Tag Archive for: difficult teens

Dare You to Think Different as you Parent Your Teens

This week I dared to be different.  

You see, I spoke at an all women’s christian leadership retreat and wore hot pink nails.  Now I know that some of you are saying, “So what?  I do that all the time.”  Others are saying, “You are kidding, right?”

But let me explain further.

I tend to be a conformer.  I don’t want to rock the boat and I don’t want to offend.  I don’t want other people to see something about me and judge me, so I tend to dress conservatively, behave conservatively, and make sure I know my audience before I speak.  After all, I want them to listen.  Right?  

But my daughter taught me something different–something that I think all parents could learn from.

Dare to be yourself.

It is okay to be unique.

So I wore my hot pink nails to the conference in memory of my daughter who loved everything hot pink.  She challenged me to be bold in my thinking, to step out of my comfort zone, and that fun versus conservative can be a good thing.

The christian women attending the retreat were from  different denominations of churches and they dressed in various outfits that may or may not have conformed to a given church’s style.  Some wore shorts, others wore long dresses. I saw long pants and Capri while some wore head coverings.  But regardless, of what we wore, we all had something in common on the inside — the love of Jesus.   

We accepted our differences–without judgment or condemnation.

My question to you is are you trying to make your tweens, teens, or twenty-somethings conform to your idea of how they should dress or act based on possible negative perception by your friends or church?  Are you pushing them to do things your way because you want them to walk, talk, and think like you?

Can we laugh at their hot pink nails, or bold blue hair, or live with the fact that they want to do something outlandish in a fun sort of way?

Or is our identity wrapped up in our kids’ looks or behavior?  Are we trying to clone ourselves?  Or are we wanting to duplicate the people with which we are associated?

A few years ago I picked up a book entitled Bringing Home The Prodigals by Rob Parsons.  I expected the author to give me ways to connect with my challenging child who was making choices that put her in the ‘prodigal’ category.  But as I read the book, I was challenged at all my “rules” as a parent.  I’m challenged to look at “church” from my teen’s perspective.  If church is boxing my child in to conform a certain way, is that what I really want as a parent?  Will that push my kid to be a prodigal?

Yes, it is easier to parent a child who is a “rule follower”.  

But I want to raise kids who are world changers!

I want my kids to follow their calling in life that God lays before them, not what I think the world should be.

I want kids who are dripping with the love of Jesus such that others can see Him.  And sometimes wild and crazy will attract the non-believer and give opportunity to share Jesus in the midst of what we might consider someone else’s chaotic life.

Because of my “prodigal”, people have entered my home who I would never had opportunity to interact with because our lives would never have crossed.  Because of my “prodigal”, drug users have attended my church.  Because of my “prodigal”, people who would have never seen a different side of life have found that there is hope and a different way of living.

 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.

The bottom line is that God’s will might not be our will.  He may be creating a world changer in your home.  

Dare you to focus on the love of Jesus in your home rather than the rules of conformity.  And if you do, maybe you’ll have kids wildly devoted to Him.

“Let go…and Let God”,

 

Interested in leading a parenting Bible study that will have women sharing on a deep level from the beginning?  Want them to walk away with a WOW! experience?  With All Due Respect will do just that and we promise to make it easy to lead.  You don’t need to be a perfect parent; you don’t need to have perfect kids; and you don’t need to have ever led a group before.

A Small Group Leader’s Guide is also available with questions for group discussion. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belligerent or Self Protection?

If you have tweens and teens, at one time or another you’ve probably seen that warlike seething that sometimes seems to explode even when asked to do what you think is a simple request.  Or maybe you see it in your spouse and don’t quite understand it.  How do you respond when you ask someone to do something because you need help or maybe just because it would be something good for them to learn to do, and you are met with a resounding “NO!”? Read more

Parenting Focus – Integrating Heart and Mind

I’m in the middle of three books which, if you know me, is highly unusual for this linear thinker.  The thing for me is that none of them are remotely connected–or so I thought.

