Got Conflict with Tweens and Teens? Think Respect…

082611_1858_TiredofTheD1.jpg“He’s making me crazy!” I threw up my hands and whined to my husband.

“He feels the same way about you,” he responded.

“I know – and I don’t know what to do,” I said.

“He is becoming a man,” he replied.

“What? He’s 12,” I said.

“I know, but in his mind, he wants to be a man, he needs respect, and you’re treating him like he’s still seven,” he gently offered.

WOW. How did I miss this? It took about 3 months, but I started applying what I had learned about respecting my husband to my then 12 year old son. Within 3 months, our relationship did a 180.

Now, he’s applying for colleges, and jobs, and I’m sitting here knowing when he leaves, I’m going to seriously miss him. What a miracle God worked in my life.

But hang on a minute – you need to know that this 18 year-old is still working out the details of his testimony.  The scripture says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is OLD he will not depart from it.” That’s Proverbs 22:6. The point is that we can “do everything right” and these kids STILL have to find their own way. They still have to work out their own relationship with God. They still are going to make a ton of mistakes, learn lessons the hard way, and make decisions that might cause us to cry. I know this to be true – I see many of my friends with 20-somethings who have walked away from the Lord and/or are making decisions that fly in the face of the way they were raised to follow Him.

And it’s prideful of us to think we can get it right with our kids when God Himself had issues of disobedience with His own…think Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit.

Today’s dare deals with expectations – if you are dealing with the 20-something crowd, I dare you to check out Debbie Hitchcock’s blog on this today. You definitely should subscribe. You can also follow us on Facebook® where there’s tons of additional dialogue, daily tips, and other resources. We have begun a weekly walk through of The Respect Dare.  Grab your copy of the book, your coffee and snuggle up with us. Respond to the questions in the book, then come here for additional thoughts and dialogue. Hope you’ll subscribe to the blog and stick it out, remembering that perseverance grows mature faith. If you missed the three broadcasts last week with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine of FamilyLife Today, you might listen to those here – they’re great as a foundation.

Glad you are on the journey with us!

What do YOU think about this? Do you find it hard finding the balance between respecting your kids as young adults, and yet setting boundaries and leveling consequences? I DID.  Dare you to share!

Love to you,


titus 2 women leadership

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

7 thoughts on “Got Conflict with Tweens and Teens? Think Respect…

  1. Woa! We have got to treat our daughters as fair as we do for sons. And I would not apply the same principle of “respect” to anyone other male as to husbands. I think we are going a bit far with this repect thing. Our son is not our husband. We may treat him as an adult when he becomes a self sufficient adult, but not the same like a husnsnd
    I think we are going in the wrong direction and down the wrong path. We are told to submit to our own husbands, not our sons or any other male. We all submit to the laws in our government and respect officials in office, male or female, but not to any other man by himself just as a man. We treat him as a human as we do females as humans. Our sons are still our children and I would dare to give him any more than my daughter. Read the Scripture moms. The son and the daughter has as a role to Honor you as his parent. Your male child does not get the same type of respect that goes to your husband. He gets the child respect as being a human being and he gets your love.

    • Jean – Glad you are here. You are absolutely right – we are not to submit to our sons. And of course we would treat our kids differently than our husbands. I didn’t intend to connect “submit” to children in anyway shape or form and will read back over my post. I believe all people are worthy of respect, daughters and sons alike, and tweens and teens tend to need us to switch gears in our parenting, or we can end up causing lots of rebellion issues. We might still have these issues, but I think you’re reading more into my post than I intended. Thanks for sharing your thoughts – we’re glad you are on the journey.
      Love to you,

  2. I understand how this applies to my son and his desire to be a man and when I apply it towards him it works (sometimes I forget). However, what about our daugthers? My ten year old has sunk her heals and is determined to destroy me in the process. Right now, I can’t even be in the same room with her because she is so bent on destroying me mentally and emotionally. She has declared war in the house, and you are either on my side or hers. It is not pretty. What can I read to help diffuse the situation?

    • April –
      SO SO sorry you are going through this – and the same principles apply to tween/teen girls – and I think it’s even more difficult because of the hormone fluctuations. Don’t wrap your identity up in her behavior – she has no power to destroy you mentally and emotionally, unless you give it to her. Not accusing, just not a clear thing from your post. 🙂 (((hugs))))

      I absolutely love the parenting resources from Focus on the Family and Family Life Ministries. Nearly everything you encounter is going to be found from either of those two – and Dr. Dobson has a brilliant book called Bringing up Girls,(I think that’s its name). She might think there are sides, might even create the sides, but if you are choosing your battles wisely (majoring in the majors) and giving gobs more positives than negatives to her, that might also help.

      You also might benefit from some time away with her, doing something she loves doing, maybe even over a weekend. If it were me, I’d literally ask my daughter what had happened to get us to this place, and how she thought we could turn things around, and then I would implement what I could. I would stop arguing with her or finding fault as often (sounds like I’ve had some of this, right? 🙂 true!) and I’d make it a habit to apologize when I’m wrong, which is daily. And when we disagreed about something important, I’d make her feel heard, understand what her issues were, empathize with her position, and tell her I’d think about it. Then I might say, “I’ve been thinking about what you said, and a concern I have would be, xyz. How would that fit into the situation?” and I’d listen… and maybe I’d still make the same decision, and tell her, I understand how you feel, and you can let your friends know I’m the bad guy here.” And then I’d realize that none of this might work, and I’m still on my knees. 🙂 Parenting is hard. It grows us. It’s supposed to. But know you are not alone! 🙂 And realize that I may be all wet, my boys are 15 and 18, and my daughter is 12. 🙂 Jury is OUT until everyone’s in their 60’s as far as I’m concerned. 🙂

      OH, and Dr. Kevin Leman’s Have a New Kid by Friday is also awesome. 🙂

      Love to you,

      • Before I got this, I actually put some thoughts down on paper to share with her. I have read and re-read and changed things. I want my love to come through to her, and verbally talking is not working right now. I think the hard thing is, its hard to chose the battle when she goes explosive over minor things, like breakfast. However, I do know, my reaction makes things worse and I have to control that much better than I do. You gave me many things to work on and pray about. Thank you!

        • I totally get this, April! They are in SUCH a state of hormonal turmoil, we just have to realize their outbursts are NOT about us. 🙂 Mine knows that drama and emotional outbursts results in mom leaving the room – kind of like stepping over the toddler pitching the temper tantrum. Whatever you pay attention to grows. Sometimes I ask her, “Can you say that again respectfully, hon?” Learning self-control is super hard for these hormonally infused creatures – we just have to be patient as they learn, and let God teach us in the process! I know He’s worked on me, too. And you might be totally on to something with writing things down… I send email instead of verbalize with one of my people. WAY more effective. Just keep growing in Him – He’ll show you the way. 🙂 I don’t know, but He always does! 🙂

          Love to you, baby! 🙂

          • God was leading me in a direction with her, and I followed that lead on my lunchbreak. As I was driving back, he revealed something to me. She is under major spiritual attack. I know we all are and adding in her hormones doesnt make it any better. At the end of December, rather than picking a resolution, I was picking a theme for the year. One night, we were talking about my word. She was constructive and honest and it was good dialogue. She looked at me and declared her word for the year was attitude. As soon as 2014 hit, it has spiraled out of control. My baby is under attack because she is working on her attitude and satan is trying to stop. Please pray for her as we walk through this, as it will be the first time she is under attack and I can name it.

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