Tag Archive for: respect

Are You Demanding Respect?

Often I get questions from moms asking how to get their kids to respect them.  I hear the anguish in their voice as they talk about the disobedience, the yelling, the consequence, and then more yelling.  I absolutely can relate.  I’ve been there too many times myself wishing things had not gotten so out of control.  Wondering what I could have done differently.

After all, in the heat of the moment, what’s a mother to do?

Let’s take a moment and unpack a typical scenario so you can think of how to respond rather than react. 

Sam comes in from school with plans to go hang out with his friends.  Mom was in the basement earlier today and noticed that it was a mess.  Sam had promised to clean it if some of his buddies could come hang out last Friday night.  Friends came, but the basement now looked as if a tornado had blown through.  

How do you respond when Sam comes through the door saying, “Hi, Mom.  Practice was canceled today.  I’m heading over to Bobby’s for a few hours.”

Scenario 1

“You aren’t going anywhere, son, until you clean the basement!”

Scenario 2

“Sounds like fun.  Just be home in time for dinner.”

Scenario 3

“I know you enjoy spending time with your friends.  I think we could use to talk before you leave.  Why don’t you run your books up to your room and I’ll make us some hot chocolate.

Some of you are laughing at the responses because you can already pick out your own.  

If you would respond similar to Scenario 1, you are like most parents.  You are already upset before Sam even walks in the door.  This response is one of a need for control.  When we have uncontrolled anger and a need to control a given situation, it means that our identity is tied up in something else.  In the scenario with Sam, could it be the need for full, absolute obedience from our kids at all times?  Could it be the need to have a perfectly clean house?   Could it be a need to have our kids always follow through in whatever they commit to?  Is it perfectionism–perfect kids + perfect house = perfect mom?

Hmm…something to think about.

If you are the Scenario 2 mom, you probably have a “I just want my kids to be happy” attitude.  If I don’t rock the boat, all will be calm.   Maybe you’ve already cleaned up the basement because Sam wouldn’t clean it as well as you do anyway.  After all you’re just glad he has such good friends.  My question to you is, “How does Sam learn to keep his commitments?  Is Sam learning that someone will always clean up after him?  What will that mean for his future wife? ”  Now a question about you, “Is your identity wrapped up in allowing your kids to have a ‘perfect’ childhood.  Are you modeling boundaries which will make them stronger adults?”

Typically when I mention Scenario 3, the first response is, “How can I be calm enough to respond that way?”

Think friend.

Think respect.

Think relationship.

Now, mind you, I am not saying that your job is to be your child’s best friend.  But if you are like most parents, you want a healthy relationship with your kid that will last a lifetime.  I’m suggesting that the best way to teach our kids respect is to be respectful in our responses to them teaching them to own what is theirs to own.  By responding in that manner we will help our kids feel respected and in turn they will learn to respect us.  If we are secure in who we are as parents, and our identity is based on our relationship with God and not wrapped up in something else, then we can calmly work out a win-win scenario for both us and our child.  

Let’s take Scenario 3  to the next step.  Now I’m fully aware that it won’t always result in the same calmness that it will show up in print, but I am suggesting that if you choose your words carefully and instill a sense of affection toward your teen, tempers are less likely to escalate and respect can be achieved.

Scenario 3 continued

“I love a good cup of hot chocolate!  Thanks for giving me an excuse for making it.  I love spending one-on-one time with you.  So you and Bobby are planning to hang out this afternoon.  What do you think you’ll do?”

Then your job is to listen–really listen.  Ask questions.  Show interest.  Let Sam know that you realize how important Bobby’s friendship is to him.

“I know that you are planning to spend time with Bobby, but I have a problem I need to solve.  (Notice it is your problem and not Sam’s.  Wording is everything.)  You had your friends over on Friday night and if I remember right, you agreed to clean up when they left.  Is that right?”

Again, listen to his response.  If he whines and complains that you don’t want him to go.  Just listen and don’t react.  When he’s through then it is time to calmly reply.

“You know that it is important to say what you mean, mean what you say, and keep your commitments don’t you?  I would really like you to keep your commitment about cleaning up the basement.  I allowed you to have your friends over and I need to know when you are going to fulfill your end of the agreement.”

