Tag Archive for: oppositional defiant teens

6 Things I Learned from an Embarrassing Kid Moment

Have you ever wished you were invisible because your tween or teen did something that embarrassed you?  Trust me when I say that I’ve been there on more than one occasion.  With four teens under my roof at one time, there was plenty of opportunity for me to encounter situations where my teens didn’t use their best judgment.

I remember one time when my daughter was in junior high.   She got into our minivan wearing a sweatshirt and sweatpants as we headed to a home school skating party.  The dress code for these events tended to be fairly conservative and I remember thinking at the time that she would probably get hot in the rink since it was unseasonably warm.  And wouldn’t you know it, halfway through the two-hour skate time, I overheard a couple of moms asking who that girl was out on the skate floor. 

The talk continued about how they couldn’t believe a mother would ‘let her child out of the house like that’ when someone came over to me and said, “Isn’t that your daughter?”

Sure enough my daughter was skating with a boy in short shorts and a spaghetti strap top that barely covered her blossoming figure.  I was embarrassed beyond belief.

If only I could have been swallowed up by the floor at that moment.

You see, I’m a rule follower.  Rule followers feel like they are being accosted when someone points out something that their kids are doing wrong.  And like those other moms said, “How could a mother let her child out of the house wearing that?”

In that moment, as a mom, I didn’t feel safe.  I felt like a terrible parent.  I just knew that others were blaming me for my child’s choices.

I believed the lie that if my children weren’t being obedient and following the rules, then I must be a failure as a parent.

Looking back on that scenario, thankfully, I can laugh about it now.  Kids will do the darnedest things. 

So what have I learned from that story?

  1. My children will make decisions over which I have no control.  I can either take them personally, as if I should be in control, or I can use the opportunity to teach my kids appropriate behavior so they learn from their mistakes.  The question is whether I address them from a place of humiliation (which breeds anger) or a place of grace.
  2. Society as a whole tends to judge our actions as parents when our kids make wrong decisions.  Instead of parenting from a position of ‘you have embarrassed me’, I choose to parent from a place of humility.  After all, I’ve made wrong choices in my lifetime as well.
  3. I need to surround myself with “safe” women.  That means finding other moms where I can be real and not have to pretend that I’m perfect because the other moms do the same.
  4. I can choose compassion when I see other moms struggling with wayward teens.  If I go out of my way to bring a word of hope and encouragement to these moms, maybe one day when she looks back she can laugh at the choices her child has made.
  5. God uses our children to refine us and sometimes we have to decide if we will listen to His voice, our own voice, or the voices of those around us.
  6. The choices our children make are not about us.  These moments are about Him.  Will I represent Him well in front of my teen?

John 16:33

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Dare you to go out of your way to encourage the mom of a tween or teen who is making poor choices.  Pray for her and her family situation.  Be that “safe” person who offers compassion to her sometimes dark and fear-filled world.  As a friend once said, “If you do, you’ll be Jesus with skin on to her.”

“Let go…and Let God”,

If you are a mom who needs support as your parent, we have an opportunity for you.  Find a group of “safe” moms and go through With All Due Respect together.  It’s a place where you will find encouragement and hope as you parent through the trials.

Are You a Mom of Strength and Dignity?

Dare 18 in With All Due Respect seems to be a favorite among many of the women who read the book.  Every time I’ve led a group, as soon as moms read it they immediately want to talk about it. We laugh because that is the mom we want to be.


Most tell me they would never have the strength to do what the mom did in the dare.  But most have agreed they’ve thought about it.


Why is it that as moms, we feel that our job is to do everything that our kid asks us, even if they have a bad attitude or are bossy?  Why is it that we will let our kids walk all over us in a situation yet turn around and do whatever they’ve asked us to do as long as they’ve apologized and are now nice to us?

Does the apology from them negate a consequence and therefore get in the way of a teaching moment?

I’m guessing that a lot of us tend to be pleasers when it comes to our kids.  

In the book How We Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovich we can get a glimpse of our behaviors in the parent/child relationship. Some of us find it difficult to allow our children to feel any pain if it might be construed by them as coming from us.  After all, as parents we want our kids to feel our love.  It’s natural to want their happiness and to want to give.  But at what cost?

Here are just a few of the clues that help us assess if we might be swinging the pendulum too far into the happiness category for our kids rather than becoming a mom who allows pain in our kid’s lives in order to teach the values we want them to grasp.

  1. With my kids, I feel like I give and give, yet they take advantage and don’t respond with an attitude of gratitude.
  2. I try to be the peacemaker with my kids so that conflict is minimized.
  3. Sometimes I’ll withhold information or change the situation slightly to avoid a battle.
  4. When there is conflict, I tend to give in just to avoid the frustration.
  5. I don’t like it when my kids pull away and are upset with me.
  6. When my kids ask me for help, I have trouble saying no.  I am willing to lose sleep or put other responsibilities on the back burner to say yes to my kids.
  7. I have difficulty standing up for my own needs when it comes to something with my kids.

If you responded yes to any of these, you might be a pleaser.  And know that pleasers tend to want to avoid anything that makes them feel anxious.  They tend to parent out of fear of losing the kids they love so much.

Several years ago I was talking with a counselor/friend.  In our discussion his words to me went something like this, “Kids need to learn that relationships are intended to be give and take.  That means bi-directional.  You give; they give.  That’s how we create deep, lasting connection.”

Oh, my.  This one hit me hard.  How many times have I given in to my kids just because they quickly apologized and became the sweet angels I knew they were capable of being?  How many times have I missed a teaching opportunity?  I know from experience that at times I’ve avoided disagreement rather than teach my kids how to navigate conflict well.

Being a mom of strength and dignity means that we are willing to set boundaries to protect ourselves.  We’re willing to step into conflict if need be to help our kids realize that relationship is a two-way street.  It means we will choose to not be manipulated by our kid’s quick change of behavior to get what they want.  It means that our ‘yes’ is ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ is ‘no’.

 It means that we are willing to show them that just like they are precious, we are precious.

Moms of strength and dignity aren’t forceful and controlling in their boundary setting with their kids; however, they are willing to be firm as they teach their children that our world does not revolve around them.  We are willing to introduce them to the fact that even as mom, we have feelings and needs, too.

Galatians 1:10 

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Proverbs 31:25

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

Dare you to assess the level of respect in your home and become the mom of strength and dignity that He has called you to be.  It’s not too late to learn to respect yourself as you parent.  If you do, you’ll be teaching your children the true meaning of honor and respect.

“Let go…and let God”,

If you really struggle with becoming a mom of Strength and Dignity, 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!