What Are Your Parenting Truths?


When my kids were in the teen years and there seemed to be more conflict in our home than I wanted to deal with, I started doing some introspection as to what truths I held in my parenting.  What I discovered was that all the things I had learned from my parents during my childhood weren’t necessarily true.

As children we see and learn through a child’s mind.  We interpret things through a brain that is not fully developed and doesn’t have the full breadth of experience of adulthood.  And depending on how we interpret the world, either through a the lens of a glass half-full or a glass half-empty, whether we felt safe, loved, needed, and had purpose, determines whether we view our family of origin’s parenting style in a positive or negative light.

Either way, it will have impact on how we parent.  We will either choose to parent how our parents parented or we will choose to do something different.  Most likely if we didn’t like how our parents parented, we will pendulum swing and do the exact opposite.

The question we have to ask ourselves though is what is our parenting Truth?

Are there lies that we believed as a child that impact us and keep us from being the parent God wants us to be?

Are there actions or reactions in your parenting that need to be viewed from an adult lens rather than what was modeled or said to you when you were a child?  Are there partial truths we are believing that stem from our culture?  The neighbors?  Or other parents?

It has been amazing to me through the years as I’ve interacted with many parents how we as Christians will justify our words, our negative reactions, and sometimes anger at our child.  Our disrespect of our child’s perspective, feelings, or requests can easily be overlooked.  After all, we’re the parent and think we know best.

I’ve been there.  I’ve offered a sweet chuckle as I’ve shared a story of an interaction with my child trying to “normalize” my response.  It’s something I saw modeled and took as my own.  Somehow we think that if we laugh about our sinful response to our kids we feel justified in our actions rather than feeling remorse and moving toward reconciliation with our teen.

I think that God gives us these sometimes difficult teen years to help us see His Truth in our parenting rather than what we think is truth.

So what about you?  What truths do you hold to in your parenting that may not be truths at all?

  • It’s my job to make sure my kids are happy.
  • If I orchestrate the family schedule, no one will feel left out.
  • I need to give my kid every experience possible.
  • If my teen challenges me, maybe I was too harsh and should back down.
  • When my child is emotionally acting out, I should use my authority to bring them under control.
  • Everyone else their age has electronic devices so I have to get them one so they don’t feel left out.
  • How I respond to my kids is justified based on what and how they say things to me.
  • If my kid works hard he can be whatever he wants to be.
  • The kids will only be with us for a few more years, their desires are more important than our marriage.  We’ll have time for us in a few years after they are gone.
  • If we are good parents our children will make wise choices.
  • If my kids work hard at their studies or sports, they’ll get a scholarship for college.
  • My thoughts on what is going on in our home don’t need to be verbalized because they aren’t important.
  • What our parents think about our parenting choices should be part of our decision making.
  • I need to compare our family to other families to make sure our kids measure up.
  • If what I say as a parent is met with silence and non-compliance from my child, I need to just give up on trying to get them to respond.
  • It is up to me to give, give, and give to my teens at the risk of feeling like a slave to their needs.
  • The only thing we can take to heaven is our kids.
  • I can control who my child dates or marries.
  • And the list goes on.

The lies we have bought into that affect our parenting can become toxic patterns that the enemy would love for us to embrace.  These lies or partial truths not only affect the quality of our relationships in our homes but give us a weak foundation in our parenting because when we base our decisions on anything other than God’s Truth, we will typically pendulum swing in our responses based on how we feel in the moment or whether we have enough energy to fight the battle.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Dare you to look back at your own childhood and filter the things you learned about parenting through the lens of adulthood.  Let the Holy Spirit guide you into the His Truths as you parent your kids by taking your lies and half-truths and making them obedient to Christ.

“Let go…and let God”,

Does it feel like your tweens don’t listen when you’re talking? Or maybe you don’t feel like your teens respect you? Tired of the conflict?  I’d love to connect with you for a free coaching session.  You can contact me at debbiehitchcock@gettingperspective.com










Questioning What is True?

Have you ever been in a situation with one of your kids where you questioned what is true?  I’m actually in that situation like that right now and I’ll admit it’s a struggle.  I spin daily trying to see the situation from every angle, trying to understand what could have really happened to get us here, and the butterflies in my stomach and feelings of disbelief keep me from accomplishing little except replaying circumstances in my head.  My daily to-do list is slow to materialize and, thankfully, my husband is willing to pick up the slack.

If you are like me, you hurt deeply when there is something you can’t fix with your child.  You can’t change a thing, the damage is done, and all you can do is accept that it-is-what-it-is.

I meditate on scripture knowing that God is somewhere in the circumstance; yet, I question why he would allow this to happen.  I find myself constantly on the brink of tears yet holding them back so I can be strong.

