Raising Sons? He Needs A Plan!

When Tom Roten of The Tom Roten Morning Show called to ask if I’d like to come on his show and talk about the 30-year-old man whose parents were imploring the court to help them “boot him” out of the house, I quickly responded ABSOLUTELY!

Though I cover the topic of having “an exit plan” for your son regularly, Tom knows just how important it is. Not only because he has four boys of his own, he is dedicated to improving lives and the work I do in The Quest Project.  You can listen to our conversation here.

From my extensive work with parents and their sons, I know firsthand that the last thing a parent wants is to be in a position to have a court intervene in order to get their son out of the house! If you don’t want to find yourself in such a position, take my advice, start the conversations with your son early!

 The best “exit plan” begins at birth; yes, I said at birth! 

Think of It Like This 

When you go to a hospital they start what’s called “intake.” At the very same time they are beginning to work on your “discharge” paperwork. That means all lessons learned when you have your son (intake) are preparing him to be able one day to take care of himself (discharge).  So don’t wait, start the process early. It’s a continuous process through his life and takes on a much higher level of importance when he starts high school. 

Plan the “Exit Plan”

Talking about what he wants/intends to do when he graduates high school, trade school or completes his GED?  Will he go on to college, join the military or enter the workforce.  If your answer is he doesn’t have “a plan” that’s not fair to you or him!

Communication is Imperative 

The conversations should be upbeat and exciting about his future.  Talk about what he needs from you as he works through this process, be prepared to “nudge” him along, he will need that from you.  Here are the basics:

  • Goal setting-what is it he wants to do?
  • Block-what’s in the way of his goals?
  • Tools-what’s needed to reach his goals?
  • No disruptions/one to one-sync your schedules over dinner, ice cream, coffee, soda or pizza; plan to meet weekly/bi-weekly or monthly.  Schedule time and be consistent!
  • Demonstration of ongoing support-without needing each other, that’s the ultimate outcome.

Let him know you have his back and you have confidence in him.  This framework will give him vision + action = mission and provide a path to follow towards his exit.


Life isn’t perfect, at some point in his life, “life can happen” and he may hit a bump in the road. He may need to come home to hit the restart; he lost a job, got a divorce, maybe he just got out of the military etc. Absolutely you want to offer some help. My point is if you’ve taught him well, he will not want to stay long, he’ll be motivated to get back on his feet quickly because he likes his independence!


  1. Par Donahue on June 11, 2018 at 9:00 am

    I especially like your comment that planning for your kids to leave home begins when they are born. In fact, all parenting of teens begins when, or even before, they are born. Preparing them to get a driver’s license begins with the way you drive. Sex education begins with how they see parents treat each other. Teaching them to love reading begins with your love of reading. And on and on. Teaching is basically done by how parents act. My mantra is “Be the person you want your kids to become.” They become us! Thanks so much for all you do for boys, families, and our great country.

    • Clayton Lessor on June 11, 2018 at 11:32 am

      Thank you! Well said, and great reminder to lead by example. I appreciate your work as well!

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