Are You Ready to Allow Your Daughter to Sleep Over at Her Boyfriend’s House?

Camping couple hugging and enjoying the sunset

Sleepovers were fond memories when my kids were in elementary school.  Typically a best buddy would show up, they’d play some games, watch a movie, and camp out on the family room floor.   Harmless for the most part.

By junior high and high school, that phase of life seemed to be a thing of the past for our family.  I’m guessing I was lucky on that front.  At some point along the way my kids seemed to recognize that they needed sleep and the best buddy would be available the next day.

It wasn’t until my kids were in college that there seemed to be a radical twist to the whole sleepover thing.  Maybe it was when my college freshman started sharing co-ed dorm stories that I saw what was really happening in the young adult world.

I remember my son telling me about getting out of the shower in the men’s restroom that was down the hall from his dorm room.  Stepping out on the wet tile floor as he began to dry himself off, he spotted them–two girls who were primping in front of the mirror.  Yes! In the men’s restroom on the men’s floor.  Embarrassed and shocked beyond belief, he quickly wrapped himself in a towel and headed down the hallway.  

“Mom, it’s just what I deal with on a regular basis.  You learn to live with it.  It’s just part of life.  Guys and girls don’t share dorm rooms 24/7 but, Mom, they are sharing dorm rooms.”

Wow!

And that’s how our kids become numb to all the morals we’ve tried to teach them while in our home.  They start seeing the immorality in the world as “normal”.

It wasn’t long until I started hearing moms of college students, church moms even, saying things like, “Yeah, my daughter just stayed at her boyfriend’s last night.  It was late and she didn’t want to come home because she was concerned the roads were slick.”  

“His parents don’t mind?” I asked one woman.

“Oh, he has his own place.  I know it was alright.  I’m sure nothing went on.  I trust them.”

Hmm…

Another mom told me how her daughter was going to visit her boyfriend who had just gotten a job out of state.  Yes, a long weekend alone in his apartment, together.  

“I trust her.  After all, she’s an adult.  It’s not like I can stop her,” mom responded.  

Truth be told, she’s right.

And typically what happens with the college crowd, starts happening with the high school kids eventually.

Eventually has arrived.

High School co-ed sleepovers are now the new rage.  Parents are starting to get the full-court press from their kids to sleep over at the boyfriend or girlfriend’s house.  After all, what’s the big deal?

“You trust me, don’t you, Mom?  What’s going to happen?  His parents will be home.”

And parents are caving to the requests.  

While these requests might seem preposterous to us as parents, know that our kids are making choices on how they will view the world.  Our response is not only important in setting the morality standard for when they leave for college as adults, but is also important in how they will lead the next generation.

If you haven’t gotten the request yet, this is your opportunity.  Start the conversation!  

Here are some pre-parenting ideas:

  1. Bring up the subject.  In today’s media culture your kids will hear about this if they haven’t already.  Ask them what they think about it.  Find out if they know kids that are having co-ed sleepovers.
  2. Listen. Let them talk without passing judgment.  Words like “Hmm…and wow…and really…” should keep them talking.
  3. Ask them to look at it through the lense of scripture with you.   
  4. Let them know why as a parent you would have to say ‘no’ to such a request without emotion.
  5. Talk about sexual temptation.

As parents, we can’t be afraid to say “no” when morality issues are at stake.  Just because their friends are doing it, just because we trust our kids, and just because we want our kids to like us is not an excuse.

Kids need limits and boundaries to establish healthy patterns in life.  They need parents who build relationship in such a way that we can influence the next generation to stop and consider good from evil.

Roman 12:1-2

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is you spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Dare you to boldly start the dialogue before you get hit with the request.  Help your kids stay focused on scripture’s view of good versus the world’s view by talking about it now so you can influence your kids early.

