Dare 2 – The Respect Dare – Childhood Introspection

Sitting in a Daughters of Sarah classroom, my mind started spinning as I heard the stories. These were real women trying to understand how their childhood memories were being played out in their marriages. Some stories were funny. Some were sad. And some were absolutely horrifying. For me, somehow it made my distorted childhood memories feel somewhat normal. Everyone didn’t have perfect parents who had a great marriage. I was learning that most women struggle at one time or another.

I may as well have been in a different room though… my mind was on childhood introspection alright, but my thoughts weren’t focused on marriage. I was thinking of how my parents parented me and my siblings. I was focused on what could have triggered some of the issues that were coming into play as I parented my teens and twenty-somethings. At that moment, I was trying to figure out why my twenty-somethings weren’t like the other kids at church. For me, it was hurt and disappointment.

Then the memory came into sharp focus with finite clarity.

It was a spring day of my junior year of high school and I was sitting on the back patio with my mom and stepdad. Our family was a Brady Bunch with an added caboose, and one of my step-brothers was my same age. My brother and I were good friends, even though we weren’t anything alike. At this point in his life, school wasn’t on the top of his priority list and his grades were taking a nose dive.

I remember the conversation distinctly between my parents that they chose not to have in private.

“Your son is failing all his classes. He won’t graduate if he keeps this up. You need to do something,” my mom pleaded.

“Well, at least he has friends and goes out and has fun, unlike your daughter,” my stepdad retorted.

“Well, my daughter studies and makes good grades. She’s going to go places!”

“She’s always got her nose in books. It takes personality to get somewhere in life.”

“If he keeps this up, he won’t amount to a hill of beans,” she responded.

And the conversation continued…

In front of a 16 year old girl…

Being compared to one of her best friends…

Feeling like a rag doll being pulled from both sides.

Questioning, “Do I measure up?”

As I contemplated the memory, the answer was in full view now. I realized as an adult the lie that I believed for so long. I’d been trying to compare my kids to others to see if they measure up, just like I wanted to meet my stepdad’s expectations.

I want my children to be to loved and accepted by everyone. Somehow I’d forgotten that my kids are who they are because that is how God created them. I don’t need to compare them to others. They don’t need to measure up to someone else’s expectations. God has a specific plan for their lives.

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Dare you to look at how your childhood story impacts your parenting. Are you reacting to a childhood incident that might be having negative effects on your relationships with your teens and twenty-somethings?

Double dare you to join Nina Roesner, Leah Heffner, and me as we go through The Respect Dare one DARE at a time.

Boldly walking alongside you in your parenting.

“Let go…and let God,”


The Respect Dare – Dare 2 – Childhood Introspection

Even though exhausted, Melissa had several things still on her list before the big weekend. “Thaw out the meat, finish the deviled eggs, run to the store to get streamers, cake, candles…and ice cream. Then come home and mop the kitchen floor and make sure the kitchen and family room are straightened. Better make sure there is enough gas for the grill, too,” she played over in her head as she took inventory of her list.

As the evening wore on, Ryan tried to get Melissa to come to bed, but Melissa kept thinking of a few more things that would need to be done to make the next day perfect for her 13 year old son’s birthday party. She had pulled out all the stops this year. Both her parents and Ryan’s were coming for the celebration. Different times of course, her family on Saturday afternoon and Ryan’s parents on Sunday afternoon, because things just didn’t seem to gel right when everyone was there at the same time. Then there would be all Ryan’s friends on Saturday evening. She wanted to make sure he felt special this weekend!

By Sunday evening, all Melissa could think about was crawling in bed. The last of the guests were gone and the birthday boy had decided to go shoot hoops with a couple of his friends over at open gym at the church. She decided to take a power nap before dinner and immediately fell asleep.

After the kids had gone to bed, Ryan pulled Melissa over to the sofa. “Do you mind if we just spend some time together and talk?” he asked. “You look absolutely exhausted.”

Sitting in the family room, Ryan gently prodded. “I know that Conner had a great weekend. We all did. Everything you did was perfect! But I want to talk about why you felt you had to do so much? Why did you feel the house had to be spotless? And then you felt you needed to make so much of the food from scratch. Why three parties and not just one? I guess I just felt like the weekend took on a life of its own and you were determined to make it all happen. I just want to understand what was going through your mind.”

“You’re right…I’m totally drained.”

“So what was so important about this weekend…this birthday for Conner?”

“Ryan, I thought you knew.”

“Am I supposed to? What did I miss?”

“Ryan, when I was 13, I couldn’t wait until my birthday! You know, it’s a big deal becoming a teenager. Anyway, about two weeks before my birthday, my parents announced that they were going to California on vacation with my aunt and uncle and my grandmother was going to stay with us. They left the day before my birthday. There was nothing special about that day. I just remember feeling like my parents really didn’t care about me at all…no cake, no presents, not even a telephone call on my birthday. I remember asking my grandmother if she was going to make me a birthday cake. You know what her response was?”