Today, I had the A-ha that God has me focused here for a reason.  Each of these books is focused on the mind.  One goal I have for myself is to have the mind of Christ as I parent.  I want to see the world as He sees it.  I want to be focused on His will, His priorities, and His values.  Isn’t that what we want for our children as well?

As I think about the christian parenting books that I’ve read through the years, most of them talk about capturing the child’s heart. Know that love and a desire to obey have to come from the heart.

 Luke 6:45

The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.

When our hearts are in the right place, a place of humility in reverence to God, we can parent with grace.

Ron Deal author of The Smart Step-Family shares a scripture that I have never really thought about from a parenting perspective.

1 Peter 5:5

dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Think about that as a parent.  When we relate to our kids as if we have all the answers, they tend to push back in opposition.  However, when we give grace and approach them with humility, they are much more likely to give us grace in return.  Humility helps forge the relationship.

Working on the heart of the child means that we are developing relationship such that they want to do what is right and pleasing because they can feel our love and acceptance of them being a distinct person separate from us.  It means having more positive interactions than negative.  Focusing on the good in our child rather than always pointing out what they are doing wrong allows our kids to develop in a way that is positive and healthy.

But scripture also tells us in Matthew 22:37, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

I find it interesting that there don’t seem to be as many christian books out there that focus on developing our children’s mind.  I’m guessing that the reason might be that most of us already do so much to educate and teach our children the things that we value.  I remember when my kids were little they heard my husband say over and over, “We’re Hitchcock’s, we’re good at math, reading and tennis.”  In addition, we did an Awana program that focused on scripture memory hoping they would understand what it means to focus our minds on Christ.  As Christian parents most of us spend lots of time trying to help our kids develop their minds.

I find the latest research on brain development fascinating as it relates to how we relate to our teens.  Most know that our brains don’t fully mature until somewhere in the mid-twenties.  For parents of tweens and teens, it means we can still help our kids develop their minds while they are still under our roof and beyond. Our focus needs to make sure that we help our teens integrate both the cognitive and emotional sides of the brain.

Learning empathy, compassion, and other relationship skills (the right side of the brain) is very different from learning rote memorization of facts and the logical way to solve problems that occurs in the left.  When used in harmony both sides of the brain will help our kids develop what the Bible refers to as wisdom.

Dr. David Jeremiah in his study What Do You Think? reminds us that in the ancient Hebrew language, wisdom meant “skill”.  As we consider the use of the word in our parenting, it means our job is to help give our kids the “skills” to connect emotionally and logically in a way that will help create new pathways in the brain to forge better relationships.

Unfortunately in today’s culture, relationship skills are taking a back seat to technology communicated through text and pictures rather than face-to-face communication.  Assumptions are made without the opportunity to see a person’s body language, tone of voice, or facial expressions.  It means that our kid’s brains are being wired with shorter attention span and the inability to use both the logical and emotional sides of the brain at the same time because part of the “data” is missing from the interaction.

Bonding with our child’s heart becomes the ‘glue’ that helps connect our child to us so that we can help them develop the mind of Christ.  This means we teach them both skills that develop the emotional side of the brain as well as help them fill the cognitive side with God’s Word.  Then as we live life under the same roof we can model the empathy, compassion, and grace necessary to integrate a whole person helping them to connect words with action.

I love how Dr. Jeremiah puts it in his  What Do You Think? study, “We have to be very careful that we don’t lose sight of those things that create wisdom in our life — time, reflection, experience, correction, and meditation upon God’s Word.  We need information, but after that, we don’t need more information.  We need to allow God the opportunity to create wisdom in our life.  And it takes discipline in our digital age to turn off the electronics long enough to process the knowledge we already have.”

Dare you to become aware of whether your parenting actions line up with God’s Word.  Do you approach your tweens, teens, and 20-somethings with humility that will draw you closer together?  If you do, the relationships in your home will be more fulfilling and there will be less opposition during the teen stage of life.

