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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Who’s in the Dog House?

Dianne kept telling herself, “I can’t believe we just did it again!  How come that kid always outsmarts us?!”

She and Derrick thought they had come up with the perfect consequence for their daughter’s new endeavors to test the curfew limits they had put in place.  After all, it wasn’t like they were over-the-top strict. She had talked to several other parents with kids similar in age to Kari.  The curfew in their home fell right in line with what others seemed to be doing with their kids.  “Kari just seems to be one of those kids who think that the rules don’t apply to her,” Dianne lamented.

“If you come in late, then you’ll lose your ability to drive to school the next day,” Dianne and her husband  had  both agreed.  “Second curfew miss, two days.  If you hit number three, you’ll lose the car for a week.”

It really seemed like a fair way to solve the problem.  Both Dianne and Derrick had felt confident that it should work, especially since Kari liked her new found independence with her driver’s license and she hated riding the school bus.

The first time Kari missed curfew after the new rules were in place, Dianne had an appointment that took her past the school.  “Mom, you are going right past the school, can you just drop me off?”

Kari had asked politely, so Dianne decided to give her a break from the bus.  “After all, I am going right past the school,” she rationalized.  “I’d rather do that than have to wait to make sure she gets on the bus.”

The second time Kari missed curfew, she road the bus the first day.  But day number two went south.  Kari wasted her time that morning and didn’t make the bus.  “Mom, I have a chemistry test today!  If I miss, Mr. Robinson will make me take the more difficult test tomorrow!  I can’t bomb this test or I’ll get a “C” in chemistry this semester!  You don’t want me to do that do you?”

And with the last plea, Dianne was fishing in the hall closet to get a jacket and find her keys.  She gathered up her 4 year old to put him in the car seat.

As Kari pushed the curfew limit for the third time, the same game played out.  Kari missed the bus yet again and, as fate would have it, the 4 year old was running a fever and Dianne had spent most of the night rocking her son.  She wasn’t even dressed to take Kari to school.  “Mom, I have to be there! Our group is presenting our project in English.  I have all the props!”

Exhaustion took over and Dianne’s defenses were down.  “Go ahead and take the car, we’ll decide how to handle it later,” she wearily responded.

Galatians 6:7

 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.  

Too many times as parents, we don’t think about how the consequences might impact us  or how we are teaching our children to manipulate circumstances to go their way.  We end up putting ourselves in the dog house because tweens and teens have this uncanny way of pulling on our heartstrings.  We want their success and we’ll do anything to help them achieve it.

Dare you to respect  both you and your child enough to follow through on consequences the way they were intended.  They will learn limits and you’ll stay out of the dog house.:)

“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.

 

 


The Respect Dare – Dare 18 – Does Fear Have a Grip on You? – For Parents of Tweens & Teens

“Cassie, you’re not going to that party! You know how we feel about these high school parties. We don’t know the parents or the students,” Marsha responded. “We’ve got plans that evening anyway.”

“Why is it we always have plans when I want to do something? What is it we’re doing?”

“I’m waiting for your dad to let me know. I’m guessing we’ll go to eat after the game. You’re welcome to invite a friend to go with us.”

“Mom, everyone in the band always goes to the party. All my friends will be there. They are always chaperoned by band parents so what’s the big deal? You act as if something bad will be going on! It’s like you always plan something so I can’t have any fun with my friends!”

And with that Cassie stormed to her bedroom and slammed the door.

A couple of hours later, Brandon, Marsha’s high school junior, came bounding into the laundry room. “Mom, I’m heading over to Adam’s for a few hours to work on Chemistry.”

“How are you getting there?”

“You said you were going to be doing laundry the rest of the afternoon. I thought I would just take your car since you won’t be driving it. Is that okay?”

“Where does he live?”

“Not too far. He’s about 10 minutes away toward Saltair.”

“I don’t know, son. Maybe I should take you. Those roads are pretty narrow and that bridge at the bottom of that curve scares me. I’ll just grab my purse and take you over there. I might need the car anyway.”

“Mom, you’ve got to be kidding! I’m 17 for heaven’s sake. Why can’t I just drive over there myself?”

“Brandon, my job is to keep you safe. I need to pick up a gallon of milk anyway, so this way I can get it on the way back.”