“Let go…and let God”,

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Have you gotten your copy of With All Due Respect yet?  If you want someone to walk beside you in your parenting, we hope you’ll join us for the With All Due Respect e-Course that begins TODAY.  You’ll be encouraged in your parenting and have opportunity to ask questions.  I’ll be joining you on the journey and can’t wait to meet you.  To take advantage of the discount, click here and enter in the code daretoconnect for a 50% savings for a limited time only.

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Saying ‘No’ to Your Kids — 3 Things to Consider

vintage word NO on a rusty red metallic surface

Saying ‘No’ to our kids is part of parenting–for most of us, it comes with the job description on a daily basis.

‘No’, I’m not buying you a cell phone.  You are only 11!

‘No’, I’m not taking you to your friend’s house right now.  You haven’t finished your homework.

‘No’, you can’t go to the mall with Sara even if she did get her license today.

‘No’, you can’t go sleep over at a friend’s house when I haven’t met the friend or the parents.

And typically, the tween or teen stomps off letting you know that they wish they had been born into another family where the mom is much more ‘cool’ than you.  “You never listen to me.  You’re ruining my life.” And, of course, they can’t wait until they are old enough to move out!  The door slams, we start questioning our judgment in the situation, thinking am I being that unreasonable?, and the relationship is severed in a way that we begin to wonder if things will ever be the same or possibly wishing they were old enough to move out.

Sound familiar?

So what are some things that could possibly change the outcome?

  1. Before saying ‘no’, say tell me more.  Most kids need to feel heard.  Our natural tendency when our kids request something that we feel is out of the question is to just say ‘no’ and move on expecting them to intuitively know that the request is ridiculous.  Tell me more says I respect you enough to listen to why you are making the request.
  2. Before saying ‘no’, ask yourself if you have time for this conversation.  Typically teens will hit us with requests when we are in the middle of something.  What seems like an earth shattering matter to them is the last thing we want to have to deal with at that point in time.  Rather than saying ‘no’ try saying something like “This sounds important to you and I want to be able to understand what you are thinking, can you come back in ____ minutes when I can give you my undivided attention?”  When you re-engage in conversation say tell me more.
  3. When you do say ‘no’, empathize with your teen’s feelings.  After the tell me more discussionbe brave enough to say ‘no’.  Just know that there will probably be emotion.  Most of us will feel a rush of frustration when someone tells us ‘no’.  Depending on the emotional maturity of our tweens and teens, they may flash from hope to hurt and disappointment to anger and resentment within seconds.  Empathizing and addressing your teen’s feelings in the moment will help them become more aware not only of what they are feeling but also help teach them that those feelings are understandable.  Empathy allows us to connect with our teens in such a way that they can more easily regulate back to neutral.  Saying something as simple as “I know you are probably upset with me right now because I had to say ‘no’, but know that I love you and even though it may not feel like it right now, we both want the same thing.  We want you to be successful when you are old enough to leave our home.”

Proverbs 18:13

If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.

Saying ‘no’ can sometimes be hard, and yes, it does involve more time on our part to do it with respect and empathy; however, the payback in connection can be well worth the time invested.  When we say ‘no’ without taking the time to link arms emotionally, our kids may feel that it is an “us against them” mentality which can bring a host of resentment and defensiveness.  Our job as parents is to instill in our kids that no matter our decision, and especially when we say ‘no’, that we love them enough to connect in the midst of their disappointment.

“Let go…and let God”

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I would love to have you join me as I take a group of women through our new e-Course using the book With All Due Respect: 40 days to a more fulfilling relationship with your teens and tweens.  The class starts mid-September. Pre-register now at a discount.  I’d love to get to know you better.  There will be video and opportunity to share with other women as we grow to be more like Him in our parenting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parenting Skills from a Movie?

TAKE INVENTORY of you.  What do you (2)Snuggling with my husband on the couch last night, we were looking forward to an evening without the kids.  It had been virtually months since we had watched a good movie and  Mom’s Night Out (2014)  had been recommended by several friends.  Being several years removed from the exhaustion of small kids under foot and the distant memory of a husband who traveled more than he was home, laughter filled the room from memories gone by.