“Let go…and Let God”,

Do you feel inadequate in fostering the relationship skills that you so desire with your kids?  Maybe you are just tired of parenting and the constant struggle is wearing you down.  We have two opportunities for you.

  1. Why not grab a group of moms and go through our book With All Due Respect: 40 Days to a More Fulfilling Relationship With Your Teens & Tweens.  This book will give you the opportunity to (like Dr. Jeremiah says) create wisdom in your parenting.  It is an opportunity to spend time and reflect as you meditate upon God’s Word.  It’s a great Bible Study tool or can be used as a 40 Day Devotional.
  2. If you want to learn “skills” that help create wisdom in your kids, know that we run a once a year three day workshop that will help you deflate defensiveness in your home with the people you love.  It’s called the Titus 2 Leadership Experience.  Here’s what one participant had to say:

“I am a preacher’s daughter who was born and raised in the church. I’ve been to countless women’s retreats. This is different! I’ve never experienced Christian women and leaders be so REAL with each other. God is doing something special with this ministry. My marriage and my family are being transformed. Most importantly, God is growing me. I highly recommend that you come see and experience this amazing Boot Camp for yourself!”

Six Reasons Parents Should Never Give Up

Thirteen years ago I was struggling as a parent.  I grew up with the lie that every problem could be solved and if it impacted me then it was my problem to fix.  The reality that I wasn’t supermom hit hard and shattered me to the core.

I wish I had known my new friend Dena Yohe during that period of time.  She has such wisdom as the parent of a struggling child.  As I read her book, You Are Not Alone: Hope for Hurting Parents of Troubled Kids, I felt like I was reading my own story.  I knew that she would be a “safe” person to share my pain.  I love how she can see God in the midst of the struggle.

Dena is co-founder of Hope For Hurting Parents.com; blogger, former pastor’s wife, and CRU affiliate staff. She and her husband Tom have been guests on Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson, Family Life with Dennis Rainey, and Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. She’s the proud mom of three adult children and loves being Mimi to her grandchildren.

If you are a hurting parent, I hope this will bring you hope.  

Here are words from Dena:

“I give up. I can’t do this. It’s too hard! I’m not strong enough. It’s beyond me. I need help!” This was how I felt about the weeds and plants behind our screened in patio. They’d taken over. They had to go. But I didn’t have the ability to remove them myself. Their roots were too strong and too deep for me to dig up. I couldn’t manage it. I tried hard—so did my husband. Neither of us could tackle the job. We were exasperated.

To be honest, this is how I felt about one of my children. I’ve said many of these things to myself about her. You may have felt this way about one of yours. Maybe today you’ve almost given up.

It’s awful to admit we feel this way about our own flesh and blood, but sometimes we do. When they abuse drugs or alcohol, steal from us, lie to us, disrespect us, can’t stop hurting themselves, have a mental illness but refuse help, make repeated suicide attempts, break the law or are involved in a same-sex relationship, it’s hard not to despair.

Over time, anger builds up. For some of us cruel words have been spoken on both sides. We’re guilty of hurting one another. Our other children can become bitter and resentful. Their troubled brother or sister took us away from them. They feel robbed. It’s not fair—although they may never tell us. They don’t want to cause us more pain. But they’re right. It wasn’t fair.

We’ve tried repeatedly to help our child, draining the family’s financial resources. We’ve also invested large amounts of time and energy attempting to save them.

Yet nothing has worked.    

It’s understandable to want to give up. But how can we? This is our child!