Here’s where you remain calm and listen to his ideas of when he will clean the basement.  Negotiate if you want to.  Give him an “I need to have it finished by ________ time” that is within reason if necessary if it comes to that.

But respect Sam enough to let him be part of the “when” for the cleanup.

When kids see that we respect them by not trying to control the situation, and respect ourselves as parents in holding them accountable rather than letting them off the hook, maturity and respect will blossom.

Colossians 4:6

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how to answer everyone.

Dare you to check to see if you are trying to demand respect with your teens. If so, is there something your identity is tied to that might be impacting the respect that you want?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.  Message me and we’ll chat.

“Let go…and let God,”

Want to learn more ways to build relationship during the tween and teen years?  Why not join other women as we go through With All Due Respect – 40 days to a more fulfilling relationship with your teens and tweens.

By starting now, you’ll have the opportunity to start the new year off right focusing on one of the most important relationships you have–your kids!  By clicking here wadr-logo and entering the code daretorespect, you’ll get $40 off for a limited time.  That’s 50% off the regular price.

Dare you to join me and others as we laugh, cry, and pray together on the journey of parenting our tweens and teens. 


5 Things to Instill in Our Kids as They Play Pokemon Go

Attractive woman wearing sunglasses relaxing in a deckchair in the sun sending an sms on her mobile phone

Pokemon took the world by storm in the late 90’s with kids everywhere getting sucked into the vortex.  I remember well the debate in Christian circles of whether or not we should allow our kids to participate.   It was a time when mainstream churches tended to be black and white.  It was either good or evil.  Those furry creatures could quickly corrupt our kids and pull them into those evil video games (or so we thought).

But the world isn’t so black and white any more.  And I will admit that I was one of those dreaded moms in Christian circles, especially Christian homeschool groups, who allowed my children to play Pokemon.  It took me a while to actually give in to my boys, but after having my seven year old sit down and explain the logic in the card game, we caved.  Besides, those furry creatures were kinda cute.

My boys have fond memories of sitting upstairs in the attic over our garage that we made into their “club house”.  Friends would squirrel away with our kids for Pokemon battles that took place on our makeshift card table with the kerosene heater blazing in winter and the coolness of the fan in summer–that is until our youngest chased the cat and accidentally stepped on the ceiling sending the drywall onto the top of the raised garage door (but that’s a whole different story). 🙂

Who knew that almost two decades later society would once again have an outbreak of the Pokemon craze?  Now on our smartphones no less, with 24/7 opportunities because we “Gotta Catch ‘Em All”.  While we have laws in place against texting a driving, now we’re having car crashes over Pokemon Go and people are litterally falling off cliffs.  Cemetery, museum, and property owners are crying out urging people to stop the madness and show some respect.

I’ll admit, one of my twenty-somethings, who excited about the new game, just came back from a cemetery a few hours ago.  What he witnessed was unbelievably sad.  “Mom, there were well over 100 cars in the place driving around the circles.  Parents were pulling off into the grass and in the chaos driving over graves.  It took security to usher traffic out of the way when a funeral procession pulled in.  Even the groundskeepers were hacked off at the litter they were finding on what is typically pristine grounds.  I saw kids screaming in delight over the lure they acquired while loved ones were their to mourn their deceased loved ones.”


How do we as a society, especially as parents, teach our kids responsibility and respect when surrounded by adults that seem to have neither?

And how do we instill those values in the midst of a world that is glued to their phone like a zombie apocalypse?

It’s easy for our teens and tweens to get wrapped up in the popularity of the game where it becomes all they want to do.  How do we use it to teach values that we want to instill without becoming “one of those parents” always yelling to get their attention?

  1. Get excited with your kids.  Interact and have your kids teach you the strategy.  Take walks together; go explore new neighborhoods.  Become part of their world. You have a unique opportunity here to become engaged.  It’s part of your kids’ culture.
  2. Talk about the problem.  Fun needs to have limits and talking about what is happening in the news with Pokemon helps our kids see the potential dangers of a good thing.  Talk about the car accident, the cliff incident, and respect.
  3. Talk about Pokemon in light of your faith.  Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Or maybe Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Perhaps you can use these to help your kids put perspective on the amount of time they should be spending focused on the game.
  4. Let the kids help you set boundaries for their game.  Let them know that even though it’s a great game, it can’t be all they do.  Use the game of Pokemon to teach life balance.
  5. Teach your kids to handle disappointment.  When the servers to down help your kids recognize their disappointment.  Talk about it.  Help them understand what they are feeling and move on emotionally.

