Curfew or Respect?

One summer day I remember my college-aged son standing in the garage with my husband and me.  Our son was more than a little miffed with us.  His annoyance stemmed from him wanting to know why he had a curfew when he didn’t have one when he lived on campus.  In his mind it wasn’t fair.  We were treating him like a child even though he was legally an adult. 

My son didn’t like it that we had put boundaries in place, especially when he had freedoms in other areas of his life.  

And as the great debate continued as to why he had to honor our wishes, my husband paused and casually said, “Out of respect.”

Suddenly my son was silent and I’ll admit I had no idea where my husband was going with this conversation.  What does respect have to do with curfew?

“Son, I know that you have freedom at school.  I also know that you are a fine, upstanding young man.  But I’m asking you to honor our curfew and here is why:

  1. This is our home and not a college dorm room.  We operate as a family and there need to be rules.  While living in our house, we ask that you abide by the same rules everyone else operates under.
  2. Your younger siblings are watching you.  They will learn respect from your compliance or disregard for our family rules.
  3. This house belongs to your mother and me.  I work hard and have to get up early.  My sleep, as well as your mother’s, is important to this family and I know this is probably hard for you to understand, but if you are out and not physically here when we go to bed, we don’t sleep as well and it impacts the next day.
  4. I work to pay for your clothing, your food, the car you drive, and your college.  I hope that all these things garner your respect.
  5. There will always be rules.  When you have a career, your boss will have expectations.  Those who are respectful get to keep their jobs.”

There was a long pause.

“Wow, Dad, that makes a lot of sense.  Thanks for explaining it to me.”

I’ll admit that I was shocked at how well that conversation went.  And I learned a valuable lesson as a parent that day. 

We need to help our kids understand that honoring the rules and respecting curfew means that they are respecting themselves, their family, and the families of the kids they would be hanging out with.

More on that in another post.

Proverbs 29:2

When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.

While I can’t guarantee that your conversation will go like this one did–and know that it probably won’t depending on your teen’s maturity.  Hopefully it will give you a new way to think about the rules and boundaries you set for your home and the conflict that surfaces as our kids start pushing the limits.

Dare you to think about your rules differently.  How can you connect them to respect?

“Let go…and Let God”,

Looking for other ways to teach your kids respect?  Check out With All Due Respect: 40 Days to a More Fulfilling Relationship with your Teens & Tweens.








How Do We Foster Integrity In Our Kids?

I remember one of my kids coming home feeling defeated several years ago.  It was over a Latin test that she had failed.  I knew it had to be hard switching from one school to another between Latin I and Latin II–different text books and different teacher.  But she was determined to finish, even though she had the lowest grade in the class while others seemed to be doing exceptionally well on the exams.  Of course, we hired a tutor to help her bridge the gap.

It didn’t take long for her to bring up her grade, but the day dawned when everyone in the class got an “A” except her.  Perfect scores!

Almost the entire class.

All but one.

And, of course, as a mother, I started asking questions.

What did these kids know that my daughter didn’t know?  How could all of them pull off perfect scores?

And the water bottle story came out.

Take a clear water bottle.  Put all the answers on the backside of the piece of paper and wrap it around the bottle.  Voila!  Take a drink and you have all the answers.

And we had a talk about integrity and I told her how proud I was of her. 

Then I asked another question.

Does the teacher know what’s going on?

“Yes, mom, and he doesn’t seem to care.”

How sad.

Our kids are growing up in a society where they don’t know right from wrong unless we are intentional in our parenting.  The lines are blurred.  Even adults will allow integrity to fall by the wayside if there is something in it for them.

Just this week I heard another story.  A 20-something was interviewing for a job and had made it through several levels of the interview process.  His final interview would be a group interview with the CEO and top executives.  Three days prior to the interview he received an email from the recruiter who had presented his resume to the firm.  It was marked confidential.

It read, “Please review the attached case study for your interview.”

The email was followed up by a second email.  “Here are the answers to the case study.  Please study these and we can discuss them on Monday before your interview.  By the way, don’t let anyone know that you have this.  This is the actual case study they use for their interviews.  Hope you get the job.”


Is that what our society has come to?

Let’s face it.  This is what our kids are dealing with almost on a daily basis.

Are we preparing them to stand firm in their integrity?  Are we assuring them that even if they fail the test or don’t get the job offer, that their integrity is more important?

When I did a search on scriptures that had to do with integrity, I was blown away by the number of them.  Here are just a few.

Proverbs 10:9

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.

Luke 16:10

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.

And I love this one for us as parents.

Proverbs 20:7

The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!

So how do we teach integrity to a generation who will have difficulty seeing the lines?

  • Walk the talk.  Let our kids know the battles we face — with our extended family, our friends, our jobs, and, yes, even in our church families.
  • Let our kids know that integrity usually requires sacrifice.
  • Talk with your kids about their own integrity struggles.  Walk them through the process of what they could say and how to approach it.  Role play with them.
  • Emotionally be there for them when they have loss over doing the right thing.  Be the shoulder to cry on and let them know that their reward is in heaven.
  • When they do the right thing, let them know how proud you are of them.  By giving them kudos for a job well done, we are encouraging more of the behavior we want.
  • Be on the watch for integrity issues in the media.  These are great opportunities for discussion around the dinner table.

Today, I want to leave you with this verse.  The enemy wants our kids.  He wants to muddy the waters of integrity.  If they give in to the little things, he has them where he wants them–in the middle of the pack not knowing real truth.

1 Peter 5:8

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Dare you to pray about being intentional in modeling and teaching your kids to live with integrity.

“Let go…and Let God”,

Last week a woman shared With All Due Respect with a friend who was having “problems” with one of her kids.  This woman asked if her friend would pray for God to soften both her heart and the heart of her child.  After only a week, the mom has commented several times how her thinking is making a shift.

Praise God that He is working and answering her prayers!

Do you have a friend who is struggling in her parenting?  Sometimes all we need is a nudge to do a reset and move forward with our kids.  Can I ask you to share my blog, the book, and let others know that we’re here to minister to them?

After all, don’t we all want to be the best mom we can be?