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?


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”,


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.





50 Things I Learned From Raising a Challenging Child

Emerging into the world our daughter arrived six minutes after I had waddled through the emergency entrance at the hospital doors.  Our family joke was that she was the creator of drama and the day of her birth was the beginning.  She had orderlies, nurses, and doctors frantically hustling for her grand entrance while my husband, Dave, was still parking the car.  We knew that she was special arriving on the infamous 8-8-88 and weighing in at two ounces shy of 8 lbs. 8 oz.

That was the day I came to a whole new appreciation in knowing that God is good.  It just so happened that Dave was supposed to make a four hour drive to Cleveland that morning for a mandatory work event that would have kept him out of town for three days.  Our daughter arrived just shortly after 6 am; my husband was supposed to leave on the trip by 6:30 am.  Indeed, God is very good.

By the time she was three and attending preschool two mornings a week, I had begun to realize that she was indeed a very special child.  One morning I had just dropped her off at her classroom door and was standing in the hallway talking with another mother when the teacher had the children line up single-file to go to the big room for games.  I hid behind a half-open door so my daughter wouldn’t see me.  I watched intently as I saw her tap the little girl ahead of her on the shoulder. She then began to whisper something in the girl’s ear indicating that she was supposed to be in line in front of her.  Sure enough, my daughter got in front, stood still for a moment, and proceeded to tap the little boy in front of her and move into the line in front of him.  As I watched this happen over and over, I knew this child was destined for greatness.  Each child she had tapped and spoken to seemed  oblivious to what had just happened.  She was grinning from ear to ear as she led her classmates down the hall.

By middle school, I saw the beauty and talent this child had within her.  She not only had a stage presence and a beautiful voice, but she had such a tender heart for others.  It was common for mothers whose children were a couple of years younger to call me up to see if our daughter would come play with their kids.  Every time I would hear something like “She is so creative.  When she comes to play my kids don’t get bored.  She is really patient and makes sure to include everyone.”

She also loved to be in the kitchen baking something sweet.  One Sunday morning the youth pastor was telling a story from the pulpit about how no one in his family liked pumpkin pie so he didn’t get a piece for Thanksgiving that year.  When my daughter heard the story, compassion welled up within her.  The next Saturday she spent the day making him his own personal pumpkin pie to surprise him with the next day.

The difficult piece of this seemingly wonderful child was a dark side that we never quite understood.  Given a simple “no” over something seemingly minor became reason for a fit of anger or defiance.  A quiet family afternoon at home could quickly spiral into a “you never” or “you can’t make me”.  Jealousy over things only God can control turned into, “I should have been the first-born. I need a sister.  I wish she was my mother!”  And the list went on.  

At 16 it seemed as if the heat turned up making things even darker.  Phone calls from teachers and other parents became a very real part of my life making me want to crawl into a hole and never come out.  I was trying desperately to find ways of helping this poor child that seemed destined for self-destruction.  Our family felt helpless in reaching her.  Counseling sessions were going nowhere so I did the only thing I knew to do.

I let go.

She moved out of our home at 18 and the path she chose seemed even more vile.  We kept in contact on a regular basis, but her antics kept our family in constant wonder of how to handle each new difficult situation.  We tried a reset of her life a few times, but the efforts would revert to a similar lifestyle breaking our hearts.

As I continued to maintain contact with our daughter, I employed new skills I was learning in an attempt to rebuild our relationship.  It was working.  She seemed more open, wanted to spend more time with me, was able to accept our family’s boundaries, and was beginning to reciprocate when it came to relationship.  She told my husband that I was her best friend.  

I thanked God for his goodness.  

But even through this glimmer of hope which included coming back to our home for a week, the choices she made were deadly.  Our daughter passed away May 30, 2017.  

I am convinced that even though we may not be able to save our children from destructive lifestyles, He uses it for good.  After all, God is good.  God is very good.

Because of my daughter I am changed.

