Tag Archive for: parenting junior high

Looking for Family Balance?


Young attractive woman working on the laptop

Sitting at her desk in the master bedroom Kristin was thankful for the silence. Ted had agreed to focus on the kids and food for the day while she took time to pray and seek God’s guidance.  She had shared with a friend the frenzy that had seemed to creep into their home since the start of school.  With three kids under roof and the growing amount of homework and activities, Kristin felt their lives were out of control.  

Especially hers.

Trying to juggle meals, snacks, carpools, be at all the games and youth activities, not to mention the ever-growing laundry pile, and ministries she and Ted were involved in, Kristin knew they needed a reset with the family commitments.

Haven’t we all been there?

The question we have to ask ourselves is if we are willing to push the reset button before it’s too late.

Each school year brings new opportunities, typically more homework, and a lot of wonderful opportunities for our kids.  

But let’s face it, if we have more than one kid and we are still driving them around, it can wreak havoc on our schedules as moms.  Typically when the home is out of balance tension gets high and tempers flare more often.

That’s when it’s time for a reset.

Here’s some thought that might make your reset more successful.

  1. Do your homework before you take action–with each of your kids.  Here’s an opportunity to hear their heart and apologize if need be. Take your child out for a walk or go get their favorite ice cream.  Share your concerns for family balance and apologize for your short temper if needed.  Ask questions and find out what is really important to them.    Let them know you and your husband are going to be talking about how to reduce the stress in your home and create more life balance.  Let them know you will get back to them once you’ve talked to everyone in the family.
  2. Look at activities for each kid.  Separate the great opportunities from the good opportunities for each person.  Focus on each child’s strengths and areas where they need to grow. Are the activities the kids are involved in teaching life skills?  Are they stretching them?  Or are they involved because that’s what all their friends are doing?  
  3. Look at obligations for both you and your spouse. Ask yourself if it is time to set a ministry or obligation on the shelf for a few years during this season of life even though you enjoy it.  Is it necessary to attend all your kid’s sporting events?  Maybe letting your tween or teen “go-it-alone” would be a growth opportunity for them. Again, separate the great from the good.
  4. Check for imbalance in each child’s activities.  Let’s face it.  Typically the kids that can wear us down get rewarded in that we give in all too quickly and we let them lean the balance of time in their favor.  Either that or the oldest is doing a lot of activities while we tell the youngest that they’ll get to do more when they get older.  Ask yourself if the balance is fair.  Is it time for the oldest to give up some of his retained activities to give opportunity for the younger kids?  Remember teamwork says that everyone gets an opportunity and sometimes one person may have to sacrifice something for the good of the team.
  5. Create a list of optimal activities and discuss with your spouse.  Be sure to include things that you think he should consider giving up and that you are willing to give up.  
  6. Once the list is set, have a family team meeting.  Start the meeting by apologizing to your kids for saying yes to good things rather than great things.  Remind the kids that life balance is a skill that they all need to learn and it makes for a healthier lifestyle and less friction in relationships.  Assure them that you are doing this to help them succeed as adults when they are on their own.  Share the new plan and tell them when it will be implemented.  Be sure to give them a couple of weeks–or until the end of the season–for change.  Also, let them know you are willing to talk further about it if they have questions or are concerned.
  7. Allow your kids to share their frustrations with the change with you.  Listen, empathize with their loss, and let them know that you understand what they are feeling.  Be willing to explore changes that they want to make and rework the reset if you and your husband agree. 
  8. Implement.  Too many times as parents we get so much grumbling and complaining from our kids that we drop whatever it is we’re trying to accomplish.  Be brave and make the difficult choices while continuing to listen and empathize.   

Ephesians 4:2-3

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Creating balance for everyone in our home takes time. When you push the reset button, tempers will probably surface initially, but know that the family relationships will strengthen and maturity will come sooner when we live a life that models the things we want our kids to learn. 

“Let go…and let God”, 


Tired of Feeling Alone in Your Parenting?


In Jaunary 2016, while With All Due Respect was in the initial stages of publishing, a group was formed to see how the materials would work.  Six brave souls agreed to come to my house for nine weeks to work through the book.  Meanwhile a mother who lived in Tennessee offered to do the book on her own.  She and I would chat via phone regularly as she went through the materials.  She kept commenting, “This is hard.  This is really hard.”

Know that if you work through this material, you will be stretched in ways you never thought possible.  You will see parenting in a new light and your relationship with Him will deepen.  Parenting is hard—sometimes it is really hard, and just like the Tennessee mom remarked, getting the parenting thing right stretches us in so many ways.  I love how Gary Thomas says in his book Sacred Parenting, “Raising children shapes our souls.”

That’s what With All Due Respect is about – doing the soul work.  When you get a group of women together and they start talking about their kids, something happens.  Add to that a spiritual component with our heavenly Father and discussion questions that force us to look inside ourselves, something amazing happens. 

Here’s a condensed version of what happened with the group that came to my house.  Hope you enjoy!

Laughter filled the air as we shared our stories.  Head nods of understanding, a been-there-done-that acknowledgement of the circumstance connected us in the realm of motherhood—not just motherhood in general, but as mothers of tweens and teens. 

It was like a family reunion, even though it had been less than three months since we’d all been in a room at the same time.  It was a time to catch up and share what we were learning on our parenting journey. 

These women had become special friends that knew the intimate details of each of our parenting challenges.  Each asked specific questions intended to laser point exactly where they knew our struggles were.  With tenderness and compassion, we all felt the bond.  We were walking similar paths.  All of us were growing in our relationships.  Our parenting was becoming more of a reflection of Him.

We had several things in common but the experience that binds us together was With All Due Respect: 40 Days to a More Fulfilling Relationship with Your Teens and Tweens.  Nine weeks of learning, sharing, and applying scripture.  Iron sharpening iron as we held each other accountable in trying new skills.

Amazing stories flowed from the lips of these brave women.  Rather than focusing on their parenting mistakes they could see the progress—their new parenting strategies.  They were working hard on building or re-building relationships with their tweens and teens that would hopefully serve them well for a lifetime. 

These moms have experienced what it is like to join forces with other women in parenting.  They’ve broadened their view in looking at parenting with the end goal in mind rather than just the daily trials that result from having teens that are pushing for independence.  They are able to see the hope of parenting in the midst of the sorrow and heartache that sometimes comes our way. And they are able to rejoice with another woman’s brave steps that resulted in success in relationships that had become difficult with kids who were choosing a path that would most likely lead to destruction.

The bond between these seven brave souls has built a legacy of friendship as well as accountability.  Laying the foundation of safety in sharing our expectations and vision in our parenting has set us on a path that will help each of us know where to turn as we deal with our parenting struggles – to Him.

Proverbs 27:17

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. 

What could a group like that do for you on your parenting journey?  While you gain wisdom in doing the book alone, a group experience will boost your insight manyfold.  Hope you’ll join us on the journey!

“Let go…and let God”,


Why not pre-order a copy of the book and discover how you can have a more fulfilling relationship with your tween or teen?  

Only 1 day until Book Release!

Think you’ll have difficulty finding a group?  In September we’ll be launching an on-line group in our With All Due Respect eCourse.  Check back here for details.