These are the 6 reasons I never gave up:

  1. Because God is a big God—bigger and greater than our child’s problems. He’s the Sovereign King of the universe who’s in complete control of all things. Nothing is impossible for Him.
  2. Because God cares and understands—more than we can comprehend. He cared enough to give his son, Jesus, to die for them.
  3. Because God is all-powerful—it’s never too late for them to change. They can get better and recover. They can stop their addictive behavior; the stealing and deceiving. They can get help and find their way back to wholeness, to a healthy relationship with you and most of all, with their Creator.
  4. Because nothing is too hard for God—He can do what no man, no counselor, no psychiatrist or rehab can do. He can transform a sinner into a saint; the lost into the found. The sick can be healed. Hard hearts can be softened. Stubborn souls can surrender. The dead can be raised to life. If God resurrected Jesus to give us eternal life, then what can he not do?
  5. Because God loves your child with an everlasting love—even more than you. He’s crazy about them and will do whatever it takes to reach them. But he won’t force them to respond.
  6. Because God wants you to trust Him—even though things may look hopeless at this moment. As you bring your child to Him, He can bring something very, very good out of something very, very bad. He’s still with them. He’ll never leave.

At my lowest point, I received an astonishing phone call. My daughter had finally agreed to go into rehab! I never thought it would happen. I’d almost given up. In moments of despair, a dear friend would often encourage me with these words,

 “As long as your child is still breathing, there is still hope.”

  Yes, dear parent, there is.

“May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May he send you help . . . and grant you support . . .  may he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed . . . may the Lord grant all your requests . .  . Some trust in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God . . . we rise up and stand firm” (Psalm 20:1-5, 7).

Great and loving God, when I feel like giving up, help me remember these things and keep trusting you with my child. I’ll hold on to hope because of who you are.

In your life-giving name. Amen.

Write down these six things on a piece of paper or print them out. Put it where you can see them the next time you feel tempted to give up and stand firm in the Lord!

Dena sums it up well.

“Let go…and Let God”,

If your teen is just starting to dabble in the areas Dena mentions, I would encourage you to start with our book With All Due Respect: 40 Days to a More Fulfilling Relationship with Your Teens and Tweens.  In the book you will have opportunity to take a parenting assessment and find ways to rebuild the relationship with your difficult teen.  If your teen needs intervention, Tom and Dena provide hope for parents who need to make difficult choices.  Be sure to check out their website.

What Culture Do You Need to Counter with Your Teens?

We are all familiar with the warnings that are written to parents about the need to counter the American culture with our kids.  Cell phones, gaming, clothing styles, piercings, tattoos, parties, friend’s, and the amount of freedom we give all come under scrutiny as we try to raise Christian kids in a culture that sometimes goes against the truth of scripture.

As I was giving this some thought, it occurred to me that sometimes we need to counter the culture to which we have become accustomed.  The things we sometimes take as truths that if we really thought deeply about them we might see things from a different perspective.

Many times as parents we automatically think that what was right for us as kids is how we should parent our kids.  If our parents gave a certain amount of freedom in an area then we automatically do the same without thought to the different world our kids live in today.  If we went to public school, or private school, or we home schooled then we’ll most likely do the same without thought to what might be best for our child.  If we grew up with “the teacher knows best” or “the rule is the rule”, we might not consider that there is a better alternative.

My point here is that sometimes the culture we need to counter might be within our own families of origin and the things we’ve come to believe.   I’ve talked to many parents who have chosen to counter the culture in which they grew up–sometimes to the frustration and verbal outcry of their parents.  I’ve even witnessed grandparents who have tried to bribe their grandchildren into trying to talk parents into doing things the way they think the grandchildren should be raised.  Countering the culture might be standing firm on what you feel God is calling you to do as you raise the children in which he has entrusted you.  

Another area we might consider is countering the culture of the church in which we attend.  I know that I’ll probably get some push back here, but hear me out.  Sometimes there is an underlying culture even within the church that is not accepting of parenting decisions other than what the body (or the loudest person) thinks is right.  If as a parent you feel shamed, or held to a standard that doesn’t seem right for your child, it might be time to take a stand or leave.  I’ve seen church environments that can impact our teens negatively because the rules (sometimes unspoken) have precedent over the relationship.  Are your kids being loved, nurtured, listened to, and encouraged to serve as a member of the body of Christ?  If not, it might be time to counter the culture.

