Tag Archive for: I need help parenting a difficult kid

Tired of the Conflict with Your Tweens, Teens, & 20-Somethings?

Sitting in his second floor home office, my husband, Dave, heard the scurry of feet with the rolling of what could only be walnuts across the attic floor.  Not wanting to hurt what had to be a pesky squirrel storing his winter stash, my husband did a humane thing.  He bought a trap that would catch the creature live so that he could remove him from the attic.

Three days that cage sat on the attic floor.  The only thing that happened was that the squirrel moved to the other corner of the house above my son’s back bedroom.  Drats!  

The next day, my husband moved the cage out onto the roof beside his office window and watched as the squirrel took his bushy tail, slung it over his head, and backed into the small space where flashing was missing from the attic siding.  It was as if the squirrel was saying, “I’m too smart for you.  You can’t catch me.”

This game went on for almost a week.  The squirrel would even look over the side of the roof into the office window to let Dave know that a squirrel could outsmart a human.  We laughed all week at the shenanigans this squirrel would pull.  At one point we found him with three of his friends perched outside the cage–my husband’s fresh walnut bait missing.

Finally the day arrived.  With one squirrel caged, my husband threw the trap into the car and carted him off to the local park for release.  Off the squirrel ran.

That afternoon Dave trapped two more.  Each release was similar.  He’d open the cage and off the squirrel would run to go find his friends. My husband’s sense of success was showing and I knew he had visions of finally being able to repair the roof flashing.  He had finally outsmarted these rascals.

The next morning, squirrel number four had met his fate.  Caged and carted to the park, my husband released the squirrel just like the rest.  But this squirrel was different.  He didn’t run off thrilled at the sight of freedom.  This squirrel slowly sauntered out of the cage, turned and stood on his hind legs as he barked at my husband for several minutes. 

Dave froze.  

“Oh, my,” was going through my husband’s mind.  “What do I do if he attacks?  I should have planned better for an exit strategy!”

Sometimes our conflict with teens can be similar to the one Dave had with the squirrels.  Our kids have an idea that doesn’t match up with ours.  We try to do the humane thing and reason with them, but just like squirrels, our teens don’t think like we do.

Then comes what I call the ‘ganging up’.  If you’ve got tweens and teens you know what I’m talking about.  The “but EVERYONE is going” card that is played can make us feel as if we are the only parent on the planet that is thinking that the answer should be “no”. 

Do you know how to handle those situations in a way that will deflate the anger and frustration with your kid?

And then there is that ‘screaming squirrel’ or difficult kid that will bark at us when he’s angry and not getting his way.  These are the kids that force us into the freeze position.  It’s where we don’t want to make a move for fear of what will happen if we make the wrong decision. 

If you are like me, sometimes you’ve found yourself in any of these positions.  We want a relationship.  We think we are being reasonable.  Yet, our kids don’t see things the same way.  As conflict brews we need to have a strategy–a plan to move through the defensive behavior while still maintaining the relationship.  We also need to be able to maintain a sense of humor in the situation.  After all, yes, our kids might pull some shenanigans, but we are still the parents.

Dare 22 in With All Due Respect has a strategy for dealing with sibling conflict.  How did they learn it?  It’s obvious that Mom had put a plan in place before the conflict occurred.  She modeled what healthy conflict looked like and was there to coach through the situation.

Do you know how to navigate conflict well?  Do your relationships deepen as you work to resolve your differences?  

If you are like most of us, it’s a struggle.  Just like parenting, conflict resolution is not one of the things that we’re taught in school.  If your parents didn’t resolve conflict well, then most likely you’ve not been given the skills to help your kids.

God has given each of us a mission field when it comes to our kids.  And if you are like me, you want most to hear Him say “Well done my good and faithful servant”.  I would encourage you to pray about sharpening your conflict resolution skills–for you and for the legacy you will leave for your kids.

I have two opportunities for you. 

Our With All Due Respect on-line eCourse runs January 8 through March 28, 2018.  There you can join other moms from the convenience of your home computer as we go through the book.  You can set your own schedule as to when you access the videos and other training materials.  I’ll be there along with our mentor, Sandi Winnen.  We promise you encouragement as you put your parenting strategy in place for dealing with your tweens, teens, and 20-somethings.  Iron sharpens iron and as parents we need other like-minded people walking beside us. If your kids are between the ages of 9-29, this group is for you.

Proverbs 15:22

Plans fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisers they succeed.

If you want to forge the relationship with your kids and get more in-depth learning in how to better deal with conflict and handle difficult relationships more effectively, we have a Deflating Defensiveness Training Retreat coming up May 30-June 3, 2018 near Cincinnati, Ohio.  This is an opportunity for you to learn, practice, and put a plan in place for strengthening the relationships with the “challenging people” in your life.  I found out Friday that the early-bird pricing has been extended until January 31, so grab your spot early since our private rooms are limited. 

