6 Parenting Lies That Can Affect Your Marriage

Most parents struggle with priorities.  It doesn’t matter if you have one child or several kids, orchestrating a balanced life sometimes seems next to impossible.  Juggling housework, job, kids, homework, activities, and a spouse is enough to make anyone’s life seem thrown off kilter at times. Add to that a kid who isn’t fairing well in his current circumstances and emotionally we’re pulled toward that child over the rest of the family.

I would know.  Living a balanced life with four kids under my roof was a challenge for me.  I not only believed some of the lies that permeate our culture but I could also put that struggling child’s needs first as well as easily get wrapped up in the spotlight of the successful child’s endeavors.

Here are some of the lies I embraced as well as others I am seeing parents put into action:

  • My job is to create a happy life for my kids.
  • I need to offer my kids every opportunity to be all they can be.
  • I need to watch every game, recital, or activity to let my kids know that I’m here for them.
  • I should put all my energy into the kids since they’ll be gone before I know it.
  • I can “fix” the child who is struggling if I just try harder.
  • I’m the mom, I know what’s best for my child better than anyone else, including my husband.

Whatever plays out in your parenting, know that these are lies the enemy would love us to embrace.  If we do, we’ll be exhausted and so child-focused that there will be no hope of balance, especially as our kids move into the teen years.  We can become so enamored with each new stage of discovery with them reliving our own childhood or  we can become so focused with the fear of what they will choose that we become the overzealous parent trying to keep that child from crossing the lines.  Either way, balance will be skewed.

But where does that leave our marriage?  Does our spouse fall outside the priority box because of our parenting? Do we choose to prioritize our kid’s needs, desires, or whims, over the person who should be our soulmate?

It is easy to become so kid centered in our parenting that our spouse can sit on the sidelines barely on our radar.  There are moments when you pass in the wind telling the other person that you’ll see them at the end of the 18 year kid commitment.  “They’ll be off on their own before you know it” becomes yet another lie that we believe as we push our relationship with our spouse into some far off future.

Do we take time to cultivate our relationship as two parents working side by side or do we bark orders and cast blame when it comes to how our spouse interacts with the kids?

Our family has been under a tremendous amount of stress.  Not only did we lose our daughter suddenly, but I have a son who has been in tremendous physical pain with no medical answers.  Finances have been challenging due to expenses we could never have begun to anticipate.  Tension has been high.  Yet, peace is permeating my thoughts.  I recognize it as a peace that can only come from God.  But yet I’ve gained a new awareness that the peace also stems from somewhere else–someone else.  That peace comes in knowing that my soulmate is here to soothe the anxiety in my soul.  We’re on the same page with the goal of running the race, together.

The thing I want to communicate is that as your kids move into junior high and high school, there will be conflict.  Chances are that you and your spouse will have very different ideas on what your children should and should not be allowed to do. It puts pressure on the family, especially the marriage.  If your spouse is not a priority and if you’ve not begun communicating early about how the two of you will navigate those rocky roads of the parenting journey, then not only will the parenting lies have you focused on the wrong priorities, but your marriage will most likely come under attack.

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.

As I look around today at the stress on parents to have perfect kids or kids who at least think like their parents do, it is no wonder that divorce is high.  Add to that the number of parents who are worried about potential issues of alcohol, drugs, pregnancy, cutting, same-sex relationships, suicide, and a host of other issues that plague our kids today, it’s no wonder that our lives are out of balance.

Dare you to looks at the balance in this stage of your life.  Focus on becoming a united team as husband and wife as you parent your kids.  By doing so you will not only have someone to grow old with once the kids have moved out, but you’ll be modeling balance and a good marriage to a generation that needs to know that a successful marriage is possible even when trouble comes.

“Let go…and let God”,

If it is time for you to make a concerted effort to parent together, why not start with With All Due Respect: 40 Days to a More Fulfilling Relationship with Your Teens & Tweens .  It is a great book to start the parenting discussion on 40 different parenting topics. 

Or, if your husband won’t participate, then try getting a group of moms together.  You’ll find ways to encourage each other whether dad is involved in your kid’s lives or if you are parenting alone.  Either way, we know that your relationship with your teens and tweens will be more fulfilling than it is today.

Dare you!

 

 

 

Learning to Anticipate What’s Next

I spoke to a mom of a new college student just a few weeks ago.  Her daughter had just come home from college for Christmas break for the first time.  The mom was joy-filled at getting to see her daughter for a couple of weeks, but she talked about how stressful it was on the entire family.  “I’m kind of hoping she’ll decide to get an internship or something for the summer,” she admitted.  “Does that mean I’m a bad mom?”

