Tag Archive for: How do I teach my kid responsibility

Owning What Is Ours To Own

Sitting in a counselor’s office as an early 30-something, I remember the psychologist introducing me to the conflict triangle.  It appeared that I had been part of one since childhood without even understanding how I was participating.  What I discovered was that when the two people in my life were in conflict, I was the emotional support for both of them creating the third part of the triangle.  The two of them would come to me individually and share their woes about the other person.

And I’d fix the problem.

I’d empathize with each of their feelings.

And because I knew both sides of the issue, I’d say the words that needed to be said to each of them separately.

Magic!  They’d make up and life would go on.

The truth was that neither of these people knew how to resolve conflict in a healthy way.

As parents, it is easy to create a conflict triangle without even realizing it.  After all, don’t we want to fix our kid’s problems when they bring them to us?  And, as all of us know, sometimes it is easier and quicker to just fix the conflict issue rather than trying to teach and coach our kids how to manage conflict on their own.

Dare 11 in With All Due Respect is all about owning what is ours to own and teaching our kids to own what is theirs.

But how many times do we step in the middle even though our kids have reached the tween, teen, and sometimes 20-something years? We fix it because that’s the way we’ve always handled these situations.

We forget that our role as parents is to teach our kids to start thinking like adults.  We need to model healthy relationships, healthy conflict, and healthy boundaries.  We need to coach them through the process so they become good at handling their relationships.

Let me share a few examples.  Remember, these are tweens, teens, and 20-somethings relationships.

Example 1:  Say you get a call from a neighbor who is upset about the job your son did mowing her lawn.  She calls you to complain.  You can:

  1. Thank her and go fix the problem.
  2. Thank her and tell her you’ll make sure your son takes care of it.  Then tell your son what she said and make him go fix it.  Then follow up with the neighbor to make sure he did it right.
  3. Thank her and tell her that you are trying to teach your son to take responsibility for his work.  Let her know that you are trying to respect your son and will ask him to come see her.  Let her know that she’ll need to communicate with him exactly what she needs.

Example 2:  Your daughter is upset at something her friend, Misty, is doing that she doesn’t think is a good idea.  You know Misty and her mother.  You can:

  1. Call Misty’s mother and raise her awareness of the situation.
  2. Tell Misty that you know what is going on and try to counsel her the next time she comes over.
  3. Coach your daughter through ways she can help Misty and let her know you are willing to get involved if she thinks you would be helpful in the situation.

Example 3:  Your teens are always arguing over the bathroom before school in the morning.  You can:

  1. Take the door off its hinges.
  2. Listen to both sides of their argument and make a family rule and enforce it.
  3. Coach your teens through coming up with their own system to resolve the conflict and let them own their problem.

Example 4:  Your husband left a note for your son to complete a chore after school.  Your teen has come to you complaining and you recognize that it is too much for your teen to handle given his school work and sports practice.  You can:

  1. Do the chore for him.
  2. Call your husband and get your teen off the hook.
  3. Suggest that the teen call his dad and negotiate a reasonable completion time and explain what is already on his schedule.  Let your son know that if the conversation doesn’t go well, you are willing to get involved if necessary.

It doesn’t surprise me that most parents will typically solve the problem with either option 1 or 2.  It’s easier.  It’s quicker.  And the problem goes away.  Finished.

But what did our teen learn?  Mom will fix it.

Now we find ourselves in the middle of an unhealthy conflict triangle continuing to be put in a position of fixing their problems.

Matthew 18:15

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” 

Dare you to consider how you can unhook unhealthy conflict triangles and coach your teens through handling their own conflicts.  If you do, they’ll become more mature in learning to own what is theirs to own.

“Let go…and Let God”,

Want more ways to think about how you parent and build relationship with your tweens and teens?

Why not grab the book With All Due Respect: 40 Days to a More Fulfilling Relationship with Your Teens and Tweens  and go through it.  Maybe even ask your  friends to join you.  It will change the way you look at your role as a parent and how you help your teens mature.

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 available with questions for group discussion.

If you want to interact with me, we’re offering the With All Due Respect eCourse for a limited time for free!  Be sure to grab your book now.

It will change your relationships with God, with your spouse, and with your kids.

Dare ya!


Building Family Relationships in the Middle of Conflict

A dear friend called me a few days ago asking for prayer.  Her husband and daughter were fighting again.  The previous night had been a standoff shouting match with words that should have never been spoken coming from their daughter’s mouth. 

“Oh my,” I responded.  “How did you handle it?”

“I quietly stepped in and suggested that they both have a cooling off period.

“How did that go?” I asked.

“Well, I think.  We agreed to get together tonight for another try at the conversation.”

This wise mother (I’ll call her Shannon) then told me what else she had done.  

She chose to become a relationship architect.

Sometimes we forget that as moms we have the power to intercede in a way to bring healing to the relationships in our home.  Rather than sit on the sidelines watching things unfold in a way that will most likely bring disaster, we can help soothe the relationships with the ones we love.

It takes time and requires us to tread lightly so that we don’t become an arbitrator or the third person in a triangle of “he said, she said”.  But if we engage in a way that encourages reconciliation from both sides, the family can become much stronger and be able to resolve future disagreements better as well. 

It is natural for most women to see both sides of an argument and to understand each person’s perspective.  Because of the way most men’s brains are wired, relationships don’t always come naturally.  Men are focused on fixing a problem and don’t necessarily see the full picture.  That’s why it is important that we help them in a way that can bridge the gap between Dad and his kids.  Let’s face it, most dads are super busy and don’t have time to focus on some of the sometimes petty things that our teens may want.  Since we typically spend more time with our kids, we might better understand the underlying reason for our teen’s request.

That’s where we can help bring reconciliation to the conflict. 

Shannon took time to talk with her daughter that night after the shouting match once things had quieted down.  She wanted to better understand her daughter’s request to borrow money.  Not only did Shannon listen to her daughter, but she was able to shed light on Dad’s perspective.  She helped calm the storm that was brewing in her daughter’s heart before they would meet the next evening.

As I was talking to Shannon she was agonizing over the fact that she wouldn’t be able to talk with her husband before the meeting.  “I did send him an email though.  Here, let me read it to you.”   

Honey, I was hoping we could talk before our meeting tonight, but I know you’re busy.  I understand how you feel in wishing Ava were more mature.  You are right.  She does need to dose of reality at times.  I’m just wondering if this is the hill we should die on?  I know that you love her dearly and want what is best for her.  I’m just wondering if rather than saying “no” in this situation if it might not be an opportunity to teach her some responsibility.  I was thinking if we ask her to do ____, _____, and _____, that we could see if she might take some initiative and show us that she can be responsible.   We could also tell her that if she doesn’t follow through then we will not be giving her money in the future.  That way we’ve given her advance notice of what is to come if she doesn’t do what we’ve asked of her.  I know that this is between the two of you, but I wanted to share a different perspective.  I’m praying that God will give you wisdom to move forward with her tonight.  Love, Shannon.

All I could say to this woman was, “Wow!”

Talk about getting it right! 

I realized later that Shannon had enlisted quite a few women to pray during the meeting time with her daughter.

Shannon did everything she could possibly do to bring reconciliation to this father/daughter relationship. 

When I asked her how it went her response was, “Praise God.  It went better than I ever expected.”  

What about you?  Are you willing to step in to engage as a relationship architect in your home and do you surround yourself with prayer warriors?

Matthew 5:9

“How blessed are those who make peace, because it is they who will be called God’s children! 

Romans 12:18

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Dare you to be a relationship architect in the next conflict that brews between your husband and one of your kids.

“Let go…and let God”,