can support their children in living their values by holding them accountable to their values. That way interactions between parents and children can be less punitive and more focused on empowerment. Core values tend to inspire, where as focusing on negative behaviors tend to create more negative behavior. With appropriate repetition of living according to values, this becomes a way of life.

It is also important that once values are established we begin the process of connecting consequences, both positive and negative, to the consistent living or breaking of values. Life is full of cause and effect, and kids become more effective adults as they learn by experiencing the law of cause and effect, especially when rooted in sound value systems.

This is just a taste of how Value Based Parenting can greatly enhance parent's ability to guide children and how teens can grow towards self governing their lives. The great principle to understand is that there IS hope for our families, even amidst these trying times, hope can be generated by living and communicating from a place of value and understanding.

For more information on the Value Based Parenting Program please contact Dean, Cliff, or Kwinten at TurningLeaf Wellness Center in St. George, UT at 435.652.1202 or find us online at We have a full variety of programming that will aid each of you in development of a Value Based home.

Our services include parenting classes, Emotional Growth Seminars, workshops, supportive groups, family and individual counseling and coaching, and all types of assessments to support the development of healthy families.

Author's Bio: 

Kwinten is a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in a number of important areas. He is the program director for Teen Outpatient Services at TurningLeaf Wellness Center in St. George, UT. This program has had great success in aiding teens and their families down the path of progress, improving relationships, ending addictions, supporting growth, creating accountability, and instilling Value Based living into families. Kwinten has worked with teens and their families for ten years. Kwinten also specializes in improvement of body image through the Body Appreciation Program (see This program has helped many people overcome poor body image, reduce eating disordered behaviors, develop self esteem, find a healthy body weight, and develop greater self confidence in making and achieving their personal fitness/wellness goals. Kwinten, with the help of his wife Gina have developed this program with accompanying workbook “Breaking Through the Barriers to Weight Loss”. Kwinten has a Masters degree in mental health counseling, and is a student of many highly skilled success coaches such as Dean Nixon, Jack Canfield, Bob Proctor, Steven Covey, and T. Harv Eker. He is well versed in doing face to face sessions, family counseling sessions, group therapy sessions, phone counseling sessions, and facilitating workshops and lectures.