Most of us don’t know what to expect for those “firsts” that our kids encounter or do we?

Whether it is a driver’s license, a first date, a serious boyfriend, or a holiday home from college, most of us haven’t anticipated our what comes next.  That’s what Dare 23 is all about.  If we are having a sex talk with our daughter after we’ve found out that she’s already been intimate with her boyfriend, that’s when we discover that we haven’t planned far enough ahead.

Most of us are already doing this for the day-to-day of life as a family.  Whether it’s assigned chores or rules that we’ve set in our home with appropriate consequences, we see a need and we put a plan in place to take care of the problem.  You have the skills.  And we know what it takes to get things back on track.

What I’m talking about here are those monumental milestones where things will be different.  It’s anticipating all the conflict that can arise when things are different in your home.  With freedom, our kids will most likely pendulum swing to the far extreme of their grandiose idea of “total freedom” instead of what we as parent’s intended as gradual freedom.

Take my friend, for example.  Her daughter comes home from college with the plan to see all her high school friends.  Late nights (after all, she doesn’t have to study), sleepovers, shopping, a come-and-go-as I please mentality just like she had at college. Meanwhile mom was dreaming of time to bake cookies together and fun trips out–just the two of them–like old times.

Two totally different plans for what Christmas break was going to be like.

The reality was that dad still needed to get up for work every day even though the garage door was opened at 2 am by their unthinking daughter.  The girl’s brother was still in school and trying to study for exams.  With the daughter bringing friends home, the laughing and giggling was making it hard for her son to concentrate.  And mom was frustrated and disappointed that her dreams and expectations from her daughter weren’t turning out as she planned.

Dare 23 is all about the up-front dialogue; planning ahead and anticipating the potential pitfalls.

It’s all about communication — in advance.

My experience with moms is that most of us don’t know what we don’t know so we just let things happen and then deal with the conflict later.  Another thing we fail to do is get dad involved in these monumental decisions and plan together.

Several years ago I was talking to a mom while I was getting my hair cut.  Her first daughter was getting ready to graduate from high school.  This mom announced, “I’ve told my girls that I pay for things until they are 18.  College is on them.  My husband and I have paid for the best private school in the area to help them be successful in life.  What they do with that is up to them.”

Whether you agree with their decision to pay for college or not isn’t the point.  What is important here is that both parents had agreed on a plan up front, they put the plan for college in motion before the girls even took their first step into the halls of the high school, and communication was on-going with every choice the girls made with regard to their college selection.

That’s parenting ahead.

Proverbs 16:9

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

Proverbs 21:5

The plans of the diligent certainly lead to profit, but anyone who is reckless certainly becomes poor.

Proverbs 21:5 can apply to relationships as well as money.  Our relationships will blossom with our kids if we can anticipate conflict before it happens and begin the communication process early.

Dare you to anticipate the next big milestone with your teens and tweens.  Start the communication process now so they will know what to expect.

“Let go…and Let God”,


Communication is key in all our relationships.  And learning to deflate the defensiveness with our kids and reduce the conflict and stress in our homes is paramount.  Wouldn’t you like to have a more peaceful home where the stress of the day to day interactions can calmly be resolved?  Knowing our kids, anticipating ahead, and making small changes in our communication can have a huge impact with our tweens, teens, and our 20-somethings.  

We’ve put together a training retreat where in three days  you can learn the skills that will radically transform your home.  Not only will we teach you how to implement these new skills, but you’ll have an opportunity to practice them in an encouraging environment away from judgment.  You’ll have time to refresh your soul in a park-like setting where you will be encouraged to unpack the “now” you are in and learn how to start over with a different perspective.

Here’s what women are saying about our Deflating Defensive Training Retreat:

“It was like the light-bulb finally went off! I’ve read a mountain of books, but this approach is different. Learning in-person from the trainers made all the difference.   I wasn’t able to understand until they modeled it for me and gave me someone to mirror. That’s the thing that was life-changing for me!”

“The retreat taught me how to interact positively with family members who have a history of attacking me verbally… I learned the tools to use when this happens. And it worked when a recurring irritant happened just days ago with an important person in my life!”

“I’ve already encouraged my sister to come with me to the next one.” 

We hope you’ll consider joining us this year!  We promise your relationships will grow in ways you never thought possible.