Broken Trust?

“It’s shattered,” came the response from the orthopedic surgeon  as he looked at my 21 year old son’s  x-rays.  “Impressive,” he continued  with a grin.  “How did you do this?” Read more

Too Busy for Relationship?

Standing in the kitchen I was focused on fixing dinner when my teen walked through the back door.  Barely looking up, I asked my son how his day went and continued pealing potatoes for the evening meal.  He sat down at the kitchen island and rambled on about all the things that had happened during the day.   With an occasional glance I would give him my half-hearted “really” as he continued his story.  I had other things on my mind–the to-do list of my evening activities.

As soon as he took a breath I interrupted.  “I need you to go get your homework finished.  Your dad and I have a commitment after dinner and I have several things to do before then.”

I could tell he was frustrated with me.  And, yes, I probably should have been more focused on his needs.  But life can’t always revolve around when my teen wants to talk, can it?

The truth was, I blew it.  It wasn’t in the fact that I ended the conversation.  It was in the how I ended the conversation.  

Matter of fact.

No consideration for his feelings.

And a “task” that I felt at the time was more important than listening to him. 

I wasn’t focused on the relationship.

As parents we all make mistakes in how we interact with our kids.  But do we make an attempt to recover from them?  Do we learn from our mistakes and think through how we should handle it next time?

As I lay in bed that night thinking through my day, I realized that I needed to apologize to my son.  I asked for his forgiveness the next day since I made my agenda for the evening more important than what he had to share.  I told him how I blew it and how I wished I could have a do-over.  I shared the specifics of what I wished I had done differently.  We talked through them setting a plan in place for the next time a similar thing occurred.

  1. Look him in the eye.  Teens want to know that we are really listening and eye contact is a mechanism to bonding.  It says they are more important than the task.
  2. Speak your truth.  “I would really like to hear about your day and I only have 10 minutes before I need to get ready for tonight’s activities.  Would it be okay if you share the highlights while I peel the potatoes and we’ll talk after your dad and I get home tonight?  I really want to hear about what is going on in your world.”  This is also where you would give any instructions about the evening.
  3. If he agrees, position yourself with your task so that there is eye contact during the conversation.
  4. When time is up, say something positive.  “I really love that you come and share your day with me.  I just wish I had more time right now.  I’ll look forward to our talk later tonight.”  

Teens have a lot to process about their world and it is important that we don’t lose sight of the fact that they are willing to talk with us.  We want to encourage them to see us as their confidant.  One of the most important things we can do to build the relationship is to be a good listener.

Colossians 4:6

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Sometimes just sitting with our kids, listening as they talk about their day, can give us insight and opportunity to influence their decisions if we validate their feelings and show them acceptance and that they are important in our lives.

Dare you to assess whether you make your teens a priority in your life and handle your interactions with them with respect and humility.

“Let go…and Let God”,

Wish you could help Dad be more intentional in your teen’s life?  365+ Ways to Love Your Family:  Practical Tips for Dads of Tweens and Teens is an easy way to quickly help him have a positive way to have influence.  In less than a minute each day, he can put an action in place that will teach your kids the language of respect.






The Respect Dare – Used and Hurting

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Not quite sure how to console her son, Lita was frustrated at the turn of events.  Her 14 year old son had been so excited to invite Ben over after church.  They had been planning the big day for a couple of weeks!

Starting school had been difficult for Logan as he tried to navigate his way through a new school and establish friendships.  Some of the kids had been friends since grade school and clicks were well established.  When Logan spotted Ben in the cafeteria the third day of school, he was elated!

“Mom,” he excitedly shouted as he walked in from school. “Guess who has the same lunch period as me!!”

Ben and Logan occasionally saw each other at church on Sunday, but now that they were in the same school together, Lita was hoping for a closer friendship.  Since she and her husband already knew Ben’s parents from church, it was only natural that the relationship was picking up speed with each new encounter.  Both sets of parents were excited that their sons had a “good” friend to hang out with.

Sunday hadn’t come soon enough for Logan.  After eating lunch, Ben suggested they go for a bike ride after seeing several bikes in the garage.

“Sure,” said Logan.  “That’s a great idea!”

As soon as they left, Ben was ready to take charge of the bike trip.  He knew exactly where they were going.

“Come on, Logan.  I want you to meet my friend, Sarah.”  Off Ben went, riding faster and faster as if Logan wasn’t even there.  “Hurry up, Logan, Sarah is expecting us.”

Not sure of what to make of the situation, Logan peddled faster to catch up.  By the time he arrived, Ben was already at Sarah’s front door.  “Hi, Ben!  I thought you would never get here.  Let’s go for a walk.”

In the woods behind Sarah’s house, Logan felt like a third wheel.  As soon as they had gotten out of sight, Ben and Sarah started making out, kissing with hands all over each other.  Logan didn’t know what to do.  He just walked around the woods trying not to watch.  Ben was his guest and he knew he couldn’t leave without him.

After arriving back home after the bike ride, the boys seemed to lose interest in each other.  Lita offered to take Ben home early since both seemed ready to end their day.

“Logan, what happened?” Lita asked on the ride home.  “You seemed so excited about having Ben come today.  Then it just seemed to fizzle out.”

“Mom, I just didn’t know what to do.  Ben didn’t come to spend the day with me.  He came over just to hang out with Sarah.  I just feel so used.  He’s not allowed to hang out with Sarah because his parents think he is too young to have a girlfriend.  He used my invitation as a way to spend time with her.”

“Logan, I’m so sorry you had to endure that today.  It must make you sad to think that Ben was more interested in seeing Sarah than spending time with you.”

“I’m more mad than anything!  What makes him think I can be used to see his girlfriend!”

“You know, Logan,” she continued, “the Bible talks about the need to forgive those who hurt you.  Sometimes that’s not very easy.”

Colossians 3:13-14

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

As parents we need to harness those teachable moments.  When our children are hurt by their friends, it is an opportune time to console them and teach about forgiveness.

“Let go…and let God,”