Tag Archive for: relationship with our teens

What Culture Do You Need to Counter with Your Teens?

We are all familiar with the warnings that are written to parents about the need to counter the American culture with our kids.  Cell phones, gaming, clothing styles, piercings, tattoos, parties, friend’s, and the amount of freedom we give all come under scrutiny as we try to raise Christian kids in a culture that sometimes goes against the truth of scripture.

As I was giving this some thought, it occurred to me that sometimes we need to counter the culture to which we have become accustomed.  The things we sometimes take as truths that if we really thought deeply about them we might see things from a different perspective.

Many times as parents we automatically think that what was right for us as kids is how we should parent our kids.  If our parents gave a certain amount of freedom in an area then we automatically do the same without thought to the different world our kids live in today.  If we went to public school, or private school, or we home schooled then we’ll most likely do the same without thought to what might be best for our child.  If we grew up with “the teacher knows best” or “the rule is the rule”, we might not consider that there is a better alternative.

My point here is that sometimes the culture we need to counter might be within our own families of origin and the things we’ve come to believe.   I’ve talked to many parents who have chosen to counter the culture in which they grew up–sometimes to the frustration and verbal outcry of their parents.  I’ve even witnessed grandparents who have tried to bribe their grandchildren into trying to talk parents into doing things the way they think the grandchildren should be raised.  Countering the culture might be standing firm on what you feel God is calling you to do as you raise the children in which he has entrusted you.  

Another area we might consider is countering the culture of the church in which we attend.  I know that I’ll probably get some push back here, but hear me out.  Sometimes there is an underlying culture even within the church that is not accepting of parenting decisions other than what the body (or the loudest person) thinks is right.  If as a parent you feel shamed, or held to a standard that doesn’t seem right for your child, it might be time to take a stand or leave.  I’ve seen church environments that can impact our teens negatively because the rules (sometimes unspoken) have precedent over the relationship.  Are your kids being loved, nurtured, listened to, and encouraged to serve as a member of the body of Christ?  If not, it might be time to counter the culture.

A book entitled Start With Amen: How I learned to Surrender by Keeping the End in Mind by Beth Guckenberger  shares a story about the boldness we need as Christians to counter the culture.  When Beth came home as a teen to announce that she needed to quit her job at a local video store because they were renting pornographic videos, her dad’s response was (pg. 166),

“So that’s it?” my dad challenged me.  “As Christians, when we see something we don’t agree with, we just run away?”

I looked at him questioningly.  “Set apart, holy?”

He fired back, “Salt, light?”

“If you feel God telling you to leave, obey him.  But in the absence of that, I would say you might be there for a reason…I am just a customer of the store, with an option to boycott.  You are an employee with tremendous power to make a difference.  Instead of thinking of what you can say, why don’t you see what you can do?”


If only each of us as parents could be bold enough to listen to what God is saying and encourage our children in similar fashion to boldly counter whatever culture we live.  Are we parenting out of fear or parenting to make a change in the world around us?

I’ll admit, as a parent my first instinct would have been to ask my child to quit working at the video store.  It would be safer.  It would have calmed a fear that I am sure would have risen up within me.  Depending on the temperament or the age of my child, I might have seen the scenario very differently than this father, but oh my, his response feels like holy ground as I think about how he views the world in light of eternity.

Maybe as parents countering the culture might mean that we parent with the end in mind rather than the present circumstances. 


Scripture tells us how.

Philippians 3:14

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Dare you to look at the culture surrounding your family and listen to His voice rather than the voices of others.

“Let go…and Let God”,

Maybe you would like to join a community of christian moms who are being challenged as they parent the next generation.  Our With All Due Respect e-course offers you a chance to meet other moms who are in the same stage of life.  You’ll get to ask questions of the author, find encouragement, view relevant videos that enhance the materials as you experience this life-changing curriculum.  You’ll even have others who will be praying with you as you share your burdens.  So grab your book and come join us.

Or, if you’d rather lead your own small group, remember that the small group guide sale ends Labor day.  You can order your copy here.  Either way, we promise you an experience with God that will have you depending on Him for all your parenting needs.

With All Due Respect: 40 Days to a More Fulfilling Relationship with Your Teens and Tweens by [Roesner, Nina, Hitchcock, Debbie]

Saying ‘No’ to Your Kids — 3 Things to Consider

vintage word NO on a rusty red metallic surface

Saying ‘No’ to our kids is part of parenting–for most of us, it comes with the job description on a daily basis.

‘No’, I’m not buying you a cell phone.  You are only 11!

‘No’, I’m not taking you to your friend’s house right now.  You haven’t finished your homework.

‘No’, you can’t go to the mall with Sara even if she did get her license today.

‘No’, you can’t go sleep over at a friend’s house when I haven’t met the friend or the parents.

And typically, the tween or teen stomps off letting you know that they wish they had been born into another family where the mom is much more ‘cool’ than you.  “You never listen to me.  You’re ruining my life.” And, of course, they can’t wait until they are old enough to move out!  The door slams, we start questioning our judgment in the situation, thinking am I being that unreasonable?, and the relationship is severed in a way that we begin to wonder if things will ever be the same or possibly wishing they were old enough to move out.

Sound familiar?

So what are some things that could possibly change the outcome?

  1. Before saying ‘no’, say tell me more.  Most kids need to feel heard.  Our natural tendency when our kids request something that we feel is out of the question is to just say ‘no’ and move on expecting them to intuitively know that the request is ridiculous.  Tell me more says I respect you enough to listen to why you are making the request.
  2. Before saying ‘no’, ask yourself if you have time for this conversation.  Typically teens will hit us with requests when we are in the middle of something.  What seems like an earth shattering matter to them is the last thing we want to have to deal with at that point in time.  Rather than saying ‘no’ try saying something like “This sounds important to you and I want to be able to understand what you are thinking, can you come back in ____ minutes when I can give you my undivided attention?”  When you re-engage in conversation say tell me more.
  3. When you do say ‘no’, empathize with your teen’s feelings.  After the tell me more discussionbe brave enough to say ‘no’.  Just know that there will probably be emotion.  Most of us will feel a rush of frustration when someone tells us ‘no’.  Depending on the emotional maturity of our tweens and teens, they may flash from hope to hurt and disappointment to anger and resentment within seconds.  Empathizing and addressing your teen’s feelings in the moment will help them become more aware not only of what they are feeling but also help teach them that those feelings are understandable.  Empathy allows us to connect with our teens in such a way that they can more easily regulate back to neutral.  Saying something as simple as “I know you are probably upset with me right now because I had to say ‘no’, but know that I love you and even though it may not feel like it right now, we both want the same thing.  We want you to be successful when you are old enough to leave our home.”

Proverbs 18:13

If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.

Saying ‘no’ can sometimes be hard, and yes, it does involve more time on our part to do it with respect and empathy; however, the payback in connection can be well worth the time invested.  When we say ‘no’ without taking the time to link arms emotionally, our kids may feel that it is an “us against them” mentality which can bring a host of resentment and defensiveness.  Our job as parents is to instill in our kids that no matter our decision, and especially when we say ‘no’, that we love them enough to connect in the midst of their disappointment.

“Let go…and let God”


I would love to have you join me as I take a group of women through our new e-Course using the book With All Due Respect: 40 days to a more fulfilling relationship with your teens and tweens.  The class starts mid-September. Pre-register now at a discount.  I’d love to get to know you better.  There will be video and opportunity to share with other women as we grow to be more like Him in our parenting.