What Are Your Parenting Truths?

 

When my kids were in the teen years and there seemed to be more conflict in our home than I wanted to deal with, I started doing some introspection as to what truths I held in my parenting.  What I discovered was that all the things I had learned from my parents during my childhood weren’t necessarily true.

As children we see and learn through a child’s mind.  We interpret things through a brain that is not fully developed and doesn’t have the full breadth of experience of adulthood.  And depending on how we interpret the world, either through a the lens of a glass half-full or a glass half-empty, whether we felt safe, loved, needed, and had purpose, determines whether we view our family of origin’s parenting style in a positive or negative light.

Either way, it will have impact on how we parent.  We will either choose to parent how our parents parented or we will choose to do something different.  Most likely if we didn’t like how our parents parented, we will pendulum swing and do the exact opposite.

The question we have to ask ourselves though is what is our parenting Truth?

Are there lies that we believed as a child that impact us and keep us from being the parent God wants us to be?

Are there actions or reactions in your parenting that need to be viewed from an adult lens rather than what was modeled or said to you when you were a child?  Are there partial truths we are believing that stem from our culture?  The neighbors?  Or other parents?

It has been amazing to me through the years as I’ve interacted with many parents how we as Christians will justify our words, our negative reactions, and sometimes anger at our child.  Our disrespect of our child’s perspective, feelings, or requests can easily be overlooked.  After all, we’re the parent and think we know best.

I’ve been there.  I’ve offered a sweet chuckle as I’ve shared a story of an interaction with my child trying to “normalize” my response.  It’s something I saw modeled and took as my own.  Somehow we think that if we laugh about our sinful response to our kids we feel justified in our actions rather than feeling remorse and moving toward reconciliation with our teen.

I think that God gives us these sometimes difficult teen years to help us see His Truth in our parenting rather than what we think is truth.

So what about you?  What truths do you hold to in your parenting that may not be truths at all?

  • It’s my job to make sure my kids are happy.
  • If I orchestrate the family schedule, no one will feel left out.
  • I need to give my kid every experience possible.
  • If my teen challenges me, maybe I was too harsh and should back down.
  • When my child is emotionally acting out, I should use my authority to bring them under control.
  • Everyone else their age has electronic devices so I have to get them one so they don’t feel left out.
  • How I respond to my kids is justified based on what and how they say things to me.
  • If my kid works hard he can be whatever he wants to be.
  • The kids will only be with us for a few more years, their desires are more important than our marriage.  We’ll have time for us in a few years after they are gone.
  • If we are good parents our children will make wise choices.
  • If my kids work hard at their studies or sports, they’ll get a scholarship for college.
  • My thoughts on what is going on in our home don’t need to be verbalized because they aren’t important.
  • What our parents think about our parenting choices should be part of our decision making.
  • I need to compare our family to other families to make sure our kids measure up.
  • If what I say as a parent is met with silence and non-compliance from my child, I need to just give up on trying to get them to respond.
  • It is up to me to give, give, and give to my teens at the risk of feeling like a slave to their needs.
  • The only thing we can take to heaven is our kids.
  • I can control who my child dates or marries.
  • And the list goes on.

The lies we have bought into that affect our parenting can become toxic patterns that the enemy would love for us to embrace.  These lies or partial truths not only affect the quality of our relationships in our homes but give us a weak foundation in our parenting because when we base our decisions on anything other than God’s Truth, we will typically pendulum swing in our responses based on how we feel in the moment or whether we have enough energy to fight the battle.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Dare you to look back at your own childhood and filter the things you learned about parenting through the lens of adulthood.  Let the Holy Spirit guide you into the His Truths as you parent your kids by taking your lies and half-truths and making them obedient to Christ.

“Let go…and let God”,

Does it feel like your tweens don’t listen when you’re talking? Or maybe you don’t feel like your teens respect you? Tired of the conflict?  I’d love to connect with you for a free coaching session.  You can contact me at debbiehitchcock@gettingperspective.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can I Love My Kids Too Much?

Several years ago, when I was at my wits end with one of my kids, someone recommended  a book  When I Lay My Isaac Down by Carol Kent.  I’ve often thought about that title and how it applies to our daily lives, especially as we parent.

With more than a decade since I read her book, the words seem to be following me recently. “Am I ready to lay my Isaac down?”