I know in the past I would have questioned what I did wrong as a parent, but I learned years ago that God allows what He allows and my job sometimes is to just learn to walk through it without fear.

Easier said than done.

We think we know our kids by the time they reach their teen years and suddenly we are thrust into circumstances where we question if we really do know them.  They break our heart, do something stupid, make a choice that is against our value system, and even make a decision that we think is against anything we think they are capable of doing.

And then others, usually adults, interject their version of the circumstances and it has us questioning all over again.

What really happened?  What is true?  And how can I  be the adult in the room when I can hardly think?  How can I best put calm to the situation when I’m not even calm?

So what do you do when your world seems tilted sideways and you have no idea what the truth really is in a situation?

  1. Breathe.  Deep breaths bring oxygen to the brain which quiets the mind.  It brings about a state of calmness.
  2. Journal.  What are your fears?  What is keeping you from having peace in the situation?  Take inventory of what is going on within you and put words to your feelings.  Allow yourself to grieve the situation if needed.
  3. Pray and Listen.  Asking for wisdom and discernment in a situation allows the Holy Spirit to speak to you.   Ask Him if there is someone with whom you can share your burden.
  4. Get perspective. Share with a few trusted friends, counselor, or coach.  Others can sometimes see something in the situation that you can’t see because you’re too emotionally attached.  It will at least give you different views and help take bring a clarity that you might not have seen.

God showed up in my personal dilemma yesterday with a phone call.  A person I have never met wanted me to make a decision on a situation real-time in the moment.  I couldn’t do it.  And suddenly with the perspective they shared, I knew what God was calling me to do.

I love it when God does that.

This morning I shared bits and pieces with three trusted friends seeking input.  They all said the same thing confirming my decision.  They put words to their view of the situation that I hadn’t yet discerned.  Now I have clarity to act.  And I have more peace.

I’m so glad God gives us connection with others to help us on the journey when we can’t fully see.

A dear friend sent me some scriptures recently that I’ve been meditating on as I’ve been in this fog-brained state of consciousness filled with disbelief.  If you are in the place where I am, I hope they will renew your strength as you persevere.

Psalm 42:5

Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your HOPE in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.

Isaiah 40:31

But those who HOPE in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.

Romans 5:3-5

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, HOPE.  And HOPE does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.

I’m so grateful for those who have been praying for me and our family.  Your texts of encouragement and scriptures have been a God-send when I find myself in the pit.  Please know that I read them over and over.  My journal is filled with the scriptures you’ve sent me and I feel blessed to call you friend.

If you too are having difficulty discerning what is true and could use prayer or a shoulder to dump your bucket on so that you can get perspective, just respond in the comments and I’ll be sure to pray or get in contact.

Thank you for joining me on the journey.

“Let go…and Let God”,







Do Your Kids Trust You?

Late in the day, I received a text about my on-line purchase.  I had been tracking it since early morning.  I had gone out to my front porch several times and even out to the mailbox  in anticipation of its arrival.   The tracking service had even said it had arrived in the vicinity and would be delivered today. As I looked at the latest text it read:

Undelivered – no one available to sign.  Notice left on door.  Will try again Monday. Read more

Broken Trust?

“It’s shattered,” came the response from the orthopedic surgeon  as he looked at my 21 year old son’s  x-rays.  “Impressive,” he continued  with a grin.  “How did you do this?” Read more

Are You Making Sense of Your Truth for Your Kids?

I remember a time when my kids were excited about extended family coming to our house to stay for a week.  It was an annual occurrence that would be a happy yet dreaded time of the year for me.  On the one hand, I was looking forward to the time to reconnect, but as time drew near to their imminent arrival, the noose would feel tighter.  I would feel the tension in the back of my neck and that awful pit in the stomach as I furiously cleaned every corner of my house.  I found myself yelling more at my kids as my stress level escalated because I needed to get the house in order before they arrived.  If it wasn’t perfect, I’d hear about it.

In reality I had not made sense of my own truth.  Instead I would recite bible verses to myself making sure that I hit His standard for who I was supposed to be.

  • Love is patient, love is kind.  (1 Corinthians 13)  Translated: I must be patient and kind in all things this week.
  • Selfless love lays down his life for another.   (John 15:13)  Translated: I must give up my needs and wants in order to love this person while they are in my home.
  • Love one another as I have loved you.  (John 13:34)  Translated: God loves me even when I sin, so I must love this person regardless of the things this person says to me.

And the list went on. 

It was my way of making sure that I was perfect when this person came to visit.  If I was well prepared in advance, maybe this time I could avoid the hurtful comments and constant critique of where I wasn’t measuring up.

After three days of of being scolded, I was typically ready for them to leave.  Regardless of what I had done to prepare, I still wasn’t measuring up.  And let’s face it, it’s hard to be “perfect” for a whole week.  My temper would get the best of me, words would be exchanged, and my kids couldn’t quite make sense of why Mom was so angry.