As Christian parents we need to help our kids navigate the culture in a way that helps guide them away from the pitfalls–not necessarily exclude them from the game. It’s easy for any of us to get lured into the excitement of the electronic gaming world.

But we do need to live in the world.

It’s the how we navigate it that will make an eternal difference.

“Let go…and let God”,


In 15 days, you too can start having a more fulfilling relationship with your teens and tweens.  Click here to find out more.



101 Ways to a More Fulfilling Relationship with Your Teens and Tweens




Sitting in a local coffee shop with my son, I asked him a question that totally caught him off guard.  I was having one of those mom moments when I wanted to make sure we were connecting.  He was at that stage in life where manhood was just around the corner–the threshold of independence. Read more

Detours That Need Repair?

2014-06-05 16.43.44As a parent I have been known to take detours that lead me down a path that is in desperate need of repair.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  Maybe there is a rule in your home where you’ve outlined a consequence, and just once you forgot to enforce it.  What happens?  The whining begins, “Last time you said it was okay!” and the debate is on.  What’s your next step?  Do you enforce the old consequence again or let it slide? Read more

Time to Negotiate?

2014-10-05 18.10.17


Tony was notorious for wanting to stay up later than his bedtime allowed.   At 12, he started a full-court press on Jennifer trying to get her to change his bedtime complaining that he was being treated like a little kid.

“Mom, you just don’t get it!  Other kids my age don’t even have a standard bedtime.  For heaven’s sake, I am in junior high!”

As Jennifer pondered the request, she replied.  “You know, Tony.  I realize that you are older and have a pretty rigorous schedule between basketball and homework.  Let me talk to Dad first and see what we can come up with.  Just remember, no promises here.  One of the things I’m concerned about is the fact that you are having to get up earlier this year to get to the bus.  I don’t want you to be so tired that you fall asleep in class.”

“Mom, you know that’s not going to happen.”

“Let me talk to Dad.  I’ll get back to you by this weekend with a decision.”

Mark and Jennifer had learned to make changes slowly in their household.  They realized from the Generations class they had taken that new rules needed to be negotiated and  be able to be changed back if they weren’t working.  The two decided to work out the details of the negotiation as they enjoyed the fall leaves walking through the neighborhood.

“So, Mark, what do you think we should ask Tony to do to earn the later bedtime?”

“Well, I would say that he has to continue getting up on his own and making it to the bus on time for starters.  If he starts missing the bus, then I would definitely want to push the bedtime back to its current time.  I would also tell him that we are going to monitor his attitude in the house.  If he tends to be more argumentative with us or his siblings, I would say that it is probably because he isn’t getting enough sleep.”

“That sounds reasonable.  Let’s say we give it two weeks and reassess?  Maybe we try a half hour for the first week, if it works we’re willing to stretch it to an hour starting the second week?”

“Makes sense to me,” responded Mark.

On Saturday, Mark and Jennifer sat down with Tony along with their “notebook of rules”.

“Tony, I understand that you and your mom have been talking about moving your bedtime to later in the evening.  You know, I think you have a valid point that you are growing up and you are right in that we need to start giving  you more responsibility like a 12 year old.  I’d like to give it a try to see if you can handle staying up later.”

Mark continued telling Tony the things that he and Jennifer had discussed.

“So you understand, right.  We’ll give it a week at half an hour extension and in a week we’ll bump it to an hour.  You can maintain that new bedtime assuming you can get up and get yourself to school on time and you aren’t more argumentative here at home.  If you start missing the bus or your behavior changes here at home, bedtime reverts back to what it is now.”

“Agreed!” Tony happily responded.

“Sign your name here by the date where we negotiated the rules,” Jennifer handed the notebook of rules to Tony.

Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Negotiating new rules in the home can be an opportunity to increase your tweens and teens responsibility while showing them that you respect the fact that they are growing up.  Through the negotiating process you not only validate their feelings, but you give them opportunity to succeed in the maturing process.  Writing down the negotiation will keep both you and your child from being exasperated if the child doesn’t succeed at keeping up their end of the bargain.