For those of you who might need a refresher of the story from scripture, Abraham had a promise from God that he would be the father of many nations.   It wasn’t until Abraham was 100 years old that Isaac was born.  As the Word tells us, at one point Abraham was told by God to sacrifice his son.  Yes, kill him!

It was as if God was saying, “Who do you love more–Me or your son Isaac?”

While that seems absolutely unfathomable for us as parents that God would ask any one of us to take our child’s life, an even more profound question would be, “Would you trust God with the outcome?”

If you remember the ending of the story, Abraham chose that God knew what was best.  He went to make Isaac a sacrifice, but right before laying him on the alter, God provided a ram to take Isaac’s place.  It was as if God was saying, “I just want to see if you trust me.  I just want to know that you will listen to my voice and heed my instruction.”

As parents, most of us love our children with our whole being.  We would do absolutely anything for them.

But think about Abraham for a moment.  He was 100 years old!  He had waited a century for his child to be born.  How easy it would have been to wrap all his attention, all his resources, and all his time into Isaac and put him up on a pedestal to be front and center in his life.  How easy to revolve his whole world around this child making all of Isaac’s wishes come true.

And then I have to pause.  

Do I love God more than I love my children?

Am I willing to give up my child’s desires to focus on what God wants for my child? For me?

Do I love my child so much that my world revolves around my child’s world?

Hmm…

Definitely something to think about in a culture that is so child centered.

It is easy as moms to love our children too much.  Yes, you heard me right–too much.

We can love our children so much that we:

  • Make sure that we solve their problems for them.
  • Intervene when they are forgetful and come to the rescue.
  • Do everything in our power to not let them fail.
  • Expend all our energy on our kids rather that doing other things that we’re called to do.
  • Are too busy to spend time with God because our new spiritual gift is driving our kids places.

Genesis 22:9-18

When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

Isn’t that what we want as moms?  That God will bless our offspring because of our obedience to a mighty God who loves us so deeply that He wants relationship with us.

Don’t we want that for our kids?

Dare You to define your relationship with God in your choices as you parent.  Chose to lay your Isaac down and love Him and give your kids to Him in the process.  It doesn’t mean that we’re not there to walk beside them.  It means that we allow the struggles and we allow God to orchestrate their path, so that they learn that they have a need to depend on God instead of us in their time of need.

“Let go…and let God”,

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Have you gotten your copy of With All Due Respect yet?  It’s parenting self-discovery training in book form.  If you want someone to walk beside you in your parenting and go through the book with you, for a limited time we are inviting moms to join our With All Due Respect eCourse for free.

 

 

 

 

Respect in the Little Things

Just this past week I had to swallow my pride, take a step back, and deal with the disrespect I felt in a healthy way. It was really a little thing–one that could have easily been avoided if the person had just sloughed it off as an over site and moved on.

And I’ll admit it was hard to keep the communication flowing in a way that cultivated relationship rather than me shutting down because I felt chastised.

It started with me asking a question.

The response wasn’t what I expected.

“I sent you an email,” the person stated in a tone of accusation.

“Oh, I must have missed it,” I responded in what I tried to make a light-hearted tone.

“Well I sent it.”

I’m sure I paused at the matter of fact tone as I tried to understand my feeling of deeper accusation.

As I took a deep breath my brain clicked into action and I tried to be upbeat and respond in a non-threatening tone.  “What email address did you send it to? When we moved we changed providers and I had to change my email.” 

The individual shared the email address and sure enough it was my old one.

“I didn’t get an undelivered message. I should have gotten one from the provider if it is no longer in use.” (Translated in my mind, “You didn’t do what you needed to do or this wouldn’t have happened.”)

Unfortunately the conversation digressed even more to others who had not responded to their emails which this person sent.

I laughed to ease the tension. “Guess they got lost somewhere in cyberspace. Oh well. Things happen. It’s not a big deal.” And I eased into the question I had asked in the first place.

“But I want you to know I did what I was supposed to do.” Translated, “Don’t blame me.”

I was shocked at the defensiveness in the tone and a little hurt that she thought I was blaming her for something.

My only goal was to gather information and seek an answer so that I would know what to do next.

I thought I was reaching out in a friendly manner. After all, I appreciated the work this person was doing. It meant a lot that the individual had taken initiative.  Yet, somehow this acquaintance/friend wasn’t picking up on my attempts to connect.

Having had my question answered, my first thought as we ended the conversation was, “What could have possibly happened in this person’s life (most likely childhood) that made it so important to not feel blamed?”  And I began praying for her.

