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#2 Stay In Your Lane - What Does That Mean?

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

What does "Staying In Your Lane" mean?

Staying In Your Lane means giving your teen or young adult child the capacity to make their own choices so they can learn to navigate their own lives in a healthy and successful way.

So there it is… When you stay in your lane, you give up the "who makes the choices" control in the relationship with your teen or college student or even young professional adult child. The result, they learn how to navigate their own lives. Over time, you give up more and more of the control and choice making to them, of course relative to their age.

I bet a lot of you are laughing out loud! There is no way I can give up that kind of control. I am here to say, YES YOU CAN! and it depends on the situation and your child. It may take a while, a little digging into you past behaviors, knowing more about your present behaviors, and your motivations and those same things for your kids. I say and will scream from the rooftops, there is a way to do it that is healthy and hopeful.

Let’s with parent self-awareness and self-understanding. This means we look at our ability to notice who we really are, where we are in our lives, all the skills and knowledge we have that is useful and how that impacts how we are with our young adult children.

The more self-aware and more understanding and forgiving we are of ourselves, the greater the chance we have of helping our young people launch to a happy, healthy and successful life.

I am going to ask you to take the time to investigate your thoughts and behaviors by using some resources that are available in books, programs and coaching. I will show you the tools to use, many are free. Then, in the next several videos and blogs I am going to teach you how to Stay In Your Lane by using those tools.

Important -- If after you do a little digging and things get too scary or too upsetting, or something just doesn’t feel right, please find a mental health professional to help you. No hesitation, please get help if you even think for a second you may need it.

When we see more clearly what motivates us to be behave the way we do, we can have a much easier time allowing our children to make their own choices. Self-awareness helps us stay in our lanes with our young adult children because we’ll be much more in tune or mindful of what makes us swerve or go over the median into the lanes of our young adult children.

What do I mean…

Self-awareness is knowing about our values, preferences, strengths, weaknesses, and our passions. For you all, I am asking you to look deep and learn why you behave and react the way you do in good times, stressful times or challenging times. Ask what is going on when you are your best self? Again, ask when are you at your worse?

Now you are thinking, how do I do that? How do I know?

So here is the shortcut for some of you…chances are some of you already know these things just for a different context – like work or volunteering or some other activity that doesn’t involve our kids.

Now is the time to do it this digging and now is the time to make it all more front of mind. Because when you do, you will see that many of us have done our children a disservice and therefore us a disservice. What is the disservice? We forgot that we have to let them do their own lives by themselves.

When you have embraced your preferences, strengths and weaknesses and are you willing to change your behavior, your kids can be more resourceful, resilient, self-sufficient and independent. Are you willing to be honest, vulnerable and admit that there are some things you need to fix about your own behavior to launch your children to college and then to their own independence.

Some of you may be thinking, it is so much easier if I just continue to do everything I have been doing for my kids – making appointments, calling teachers, handing them money, buying them things to keep them happy, you know the drill.

So, I say now is the time because it will save you so much time later. It will save you time because there will be less arguments, worrying, lecturing, and nagging because you will know how to manage and work through every situation because you have figured out what you can do differently because you now can put your finger on the value, preference, strength, weakness and passion. You can name it, own it, and then do something about it.

The focus is on you. Let me be clear, self-awareness is not how other people see you. That is something else. Right now we’re just talking about knowing ourselves.

Also, Who are we really? I am going to keep this very simple. We’re parents, that’s what is similar. We all grew up in a different time than our kids, another similar thing and we love those children of ours in good times and in bad. What’s different, we all have different background, different experiences, some of us had or have careers, we live all over the country and in some instances the world.

My idea is that to really be the best parent for our children when they are moving on from high school, to college and then on their own, we have to know what we’re all about – our values, strengths, weaknesses, and what we’re passionate about. Here’s where we are all very different.

I would like to start with a short story…

About two years ago, our daughter Melissa was graduating from college. Shout out to Tulane and Melissa. Like a lot of college seniors, she was struggling with exactly the type of career she wanted to take on and she wasn’t sure what to do. So, me being me I said “not a problem, I can help you with that. I can teach you how to network, we’ll re-write your resume, I’ll send you all my contacts…” And, Melissa, god bless her said, “No way! I am not letting your coach me!” Not a surprise, don’t we all have these kinds of relationships with our own kids? We ask them or rather tell them to do something, they won’t. Someone else does, they do. No need to get all deep and psychological. It’s just the way it goes.

So I said, “Ok I will find you a coach, and I will start a business called "I Am Not Your Mom Coaching.” That’s when I finally realized, probably what I had known all along but refused to see the signs, I had to Stay in My Lane. I had to step away. She wanted help, but not my help. She needed resources, by not my resources. I also didn’t know how I was going to be “Mom” if I wasn’t the one trying to make her life easier, happy and safe.

She was ready to launch to take on her own life, and I didn’t want to stop her. So, I sucked it up, told her I would stay on the sidelines and was available if she needed me for her job search. Guess what, she didn’t need me for her job search. She figured it out, planned, and asked for a little help with her resume. And, I stood by and let her take her time, process what she needed to process, and didn’t ask questions. When she headed down a path that I thought would be trouble, I bit my lip and just listened without judgements.

A lot of us spend a little or a lot of time every day on our physical health – we work out by lifting weights, yoga, running hiking, etc. But, what we don’t consider is how we can train our minds to act healthier with our young adult children. What do I mean by this… When we know our selves, our personalities and our triggers we can lead happier and healthier lives all around and that means we can interact in a healthier way with our teens and young adult children.

To end, my friends and family ask, "Why am I doing this work?" 'Why am I a coach?" It is because I believe when we teach our children how to navigate their own lives they are their best selves. When they are their best selves, they can make good choices and can make the world a better place for people like me and you. When they make the world a better place, I personally feel safe and secure and we humans are in a good place.

For more, continue reading my blog or check into the Vlog series, Parent's Please Stay In Your Lane on YouTube at

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