Because of my daughter I know that God is my strength in times of need.

Because of my daughter I have learned to let Him be in control.


50 Things I Learned From Raising a Challenging Child

  1. Maybe God gives us these kids to change us.
  2. We may think there are only two sides to a coin, but really there are three. These kids see the rim on the circumference and make us think outside the box.
  3. I am not in control.  Let me repeat, I am not in control.
  4. There is always a different choice that I usually don’t see—this child does see it.
  5. These kids live life to the fullest in a very short period of time. We have to seize some of those moments to be in their world.
  6. These kids teach us to listen, listen, and listen more. As parents, maybe we should try talking less and listening one more time.
  7. These kids teach us that taking risks is part of life, and it shows we have guardian angels watching over us.
  8. These kids teach us to retract our words through apology over and over. They teach us that sometimes apologizing is more important than being right.
  9. These kids teach us to pause before we speak. We learn to gauge our words by their potential outburst response.
  10. These kids teach us to be consistent. One slip of letting them get by with something proves that they can change our mind.
  11. They teach us to learn who we are talking to. Is it our child or a voice from our past?
  12. Things we learned as a truth from childhood may actually be a lie; seek to find real truth.
  13. Friend’s “advice” shouldn’t drive our actions when it comes to parenting. We really need to listen for God’s guidance.
  14. It’s easy to give the impression that if you give me the right behavior that you will get my love. Work hard on unconditional love.
  15. Tension should be resolved quickly; don’t let it linger.
  16. We need to become masters at reading our child’s unspoken words. These are an indicator of what is truly below the surface.
  17. We need to do everything in our power to make sure there are more positive interactions than negative so they can feel our love.
  18. As moms, we need to make sure we have plenty of rest. Pushing ourselves to be supermom gives us less ability to respond with love and patience.
  19. These kids will push us to the end of our rope sometimes. Practicing non-emotional responses ahead of time will give us the skills to react calmly in the heat of the battle.
  20. My child taught me that every person has value and I need to show kindness to all. Inviting their friends in gives me opportunity to speak His truth to those who surround her.
  21. Beware of judgment. We are all on a journey; some are just farther along than others.
  22. It is important to break out of our place of comfort to enter their world at times even when it is a little scary and doesn’t make sense to us.
  23. Boundaries are important in the parent/child relationship as they keep us emotionally healthy. Mom and Dad need to be on the same team in setting them.
  24. Enabling our child to do less than what should be their responsibility stifles their maturity even if done in love.
  25. We cannot make our child’s life better for them. We need to teach them to own their own future.
  26. Letting go of one child sometimes means saving your other children.
  27. Rebuilding severed relationship can be done. Never stop trying, and be aware of the other person’s capacity to reciprocate at various stages of the rebuilding process.
  28. Make sure that the amount of energy poured into your challenging child doesn’t suck the life out of you so that you can’t be there for your other children.
  29. Behavior doesn’t necessarily define the whole person. It is only one slice of the pie.
  30. Children become the average of the five people with whom they surround themselves. Teach them to choose friendships wisely.
  31. Laugh often even when you want to cry. Laughter releases endorphins that will make you feel better in the midst of the pain.
  32. Our kids make choices that sometimes lead to destruction. We have to remember that they are their choices and the outcome is between them and God. 
  33. As parents we need to own what is ours to own and not accept blame for every mistake our child makes.
  34. None of us are perfect parents and neither do we have perfect kids. If our kid self-destructs it is not automatically our fault.
  35. Our child’s heart might pull them into a destructive lifestyle. We can warn them, but we can’t control the situation.
  36. “I always thought that I’d see you again” can be a stinging lyric that fits unspoken conversations that you should have had. Initiate those conversations often.
  37. We need to teach our kids that relationships are transactional. There needs to be give and take on both sides.
  38. It’s easy to start thinking of these kids as a bother because they know how to press our buttons. Find ways to engage for short periods of time about non-emotional issues so that the mending of the relationship can begin.
  39. Offering empathy and validation for your child’s feelings means more than telling them your perspective on the issue.
  40. Keeping the pain and frustration to yourself makes you an island. Reach out and find a “safe” person who has been through a similar struggle to lighten your load.
  41. When you feel like there is no hope, pray. Starting with Amen or “so be it” shows that you accept that God is ultimately in control.
  42. When consequences for actions fail, push the reset button and work out a better solution.
  43. If emotions are high, take deep breaths and slow the conversation so that your brain has enough oxygen to speak with respect.
  44. Give your child the benefit of the doubt even when the likelihood is that they were in the wrong. Allow them time to tell their side of the story.
  45. When parents, teachers, and other authority figures call you to tell you “that awful thing your kid did”, listen, thank them for calling, and pause before dealing with your child on the issue. Listen to your child while asking open-ended questions about the incident.  Whatever you do, avoid any knee-jerk reaction.
  46. Stand firm in what is right and what is wrong so your child will always know where you stand on a given issue. Silence can be interpreted as implicit acceptance.
  47. When our kids make choices we don’t feel are good for them, rather than say “I told you so” talk through what could have been a better option.
  48. Be grateful for the positive aspects of your child’s personality. Find the good in them and encourage them again and again.
  49. Become a “safe” person for your child to talk to—no condemnation, no advice without their permission, and lots of listening with validation.
  50. Be your child’s #1 cheerleader when you have opportunity to do so and give lots of hugs.