A book entitled Start With Amen: How I learned to Surrender by Keeping the End in Mind by Beth Guckenberger  shares a story about the boldness we need as Christians to counter the culture.  When Beth came home as a teen to announce that she needed to quit her job at a local video store because they were renting pornographic videos, her dad’s response was (pg. 166),

“So that’s it?” my dad challenged me.  “As Christians, when we see something we don’t agree with, we just run away?”

I looked at him questioningly.  “Set apart, holy?”

He fired back, “Salt, light?”

“If you feel God telling you to leave, obey him.  But in the absence of that, I would say you might be there for a reason…I am just a customer of the store, with an option to boycott.  You are an employee with tremendous power to make a difference.  Instead of thinking of what you can say, why don’t you see what you can do?”

Wow!

If only each of us as parents could be bold enough to listen to what God is saying and encourage our children in similar fashion to boldly counter whatever culture we live.  Are we parenting out of fear or parenting to make a change in the world around us?

I’ll admit, as a parent my first instinct would have been to ask my child to quit working at the video store.  It would be safer.  It would have calmed a fear that I am sure would have risen up within me.  Depending on the temperament or the age of my child, I might have seen the scenario very differently than this father, but oh my, his response feels like holy ground as I think about how he views the world in light of eternity.

Maybe as parents countering the culture might mean that we parent with the end in mind rather than the present circumstances. 

 

Scripture tells us how.

Philippians 3:14

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Dare you to look at the culture surrounding your family and listen to His voice rather than the voices of others.

“Let go…and Let God”,

Maybe you would like to join a community of christian moms who are being challenged as they parent the next generation.  Our With All Due Respect e-course offers you a chance to meet other moms who are in the same stage of life.  You’ll get to ask questions of the author, find encouragement, view relevant videos that enhance the materials as you experience this life-changing curriculum.  You’ll even have others who will be praying with you as you share your burdens.  So grab your book and come join us.

Or, if you’d rather lead your own small group, remember that the small group guide sale ends Labor day.  You can order your copy here.  Either way, we promise you an experience with God that will have you depending on Him for all your parenting needs.

With All Due Respect: 40 Days to a More Fulfilling Relationship with Your Teens and Tweens by [Roesner, Nina, Hitchcock, Debbie]

Is it Time for a Reset in Your Parenting?

I don’t know about you, but I seem to do my best parenting after the fact.  Maybe you can relate; so let me explain.  

  • I give my kid freedom he isn’t ready for it and then I don’t know how to take the freedom away without a fight.
  • I don’t think about the potential consequences of a given situation because I don’t know what I don’t know, and then my ‘yes’ in that circumstance equates to a ‘yes’ in the next situation in my child’s mind resulting in conflict.
  • The consequence I issue brings more grief and frustration to me because all I get is whining and push back from my teen.
  • Sometimes the consequences for my child put me in a situation of having to always monitor making me a slave to the consequence I created.
  • My teen has a way of manipulating things in a way that force me to say ‘yes’ when I should be saying ‘no’.
  • I enforce a family rule just because one kid needs it and it is easier to deal with everyone rather than just dealing with this particular kid’s issue.
  • My kid breaks so many rules where I have to issue consequences that my child will be grounded until they are 25.

If you are like me, sometimes when the conflict gets to be too much and the heat is on, it is easier to disband with the consequence or not worry about the potential negative outcome of a behavior because parenting just becomes too difficult.  Sometimes our main focus in the weariness of it all becomes peace — and peace can be achieved if we choose to look away.

But is peace always a good thing?  If our kids are out doing their own thing and we are doing ours, there may be peace but is there relationship?  It may be easier, but who will they become?  What will be their moral foundation?

I want to encourage you not to take the easy way out.  Parenting is hard, parenting is messy, and sometimes parenting needs a reset.  

What are your parenting goals?  Kids with good behavior?  Kids who can think in tough situations?  Kids with a moral compass?  Kids who love God and others?  Kids who can succeed at life?  Kids who will want to have a relationship with their parents when they are adults?  Kids who won’t have a lot of baggage to carry into adulthood?

