Tag Archive for: What am I doing wrong in my parenting?

Can I Love My Kids Too Much?

Several years ago, when I was at my wits end with one of my kids, someone recommended  a book  When I Lay My Isaac Down by Carol Kent.  I’ve often thought about that title and how it applies to our daily lives, especially as we parent.

With more than a decade since I read her book, the words seem to be following me recently. “Am I ready to lay my Isaac down?”

For those of you who might need a refresher of the story from scripture, Abraham had a promise from God that he would be the father of many nations.   It wasn’t until Abraham was 100 years old that Isaac was born.  As the Word tells us, at one point Abraham was told by God to sacrifice his son.  Yes, kill him!

It was as if God was saying, “Who do you love more–Me or your son Isaac?”

While that seems absolutely unfathomable for us as parents that God would ask any one of us to take our child’s life, an even more profound question would be, “Would you trust God with the outcome?”

If you remember the ending of the story, Abraham chose that God knew what was best.  He went to make Isaac a sacrifice, but right before laying him on the alter, God provided a ram to take Isaac’s place.  It was as if God was saying, “I just want to see if you trust me.  I just want to know that you will listen to my voice and heed my instruction.”

As parents, most of us love our children with our whole being.  We would do absolutely anything for them.

But think about Abraham for a moment.  He was 100 years old!  He had waited a century for his child to be born.  How easy it would have been to wrap all his attention, all his resources, and all his time into Isaac and put him up on a pedestal to be front and center in his life.  How easy to revolve his whole world around this child making all of Isaac’s wishes come true.

And then I have to pause.  

Do I love God more than I love my children?

Am I willing to give up my child’s desires to focus on what God wants for my child? For me?

Do I love my child so much that my world revolves around my child’s world?


Definitely something to think about in a culture that is so child centered.

It is easy as moms to love our children too much.  Yes, you heard me right–too much.

We can love our children so much that we:

  • Make sure that we solve their problems for them.
  • Intervene when they are forgetful and come to the rescue.
  • Do everything in our power to not let them fail.
  • Expend all our energy on our kids rather that doing other things that we’re called to do.
  • Are too busy to spend time with God because our new spiritual gift is driving our kids places.

Genesis 22:9-18

When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

Isn’t that what we want as moms?  That God will bless our offspring because of our obedience to a mighty God who loves us so deeply that He wants relationship with us.

Don’t we want that for our kids?

Dare You to define your relationship with God in your choices as you parent.  Chose to lay your Isaac down and love Him and give your kids to Him in the process.  It doesn’t mean that we’re not there to walk beside them.  It means that we allow the struggles and we allow God to orchestrate their path, so that they learn that they have a need to depend on God instead of us in their time of need.

“Let go…and let God”,


Have you gotten your copy of With All Due Respect yet?  It’s parenting self-discovery training in book form.  If you want someone to walk beside you in your parenting and go through the book with you, for a limited time we are inviting moms to join our With All Due Respect eCourse for free.





The Power of the Word “You”

Sitting in a workshop several weeks ago with a group of women I witnessed the power in the word “you”.  There were tears in women’s eyes as they heard words of affirmation spoken over them after they shared a story or A-Ha! 

“You were brave to step into that situation in the moment.”

“You showed such a gentle spirit with your sister.”

“You used such good judgment in a difficult situation.”

“You demonstrated what it means to be supportive and caring in what must have been an exhausting time.”

All of us felt as if we were receiving a hug knowing that others were noticing the good in who we are.

And I thought about the power and life that we could speak into our teens if we would choose to use it.   What if we would look for the good in our kids instead of using the word “you” in a condemning way. 

“You didn’t clean your room like I asked you too.”

“You didn’t …”

What if, instead, we chose to take those “didn’t dos” and turn the communication into a positive?

“You have been working hard on your homework.  Why don’t you take a break and run up and clean your room before dinner?”

“You are such an encourager with your little sister.  Maybe the two of you could go upstairs and put the laundry away together.”

If we as parents could just take a moment each day to affirm the good in our children, what might change in our homes?

Hmm…definitely something to think about.

But there is another aspect of the word “you”.  

I don’t know about your kids, but I’ve had my teens throw the word you at me in a screaming, blaming sort of way. 

“You embarrassed me in front of …”

“How dare you take away my …”

“How could you?”

And in the heat of the moment with fury in our teen’s eyes they dump their bucket of all the pain they think we have caused them.  With their emotion we can become overwhelmed and just want the onslaught to stop.  And as parents most of us make the same mistake.  It’s a mistake I’ve made on more than one occasion.

