There a few phrases I use almost like mantras with my daughters. One I find using more and more is “lower your expectations without lowering your standards.” It’s a phrase born in a desperate discussion with my oldest when one of her friends had been caught drinking. The choices were to break-up with her friend or lower her expectations and maintain an influence.
The message is this, we can’t expect perfection from our friends. The trick is to not give into the temptation to join them in their poor choices. We have been called to be merciful and in doing so extend the influence of the gospel.
Some parents will not trust their children to not give in to temptation. My experience (after 19 years) is the exact opposite. When our children are empowered with permission to extend mercy they become stronger in their own standards.
The mantra: you sometimes have to “lower your expectations without lowering your standards.”