Proverbs 16:3 

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.

I hope that whether you choose to join us or not that you will think about the conflict in your home.  Put together a plan that will help you resolve it well.

“Let go…and Let God”,






How Do You Measure Up As a Parent?

Over the years it has been interesting to interact with parents who have kids that are just moving into the middle school years.  I see many confident in their parenting.  Whatever they have been doing so far seems to be working and they feel like they will glide through the junior high and high school years with little more than a hiccup.

Other parents at the same place are already holding on for dear life trying to figure out what hit them and who has replaced their child with this alien that is now living under their roof.  These are the parents who most likely live in fear for what tomorrow might bring and feel clueless as to what to do next to move their child in a positive direction.

Whatever parenting situation you find yourself in at the moment, and what stage of parenting you are in, I encourage you to stay on your knees regardless of today.   Tomorrow might bring about a totally different outcome.

  • I’ve seen a compliant teen make unbelievably poor choices in college that brought pain to the entire family.
  • I’ve seen a troubled pregnant teenager mature and find a Godly husband to not only love her but be a father to her child.
  • I’ve seen a teenager on fire for God fall into the trap of alcoholism later in life.
  • I’ve seen a teenager growing up in a Godly home choose a same-sex partner.
  • I’ve seen kids make good choices through junior high only to make a dumb decision in high school that landed them in Juvenal Detention.
  • I’ve also seen Godly parents raise Godly children who are also walking with God.

Regardless of where we find ourselves in our parenting, the thing we need to realize as parents is that we are only part of the equation when it comes to our kids.  There are so many other things to consider.

  1. God created our kids with a particular bent (Proverbs 22:6).  As parents we don’t get to choose that bent and we can’t control it.  Sometimes our job is to love them in spite of who they are or the choices they make even when they go against everything we believe as truth (Mark 12:31).
  2. Sin did enter the world (Romans 5:12).  Scripture talks about generational sin and we in our culture we often hear it said that “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”.  As we see behaviors in our kids lives, we need to recognize that the sin might have roots from a previous generation (Deuteronomy 5:9). Our job as parents is to teach our kids about the potential outcome of their choices knowing that even in the midst of their particular sin we can only try to influence.  Our children have to choose.
  3. God is weaving His story (The Holy Bible).  At some point we need to understand that our children are part of a bigger story and we are not necessarily the author.  Yes, we have a significant role to play as the scene unfolds, yet God has purpose for each and every one of us.  Our child’s testimony might have unbelievable impact in the future even though it is bringing pain to us in the present.

As I read through scripture I am reminded that some of the parenting stories don’t always end the way we want.  King David’s son, Absalom (2 Samuel 13-19) nursed hatred toward his half-brother and had Amnon killed, slept with his father’s concubines, and proclaimed himself as king in David’s place. The Bible says that David “longed to go out to Absalom” (2 Samuel 13:39) and later David mourned deeply over his son.  Yet, David was considered a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).

At some point we need to come to grips with the fact that our parenting isn’t about how our kids turn out but rather how we respond in the critical moments with our kids. Our job isn’t to try to be the best parent on the planet, but to be the best son or daughter of a living God in the midst of our parenting.

Parenting is really about us and our relationship with Jesus Christ as well as our relationship with our kids.


Mark 12:28-31

 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”  Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.

As a parent of a challenging child who seemed to make a lot of wrong choices, I often found myself longing to know what decisions were the “right” ones as I parented.  Then I began to realize that even a perfect God didn’t have perfect kids that made the right choices.  David, a man after God’s own heart, didn’t always “get it right”.  As I searched through scripture trying to grasp what God was trying to teach me in the midst of the pain, I began to realize that parenting was as much about me as it was about this child.

I realized that maybe parenting was more about changing me than it was about trying to control my child’s behaviors.

That’s where With All Due Respect begins.  Who do I need to become as I parent these children?  Where do I need to focus in my own sinful desires and behaviors?  And what do I need to do to love God and love my children the way He desires of me?

Take the assessment and see what God wants from you.  Whether your kids are making good choices or not, God wants to refine us through our parenting.

Dare you to take the assessment and respond below on what you discovered.

“Let go…and Let God”,

If God is speaking to you through the assessment, we’d love to have you join our With All Due Respect eCourse.  You’ll be joining women from across the country as we learn to depend on God in our parenting.  Dare to be changed–in your relationship with Him and your kids–as you work through the book.  I’ll be there to join you in the closed community where you’ll find encouragement and insight.

Another option might be to grab a few of your friends and go through the book together.  We’ve created a small group leader’s guide that will add insight and fun as you lead women to a closer relationship with God and their kids.  You can purchase the leader’s guide here.