Enjoy negotiating!

“Let go…and let God,”


 I’d love to hear how you’ll implement this new strategy in your home!

DARE 12 – The Respect Dare – They Still Need Me? – For Parents of 20-Somethings

Sitting on the back patio in the early morning savoring the spring sunshine and cup of coffee, Sally was still in her PJ’s. Their backyard was private enough that she loved going out there to spend quiet time with God. Her teens were already at school and Alex, her twenty-three year old son was at work. As she sat their contemplating Alex’s recent announcement that he would be moving out next month, Sally’s heart sang. Not that he was moving out, mind you, but that the year had been a success.

Shortly after graduation from college, Alex had announced that he had landed an awesome job nearby. “Would you mind if I live with you guys for a year to get my finances in order and pay down my student loans?” he asked.

Jeff and Sally were feeling good that their son was even willing to consider moving back in with them after being on his own for four years. “Alex, of course you can move back home!”

As the day drew closer for graduation, Sally decided to give Alex a call. “Son, you know that we love you and are happy to help you get on your feet financially this year. We just want to make a couple of things clear before you move all your stuff in. You know that we still have your younger brother living at home. I know you are now an adult, but for this to be successful we are going to need you to abide by the same rules that existed while you were living here in high school. We will expect you to be home at a reasonable hour and we will still want you to let us know when you are going somewhere and when you expect to be back.”

“Mom, I’m going to be working. That shouldn’t be a problem at all.”

“Alex, this is for one year. At that point, we’ll reassess. One more thing,” she paused. “You know that your dad and I love you with all our heart. I want this to be a good year. It isn’t going to be easy for us to have you back home and it isn’t going to be easy for you to live with the rules that you’ve had freedom from for four years. Can we agree that if you have a problem with something we’re doing, you’ll talk to us about it? The same goes for us. Our goal is that you won’t leave anxious for freedom again. Our goal is that when you leave here in a year, we’ll be good friends.”

“Mom, it will be fine. It will work. I promise.”

As Sally continued to enjoy her coffee, she smiled at what the year had meant to her and Jeff. They really were best friends with …

Just then her cell phone rang. “Mom, I need your help!” It was Alex. “I’ve done something really stupid and I need you to come get me at work.”

“Okay, let me get a shower and I’ll be there shortly. Maybe we can do lunch?”

“No, Mom, you don’t understand! I need you to get dressed and come get me now! You need to drive me to a client’s office and drive me back to work. I took the bus today, so my car is sitting at the park-n-ride. I’m sorry to take you away from whatever you are doing today, but this is serious. Please just come!”

Sally quickly sat her cup in the sink and was dressed and out the door within minutes.

The longer she was in the car for the 45 minute drive, the more upset she became. How dare her son think that whatever he was dealing with was more important than her day? No shower, no makeup, and she was driving to go solve whatever her 23 year old son had messed up! She needed to let him know that she couldn’t just drop everything for him. She had a life too.

As her angry thoughts took hold, she knew she was going to let him verbally have it! This is ridiculous! He’s 23 for heaven’s sake. It’s time to handle your own problems!

Just then the words from a couple of Daughters of Sarah scriptures took hold.

Ephesians 4:29

 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

James 1:19

…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

“Okay, Lord. I hear you,” she breathed. “Just listen. My job is to listen. This isn’t about me. I need to forget that he is my son and that I’m his mother. This is a friend who needs my help. I’m being the feet of Jesus to Him like I would any of my other friends.”

The more she prayed for Alex, not having any clue why she was actually going to pick him up, it dawned on her. “It must be a desperate situation for a 23 year old to feel the need to call his mother to come get him. That had to be really humiliating.”

“Respect! That’s it! I need to respect that he is a friend in need and not grill him on what he messed up this time.”

As parents, when our adult children need our help, we need to remember that most likely it is difficult for them to ask for our help. Our job is to listen and be available. It isn’t about them taking advantage of our generosity, sometimes it about us just being their friend.

“Let go…and let God”,

Be sure to join Nina Roesner and Leah Heffner and they blog with me through The Respect Dare.