Because of my daughter I have learned to “Let go…and Let God,”








Are You Helping Your Kids Too Much?

Most of us would do anything for our kids.  We want them to be happy.  We want them to say we were always there for them.  We want them to be successful in school, in sports, and in relationships.  Our desire is for our kids to be the best they can be and compete at the highest level.  Yet, I wonder if instead of helping we are stunting their growth.  Are we enabling them to not take care of themselves because they know that we will be there to provide for them no matter what?

What is our real desire for our kids for their future?

And how do we raise kids who become mature adults who can think for themselves, solve their own problems, and have a desire to get ahead in life?

A couple of years ago there was a video on Facebook that was priceless and I think could teach all of us a thing or two about parenting.  A baby elephant had slid into a stream and struggled over and over to pull himself up onto flat land.  The problem was that the ground where he was trying to get out had become so wet and muddy that it became a slide that would not allow him a firm grip.  Over and over he slid back into the stream.  At one point you could tell he seemed to be getting tired.  He quit trying.  He paced back and forth as if he was doing some self-talk. Frustrated at his circumstance he kept circling lowering his trunk into the water.

He paused.  

Then he decided to try again. 

This time as the camera panned out we could see his mother from a distance coaxing him to try harder.  After much time she slowly walked toward him and seemed to hug him as she took her trunk and wrapped it with his.  Knowing nothing about elephants I wondered if she would try to pull him out with her strong trunk.  

But she didn’t.  She actually backed away several feet.

I could almost hear her.  “You can to this.  Come on.  Try again.”

After a few more rounds of slipping, mama elephant slid into the water, encouraged him to try again, and then behind him proceeded to give him a little nudge.  With that, he made it to higher ground.

The question that most of us need to ask ourselves is “At what point do we intervene with our kids and how much assistance do we give?”  Intervening too quickly and and with too much assistance moves us from helper to enabler.   

Sometimes we need to allow our kids to fail so they can actually learn to keep trying.

Enabling allows our kids be irresponsible.  We intervene so they won’t suffer the consequences of their choices.   Sometimes we think we are showing our kids love by helping with homework or picking up after them or giving them money rather than encouraging them to get a job, but will that well-intended help cause them to realize that someone will always be there to bail them out?  What will be the consequences of our actions for their future mate? Will they be looking for a mom-figure who they think should fix the situation causing marital conflict for their future?