As I thought about the conversation, I couldn’t help but think of the interactions we have with our kids on a daily basis.

  • Does our tone of voice come across to them as if we are scolding them?
  • Do we blame them for things they may not have done?
  • Do we come across as accusatory in the little statements we make putting them on the defensive?
  • Are we inadvertently pushing our kids away rather than creating connection?
  • Do our words make them feel stupid or our sarcastic remarks hurt in a way that makes them feel “less than”?
  • Are we focused on being right rather than the relationship?

I’m sure the individual I had conversation with had no clue as to how I was feeling in the moment.  I’m sure there was no ill-intent of any kind.  For this person, it was most likely a learned response based on how others had responded in the past–most likely out of pain and chastisement that was internalized at a young age.

But there is hope.  

What I’ve learned through the years of dealing with my own pain is that unhealthy communication patterns can be changed.  Sometimes a little humor goes a long way.  Apology can help as well. And there are countless ways we can assess what we are feeling in the moment so that we can change the trajectory of what feels like a negative conversation and turn it into connection.

But it takes introspection and practice.  It takes the will to change ourselves rather than blaming the other person.  And a training weekend sponsored by Greater Impact Ministries can help.  Trust me when I say that a training course I went through almost a decade ago literally changed the outcome of who I am today.  And the active learning environment made it a safe place to figure out what I was doing wrong in the moment and how to change the outcome with a few simple strategies.

The cool part is that our tone of voice, our defensive patterns, and the words we use are only a small piece of the learning.  The training I took all those years ago has transformed into learning that grows exponentially as I encounter new situations every day–especially in my parenting.

James 1:19

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

This verse saved me the day I asked the question of my friend.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5

“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.”

And I want the love of my Heavenly Father to flow through me even when it is difficult and I feel disrespected or wrongfully accused.

If you are like me and want to be more like Jesus as you interact with those difficult people in your life, I hope you will join me at our Deflating Defensiveness Training Retreat in the Greater Cincinnati, Ohio area this June.

Women who have attended in the past keep coming back because of what God is doing in their relationships as a result of all they learn.  Another thing that happens as a result of the conference is that you will have continued support as you become part of the continued learning community. Women like you who want to make an impact on their relationships and shine the light of Christ to others will be there.

Healthy communication is learned and we can help you impact your family and friendships.  We hope you will consider joining us in June.  

To find out more:  https://www.greaterimpact.org/deflating-defensiveness-training

Dear Heavenly Father,

Sometimes I have expectations on how my kids should interact with me, yet I don’t always respond in a gentle way.  I get angry, frustrated, and at times defensive and I see the same behaviors from them.  Lord, I want to model your love and connect with them in a healthy way that will impact future generations.  Help me to learn to communicate in a way that shows my love for them just like you show Your love for me.  I so want a connection with my kids that will stand the test of time.  As I pursue You more, help me to also do everything in my power to encourage my children to turn to you.  May your influence in my life shine through me so that others will be influenced to follow you.

In the precious name of Jesus.  Amen.

“Let go…and Let God”,

I realize that a retreat is a huge commitment.  If you aren’t ready to join us in June, can I suggest that you start small with the book With All Due Respect: 40 Days to a More Fulfilling Relationship With Your Teens & Tweens

If you would like more support than just reading through a book alone, you can join our community eCourse where other Christian moms who have learned our deflating defensive skills will help you learn the process.  We’ll walk beside you on your parenting journey.

 

 

 

 

 

Do Your Kids Trust You?

Late in the day, I received a text about my on-line purchase.  I had been tracking it since early morning.  I had gone out to my front porch several times and even out to the mailbox  in anticipation of its arrival.   The tracking service had even said it had arrived in the vicinity and would be delivered today. As I looked at the latest text it read:

Undelivered – no one available to sign.  Notice left on door.  Will try again Monday. Read more

Are You Caught In the Extreme of Parenting?

I hear it often from women– almost daily.  The excuses, I mean.  The “I don’t deserve, I wish it were better, If only I could be more, I should have,” and the list goes on.  In their mind, they never quite measure up.  And they start owning everything that goes with parenting.  They own the undone chores, or the behavior of their child, or the homework, the grades, or any wrong choice of their teen.

And I wonder what we need to be doing differently as parents so the next generation of moms-to-be (those kids under our roof right now) don’t leave a similar legacy to our grandchildren.

