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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Be Aware! The Dating Game is Changing

This week in USA Today a shocking story hit the press that will influence our teens.  Many Americans are well aware that sleeping together early in the dating relationship is almost a given for a lot of teens.  TV and movies portray this as normal behavior and it has influenced more than a generation.  As parents we might  caution our kids and tell them sex is for marriage, but when pressure from the culture is hitting them from all directions at a time when they are taking steps toward independence, who will they listen to?  

Parents?

Teachers?

Coaches?

Peers?

Media?

According to the latest survey of single Millennials (remember that this includes our 18 year olds) over 1/3 of this demographic had sex before they decided if they want to spend time with that person!  It is as if the act of sex is an interview for compatibility.  Sex is no longer considered the intimate part of the relationship.

Like it or not our kids are not only being influenced by their peers, but if they have teachers and coaches they look up to, they are being influenced by them as well.  If the teacher or coach is in the under 34 age range and is single, they fall in that Millennial generation of values.

A mom recently shared a story about what was happening in their high school.  A contracted school nurse, a Millennial, had an open door policy especially for the athletes.  She would openly coach these boys on “how to get the girl” and would even go as far as arrange dates for these kids.  She was seen hooking kids up at the mall and sometimes hanging out with them.  

Think of the influence.

Like it or not the values of these adult figures will greatly impact how our kids see the world.

We need to remember that the world our kids live in is not the world we grew up in.

So what can you do to counter the culture in a way that will better align your tweens and teens values with your family values?

  1. Stay on your knees – daily.  And be sure to tell your kids that you are praying for them.
  2. Share articles like the one linked above.  Kids need to know what they will face in the world and what your values are.  Talk about the world they live in.
  3. Talk to them early.  Too many times as parents we fail to have these conversations early enough.  If your kid knows what sex is, then stories like this as well as sex or dating on TV and in movies is a great place to start.  What I hear most often from parents is that they waited too late because they wanted to protect their child’s innocence.  It is more important to talk to them young when they are willing to listen and learn from you.  
  4. Share what Scripture has to say.  If kids have a good relationship with you and a solid foundation for their values, they are more likely to stand up to the influences around them.
  5. Be honest with your kids.  Tell them your concerns about their future.  Share your regrets or some of the regrets of your friends or family members.  
  6. Role play.  If your kids are willing, role play situations they might find themselves in or maybe some they have already been in.  Teach them the skills and build their confidence to counter the peer pressure.
  7. Build relationship.  Even though our kids are reaching for independence, if we choose to interact with them in a respectful manner, the relationship will still be maintained and our kids will want to emulate us.

Deuteronomy 6:7

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  

Last night my husband and I were watching a Netflix episode of a police drama.  One of the single dad cops was trying to figure our who was targeting a swim suit fashion model.  Of course, the cop kills the guilty party and becomes the hero, but as the show comes to the finale, all the models start parading their bikini’s in a runway fashion show. And to my surprise, the cop’s 11 year old daughter is welcomed to the event with open arms and gets paraded backstage to hang out with the models in their dressing room.

And my thought became–“What parent in their right mind would do that?”

It is easy to get caught up in the world’s value system and the excitement of opportunity.  As parents it is easy to get sucked into what other parents allow their kids to do without thinking of future impact.  Letting go is not easy when the culture is encouraging a different mindset, but respectful communication can strengthen the odds that they’ll embrace your values.

Dare you to pay attention to who is influencing your kids and counter their culture with your influence by having discussions before the world does.

“Let go…and let God”,

 

 

 

Struggling with Life Balance?

 

soccer player doing kick with ball on football stadium field isolated on black background

Reading through With All Due Respect assignment for her small group on Tuesday morning, Alison was surprised at the emotion she was feeling. Her kids had started playing soccer at such a young age. But, oh, how she would have done things differently if she could rewind the clock. She wished she had planned their family time better. She wished that she had not bought into the lie that she needed to always keep her kids busy during the tween and teen years “so they wouldn’t get into trouble.”

As she sat there deep in thought the memories came flooding back…especially the warnings she had chosen to ignore.

She remembered a time when she and Mary Anne sat on the playground with their younger children while each of their older sons were practicing soccer. The season had been coming to an end and both moms had been ready for a slower pace. The coach had pulled a couple of the parents aside to offer their sons a place on a select team the following year. “Your boys are ready!” he said. “I hope they’ll choose to play with us. Let me know by the end of the week. We’ll probably practice some until it gets too cold.”

Alison had talked to several of the parents about what their decision would be for the coming season. Most of the parents were excitedly signing up for the opportunity for more playing time for the boys. They felt honored that their sons were “chosen” for the select team. Mary Ann had a different perspective, though.

“What? You’re not going to let him play?” Alison couldn’t believe what Mary Ann was saying to her!

“No, Ryan and I are going to take Lily’s advice. You know Lily don’t you? She’s the woman down the street with the boys that are in college. Anyway, one day we had lunch together and she said if she could do one thing over as a parent, she would hold off on the intensive sports as long as possible. In fact, she said she would have really scrutinized the number of activities her children were allowed to be involved in.”

“Why’s that?”

“She told me–family time. She felt like she was a marionette to her kid’s sports and activities schedules and she wished she had carved out more family time and that she wished her family hadn’t always been in a mad rush to get to the kids’ events.”

Alison remembered blowing off Mary Ann’s comment about Lily’s advice. Alison knew her own children. She wanted them to be the best they could be; so she signed their son up for the select team.

As she continued to sit with the book opened on her lap, tears started rolling down her cheeks. She quickly brushed them away. It was so sad to think of what could have been. Just last week she had seen the neighbors down the street frantically trying to load the three kids in two different cars so they could be at two separate games at the same time. With Mom heading one direction and Dad heading another, poor little Samuel was having to choose which parent he would go with. She heard him begging to go to a friend’s house instead with Mom yelling at him to get in the car or else!