“No, sweetheart, what was it?”

“She told me she didn’t make cakes anymore and that if I wanted a cake, I’d have to bake it myself.”

“I’m so sorry. So that’s why the big deal this weekend?”

“I guess so. I think I wanted my parents to see exactly what birthday celebrations are supposed to be about. I guess I was trying to prove that I care about my children. And then you know how mom is such a stickler for criticizing everything that isn’t perfectly clean in the house. I think I try to make everything spotless in anticipation of her criticism. Honestly, I guess I just wanted to feel valued by her.”

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. ~Psalms 91:1

Are you reacting to events in your childhood as you parent your tweens and teens? Maybe it’s time to ask God for rest as you seek his guidance and wisdom in your parenting.

Dare you to look at one of your own childhood experiences that gets played out in how you parent.

Double dare you to join me on a regular basis as I blog through Nina Roesner’s book, The Respect Dare, from a parenting perspective.
For a young mom’s perspective, check out www.LeahHeffner.com and then you can also join Nina directly at www.NinaRoesner.com.

More than anything, as you find yourself struggling in your parenting journey, my desire is that you…

“Let go…and let God,”


Dare 1 – The Respect Dare – Expectations!

“I just don’t know what to do!” Erin sobbed. “Nothing I say seems to get through to her! We raised her in the church, she knows right from wrong, yet she chooses to date guys that most girls wouldn’t even give a second look. The fact that I know she is sleeping with them absolutely breaks my heart! I just worry so for her future!”

Without saying a word, Suzette handed Erin a tissue knowing how deeply she hurt. “What do I do?” Erin sniffled.

Suzette paused to let Erin collect herself.

“Erin,” she gently probed. “Is that why you’ve stopped coming to our small group?”

“I just can’t face anyone. You are the only person I’ve been able to be honest with. I just feel like a failure as a parent and I know everyone who knows my daughter is wagging their tongue about our situation. The difficult part is that I had such hopes and dreams for her…for us!”

“She’s 24. When I was 24, I gave birth to her! I remember the relationship I had with my mom during that time in my life; she was so good about being there as I struggled as a new mom. My relationship with Hannah is so different. I’m not even sure you could call it a relationship. She is bound and determined to do things her way regardless of the consequences.”

Stories like this are not uncommon in today’s culture, even with Christian kids. Somehow as parents we think that if we do everything “right”, this won’t happen to us. But the sad fact is; it does.

But should that really surprise us?

If you’ve spent much time in the Old Testament reading the stories of the kings in the Bible (Kings through Chronicles), you’ll remember the words “they did right in the eyes of the Lord” or “they did evil in the eyes of the Lord”. If you look closely, there is no connection to whether the parent did right or wrong in the Lord’s eyes as to whether or not their offspring would repeat the pattern.

1 Peter 5:8 says…

…your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

As Christian parents, sometimes we set ourselves up with the expectation that “it won’t happen to my kid” if I do everything that scripture says. Reality is that Satan would delight in not only devouring our children but also us as parents!

Most of us want to “fix” our kids. We want the hurt and pain of our expectations on how our kids should live and who they should be to go away. We look side to side at other families and see what we want in our own.

So we do everything in our power to get what we want. We tell them that what they are doing is wrong, we preach, we beg, and we put stress on the relationship because they are putting stress on us. But the bottom line is, we aren’t God. We have no power to change them.

The only person we can change is us…and it starts with our expectations!

As we go through Nina Roesner’s book The Respect Dare together, I challenge you to look not only at your marriage, but also your relationship with your 20-somethings!

Are you trying to change them?

What could you do to change the way you interact with them that could impact the relationship in a positive way?

Here’s my list as we go through The Respect Dare together:

  • Allow my 20-somethings to say “no” to my requests without whining.
  • Stop preaching about the choices they make that I’m not happy about.
  • Work on friendship on a “grown-up” level.

Dare you to grab a copy of The Respect Dare and take this journey with me. I can’t wait to hear what God does with you in your relationship with your husband, your tweens and teens, and your 20-somethings!

“Let go…and let God,”


P.S. Why not join other Respect Dare blogs as we journey through Nina’s book together. Visit Nina at www.ninaroesner.com and Leah Heffner at www.leahheffner.com or visit our website at www.greaterimpact.org.

The Respect Dare – Dare One

Expectations! I can tell you emphatically that I have them for my kids. I can’t tell you my entire list of all my expectations for my tweens and teens because there wouldn’t be enough space to list them!

You know the drill…Keep your room clean, don’t talk back to me, don’t fight with your siblings, get your homework done…

And the list goes on…and on…

But the most important one would be. Don’t embarrass me!