If you are a mom who likes to help your kid, maybe it is time to do some soul searching.  What is the driving force behind the extra help that you give your kids?  If your kid is successful have you bought into the lie that it means you are a good mom?  Is the extra help because you don’t believe your kid can do it on his own?  Or maybe you aren’t willing to trust God with your child? 

This isn’t an attempt at condemnation.  It is an honest assessment by you about you.  And this goes for me as well.

Just this week I had my own time of contemplation.  Having had a 26 year old in chronic pain for more than seven years, I’ve been chief caregiver through several surgeries.  It’s natural for me to be involved in his medical situation with doctors.  Yet, I made a phone call this week to ask a question and the nurse who answered the phone caught me by surprise.  He seemed to be a little shocked at my call and said, “Oh, I’m surprised he had you to call.  We only have adult patients.”

Oh my, I thought.  I’m doing exactly what I’m trying to encourage other parents not to do. 

And I realized how easy it is to fall into the trap. 


A harsh truth.

And a wake-up call for me.

Is it time to let your kid be more responsible for his stuff.  Is he the owner of his to-do list or are you owning it?  

I know.  

I’m with you even in my reality of my son’s chronic pain.

And, yes, oh that realization hurts.  OUCH!  But sometimes painful self-assessment can push us to do things differently.

Here are 4 ways to move from enabling to helping:

  • Assess where you might be enabling and make a choice to back off.  Be sure to communicate with your teen, or in my case, twenty-something that you feel like you might be hindering their future and that you want to help them mature.  Let them know when this will go into affect.
  • Ease your child into their new reality.  Too many times parents see that they are doing too much for their kids and make a statement that they are no longer going to do XYZ to help. It can come off as harsh and shuts down the relationship. Sometimes it is better to take baby steps as we try to wean our kids into their new mature behavior.
  • Be their cheerleader.  Send them a text, cheer them on, give them a hug, and let them know you think they can be successful.  It is important to remember that cheerleaders don’t take the ball and try to score.  Once you’ve communicated that it is their game, don’t take the ball back.  If they lose the first game, there is always another opportunity.
  • When they are stuck, give them a nudge from behind (that’s elephant speak).  If you see your kid floundering, offer suggestions, and be ready to get in their space to give a nudge in the right direction.  

I was talking to a mom recently about her kid that she used to bail out because he would get behind on homework assignments and everything would be due at the same time.  When I asked her how things were going, she told me “great”.  “He seems to finally be grasping where my boundary is in how I’m willing to help.  When he comes in needing help with schoolwork, I ask him to take a calendar and decide when he is going to do each assignment.  It is forcing him to make some tough choices between fun activities and grades.”

Whether it is doling out money or giving our kids a ride to school when they could be taking the bus or helping with homework, our kids need to be learning that we’re here to help them be successful not make their life easy.

If we aren’t careful we will believe the lie from the enemy that our job as parents is to pave the way for our kids such that they don’t stumble or experience frustration or pain.  

Galatians 6:5 

For each will have to bear his own load.

2 Thessalonians 3:10

For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

Dare you to assess if you are more an enabler than helper and choose to nudge your teen toward adulthood. 

“Let go…and let God”,

Are You Coaching Toward Adulthood?

A friend of mine sent me a text this week –“She is crazy in love with the baby, but slow on the ‘adulting’.”

A 20-something shows up at my house with no socks for the weekend, “Oh, I haven’t done laundry for over a month.”

And a high school junior looks at mom and says, “I’m hungry.  Will you fix me a snack?”

So how do we get our kids to start thinking like adults?

Our natural tendency is to jump right in and do whatever our kids ask or need.  In fact, sometimes we offer what we think they need before they even ask.

Don’t get me wrong, we do it for all the right reasons.  We want our kids to know that we love them.  We don’t want our kids to suffer in any way.  We think it is just a little thing that we do out of the goodness of our heart to help make life better.  

But are we handicapping our kids?  Are we keeping them from becoming adults?