It took me more than a decade to discover my truth.

The truth was there was unresolved conflict that had simmered for years.  There were family secrets that I was sworn to keep.  And someone else trying to drive my family’s activities for an entire week was enough to send my well intended scripture verse litany to the far recesses of my brain as I emotionally erupted. 

I had believed the lie that if I could be perfect for one week out of the year when this person came to visit and that I could shield my kids from the pain of my reality.  I could hide the truth about these people in my life.  And even though my desires were honorable–to hold family in high esteem–I couldn’t keep the mask on in front of my kids for an extended amount of time.

It wasn’t until my kids were in their 20’s that the family secrets came out.  One day with tears in her eyes my daughter looked at me and said, “Mom, we never understood why you got so upset when they were here.  What you told us about them and what we saw never matched up.  I’m so sorry for all your pain.  How could you have even allowed them to stay in our home?”

With those words, the light bulb went on.  It had never occurred to me that I had a choice to allow them to stay.  It didn’t dawn on me that I was trying to live a lie of that perfect family for my kids.  In my world of truth, my feelings were to be ignored and not explored.  And I was to humble myself to the point of letting others walk all over me.

Once I stared at truth from a scripture perspective I had a new dawning.

Matthew 22:37-39

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The truth was that in those moments, I was not loving myself.  I was putting more emphasis on being perfect for this person rather than for speaking my own truth and examining my worth through my relationship with Christ.  What this person thought of me was more important than what God says.  I realized I was modeling for my kids that other people have more value and their opinions of me are more important than God’s opinion or desires for me.  He is the creator of my feelings and longings.  I learned to take John 8:32 to heart.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

I had modeled that being real wasn’t safe.  Being vulnerable and authentic while speaking my truth, didn’t have merit.  It was easier to pretend than be known.

A harsh reality for a woman who wanted to be a Godly mother.

Since that day I spent with my daughter, I’ve learned that to be open and honest with my feelings is a good thing.  It brings connection and healing.  Sharing our truth with our kids (when it is age appropriate), even though they are truths that make us feel shame, can truly set us free and give our kids a deeper understanding of who we are as individuals.  Hiding our true identities out of shame and remorse says that we aren’t worthy of being who God created us to be.  It sets us up to not be truly known by those around us.

It blocks the connection that most of us desire.

The good news is that by learning to be real and authentic as I recognize who I am in Christ, I’ve worked through those fears of not being “good enough”.  Sure, they will rear their ugly head at times, but I now know that I can take my thoughts captive.  I’ve learned that being a doormat brings me nothing but frustration and pain while living in my NOW and being aware of my feelings helps me process the real truth of the moment.  By doing so, I can help my kids see that mom isn’t always perfect and it helps them recognize and accept their own imperfections.

It also helps my kids accept imperfections in others so that they can show empathy and grace to the hurting people they encounter.

Dare you to look to see what realities you are masking for your kids.  Maybe it’s time to be authentic so truth can allow your family freedom to connect on a deeper level.

“Let go…and Let God”,

Learning to be lovingly authentic with those around us takes work.  It means we need to know who we are in Christ while learning skills that will woo others rather than push them away.  Many of us tend to be pendulum swingers.  What I mean by that is that one minute we’re trying to be patient, loving, and kind and then something sets us off to where we are ready to blast a person we love because they have offended us or haven’t complied with our requests.  This applies especially to our relationship with our teens.  We love them unconditionally one minute and can’t wait til they move out the next.  We want our relationship to be really good but at other times we’ve had our fill of their behavior.

Deflating Defensiveness is a course we’ve designed to put an end to the emotional roller coaster.  You will learn how to deal with the other person’s emotion while you take care of yourself in the heat of the battle.  You’ll learn what works to draw you closer together in the moment.

May 30-June 3 we hope you’ll join us near Cincinnati, Ohio for a Conflict Resolution Training Retreat that will deepen all your relationships.

















Rules and Consequences Not Working?

A very wise counselor said to me one time, “If it isn’t a matter of life and death, it doesn’t need to be fixed right now.”

Oh, I wish I had heard those words years before and really grasped the true meaning.

The most common thing I hear from parents is that a kid knows the consequence and yet the teen continues to do the very thing that caused the consequence over and over again.  As parents we feel caught in a loop and we don’t understand why our kid gets angry and starts building a wall sneaking around us to get what they want.

The problem is that many of us think of parenting as transactional.  What I mean by that is that we’ve devised a system that says if our teen chooses to not abide by our rule, we issue a consequence.  Cut and dry.  Black and white.  No discussion.

Let’s face it.  Transactional parenting is easier.  We don’t have to get caught up in the tears and listen to the 99 reasons why we are being unfair and why our kid should get off this time.