You know what I mean here. Don’t do something that my friends will see…that would make them think I was a bad parent. Don’t lie, cheat, steal, drink, or get someone pregnant would probably be at the top of the list. Of course, you have your own list based on how you were raised.

The Respect Dare may have been written for married women, but as I sat in a Daughters of Sarah classroom (the class that the book is based on) I was focused on my relationship with one of my teens. I’ll admit it needed lots of work. I had expectations that this teen had no desire to fulfill. Every step I took toward attempting to move this one forward toward adulthood ended in more anger, more frustration, and more tears for both of us. Rules didn’t apply. Fun didn’t work. This one wanted to move out and I was ready to see that happen. Nothing I attempted brought us together.

Until Daughters of Sarah

It was all about my expectations.

You see, I wanted this teen to change! I wanted relationship! Why couldn’t this teen and I have a connection like I had with my other kids?

And Daughters of Sarah taught me that it was about letting go of expectations for other people…even my children. It was time to start focusing on my relationship with God. I needed to rely on Him to solve the problem. The only person I could really change was me!

I love how Sarah Young puts it in her devotional Jesus Calling, “When your private world feels unsteady and you grip (Jesus’) hand for support, you are living in conscious dependence on Me.”

That’s what I want as I go through The Respect Dare again; this time with you. I want to know Him more and depend on Him to change me.

James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Isn’t that what we want for our kids? Maturity.

Well, the same goes for us. I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I hear something come out of my mouth to my teens, I wonder if I’ve arrived at that place of maturity! I have screamed, I have been known to use condescending language and flippant remarks, I have issued ultimatums in anger, and truth be told, if the video camera was rolling…those watching would be laughing their heads off! Maturity? My behavior is anything but.

As we go through Nina Roesner’s book together, I would encourage you to focus on expectations for yourself and think of the expectations you need to let go of for your teen. What areas would God like you to change in dealing with your teens? Most likely, it is an area where there is the most conflict.

My list looks like this:

  • Allow my teen to manage his own daily schedule without me continually asking if his homework is done.
  • If anger starts to rise, I will request that we have a cooling off period and resume conversation when the sparks have died down.
  • No longer harp at my daughter when she speeds into the driveway.

If you are like me and have multiple teens, having more than three goals might be overwhelming. If all three can apply to all the kids, then it will be easier to build relationship with each of them.

I would encourage you to spend some time in prayer with the God who can change lives!

Philippians 1:6

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Thanks for joining me on this journey~

Wherever this journey takes you…TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

My desire above all else is for you to strengthen your relationship with God and your tweens and teens!

“Let go…and let God.”


Dare you to bravely share the three things you are going to work on changing “in His strength” as we take this path together.

Double dare you to subscribe to my blog!

Be sure to join Nina Roesner, www.ninaroesner.com, and Leah Heffner, www.leahheffner.com as they take The Respect Dare journey with me. You can visit our website at www.GreaterImpact.com for more information about our ministry.

The Sky is Falling!

My day started with a phone call from my mother. “Haven’t you been listening to the news? It’s bad! Your aunt called me first thing this morning so that I could warn you! You better stock up on water and groceries. Don’t forget the toilet paper too. Make sure that you don’t get out on the roads, you might have an accident! By the way, call your brother and sister as well and make sure you tell them how bad the weather will be!”

Some of you may laugh at the conversation because you think I’m talking about your mother, while others will shrug it off saying, “No one really behaves that way!”

The fact of the matter is I grew up in a home laced with Chicken Little “The sky is falling” comments, and I took them as truth.

Well, maybe not exactly truth, but at least the belief that if I relayed the messages to my children, they might keep them from danger!

My mother’s greatest fear is that something awful will happen to me.

You see, the way I was parented got transferred to me by osmosis! So it came naturally to over-parent my children, even as they entered the teen years, just like I was being treated.

You know the comments…

“Don’t forget your gloves, you’ll freeze out there!”

“Don’t speed; a cop might pull you over!”

“Be careful, it’s icy. You might fall!”

“Be sure to wear your seatbelt. You don’t want a ticket!”

“Don’t stay out too late; you won’t be able to get up in the morning.”

And I’m sure you have even more to add to the list.

As parents, we want to keep our tweens, teens, and twenty-somethings safe. We don’t want them to experience things that are uncomfortable. We want them to follow the rules and not get into trouble.  But if your kids are anything like mine, if we say these things, we get the roll of the eyes and the look as if we have two horns growing out of our head, not to mention the “Oh, Mom, I’m not stupid!” comments.

The truth is, when my mother called this morning, I rolled my eyes (even though she couldn’t see me), and I thought to myself, “She has no respect for the fact that I am an adult and can think for myself. My 76 year old mother is still trying to treat me like a two year old! I’ve never grown up in her eyes.”

And I tuned out every word she said.

