Today we continue our look at Dr. Ted Tripp’s warning to parents about common communication pitfalls in dealing with our teens. Dr. Tripp advises us to assume a posture of influential parenting instead of a posture of authoritarian parenting. Authoritarianism is not the proper exercise of authority, but of being over rough. It’s the approach of saying things like “I’ll stay one step ahead of you. You can’t get away with anything with me.” Dr. Tripp says that instead of becoming a bigger authority, we should seek to come alongside our teens to become a bigger positive influence. We need to be someone who has their ear, who shows them love, who helps them to succeed in the things they want to accomplish, and who gains the right to speak to them. Parents, we want our teens to value our influence and to seek out our opinions on important life matters. In the years from infancy to adulthood, our authority decreases. But with the right approach, our influence will only increase, and that’s a good thing.