You see, those self-doubts most likely stem from childhood–a childhood where the now mom (maybe you?) didn’t feel like she measured up.  She wasn’t all that she should be as seen through the eyes of her parents or teachers.  So her beloved role of motherhood becomes an idol for perfection.  She wants to get this right so she tries a little too hard to help her child measure up and be perfect according to the standard her parents set for her.

Sometimes we push too hard, or expect too much of our kids, or on the other end of the spectrum help too much all because we want to be the successful parent.  I’m still wondering if we’re trying to reach that imaginary ideal so that we can receive our own parents’ approval, or our child’s teacher’s approval, or the approval of our friends or someone else.

Maybe our parenting is focused on us rather than what is best for the child.

Ouch!  Yes, I know that hurts.

Over the last ten years, I’ve learned to look at parenting through a different lens.  But let me first share what I’ve learned by observing two moms.

Almost two decades ago I watched as two mothers each with daughters the same age as mine parented in very different ways.  One mother had what I will call an “I love my daughter and I want to point out the good in her so that she becomes a healthy, functioning adult.”  The other mother had an “I love my daughter and I need to let my little girl recognize she is a sinner pointing out those sins so that she can get them under control.  If I do that, she’ll be a healthy, functioning adult.”

As you read those, I hope you can see that one was looking at parenting from a positive perspective while the latter was looking at her role as mom through a negative lens.  If you look closely, they are two extremes.

I know that each of these christian mothers loved their daughters dearly.  But one focused on the good while the other was focused on any wrongdoing.

If we want to have influence on our kids, and if we want to change the culture in a world where right and wrong are not easily defined, we need a little of both of these moms actually.  We need the mom who can point out the good in a way that breeds confidence and instills a bond in such a way that respect and mutual admiration is established.  By doing so we develop in our child a willingness to be open to our teaching because we’ve created a place of safety.  Our children will be more apt to share their mistakes too because we provide a place where mistakes aren’t looked at as “an unpardonable sin” but as an opportunity to learn. 

But let’s face it, there do need to be times when a teen’s sin becomes obvious and action needs to be taken.  If we are always focused on the good, what should we do then?

That’s when we should ask questions.

Sometimes stating the obvious creates defensiveness in the other person.  The brain is wired to automatically think “no” as a way of self-preservation so always pointing out our child’s sin, makes our teens want to revolt and do the opposite.  By asking questions we can help them discover what may be obvious to us.

Self-discovery through questions helps our teen recognize their wrongdoings on their own without the sting of our judgment.  The “WWJD — What would Jesus do?” can take on a totally new meaning when we gently ask our kids what the right thing to do would have been.

If we are gentle in our teaching, helping our children discover their shortcomings rather than making mountains out of what should be molehills, our children will learn to create their own standard to measure up to–hopefully the biblical standard.  Instead of taking on a rebellious spirit or a spirit of never being or doing enough, they will be better equipped to recognize both their strengths and their shortcomings.  And, then hopefully they won’t measure their success based on the success of their children in the future.

Philippians 4:8-9

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me–put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.

Ephesians 6:4 

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Don’t we want our children leaving our homes never having to question whether they measure up? Don’t we want them to feel our unconditional love even when they don’t always get it right?  Don’t we want them focused on God’s standard for behavior rather than ours or the world’s?

Dare you to ask yourself some tough questions about how you parent in your home and what you are doing to set your children up to be a healthy, functioning adult.  

“Let go…and Let God”,

For those who are tired of the conflict with your kids and want better relationships, our Deflating Defensiveness Training Retreat: A Conflict Resolution Workshop is only a few weeks away.  Deadline for signup is May 15.  We guarantee that you’ll walk away with new skills and a new way of thinking about parenting–about all your relationships.  You’ll also strengthen your relationship with Him!

Dare you to be changed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Do You Want to be Remembered as a Parent?

This has been a contemplative time for me as a parent.  Dealing with my own daughter’s death and thinking through her life, God has brought to mind many of my parenting interactions — the good, the bad, and the ugly.  There are many of those thoughts where I got it right in my parenting interactions, yet there are other times where I wish I could have had a “do-over”.  Grieving is hard work as it takes me down memory lane.

It occurred to me that the process of grief makes us look backward — what was, but could have been different.