“Sports were good for kids,” she thought to herself. “It was too bad she had allowed her kids to choose what they wanted to do rather than starting out early and limiting activities.  Now she felt that they were a fragmented family with everyone going in a different direction.”

Rushing. Rushing. Rushing seemed to be the pace of their lives now that the kids were in junior high and high school. There was no time to model what family was all about. There was little time to do family things outside of the kids’ activities. If she had to do over, Alison would have saved time and taught the kids the joy of serving others–like helping their elderly neighbor woman mow her lawn — together.  She would have taught them to put their family first over activity. She would have found time to show them that the family was not only about getting them where they needed to be for their activities–but that life was also about balance.

As Alison was sitting there thinking about what could have been, she wished she had taken heed to Ephesians 5:15 at the time.

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,

As parents of tween and teens, we sometimes forget that others have walked before us and have wisdom beyond where we are at the moment. We buy into the lies of the culture that our kids need to spend every waking moment being busy and that we as parents need to allow it.

Dare you and your spouse to start talking about what the family needs rather than planning life around all the kids’ activities. Why not find a project to do together to serve someone else?

“Let go…and let God”,

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 Sign up for our on-line eCourse which starts September 26, 2016.  You’ll have an opportunity to go through the new book With All Due Respect:40 days to a more fulfilling relationship with your teens and tweens with me and a group of moms just like yourself.  Learn and interact while gaining new communication skills. Be sure to get in on the discounted price while it lasts.  I’ll be available for personal interaction in the class.  Hope you’ll join me.  Click here for more information.

Why Should We be Surprised at Transgender Bathrooms?

Swimming pool - swimmer training competition in class with coach

Target shocked the world with their announcement of transgender bathrooms as the masses cried out in outrage. Protesters boycott the store while the ACLU director quits her job because she says it threatens women’s safety after her girls were visibly upset at having used a restroom with towering transgender women.

The real question is how we got here.  It obviously didn’t happen overnight.

Since my kids are in their twenties, I’ve seen a slow eroding of modesty that didn’t exist a decade before they were born.  Long gone are the days when schools enforced dress codes that were written in black and white and parents didn’t question the authority of school officials when their kids were sent home or given something else to wear for the day.

While most of us can look back at that A-Ha moment when the world was not what we thought it should be, mine was when my 9 year old was on the swim team.  I remember well the excitement when the outdoor pool was covered with a dome for winter training for the first time.  While typically changing out of wet swimsuits would take place in respective dressing rooms, kids would now be forced to run wet through the cold outdoors to get to the inside changing areas.  

Oh my, we can’t have that.

Enter make-shift dressing rooms on the pool deck.

Curtains on iron rods were situated on opposite corners of the pool deck–one for girls, the other for boys.  It seemed like a good option–until the season was in full-swing.

By mid season, the older kids seemed to shun the improvised dressing rooms.  Deciding it was easier to just dress on deck, teen girls would be seen dawning t-shirts over wet swimsuits, pulling the wet suit down half way and putting a bra on underneath while 9 and 10-year-old kids were entering the pool area for their designated swim time.  

Next thing these impressionable kids would see would be a girl shimmying the rest of her suit off  and gently pulling on her lace underwear.  Yes, she was covered by her longer t-shirt or sometimes a towel, but of course those t-shirts or towels weren’t always fully hiding everything.  And towels would accidentally drop.  And the giggling would start.

Soon the high school boys were doing the same.  Not the bras, mind you, but you get the idea.

And parents and coaches stood by and said nothing. “Oh well, we can’t have them get sick from the cold. At least they’re covered.”

Meanwhile my impressionable 9 year old was taking notice of how the world operated.

Fast forward almost a decade and things were continuing to evolve.  By now, school officials might have a dress code for students, but it was rarely if ever enforced.

Volunteering as a chaperone for a homecoming dance opened my eyes yet again to the real world my child lived in.  The dress code had been made clear but I stood mouth gaping open as I witnessed a high school principal look at a girl’s dress that left little to the imagination and said, “You know that outfit doesn’t meet dress code, but I’ll let you in this time without calling your parents.” 

The girl put on her smile and boldly walked into the school gym while parent chaperones stood appalled.

By the time my third was in high school band, I realized how far the getting dressed in the same room had gotten. Now it was a given.  Even for school functions.  Boys and girls changed clothes on the bus for every competition without thinking a thing about it. 

Why can’t they use separate buses as dressing rooms?  For heaven’s sake, if you are driving four buses to an event why not designate two for boys and two for girls as dressing areas?  How difficult is that?

But no one thinks of that any more.

Our kids accept it as normal because the adults in their lives have learned to accept it as normal.

1 Peter 5:2a

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them

1 Peter 5:8

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Outraged parents are vigilant in their out-lash against Target, but are we being as persistent when it hits a little closer to home?  Are we willing to take a stand in our own communities–in our kid’s schools or activities?

Is the ‘creep’ of unacceptable to acceptable happening under our eyes as parents and we’re oblivious to it?

Dare you to look at your values and take a stand in your ‘neck of the woods’.  And while you’re at it, take time to talk to your kids about what you see in their world.  Engage them in the culture battle.

“Let go…and let God”,

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In 8 days, you too can start having a more fulfilling relationship with your teens and tweens.  Click here to find out more.

 

 

 

Parenting with a Team Mentality

team Hitchcock

Sitting at the table dressed in formal attire taking in all the sights, sounds, and feelings of our son’s wedding reception, I heard my husband’s words to our new daughter-in-law as he proposed a toast.  “Lori, welcome to team Hitchcock!” Read more