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,”
Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.