But here’s the downside.  When we use transactional parenting, we might get the obedience that we want, but at what price?  

Obedience doesn’t necessarily mean compliance on a heart level.  More times than not, it means compliance on a fear level.

Several weeks ago I had a mom ask me what to do with her junior high age daughter who kept sneaking her phone into her room which was against the rules.  The family rule was that when they came into the house they were to park their phones in the kitchen until after dinner.  Already taking the girl’s phone away numerous times, Mom was upset that the girl had taken mom’s phone into the bathroom to call someone when she came into the house.  The daughter’s phone was sitting in the kitchen where it was supposed to be.  

I chuckled when I heard the story.  Isn’t that just like a kid?  We’ve all been there.  Most of us have experienced something similar at one time or another.  Can we just laugh?

Unfortunately in the heat of the moment, it’s hard to laugh.  Our rule has been broken, our tween needs to learn a lesson, and we feel the need to issue the consequence.

Unfortunately, that’s what this mom did.  She issued a consequence that escalated the situation into a shouting match.

Over what?  Yes, you heard.  Over what?

What was so important that this girl felt the need to violate the rule knowing she would most likely get a consequence?  To take her mother’s phone was a bold step.

When I asked the mom why her daughter needed to use the phone, Mom couldn’t tell me. All she knew was the rule had been broken.

How sad. 

Like I said earlier — transactional.

Let’s go back to my opening line — “If it isn’t a matter of life and death, it doesn’t need to be fixed right now.”

What if the mom in the scenario could have paused (after all it wasn’t life or death) before she confronted her daughter? 

Here are a few things that she might have thought of if she had taken the time to wait before the confrontation.

  • “I don’t want her to think she can use my phone when she isn’t allowed to use hers.  Do we need a consequence for that?”
  • “Boy, that was gutsy.  This must have been really important for her to sneak my phone.  Something must be up.”
  • “I wonder if it is time to revisit this rule and consequence?  Maybe we need to look at why we started this rule in the first place.  Maybe it’s time to think about it differently.”
  • “It will be interesting to see if she comes and talks to me about taking the phone.  If she does, I’ll know that the Holy Spirit is working in her life.”
  • “I need to have a conversation with her that won’t be combative.  I’ll try to talk to her after dinner or maybe tomorrow after school.”

If we’ve trained our brain to look at the possibilities rather than the rules, we’ll most likely discover that our kids have needs of which we aren’t even aware.  Sometimes those needs and desires are worth the consequence and it is up to us to be the detective to understand the “why” so that we can reach their heart without always reacting to the rule.  Sometimes we need to pause long enough so that we can see if God is working in our child’s heart.

So what can we do as parents when we blow a situation with our kids.  After all, if we’re in the heat of the battle we don’t always remember to pause.

  1. Initiate a casual conversation.  “Honey, I want you to know what I didn’t do a good job of handling the phone situation earlier today.  I got really upset and took your phone away and I know you think I was harsh in issuing the consequences.  I’m sorry I got so upset and I know that you are working really hard at following the phone rules otherwise you wouldn’t have left your phone on the kitchen counter. (See the positive?). I didn’t listen to you and I’m sorry.  I’m listening now.  So what happened today?
  2. Listen.  Don’t interrupt and listen with your heart.
  3. Make sure you understand the core issue.  Is it a rebellious streak of “I’m going to do whatever I want and you can’t stop me.” Or was the phone call so important that it was worth a potential consequence?  Do you have a relationship with this child so that she could have asked to use the phone without hearing a lecture?
  4. Pause before changing the consequence.  Too many times we hear our child’s side of the story and immediately change the consequence because of new information.  We think of it as fixing the problem.  I want to suggest that you keep the consequence until you’ve had time to process the new data and spoken to your spouse or a trusted friend who may be further along in their parenting.  Tell your tween that you want to think about your conversation and then promise to get back to her.  
  5. Revisit the consequence.  Pausing on the consequence gives you opportunity to rebuild trust and leaves the door open for more conversation on what happened.  Use this as a chance to right the wrong as well as address how you would like similar situations to be handled in the future.  Be sure to end the conversation with a hug.

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Psalm 46:10

Be still and know that I am God.

Dare you to be still in the heat of the parenting battles.  Pause and let God work in your heart and the heart of your teen.

With the holidays around the corner why not put With All Due Respect: 40 Days to a More Fulfilling Relationship with Your Teens & Tweens on your shopping list?  Whether it is for yourself, a friend, or as gifts for your child’s teachers, learning the language of respect is important as we try to capture the hearts of the next generation.  

Here’s what one mom had to say:  “If you want to renew and energize your relationship with your kids, this book is a great place to start!  Each dare spoke such truth and I looked forward to each new real-life story.  I wish it had been available when my oldest was going through the teen years.”