We look at our teen in disbelief that they can yield so much condemnation and say something in a stern voice like “Don’t you talk to me that way, young man.  Go to your room.”

And we get so caught up in the anger and how we were spoken to that we might be missing something valuable in our parenting.

One technique I’ve used in the middle of these situations is to pause in the moment.  “I can tell you are really upset and I want to hear you out.  I’m feeling upset myself right now and I don’t want our emotions to get in the way of our communication.  I’m going to take about 20 minutes to calm myself down and then we’ll talk.”

When frustration and the word “you” come rolling off our teen’s tongue, chances are there is pain in the middle of it.  

Yes, you heard me right.  Anger and the word “you” most likely means that someone is not listening to the pain that is inside of us. 

What I’ve been learning is that when someone accuses me of something, that is a cue that I need to allow the Holy Spirit to help me discern the truth from the other person’s perspective.  Here are some questions I ask myself during my 20 minute time out before talking with my teen:

  • Is there any truth to what my teen is accusing me of doing?
  • What pain might my teen be experiencing in the moment? 
  • What might my teen need from me to bring healing for the pain he is experiencing?  A confession?  An apology?  A change in my behavior?
  • What might God be trying to teach me in this situation?
  • What might God be trying to teach my teen?

Oh my, this can be a humbling conversation that I have with God.  As I pray and ask God to help me in the situation, many times I discover that there is some truth to what I’ve been accused of and God is using this situation to refine me.  Not a pleasant place to be but it allows me to engage with my teen on a whole different level.  It allows me to humbly admit where I was wrong.  Once I’ve done that, it allows us to talk about the situation in a non-confrontational manner.

And when I can’t see where I am wrong in what my teen is blaming me for, I can then ask questions for further understanding.  “Honey, thanks for giving me some space a moment ago.  I can tell you are really upset.  What happened today that made you so angry?”

And regardless of our teens response, regardless of the emotion, continue to ask God for discernment in the moment.  Ask your teen to identify his feelings and affirm him.  Share why you did what you did in terms of his maturity and why that is so important.  Let him know what it is that he needs to learn.  And then, if the timing is right, heap affirmation on him with you statements.  

“I know that my decision was really difficult for you.  You need to know that you are loved and your dad and I want  the best for you.  You feel passionately about justice and that’s a good thing.  I’m glad you shared with me what you were feeling.”

Proverbs 12:18

There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Ephesians 4:29

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

Dare you to take inventory of how the word “you” is used in your home.  Is it a sword or used for edification?

“Let go…and Let God”,

Are you thinking about Fall Bible Study yet?  Wish you could be in one but the time never seems quite right?

Or maybe you’d like to focus on your parenting?

Why not join a group of women in our With All Due Respect eCourse?  We meet on Facebook (it’s a closed group) at your convenience.  And we will go through the book together as we encourage each other, pray with each other, and support each other.  There is extra video teaching and an opportunity to ask questions.  We’ve even been known to take time time to chat on the phone with women in the class when parenting situations are really difficult and you could use someone to walk beside you.  

As a bonus this fall, if you sign up for the With All Due Respect eCourse, you can also be part of Greater Impact’s Strength & Dignity eCourse for free. There you will find resources for respecting yourself in your defensive relationships and for help in your marriage.

We hope you will join us or do the study with a group of moms in the comfort of your home.  Whether your kids are 9 or 29, you’ll be amazed at what God will do in your home as you go through the book.





Respect in the Little Things

Just this past week I had to swallow my pride, take a step back, and deal with the disrespect I felt in a healthy way. It was really a little thing–one that could have easily been avoided if the person had just sloughed it off as an over site and moved on.

And I’ll admit it was hard to keep the communication flowing in a way that cultivated relationship rather than me shutting down because I felt chastised.

It started with me asking a question.

The response wasn’t what I expected.

“I sent you an email,” the person stated in a tone of accusation.

“Oh, I must have missed it,” I responded in what I tried to make a light-hearted tone.

“Well I sent it.”

I’m sure I paused at the matter of fact tone as I tried to understand my feeling of deeper accusation.

As I took a deep breath my brain clicked into action and I tried to be upbeat and respond in a non-threatening tone.  “What email address did you send it to? When we moved we changed providers and I had to change my email.” 

The individual shared the email address and sure enough it was my old one.

