Wish You Could Parent With A Clean Slate? You can!

I became a grandma today!  And the flood of hopes and dreams for my kids came rushing through my mind.  And it dawned on me that my son now has his hopes and dreams for his son–a clean slate with which to start.

But let’s face it, sometimes by the time our kids become tweens and teens we wonder if those hopes and dreams are even real any more.  They frustrate us and do things that we cannot fully comprehend.  We wonder if their decisions are tied to the way we parented or if they are just part of their immature brains.  And what do we do?

We do what most normal moms do — we react, we nag, and we try to teach.

And sometimes they put up walls. 

And even though we try to explain, to encourage, or help them see another perspective, they continue to fortify the walls or begin reacting to everything we say or do.  Sometimes we find ourselves in a no-win situation.

The phrase in our house became “Can’t we all just get along?

Several years ago I was in that no-win situation.  One of my kids had put up the walls.  Anger and bitterness seemed to rage at times.  She could only see her perspective and as a mom I could do nothing right in her eyes.  Sometimes I would choose to be silent rather than pursue what I knew would be a battle.  

Honestly, when she was in our home I didn’t have the skills to turn our relationship around.  My husband, Dave, and I even went to counseling trying to learn how to repair the relationship and hopefully start tearing the walls down.   And we were taught some skills–skills to deflate defensiveness and resolve conflict.  We worked hard on the relationship with our daughter even though by that time she had turned 18 and moved out.  I continued to do research and practiced what I was learning with all my kids.  I did everything in my power to seek her out and try to connect as she would allow.

And then I met a fellow trainer, Nina Roesner, who was working on strengthening her marriage.  And we would talk for hours about the skills that most of us weren’t taught growing up.  She was doing research too and the more we talked and struggled through our own family relationships, the more we learned about what worked and what didn’t.  We started reading all the brain research and putting the pieces together in what has become an unbelievably eye-opening course.  Last year Nina piloted the course for the first time.  (She is an amazing curriculum writer!).   And just like all our training materials, lives are changing in amazing ways.  God shows up and something happens over, and over, and over.

Parent/Child relationships have been strengthened and reunited.

Marriages have been restored.

And walls have come tumbling down.

About a year ago, my daughter told Dave that I was her best friend.  She said she could tell me anything and I would listen and “hear” her.  She now felt understood.

It’s a skill I needed to develop.  It gave me a clean slate in my parenting helping me forge the relationship.

Now it’s a skill that you can develop too.  And it’s training that we only do once a year.  You’ll get to practice the skills Nina and I have both learned in a safe environment.  People have told us it is amazing!


But here’s why it is so important that you learn these skills.  

Our kids are taking notes.  They’re learning from us! 

Will they learn to deflate defensiveness and resolve conflict well by watching you?

Just the other day I was having a somewhat heated debate with one of my adult sons.  I wanted him to understand my perspective, but we weren’t getting anywhere.  (And, yes, I’m human and forget to use the skills sometimes.)  Anyway, it dawned on me that I needed to change the way I was approaching the conversation.  As I did, suddenly, my son stopped the conversation and said, “Mom, you’re getting good at your deflating defensiveness skills!”  

He noticed! 

We laughed. 

And now I know that as he learns from me, he’ll be able to carry those skills into his parenting with our new grandson!

That’s a win-win situation.

We hope you will join Nina and me this year to learn the skills to help deepen your relationships.  

Proverbs 25:11 NET

Like apples of gold in settings of silver, so is a word skillfully spoken. 

Dare you to pray about joining us!  We hope you’ll take advantage of the discount that is good through December 31, 2017.  You’ll be joining women from across the country who want to improve their relationships and develop the skills that can be passed down for generations to come. 

Please know that since we are in a beautiful retreat setting (with your own private room), space is limited.

You can click here for more information.

Learning to…

“Let go…and Let God”,





2 replies
  1. Jennifer Bender
    Jennifer Bender says:

    I’ve known about this retreat for a couple years now and would love to join you all! The Respect Dare has been a huge encouragement but I feel I need to take it a step further. I’m not in any position of leadership or training except in my own home and in a Sunday school class (upper elementary). But in the last few years have come to some pretty devastating realizations about my parenting which we are currently working through as a family with our amazing church leadership! (So your article is very timely and even a specific answer to prayer! Especially to hear that I’m not the only parent of teens who has come to this point. Actually this I much more common than I ever realized and would so appreciate these new skills.)

    • Debbie
      Debbie says:

      Jennifer, we so hope you will join us! The retreat has changed dramatically over the years and we’ve discovered that the conflict resolution piece is so needed. Deflating defensiveness is something that has taken me a long time to wrap my brain around yet when used can make such a difference in the relationship. I’m so glad you have your church leadership to walk with you through the parenting struggles you are in. Parenting isn’t easy and God will use it to change us so that we can better reflect His glory.

      Please know that the Deflating Defensiveness Training Retreat is targeted for women who want to influence those they interact with on a daily basis. No matter who the challenging people are in your life, these skills can make a huge difference once you understand the basics. And you’ll have time at the retreat to not only spend time with God but also practice the skills in a safe environment. Women who attended last year have told us that the retreat has been a game-changer in their relationships.

      If you’ll be coming in May, be sure to register at https://www.greaterimpact.org/product/deflating-defensiveness-training-retreat-2018/ before year end to get the price break.

      Also, I want to personally invite you to join us for the With All Due Respect eCourse. There you will find other moms who want to grow as they parent. We’ll be starting the book all over again starting next week as we ease into the new year. There are video teachings to go with the book as well as interaction and encouragement with other moms. There I will share the struggles I’ve had in my own parenting and the things that God has taught me over the years. You can also find the eCourse in the shop on our website: http://www.greaterimpact.org.

      Love and prayers for you and your family.


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