Do we think for them so they don’t have to think?  Do we do for them so they don’t have to do?

I’ll admit that many times I’ve looked at my kids as they were walking out the door and said, “Did you remember the ______?”

And under some circumstances that might be okay.  But we are hampering their maturity if we are constantly reminding them of the basics of life.  In other words, are we doing the thinking so they don’t learn to?

I remember a time when my son was 16 and I was one of those moms.  Maybe you can relate.

“Honey, don’t you need to get to work soon?  There will be a lot of traffic.”  Going through my mind is–I want him to do well at his job and I don’t want him to lose it by being late.   

“I’m getting ready now.  You haven’t seen my keys have you? I can’t find them.”

Going through my mind is–He’s going to be late.  I don’t want him to lose this job.  I’d better help him find the keys.

And I drop what I’m doing frantically going through the house in search of his keys.

Ten minutes later, I find the keys in a sweaty pair of shorts he left on the floor in his room.  And off he goes as I wonder — Will he ever grow up?

Truth be told, he won’t grow up if I don’t let him.

What did I teach my son?

1) Mom is always there to remind you.  2) Mom will drop anything to help you out of a jam.  3) There is no need to care about your job because Mom will do that for you as well.

Let’s replay the scenario as if we are coaching toward adulthood.  What might it look like?  In other words, what do I wish I had done differently based on what I know now?  

Let’s start where I left off.  Let’s assume it played out exactly as I stated, but now I want to think differently about parenting and the coaching process.

  1. That evening, when my son came home from work, I should have had this conversation.  “Son, I’ve been thinking about what happened with me looking for your keys before you went to work this afternoon.  I realized that I’ve been doing you a disservice.  I want to help you think like an adult.  I can’t believe you are going to be 18 in a year!  I think I’ve been taking emotional responsibility for things that I know you are capable of handling on your own.  Starting now, I am passing the baton to you so that you will learn to own the things for which you are responsible.”  I would have then laid out a plan with him by asking questions.  What do you think would insure you get to work on time?  How could you make sure you had your keys and wallet?  And then I might make suggestions to tweak his plan.
  2. The next time he goes to work I would not say anything unless he is already running a little late (And I’d coach him to hurry up.) “Honey, did you tell me you had to be at work at 4:00?”  I would then leave the room.  Making it a question rather than a statement allows him to pause for the answer and not feel indicted for messing up.
  3. If he asks about the keys, I would respond with something like, “I don’t know, honey.  When did you last see them?”  And then I would continue to do whatever I was doing.
  4. If needed, I would have another ‘how can you help yourself be successful here’ conversation after he gets home from work.

Helping our kids mature is about us not taking ownership for the things they should own themselves.  Better to lose a $10/hour job and learn something about punctuality than to have a six digit career that goes up in flames because they can’t be counted on. 

Our kids need to learn the skills necessary to be a successful adult under our roof.  That means we teach “adulting” by not always stepping into their opportunities to respond in a mature way.  May I suggest that each time we are asked to do something for them we need to pause and ask ourselves a few questions before we respond.

  • Is this an adult skill my teen needs to learn?
  • Am I making the decision to get involved so my child won’t suffer or be viewed negatively?
  • Do I care more about the outcome of this situation than my teen does?  If so, why?

If the answer to any of the questions is yes, it might be wise to step back and let our teen potentially fail.  After all, that’s what becoming an adult is all about.  Our teens need to learn the boundaries of acceptable behavior and also the consequences when they don’t meet life’s demands.

“Adulting” means: 

  • I take care of myself. 
  • I will ask for assistance or guidance when I don’t understand. 
  • I will get myself out of bed and get to school/work on time.
  • I will not engage in so many activities that I can’t do for myself what needs to be done — laundry, fix my own snack, homework, job, and other things that impact me.
  • I will sacrifice other things to get the rest that I need.
  • And whatever you as a parent require. 

Galatians 6:5

For each will have to bear his own load.

