Tag Archive for: help for defiant teens

Where Does Your Mind Go When it Comes to Your Kids?

Most of the women in our groups love to talk about Dare 20.  Often they think, “Thank goodness my child would never do that”.

In my experience there are two types of moms–those who think the best and those who think the worst.  And know that it matters in the relationship that you want to have with your teens and tweens.

If you don’t know where you fall, humor me for a few minutes by thinking through a few scenarios.

  1. Curfew was 15 minutes ago and your teen has still not arrived home.  You are tired and want to go to bed.  What is going through your mind?
    1. Oh my, what if he’s been in a car accident, or drinking, or having sex, or the other hundred things that could go wrong.
    2. That kid never listens to me.  There will be a consequence for this for sure.  How dare he keep me up late when he knows I have to be at work early tomorrow.
    3. I’m sure there is a perfectly good explanation for him being late.  I’ll just go to bed and we’ll talk about it in the morning.
  2. Your daughter hasn’t yet emptied the dishwasher and set the table for dinner for the third day this week.  You’re miffed because you want to get dinner on the table before you have to leave for a school event that she is in.  What is going through your mind?
    1. She never does her chores and I’m the one who has to pick up her slack.  Maybe I should just not go to her event tonight.  Or better yet, I’ll give her plenty of chores to keep her busy this weekend.
    2. She has become so lazy and I’m tired of reminding her of her chores.  I’ll bet she is on her iPhone talking to friends.  I guess I’ll be taking that away from her for at least a week.  Maybe two.
    3. I’ll have to ask her what is going on this week that she can’t help.  I wonder if something is bothering her or if she has too much on her plate?
  3. Your tween just came in from school.  You mentioned that the two of you would be leaving in about an hour to go over to rake leaves at your parents’ house since they are unable to do it.  Instead of being excited to see his grandparents your son grumbles under his breath and says, “We always have to help them.  I’m sick of always doing things for them. I just wish they would hurry up and die so I could have a life.”  How will you respond?
    1. “How dare you talk about your grandparents like that!  They love you and have always given to you.  Now you wish they were dead?  You are so selfish!”
    2. “You should be grateful that you still have grandparents that you can help.  I’m not going to let you talk about them that way.  If you can’t take a little time out of your day to help them then maybe I should take away your iPod.  You don’t deserve it.”
    3. “Honey, I know it is hard to have grandparents who are so needy.  You usually like going to their house and helping.  What’s up that you don’t want to do it today?”

How we think and act toward our teens when they don’t respond the way we think they should says something about us.  It shows us how we think.  If we have a negative mindset (answers 1 or 2 above), then research has shown that we can actually create a self-fulfilling prophecy through our negativism.  Our kids will usually escalate the amount of negative-seeking behaviors.

Positive relationship attachment with our kids is defined by our acceptance of them.  It means that we choose to trust them and give them the benefit of the doubt.  If trust is built then our kids will feel safe with us–sometimes safe enough to share their deepest secrets.

How we respond in a given situation speaks volumes as to our level of trust in our children.

Most of us are familiar with 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

But notice the last verse–always trusts.

When we jump to conclusions about what is going through our kid’s mind, we are not focused on our child’s truth.  We are focused on our allusion of what the truth must be.  Too many times our brains will resort to the worst case scenario creating fear for us as parents.

Dare you to take your thoughts captive and train your brain to rethink in the positive.  If you do, your relationships with your teens and tweens will deepen and trust and safety will be built in a way that builds connection.

“Let go…and Let God”,

If you would like encouragement with training your mind to think positively, we want to encourage you to join our With All Due Respect on-line eCourse.  From the convenience of your home you’ll have opportunity to go through the book with moms who are where you are in the struggle.  There you will find encouragement, a place to ask questions, and videos to help you in the parenting journey. 

We hope you will join us!

Dare ya!

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.