Dare 23 – The Respect Dare for Parents of Tweens & Teens – ME or WE?


Olivia stood in disbelief at the kitchen sink watching 14 year old Emily interact with her 13 year old brother.  Typically they were pretty good friends, but something was wrong, terribly wrong.  She had seen them walk out back together as they got off the bus.  As backpacks landed on the deck, they had climbed up in the playhouse that was still standing in the corner of the property.  Sitting on the wooden planks the two were in deep conversation.

Being able to see everything from her kitchen window, Olivia was mesmerized by the continued friendship even as they had entered the junior high years.  She wished she had a similar companionship with her siblings.  As she stared entranced at what was transpiring between them, something seemed to snap in Emily.  What had seemed like a natural exchange between brother and sister turned into a rage of anger followed by a wrestling match with fists flailing.

As if standing in quicksand, Olivia felt like she was moving in slow motion. Just as she reached the back door, she saw Dean push Emily up against the side railing allowing him a little relief from her continuous blows.  Thankfully it was enough to stop the fight before someone fell from the 6 foot high perch.

Ordering each of her kids to their separate rooms, Olivia assured them they would talk about it later after cooler heads prevailed.

“Lord, I have no idea what just happened!” Olivia breathed out loud as she settled herself in a chair in her own bedroom.  Behind closed doors she voiced her prayer, “You know what this is all about.  Please help us to get to truth and give me wisdom in how to best handle the situation.  Give me your eyes and ears to truly understand what each of my children are thinking.  Calm my heart and may your glory be seen in this situation.”

At the dinner table, it was obvious that neither of the kids were going to speak to each other.  After dinner dishes were put away, Olivia sauntered into Dean’s room.

“Is now a good time to talk about this afternoon?”

“I guess so.  I just don’t get Emily anymore.  She’s changing.  And not in a good way.”

“How so?”

“She just seems to want a boyfriend so badly that she’ll do just about anything to get one.”

“Is there something specific you want to share?”

“Not really.  What she did was not what our family is all about.  It’s all about her and not about us.”

“Tell me more.  Why did she get so angry?”

“I told her that what she did was impacting me as well.  I tried to tell her I thought what she did was wrong.  She didn’t like what I had to say.”

“I’m sorry, Dean.  I’m glad you love your sister enough to speak truth to her.  I’m not sure how we are going to resolve this, but I’ll get back to you after I’ve had a chance to talk to Emily.”

Later that evening, “Emily, do you have a minute that we can talk?”

“I guess so.”

“You want to tell me what was going on out there in the playhouse this afternoon?”

“Mom, I just got so angry at Dean.  He has no right to tell me what I should and shouldn’t do!  It’s none of his business!”

“Is that what you truly think?”

“Well it isn’t!  I can make my own decisions and he needs to stay out of it!”

“Do you want to tell me what Dean is so upset about?”

“I’m sure he already told you everything.”

“Actually he didn’t.  He told me you did something today that he thought was wrong and it had an impact on him.  Do you want to tell me what happened?”

“Not really.”

“Would I have been upset at what you did?”


“Did you have a right to go after Dean the way you did?”

“You would say I didn’t.  I just hate having a younger brother tell me what I shouldn’t be doing!”

“Emily, family is about “we”.  We want what is best for you and it sounds like that was what Dean was trying to convey to you.  No matter what you choose to do, it has the potential to have an impact on our entire family.  Do you understand that?”

Silence from Emily.

Olivia continued, “Emily, your dad and I want you to become the person that God created you to be.  Obviously, I don’t know the details of what came down today, but I’m thinking maybe Dean telling you what he thought today was about how much he cares for you as a sister and wants the best for you as well.  Life isn’t about “me”.  Your entire life you will have to make choices about pleasing yourself, but know that those decisions will more times than not impact others”.

Continued silence.