Trust me when I say that the last place I expect to get any real parenting skills would be  from today’s movies, yet I was pleasantly surprised at the depth and realism of the characters’ parenting dilemmas. As I enjoyed the comedic antics of the young children and remembered  when girlfriend time was something to be craved, I was struck by the interaction between the pastor’s wife and her teen daughter.  From a parenting perspective there was much to gain for those who were tuned in to how the mother reacted to her daughters requests!

  1. WHEN YOU SAY “NO”, STICK TO YOUR GUNS.  It was great to see the mother of this teenager stick to her “no” when it came to an inappropriate pair of shorts that the daughter had purchased.  Several times the girl pleaded her case.  The mother’s response was always the same.  There was no dialog defending her position.  Just a simple “no”.  Know that teenagers fully understand what your standard of dress is and they will push the limit.  Why argue with them when they already know what your response will be?  They’re testing the waters.  Don’t let them push you to give in.
  2. SAY “NO” AND ANTICIPATE WHAT THEY ARE THINKING.  Plans had been made by the daughter to go meet a boy from church.  Again, the mother said “no”.  But she took it one step further!  Knowing that her husband’s sports car was sitting in the driveway, she told the girl that she was not to take his car.  She further told her not to ask her dad about going out when he got home.  Her answer was “no”.  How many times have our children skirted our “no” with a twist of circumstances that we didn’t anticipate? Make sure you learn to think like your child.
  3. LET THEM CHOOSE TO COMPLY.  This is the part where I struggled as a mom.  (Just being honest here).  In the movie Mom had a night planned to go out with girlfriends.  She told her daughter the rules, anticipated ways that she might try to get around them, and then left.  This is where I applauded her!  How many times do we as mothers try to control our teens’ decisions?  The truth of the matter is that her teen could have put the shorts on, gotten in Dad’s car, and gone to see the boy.  If mom had stayed home, the daughter could have been forced to stay as well.  But Mom did the right thing!!  She went out, had fun, and allowed her daughter to make her own choice to obey or disobey.
  4. GET REAL.  How many times do we choose to keep the past a secret?  All of us have a past that impacts how we parent.  As the film plays out, we find  that this pastor’s wife has something that she would prefer others not know about her.  She bravely faces that past and even chooses to share it with her daughter.  Yeah for the pastor’s wife!!  She took her mask off so that she could connect with her teenager!  If this were a true story, sharing that sordid past would most likely save her daughter a similar pain in the future.  I’m not saying that everything we’ve done needs to be an open book, but at some point, teens need to know about some of the decisions we may not be so proud of.   It helps them come to grips with not only our humanness, but the fact that we make decisions for them based on the painful experiences we’ve endured.

If only I had had such a role model early on in my parenting!  Watching the character of Sondra fulfill her role as mother on screen, made me take a look at my own parenting.  How many times have I changed my “no” decision because I allowed my child to sway me to their way of thinking?  How many different ways did my teen twist my intent because I had not anticipated their potential ways to skirt the issue?   How many times did my child succeed at playing my husband and I against each other  until they got the answer they wanted?  How many times did I forgo my plans in order to make sure they understood that I did not trust them?  How many secrets am I holding on to with fear that my child may do the same thing?

Dare you to take inventory in your parenting on some of these issues.  Maybe after watching this film and snuggling with your husband?

“Let go…and let God,”
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The Respect Dare – Dare 22 – To Do or Not to Do? For Parents of Tweens & Teens

 

Rhonda caught herself doing it again. Frustrated, yet ready for the respite of a quiet house until her 14 year old returned from school, Rhonda began counting her blessings as she began to pick up the trail of clutter.