Dare you to ask yourself if you are handicapping your teens and holding them back from becoming adults.

Double Dare you to make changes that help your teens become adults.

“Let go…and Let God”,
















Are You a Mom of Strength and Dignity?

Dare 18 in With All Due Respect seems to be a favorite among many of the women who read the book.  Every time I’ve led a group, as soon as moms read it they immediately want to talk about it. We laugh because that is the mom we want to be.


Most tell me they would never have the strength to do what the mom did in the dare.  But most have agreed they’ve thought about it.


Why is it that as moms, we feel that our job is to do everything that our kid asks us, even if they have a bad attitude or are bossy?  Why is it that we will let our kids walk all over us in a situation yet turn around and do whatever they’ve asked us to do as long as they’ve apologized and are now nice to us?

Does the apology from them negate a consequence and therefore get in the way of a teaching moment?

I’m guessing that a lot of us tend to be pleasers when it comes to our kids.  

In the book How We Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovich we can get a glimpse of our behaviors in the parent/child relationship. Some of us find it difficult to allow our children to feel any pain if it might be construed by them as coming from us.  After all, as parents we want our kids to feel our love.  It’s natural to want their happiness and to want to give.  But at what cost?

Here are just a few of the clues that help us assess if we might be swinging the pendulum too far into the happiness category for our kids rather than becoming a mom who allows pain in our kid’s lives in order to teach the values we want them to grasp.

  1. With my kids, I feel like I give and give, yet they take advantage and don’t respond with an attitude of gratitude.
  2. I try to be the peacemaker with my kids so that conflict is minimized.
  3. Sometimes I’ll withhold information or change the situation slightly to avoid a battle.
  4. When there is conflict, I tend to give in just to avoid the frustration.
  5. I don’t like it when my kids pull away and are upset with me.
  6. When my kids ask me for help, I have trouble saying no.  I am willing to lose sleep or put other responsibilities on the back burner to say yes to my kids.
  7. I have difficulty standing up for my own needs when it comes to something with my kids.

If you responded yes to any of these, you might be a pleaser.  And know that pleasers tend to want to avoid anything that makes them feel anxious.  They tend to parent out of fear of losing the kids they love so much.

Several years ago I was talking with a counselor/friend.  In our discussion his words to me went something like this, “Kids need to learn that relationships are intended to be give and take.  That means bi-directional.  You give; they give.  That’s how we create deep, lasting connection.”

Oh, my.  This one hit me hard.  How many times have I given in to my kids just because they quickly apologized and became the sweet angels I knew they were capable of being?  How many times have I missed a teaching opportunity?  I know from experience that at times I’ve avoided disagreement rather than teach my kids how to navigate conflict well.

Being a mom of strength and dignity means that we are willing to set boundaries to protect ourselves.  We’re willing to step into conflict if need be to help our kids realize that relationship is a two-way street.  It means we will choose to not be manipulated by our kid’s quick change of behavior to get what they want.  It means that our ‘yes’ is ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ is ‘no’.

 It means that we are willing to show them that just like they are precious, we are precious.

Moms of strength and dignity aren’t forceful and controlling in their boundary setting with their kids; however, they are willing to be firm as they teach their children that our world does not revolve around them.  We are willing to introduce them to the fact that even as mom, we have feelings and needs, too.

Galatians 1:10 

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Proverbs 31:25

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

Dare you to assess the level of respect in your home and become the mom of strength and dignity that He has called you to be.  It’s not too late to learn to respect yourself as you parent.  If you do, you’ll be teaching your children the true meaning of honor and respect.

“Let go…and let God”,

If you really struggle with becoming a mom of Strength and Dignity, we want to encourage you to join our With All Due Respect on-line eCourse.  From the convenience of your home you’ll have opportunity to go through the book with moms who are where you are in the struggle.  There you will find encouragement, a place to ask questions, and videos to help you in the parenting journey. 

We hope you will join us!

Dare ya!

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.