“I didn’t get an undelivered message. I should have gotten one from the provider if it is no longer in use.” (Translated in my mind, “You didn’t do what you needed to do or this wouldn’t have happened.”)

Unfortunately the conversation digressed even more to others who had not responded to their emails which this person sent.

I laughed to ease the tension. “Guess they got lost somewhere in cyberspace. Oh well. Things happen. It’s not a big deal.” And I eased into the question I had asked in the first place.

“But I want you to know I did what I was supposed to do.” Translated, “Don’t blame me.”

I was shocked at the defensiveness in the tone and a little hurt that she thought I was blaming her for something.

My only goal was to gather information and seek an answer so that I would know what to do next.

I thought I was reaching out in a friendly manner. After all, I appreciated the work this person was doing. It meant a lot that the individual had taken initiative.  Yet, somehow this acquaintance/friend wasn’t picking up on my attempts to connect.

Having had my question answered, my first thought as we ended the conversation was, “What could have possibly happened in this person’s life (most likely childhood) that made it so important to not feel blamed?”  And I began praying for her.

As I thought about the conversation, I couldn’t help but think of the interactions we have with our kids on a daily basis.

  • Does our tone of voice come across to them as if we are scolding them?
  • Do we blame them for things they may not have done?
  • Do we come across as accusatory in the little statements we make putting them on the defensive?
  • Are we inadvertently pushing our kids away rather than creating connection?
  • Do our words make them feel stupid or our sarcastic remarks hurt in a way that makes them feel “less than”?
  • Are we focused on being right rather than the relationship?

I’m sure the individual I had conversation with had no clue as to how I was feeling in the moment.  I’m sure there was no ill-intent of any kind.  For this person, it was most likely a learned response based on how others had responded in the past–most likely out of pain and chastisement that was internalized at a young age.

But there is hope.  

What I’ve learned through the years of dealing with my own pain is that unhealthy communication patterns can be changed.  Sometimes a little humor goes a long way.  Apology can help as well. And there are countless ways we can assess what we are feeling in the moment so that we can change the trajectory of what feels like a negative conversation and turn it into connection.

But it takes introspection and practice.  It takes the will to change ourselves rather than blaming the other person.  And a training weekend sponsored by Greater Impact Ministries can help.  Trust me when I say that a training course I went through almost a decade ago literally changed the outcome of who I am today.  And the active learning environment made it a safe place to figure out what I was doing wrong in the moment and how to change the outcome with a few simple strategies.

The cool part is that our tone of voice, our defensive patterns, and the words we use are only a small piece of the learning.  The training I took all those years ago has transformed into learning that grows exponentially as I encounter new situations every day–especially in my parenting.

James 1:19

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

This verse saved me the day I asked the question of my friend.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

And I want the love of my Heavenly Father to flow through me even when it is difficult and I feel disrespected or wrongfully accused.

If you are like me and want to be more like Jesus as you interact with those difficult people in your life, I hope you will join me at our Deflating Defensiveness Training Retreat in the Greater Cincinnati, Ohio area this June.

Women who have attended in the past keep coming back because of what God is doing in their relationships as a result of all they learn.  Another thing that happens as a result of the conference is that you will have continued support as you become part of the continued learning community. Women like you who want to make an impact on their relationships and shine the light of Christ to others will be there.

Healthy communication is learned and we can help you impact your family and friendships.  We hope you will consider joining us in June.  

To find out more:  https://www.greaterimpact.org/deflating-defensiveness-training

Dear Heavenly Father,

Sometimes I have expectations on how my kids should interact with me, yet I don’t always respond in a gentle way.  I get angry, frustrated, and at times defensive and I see the same behaviors from them.  Lord, I want to model your love and connect with them in a healthy way that will impact future generations.  Help me to learn to communicate in a way that shows my love for them just like you show Your love for me.  I so want a connection with my kids that will stand the test of time.  As I pursue You more, help me to also do everything in my power to encourage my children to turn to you.  May your influence in my life shine through me so that others will be influenced to follow you.

In the precious name of Jesus.  Amen.

“Let go…and Let God”,

I realize that a retreat is a huge commitment.  If you aren’t ready to join us in June, can I suggest that you start small with the book With All Due Respect: 40 Days to a More Fulfilling Relationship With Your Teens & Tweens

If you would like more support than just reading through a book alone, you can join our community eCourse where other Christian moms who have learned our deflating defensive skills will help you learn the process.  We’ll walk beside you on your parenting journey.