  1. Ashlee is doing well in school. Thank you, Lord!
  2. Ashlee has a great group of friends, very much a blessing.
  3. Ashlee is growing up to be a compassionate person. It was awesome to watch her interact with Aunt Martha last week.
  4. I won’t have her home for many more years, so I need to be thankful for our time no matter how frustrating.

And the blessing list continued…

As Rhonda continued in the kitchen, she found herself pausing. “Lord, I know that Ashlee is a blessing, but sometimes she can also be downright frustrating!” She laughed as she said it. Ashlee had raced out the door again this morning tearing through the house like a tornado. Picking up cushions from the couch where she had done last night’s homework, she left everything she had touched wherever it fell, any place except where it should be.

“Found it, Mom. I’m sorry to leave you with the mess,” she shouted as she ran toward the door. “I’ll pick it up this afternoon when I get home.”

“Right,” Rhonda thought. “And when my Bible Study group shows up this morning, I’ll just tell them to sit wherever they can find a cushion or wherever there aren’t popcorn kernels from last night.”

“Lord, she is such a good girl and I know she has a lot on her plate with school and her after school activities. Is this my role as a parent to pick up after her all the time? I love her so much that I would do absolutely anything for her. I might not always do it without complaining”, she chuckled again. “But I would do anything for her. Show me the way, Lord. Either change my attitude and frustration or give me a different direction.”

As Rhonda continued to tidy the house for her group who would arrive in an hour, she felt God’s gentle nudge. “Rhonda, I want you to count the blessings I have given you, but I also want you to teach Ashlee how to take care of herself and others.”

“Hmm….”

“What was it they taught us in Generations? Tweens and Teens need life balance. When their issues start impacting our daily life, they need a reminder that their behavior is not leading to independence.”

“Thanks, Lord. I needed that today.”

As Rhonda pulled into the driveway from picking Ashlee up from soccer practice, she suggested that they spend a few minutes talking over a snack. “Sure, Mom.”

“Ashlee, I want you to know that I really am proud of the way you are maturing. You had such a gentle spirit with Aunt Martha last week. I loved watching the two of you interact.

“Thanks, Mom.”

“You know that your dad and I want to teach you all the skills you’ll need to be fully independent one day, don’t you? As Ashlee shook her head in agreement between bites of trail mix, Rhonda continued, “It occurred to me this morning that you are starting to develop a habit that is something that I think will not only impact you in the future, but it is impacting me right now. This is the third week in a row that you’ve had several mornings where you’ve ransacked the house in the morning before you went to school.”

“I know, Mom. I’m sorry. It’s just that I don’t want to be late for the bus. I don’t want you to have to drive me to school.”

“I appreciate that, Ashlee. But you are leaving me with a mess just about every morning these days. We need to find a way to change that.”

“Mom, I’ve told you I will clean it up as soon as I get home, but by the time I get here you’ve already done it. You really can save it for me.”

“Ashlee, I live in this house too. I have friends that stop by during the day while you are gone. I like to sit on the couch for my quiet time. Do you really think I can enjoy my time with God if I have to look at the mess all around me?”

“I’ve been thinking about this and I think the problem is that you’ve not gathered your things together for school the night before. Starting now, I want you to work hard at picking up snacks or whatever you’ve left in the family room the night before. To help you remember, I’m letting you know that if it happens again, there will be a consequence.”

“A consequence? You’ve got to be kidding!”

“Ashlee, the consequence is intended to be a reminder to help you not forget the rule the next time. Just know that from here on out, there will be no more morning tornado through the house. I know that it might seem harsh, but our job as parents is to help you become a balanced adult. I just don’t want you to always be stressed out and develop the habit of always being in a rush. I know that’s what you want as well. Keep the family room picked up in the evenings and there won’t be a problem. I love you, Ashlee. I know you’ll do better. I’m more than willing to give you a gentle reminder in the evening if that will help.”

“Okay, Mom. I’ll try to do better. Maybe if I put a note on my bathroom mirror, I won’t forget.”