“Mom, I’ll just bring some home when we’re through studying.”

“Honey, I need it to fix dinner.”

“I know you are just making that up so you have to drive me!”
he flung the words at her as he grabbed his book bag.

As Marsha and Ron were climbing into bed that evening, Ron asked, “Honey, what was going on at dinner tonight? Both Cassie and Adam were in such foul moods. Anything I should know about?”

“I’m just tired of both of them asking to do things that are just not safe!” she mumbled. I feel like I always have to be on guard to make sure I have an alternative to their request. Cassie wants to go to one of those high school parties after Friday night’s game and today I had to drive Brandon over to a friend’s house because he thought he could drive on that narrow winding road down by the river! It just exhausts me! They just don’t understand all the horrible things that can happen to them.

“So I’m assuming both of them were upset because you told them both “no” to their requests?”

“Yes! I always have to be the bad guy.”

“Marsha, Adam is 17 and Cassie will be 16 in a couple of months. When are you going to let go?”

“So you think I should have said “yes”! You’ve got to be kidding! I’m not going to let my 15 year old daughter go to a party after the game where I don’t know the parents or the kids! And Adam needs more driving experience before he drives on that road!”

“Honey, so when are we going to let go?”

I Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

As parents, some of us have more difficulty than others of letting our children grow up. Part of it could be our upbringing if we grew up in a home where fear was passed on to us by our parents. Others of us struggle because of something horrific that has happened, so we constantly have a nagging sense of fear that is hard to get past. Whatever the circumstance, I would encourage to ask yourself if it is time to start letting go. Our tweens and teens need to know that we trust them. They need to know that we want to protect them…but beware of holding on too tight.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Dare you to assess whether you respect your tweens and teens enough to loosen the reins if you are holding on out of fear.

“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.

 

 

 


The Respect Dare – Dare 5 – Me and My Big Mouth

Rachel skipped to the car in the driveway, excited! “Yeah, I finally have freedom!” she screeched in sheer joy knowing that she was taking her first solo drive to work.

Nancy felt uneasy as she watched Rachel throw her swim bag, sunscreen, and sun visor in the backseat. She was concerned that her daughter was over confident in her driving ability. It would be her maiden voyage, her 16 year olds’ first solo drive and it would be on the interstate all by herself in what would most likely be bumper to bumper traffic.

“Lord,” she prayed. “Keep her safe! Help me to stay calm for the next 30 minutes while Rachel is in route to work. Please, just keep her safe. Why am I so antsy, Lord? It is just so hard to let go!”

Nancy was working hard not to say all the things she really wanted to say…like “don’t go over the speed limit, make sure you lock your doors, look both ways, stay in the slow lane, be careful turning left out of the neighborhood…you know cars sometimes whip around that curve…” But she chose to remain silent with those nagging thoughts. She knew she needed to respect this rite of passage.

“Bye, Honey! Be sure to call me as soon as you get to work,” she plastered on the fake smile trying to sound confident as she let her daughter go.

“I will, Mom, don’t worry. I’ll be fine.”

And off she drove…

As Nancy returned to the kitchen, Sam came down and gave her a quick hug. “Are you okay? I know that you don’t think she’s ready, sweetheart. But she needs a chance to grow up. She’ll be fine.”

Ten minutes later, Nancy was standing at the sink prepping dinner while Sam was piddling in the garage. All Nancy could think about was the conversation she and Sam had last night about Rachel’s request to drive to work by herself. Sam was right. Other kids drive to work all by themselves at 16 all the time. She knew she was just being silly, so she chose not to press him further.

“I’ll take care of it, Rachel,” Sam said as he came in from the garage, obviously talking to Rachel on his cell phone. “You’re sure you are alright to drive? Just be careful. I’ll let Mom know. We’ll look at it when you get home. Call us when you get there.”

Nancy kept her feelings in check. She knew what she wanted to say to her husband. She knew Rachel wasn’t ready to drive alone yet! But she kept her tongue silent.

Ephesians 4:29

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

“What happened?” Nancy responded.

“Rachel took out the neighbor’s mailbox.”

“Oh, Sam, is she okay?”

