Most of the women in our groups love to talk about Dare 20. Often they think, “Thank goodness my child would never do that”.
In my experience there are two types of moms–those who think the best and those who think the worst. And know that it matters in the relationship that you want to have with your teens and tweens.
If you don’t know where you fall, humor me for a few minutes by thinking through a few scenarios.
- Curfew was 15 minutes ago and your teen has still not arrived home. You are tired and want to go to bed. What is going through your mind?
- Oh my, what if he’s been in a car accident, or drinking, or having sex, or the other hundred things that could go wrong.
- That kid never listens to me. There will be a consequence for this for sure. How dare he keep me up late when he knows I have to be at work early tomorrow.
- I’m sure there is a perfectly good explanation for him being late. I’ll just go to bed and we’ll talk about it in the morning.
- Your daughter hasn’t yet emptied the dishwasher and set the table for dinner for the third day this week. You’re miffed because you want to get dinner on the table before you have to leave for a school event that she is in. What is going through your mind?
- She never does her chores and I’m the one who has to pick up her slack. Maybe I should just not go to her event tonight. Or better yet, I’ll give her plenty of chores to keep her busy this weekend.
- She has become so lazy and I’m tired of reminding her of her chores. I’ll bet she is on her iPhone talking to friends. I guess I’ll be taking that away from her for at least a week. Maybe two.
- I’ll have to ask her what is going on this week that she can’t help. I wonder if something is bothering her or if she has too much on her plate?
- Your tween just came in from school. You mentioned that the two of you would be leaving in about an hour to go over to rake leaves at your parents’ house since they are unable to do it. Instead of being excited to see his grandparents your son grumbles under his breath and says, “We always have to help them. I’m sick of always doing things for them. I just wish they would hurry up and die so I could have a life.” How will you respond?
- “How dare you talk about your grandparents like that! They love you and have always given to you. Now you wish they were dead? You are so selfish!”
- “You should be grateful that you still have grandparents that you can help. I’m not going to let you talk about them that way. If you can’t take a little time out of your day to help them then maybe I should take away your iPod. You don’t deserve it.”
- “Honey, I know it is hard to have grandparents who are so needy. You usually like going to their house and helping. What’s up that you don’t want to do it today?”
How we think and act toward our teens when they don’t respond the way we think they should says something about us. It shows us how we think. If we have a negative mindset (answers 1 or 2 above), then research has shown that we can actually create a self-fulfilling prophecy through our negativism. Our kids will usually escalate the amount of negative-seeking behaviors.
Positive relationship attachment with our kids is defined by our acceptance of them. It means that we choose to trust them and give them the benefit of the doubt. If trust is built then our kids will feel safe with us–sometimes safe enough to share their deepest secrets.
How we respond in a given situation speaks volumes as to our level of trust in our children.
Most of us are familiar with 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
But notice the last verse–always trusts.
When we jump to conclusions about what is going through our kid’s mind, we are not focused on our child’s truth. We are focused on our allusion of what the truth must be. Too many times our brains will resort to the worst case scenario creating fear for us as parents.
Dare you to take your thoughts captive and train your brain to rethink in the positive. If you do, your relationships with your teens and tweens will deepen and trust and safety will be built in a way that builds connection.
“Let go…and Let God”,
If you would like encouragement with training your mind to think positively, we want to encourage you to join our With All Due Respect on-line eCourse. From the convenience of your home you’ll have opportunity to go through the book with moms who are where you are in the struggle. There you will find encouragement, a place to ask questions, and videos to help you in the parenting journey.
We hope you will join us!