As I contemplate that thought I’ve been reminded of my years as a corporate human resource manager.  Every year employees were asked to set goals for personal growth.  Each person was to write down not only what they wanted to achieve in sales, technical expertise, and other things to accomplish for the year, but they were also asked to assess what would make them more valuable in their job as a person.  These were what were sometimes seen as soft skills.  Leadership, influence, communication, and personal awareness were identified as opportunities for improvement.

As I compare the business world to family life, I wonder how many of us as parents take the time to set goals for ourselves — specifically in the soft skills.  As moms we sometimes set goals for running our homes such as making sure the kitchen is clean before we go to bed or cleaning the toilets at least once a week, but do we think about setting goals for how we interact with our kids?  Do we envision the person we truly want to be?

Thinking about our role as a parent is two-fold — yes, we need to think about the skills and goals for our children so they can become successful adults, but we also need to also think about the legacy of relationship that we will pass on to the next generation.

As we look forward to who we want to be or what we want to accomplish, it is sometimes easier to fast forward to a time in the future.  I’m going to ask you to look at who you are as a parent and consider what you would like your children to write for your eulogy.  What words do you want on your tombstone?  How do you want to be remembered?

  • She was a good listener.
  • I could tell Mom anything without condemnation or reaction.
  • Mom was gentle.
  • She was fair in serving consequences.
  • There was never a doubt that she loved me.
  • I knew I could always count on her.
  • She was calm and never raised her voice.
  • Mom didn’t stand over me always telling me what to do.
  • Mom let me make mistakes and taught me how to resolve them.
  • She asked me if she could share her thoughts when she knew I was about to make a poor decision.
  • Mom didn’t bail me out when I messed up.
  • She let me own what was mine to own.
  • Her laughter filled out home.
  • She was great at encouraging me.
  • She loved God and wanted me to know Him like she did.
  • Her words and actions were in sync.  I always knew where she stood on any subject.
  • I could always count on her to be there to support me.
  • She taught me to keep my commitments.
  • When mom made a mistake, she always apologized.
  • Mom worked on her own personal growth and encouraged me to do the same.
  • Even though Mom had lots to do, she would always stop whatever she was doing to focus on what I needed from her.
  • She always validated my feelings letting me know she truly understood.
  • Grace was more important to her than coming up with another rule that I would have to follow.

How did you stack up?

If there are things on this list or even your own list where you feel like you might be falling short, I would encourage you to take time to contemplate and set goals for personal growth.  While none of us is a perfect parent, if our kids are still alive we have opportunity for a “do-over”.   We have time to override what our future holds as we overlay our new behaviors on our old self.

Ephesians 4:22-24

 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness

If you remember a situation that you didn’t handle appropriately yesterday, last week, last month, or a decade ago — go back and apologize.

If you keep adding rules for your teens to follow rather than offering grace and connection — tell your kids that you’ve decided to dispense with some of the rules because you’ve seen progress in their behavior and want to give them more freedom.

If you find yourself raising your voice to the level of your kids’ outbursts — pause and speak with a gentle, controlled voice or let your children know that you will talk about the situation later when your emotions are under control.

Ask God to help you see and grieve your parenting mistakes from the past so that you can press on to be the parent He desires you to be for the future.

What changes need to be made in you as you move forward in becoming the parent God wants you to be?  What is one small step you can start making toward a better eulogy from your kids?

Dare you  to post one thing that you are going to work on as you parent.  Just by posting you are interjecting a level of accountability in making the change.  Then be intentional in asking God to help you reach that goal.

Praying God will infuse your heart and mind with the goodness of His grace.

“Let go…and Let God”,

If you want to have influence in your family and desire to become a Titus 2 Woman leading other’s to grow in their walk with God, we have an opportunity to you.  Our Titus 2 Boot Camp will give you opportunity to learn the skills that will transform your life into one that honors Him.  We give you the tools as well as an opportunity to practice them in a safe environment.  It’s fun!  It’s a growth opportunity in the soft skills I mention in this post. And, it will be a time of refreshment as you spend time with God in a beautiful retreat setting.  Meet other women who love the Lord and want to serve Him in their marriages, in their families, and in whatever He calls them to do.  You’ll have time to interact with both Nina Roesner and Debbie Hitchcock personally as we lead you in an exciting weekend of personal growth.  If God is calling you, we hope you will join us!  If you can gather a group to attend, contact us for a discount.  We promise, it will be a growth opportunity like you’ve never experienced before.