“She’ll be fine. I think she is a little shaken up, but she’ll be fine. I guess maybe she wasn’t quite ready to drive by herself. It sounds like she hit a mailbox with the passenger side mirror. It flipped forward, so there was no real damage to the car, probably just a little scrape. She must have told the neighbor that she’d have me come see the damage. She said she knew she’d have to pay for the mailbox.”

“At least that’s all that happened. I’m sure it will make her be more careful on the drive to work.”

Dare you to recognize that your teens are growing up and as parents we do need to let go…even when it doesn’t feel right.

Still keeping my “feelings” in check to give my teens the respect they deserve.

“Let go…and let God,”

Debbie

 

The Sky is Falling!

My day started with a phone call from my mother. “Haven’t you been listening to the news? It’s bad! Your aunt called me first thing this morning so that I could warn you! You better stock up on water and groceries. Don’t forget the toilet paper too. Make sure that you don’t get out on the roads, you might have an accident! By the way, call your brother and sister as well and make sure you tell them how bad the weather will be!”

Some of you may laugh at the conversation because you think I’m talking about your mother, while others will shrug it off saying, “No one really behaves that way!”

The fact of the matter is I grew up in a home laced with Chicken Little “The sky is falling” comments, and I took them as truth.

Well, maybe not exactly truth, but at least the belief that if I relayed the messages to my children, they might keep them from danger!

My mother’s greatest fear is that something awful will happen to me.

You see, the way I was parented got transferred to me by osmosis! So it came naturally to over-parent my children, even as they entered the teen years, just like I was being treated.

You know the comments…

“Don’t forget your gloves, you’ll freeze out there!”

“Don’t speed; a cop might pull you over!”

“Be careful, it’s icy. You might fall!”

“Be sure to wear your seatbelt. You don’t want a ticket!”

“Don’t stay out too late; you won’t be able to get up in the morning.”

And I’m sure you have even more to add to the list.

As parents, we want to keep our tweens, teens, and twenty-somethings safe. We don’t want them to experience things that are uncomfortable. We want them to follow the rules and not get into trouble.  But if your kids are anything like mine, if we say these things, we get the roll of the eyes and the look as if we have two horns growing out of our head, not to mention the “Oh, Mom, I’m not stupid!” comments.

The truth is, when my mother called this morning, I rolled my eyes (even though she couldn’t see me), and I thought to myself, “She has no respect for the fact that I am an adult and can think for myself. My 76 year old mother is still trying to treat me like a two year old! I’ve never grown up in her eyes.”

And I tuned out every word she said.

The fact of the matter is, by the time most of our kids are 11 or 12, they get it. If they don’t, then maybe they should learn through their mistakes. If they forget their gloves and their hands get cold…maybe they’ll remember next time. If they speed, they might get a ticket…and maybe they’ll pay attention in the future. If they miss a class because they overslept, their grade may suffer, but they’ll try harder to get to work on time when they are older so they won’t lose a paycheck or their job!

Our comments are really teaching them nothing other than that we don’t respect the fact that they are growing up and able to think on their own.

What do our kids want more than anything in the world? Maybe it is for us to see them as “growing up”. Maybe they will tune us out less if we communicate that we respect that they are becoming young men and young women. Maybe we can create relationship that is respectful bi-directionally. If we give them choices, instead of instilling a sense of ‘you have to do it my way’, they will feel respected and learn that their thoughts matter.

I Corinthians 13:1

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

My challenge to you is to speak to your children with love, respecting that they are becoming adults. If you come across as a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal, they’re more likely to tune you out.

Dare you to pick up a copy of The Respect Dare
by Nina Roesner this week and join us as we go through the book with you. If you subscribe to our blogs at www.NinaRoesner.com, www.LeahHeffner.com, and my blog, www.DebbieHitchcock.com, you’ll get an opportunity to apply respect from three different perspectives. We walk you through how to apply it in your marriage whether you are a young wife or have been married for years, as well as what respect looks like with your tweens, teens, and twenty-somethings! Also, be sure to join us on Facebook on The Respect Dare page to learn more about how to apply respect in all your relationships.

To get you started, join Nina on www.FamilyLife.com as she introduces the reason for respect.

“Let go…and let God,”

Debbie