“Let’s plan to go to lunch on Saturday and talk about what happened today.  Maybe I can help you sort through what you are feeling and why you did what you did.  In the meantime, I’m hoping that you will pray and work through your anger with Dean. You know you need to apologize to him.”

“Emily, we all make mistakes.  Learning to own up to them and talk about them with those who love you will help you make better choices in the future.  You know we love you.”

After hugging Emily, Olivia left the bedroom.  She headed toward Dean’s room to say goodnight.  “Dean, I spoke to Emily and encouraged her to come apologize.  I’ll be praying for the two of you.  I love you.”

Parenting through conflict situations can be so difficult!  We want to know all the details.  We want to tell them what they did wrong.  Sometimes just encouraging our child to do the next thing allows them to “own” what they did wrong.  Setting up a time to work through the details usually takes the emotion out of the situation.  Remember that the important piece is that our children need to see that “we” are in this life together and we both want the same thing…for them to be the best at what God created them to be.

Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

“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 11 – The Respect Dare – Whatever we pay attention to Grows – For Parents of 20-Somethings

Marilyn was beyond upset! She wondered if Ashlee would ever grow up. “You would think that at 25 she would get it!!” she complained to Martin. She had already spouted to her husband several of the grievances that she had against her daughter. Marilyn continued to rant.

“She promised! Her younger sister called and asked for her assistance and she said yes! Tori called her three times and texted her as well. They agreed to meet at 3:00. I planned my entire weekend around the two of them meeting! Tori and I were planning to go shopping for school clothes and then get her hair cut. We changed our whole day’s schedule around Ashlee’s availability. Then Ashlee doesn’t even show up or call Tori to tell her she’s not coming! Martin, that is absolutely unacceptable.”

“I agree. But she did call me and explain what was going on.”

“Yeah, after the fact! She had an agreement with Tori, not you.”

“You’re right. I should have made sure she called Tori back.”

Just then Martin’s phone rang. It was Ashlee. “She’s on her way, but won’t have very long,” muttered Martin.

“It’s been hours since they were supposed to meet. Here we are now ready to walk out the door and she calls and says she is suddenly free? It’s like she expects us to just be available whenever she just happens to have time? I don’t get it!”

Marilyn was fired up! It was a good thing Ashlee wasn’t around at that moment. Marilyn knew she would give her a piece of her mind! She could tell that Martin was spinning up too. He was probably more angry than she was.

Later that evening, Marilyn was sitting in her favorite bedroom chair with her bible and journal. “Lord, help me to see truth in this situation with Ashlee. Help me to see what is lovely in my daughter. Help me to understand what is going on.”

As she spent time in prayer her thoughts became more focused on the situation. “Ashlee did have something really important that came up. She did call her dad and explain the reason she wasn’t there. So, Lord, why am I so upset about what happened. Is it because it ruined my day?”

The longer she sat there she knew the answer. “I want the girls to be close. I want them to always be there for each other. What I really wanted was for Ashlee to call her sister because I want the connection to always be there,” she thought. “Tori seemed really hurt by the lack of empathy from her sister.”

Because Tori hurt, Marilyn hurt for her.

Marilyn arranged a special lunch with Ashlee later in the week. As they sat there talking Marilyn chose not to dwell on what happened. She chose instead to emphasize her desires. “Ashlee, you know how much your sister idolizes you, don’t you? She is working really hard to connect with you. I know something came up last weekend and that you couldn’t meet with her like you two had planned, but can I encourage you to call her more often, even if it is just to check in with her?”

Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers, 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 on such things.”

As parents, sometimes we want to step in and tell our 20-somethings what they did that was wrong. Depending on their personality and their level of independence, they may not be able to handle the “parenting” we want to give them. Instead of focusing on the negative behavior, try emphasizing the behavior you want to see more of and explain why you would like to see it.  Whatever we pay attention to GROWS!

Dare you to try to take a difficult situation and try to address it in the positive.

“Let go…and let God”,

Be sure to join Nina Roesner and Leah Heffner as we blog through The Respect Dare together!