There are certain age-old principles that do not change with time. As a matter of fact, as time goes on we can more clearly see how relevant they are.

In the Torah, we are commanded by G‑d to honor and fear our parents. Oursages provide examples of what it means to "fear" one's parents: notto sit in their designated seat, not to interrupt them or contradict them, and so on.

Some parents think that in this modern day and age, it is appropriate forchildren to refer to their parents on a first name basis; that children should be able to express themselves and talk to their parents in a way and manner that they see fit. "By taking away the boundaries between a parent and a child we will bring up a more confident and loving child" they say.

Psychologists and educators tell us that the opposite is correct. A child wants his or her parents to take charge. It gives them a sense of safety and security. They want their parents to give instructions and directions, and to put their foot down when necessary.

A child wants to know that their family is being lead by mature adults — who know how to take charge — and not by him or her. Children should have the rightto express their opinion, but always in an appropriate and respectful manner. And after all is said and done, the one who decides is the parent and not the child.

A farmer illustrated it in the following way.

When a herd of cattle is being brought to graze in a new area with a fence around it, one of the first things the animals will do is go around the fence and check to see if it's a real boundary or there are breakages where they can get out. If they find a breech they will go straight out and get lost; but if the boundary is strong and secure they will graze peacefully within the new boundaries set for them.

The same thing with children. They will, from time to time, test their boundaries. They will try to do or say something that was not allowed them until now. They will then watch their parents' response. They will feel reassured when they discover that the good old boundaries are still intact. If they find that not to be the case they will feel like a lost soul in this big and wild world.

When a conflict arises, what the child truly wants from us is not to "give in" to them but to reassure them that we love them and that we are acting in their best interest, even though it may not appear so to them at first.

A teenager will be able to resist bad peer pressure to hang out with the wrong crowd in the wrong places by simply making a statement to his peers, "In my family my parents are in charge, they are strict and they said, No!" A teenager who can truly say this will have a good excuse not to give in to peer pressure while still keeping his or her friends. So do your kids a favor: stay in charge!