The fact of the matter is, by the time most of our kids are 11 or 12, they get it. If they don’t, then maybe they should learn through their mistakes. If they forget their gloves and their hands get cold…maybe they’ll remember next time. If they speed, they might get a ticket…and maybe they’ll pay attention in the future. If they miss a class because they overslept, their grade may suffer, but they’ll try harder to get to work on time when they are older so they won’t lose a paycheck or their job!

Our comments are really teaching them nothing other than that we don’t respect the fact that they are growing up and able to think on their own.

What do our kids want more than anything in the world? Maybe it is for us to see them as “growing up”. Maybe they will tune us out less if we communicate that we respect that they are becoming young men and young women. Maybe we can create relationship that is respectful bi-directionally. If we give them choices, instead of instilling a sense of ‘you have to do it my way’, they will feel respected and learn that their thoughts matter.

I Corinthians 13:1

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

My challenge to you is to speak to your children with love, respecting that they are becoming adults. If you come across as a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal, they’re more likely to tune you out.

Dare you to pick up a copy of The Respect Dare
by Nina Roesner this week and join us as we go through the book with you. If you subscribe to our blogs at www.NinaRoesner.com, www.LeahHeffner.com, and my blog, www.DebbieHitchcock.com, you’ll get an opportunity to apply respect from three different perspectives. We walk you through how to apply it in your marriage whether you are a young wife or have been married for years, as well as what respect looks like with your tweens, teens, and twenty-somethings! Also, be sure to join us on Facebook on The Respect Dare page to learn more about how to apply respect in all your relationships.

To get you started, join Nina on www.FamilyLife.com as she introduces the reason for respect.

“Let go…and let God,”


Dealing with Disappointment?

Valerie sat on the edge of her bed with the door shut, tears starting to roll down her cheek. She couldn’t believe how ungrateful her 15 year old really was!! Trying to convince herself that it was just fatigue, she curled up and let herself fall into a fitful sleep. Wrestling with the demons in her day seemed to take place while she slept. As a mother, all she seemed to hear from her kids was not what she did for them, but what she didn’t do! Today was no different.

Parenting tweens and teens is tough these days! Bombarded by the marketing and what their friends have, sometimes kids have a difficult time learning that parents can’t provide everything they want. For the parents, especially us moms, sometimes we feel inadequate in being able to fulfill our kid’s desires. After all, we just want life to go smoothly and for them to be happy.

It was no different for Valerie. As she shared her story over cappuccino, I could tell she was really wrestling with what she was doing wrong.

“It was Jordan’s 15th birthday! I just wanted it to be special. When I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she gave me a list of five things. I bought four out of the five and all I heard about was what I didn’t buy! I feel like I’m raising an ungrateful, spoiled brat,” she muttered. “What am I doing wrong?”

“Valerie, if you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you some questions. Did God give Jordan to you to make her happy or to teach her His ways?”


“Is your role to make her happy or to teach her that she won’t always get what she wants in life and to learn how to deal with the disappointment?”

“Okay, I think I’m getting where you are going. I should help her talk through her disappointment and help her find ways of coping with it.”

“That’s it.”

“But, you don’t understand. She was in such a foul mood!”

“Valerie, there is a verse in Ecclesiastes 3:1-7 and specifically verse 7”

Verse 1: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

Verse 7: … a time to be silent and a time to speak.

“Timing in relationships is so important. Nothing needs to be settled at the moment. Give her time to work through her emotion. Wait until she is calm and ready to talk. Your job is to close the conversation when things are spewing over with something like ‘I think we need a break from each other right now, when our emotions are under control, we’ll talk some more’…then your role is to initiate the conversation again when she is calm and ready to talk.”

“But how do I do that?”

“What if you said something like…’I know you were disappointed that you didn’t get ________ for your birthday. Tell me why that was the most important gift I could have given you…’ and then calmly dialogue about why you chose the gifts you gave her and why you didn’t purchase that particular one.”

“That’s it! I just want it to get resolved right then and there. I don’t want her to be disappointed and I don’t want to feel bad because I didn’t make her happy on her birthday!

Psalm 25: 4-5

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

Bottom line: Our job is not to fulfill our kids’ dreams to make them happy; our role is to teach them, so they can handle disappointment when we are not around.

Dare you to bravely walk with your tweens and teens when they are disappointed, especially when they are disappointed with you.

Double dare you to share the disappointments your tweens and teens have faced.

Learning to share the things I’ve messed up so many times…

‘Let go…and let God’


P.S.  Be sure to listen to Nina Roesner on FamilyLife Today!  @ www.familylife.com/audio


Understanding Respect

with: Nina Roesner from the series: The Respect Dare

Nina Roesner’s husband ranked their relationship a perfect ten, she only rated it a two. Roesner tells how God grew her in her relationship with her husband as she began to delve into the topics of respect and submission.

Nina Roesner