The reason I ask you about your goals is so you can focus on the majors.  You know, those areas that will really impact our kids’ future. Putting all our energy in making sure we correct every little issue we see in our kids’ behavior will create more conflict than we can possibly handle.

In other words, as parents we can’t close our eyes to things our kids need to learn but we also shouldn’t focus on all the issues we see from our kid.  Our lives are a journey.  They can’t learn everything at one time or they’ll be discouraged and give up.  

So how do we handle things when we’ve created a situation where our current consequences are creating more problems?  This is  a time when you my need a reset.

Ask yourself:

  1. How important is it that this kid needs to learn this lesson?  
  2. Will it impact his future as an adult?
  3. Is there need for a reset? 
  4. What exactly is the problem?
  5. Is this consequence creating more conflict in our home?
  6. Are the consequences escalating such that my kid keeps getting into more and more trouble?

Instigating a reset with our kids always starts with an apology.  This is where you admit that you don’t always get it right in parenting.  Let your child know where you messed up and ask for their forgiveness.  Let them know you are on the same team–you both want the same thing–their freedom.

Let your teen know that changing or resetting the consequence means the goal is the same — to help them become better adults.  Freedom and adulthood go hand in hand.  Learning consequences in the structure of your home will be a lot easier than learning them in real life situations out in the real world. 

Remember that parenting isn’t a battleground (I win/you lose/you will do what I say or else).  It is a place where both of you are working toward the same goal–a partnership to freedom.  It is important to remember that as parents we do have authority over our children, however, if we can establish a win/win mentality then conflict will decrease as a result of the partnership.  We need to major in the majors and let the little things slide that don’t necessarily have significance.  We need to see our job as parents is to put wind under our children’s wings along with giving them opportunity to fail.  Parenting with wanting to control the little things will increase conflict and negate the partnership.

Institute the new consequence.  After apologizing, explaining the reason for the reset, and establishing the partnership with your teen, be sure to issue the new consequence.  Our teens need to see that we have their best interest at heart.  We want them to be mature adults who understand consequences of wrongful actions.  Forgetting about the infraction or letting them off the hook doesn’t right the wrong and won’t allow them to learn the lesson you are trying to teach.  

Parenting is full of do-overs.  After all, parenting is a growth process as well.  Take the time to do a reset as many times as is necessary.

2 Chronicles 1:10

Give me wisdom and knowledge so that I may lead these people.

Whether we realize it or not, as parents, wisdom comes from our mistakes, from God, and from watching other people get it right.  It isn’t an easy road.  But if we will humble ourselves God will be faithful to complete the work in us and our children.

“Let go…and let God”,

Interested in leading a parenting Bible study that will have women sharing on a deep level from the beginning?  Want them to walk away with a WOW! experience?  With All Due Respect will do just that and we promise to make it easy to lead.  You don’t need to be a perfect parent; you don’t need to have perfect kids; and you don’t need to have ever led a group before.

 In honor of Parent’s Day, the publisher is featuring a Kindle Version of the book for only $0.99 through July 25.

In addition, for the next month we’re offering our new Small Group Leader’s Guide for only $5.95 so you can get your small group started right away.  That means you can start a group at an almost 80 percent discount!

Our Small Group Leader’s Guide is an easy-to-follow guide that will give you questions, exercises, and opportunities to engage with other parents as you think about your own parenting.  If you know a mom who has kids that are 9 or 29 this study will be life-changing as they think about parenting.  You can even get suggestions on how to run your groups from me.  I love to engage with other moms and leaders and you can reach me through the website at www.greaterimpact.org. 

 So grab your friends, and grab a copy of the Small Group Leader’s Guide here along with your eBook copy of With All Due Respect.

Dare ya!

With All Due Respect: 40 Days to a More Fulfilling Relationship with Your Teens and Tweens by [Roesner, Nina, Hitchcock, Debbie]