“Great idea, honey!”

Living in a hurried world, sometimes as parents we allow our tweens and teens to fall into bad habits that impact us. Rather than try to teach them good habits, we bail them out because it makes us feel better.

Colossians 3:2

 And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.

Dare you to find something that needs to change in your teen’s life and encourage better self-discipline. Just be sure to let them know you are helping them gain independence.

“Let go…and let God,”


Hope you will join Nina Roesner as she provides insight on marriage and Leah Heffner as she blogs to wives with little people as we go through The Respect Dare together.

 

 


Dare 21 – The Respect Dare – Another Request?!? For Parents of 20-Somethings

Standing in the laundry room after a few days out of town, Anita was amazed at the piles of laundry that still needed washed, dried, folded, and put away. “This will take me hours!” she voiced to no one who could hear. Having just moved the second load into the washer, she was wistfully looking out the window at the beautiful day when she heard the phone ring in the other room. “Maybe I should pretend that I’m not back yet and go out and sit on the deck with a book,” she laughed to herself hoping to have a quiet day to relax and play catchup from the fun extended weekend with her husband.

Looking at caller ID she recognized the number. Her 23-year old daughter was calling to probably check to see if she was back. Picking up the phone she responded with a cheery “Hi, Kari. How was your weekend?”

“It was just okay. Nothing exciting.”

“What did you do?”

Kari just shared minor snippets. Anita had the impression all Kari really did was work through the weekend. Then the true reason for the call became clear. “Mom, I’m standing here with mountains of dirty laundry and I won’t have enough money this week to go to the Laundromat. I’m off today. I thought maybe I’d swing by and throw a couple of loads in your machine if that is okay.”

“Kari, I’m sorry. I’m doing laundry right now and I’m sure it will take me to the end of the day. Maybe you can do it another day this week?”

“Mom, this is my only day off work this week. I really need some clean underwear.”

“Maybe you could try to wash a few pairs out in your sink and hang them to dry? That should get you through the week.”

“I guess I could do that. I was just hoping to get all my laundry done today.”

“Hmm, that’s too bad. I’m really sorry I didn’t know sooner. I could have potentially postponed a few of my loads. Now I’m in full swing for the day.”

“By the way, any special reason why you are so short on cash this week?”

“Mom, I wasn’t really going to tell you, but Mitch and I decided to go camping on Saturday. It was my first Saturday off in over a month. We ended up in a big fight because he didn’t have enough gas to get us back home. I got stuck with having to fill up his tank which means I don’t have enough money to get through the week.”

“Have you asked him to pay you back?”

“We’re not speaking at the moment.”

“Did you work out the financial arrangements before you left on the campout?”

“I thought we had. Obviously, I was wrong.”

“I’m sorry it didn’t work out how you would have liked. Maybe you will find a way to talk to him this week and work things out.”

Kari chatted a little more bemoaning the woes of her relationship with Mitch. Mom listened intently, offering emotional support that she knew her daughter needed at the moment. As the conversation started waning, she quietly offered to let her mom go back to her laundry.

“Hope you can get enough of your underwear washed by hand to get you through the week,” Mom chuckled. “Let me know if you want to come over another day before work this week and throw in a load or two.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-5

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;

 

Sometimes as parents of 20-somethings, we are overtly willing to put what we are doing aside to “rescue” our children from natural consequences. In some instances, it does make sense to bail them out even when we know it will cost us something; time, money, or emotional energy. Other times, they need to learn to make-do with what they have at their disposal and learn to manage their time and resources better without always running to Mom and Dad for last minute bailouts. Either way, don’t forget to fill the emotional tank.:)

Dare you to discern what lessons your 20-something needs to learn on their own while still striving to keep the relationship intact.

“Let go…and let God,”


Hope you will join Nina Roesner as she provides insight on marriage and Leah Heffner as she blogs to wives with little people as we go through The Respect Dare together.