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March 17, 2021 2:00 am
All loving parents want healthy relationships for their children, but what do we do when we see red flags? On FamilyLife Today, hosts Dave and Ann Wilson talk with author and counselor, Doyle Roth, about how to know when someone is toxic and what to do about it.
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If your son or daughter is married to someone who is, for whatever reason, a disruptor of family harmony will you do about Doyle Roth says you have to be very careful about control, confrontation of that issue toxic person doesn't want to be exposed. They want to keep it all private and they want to keep their spouse private and they don't want her him having friends on intrusion from any other person, they won't go to a counselor they don't want to talk to anybody else they want to have their lives private exposure of the toxic person scares them death because they know their behavior is really bad. This is family like today hosts are Dave and Wilson about looking you can find us on my life today.com navigating our way through this rough destabilizing extended family relationships that can be really to give you some counsel on today stating like today.
Thanks for joining us. One of the things I don't think I ever even stopped to think about when Marianne and I were dating. Thinking about marriage even when we were engaged. I don't know that it even came on my radar how I feel about her family and I wasn't stopping about thinking him to spend the rest of my life with her family because we don't spend day in and day out, but when you marry somebody you are to spend the rest of your life with their family at some level I do to their finance. Right now I'm wondering if and thought that about my family. We never talked about that because I thought I can't wait to be a part of that family really, because her family was just, you know, as a first father married they stay married and I love the joy and I love your brothers and sister and I was excited but did just what you are think about walking down my family had a terrible we got married when I was 19, so I was John that's me and not I am going to save his family going to bring back think they're going to bring them to Jesus didn't quite like the other 19-year-old who got married in the room is Doyle Roth is joining us again on family life today. Doyle will go back thank you, thank you so much, he was. I did a few years ago. Doyle is a writer. He's a counselor he's a rancher in Colorado. He is a father to four Renaissance it really is rather old Doyle has four adult kids. He has 12 grandchildren.
He has six great-grandchildren and he spends several hours each week talking to husbands and wives and moms and dads mostly about marriage and family related issues during counseling with these folks. He's written a book called toxic sons and daughters in law, and we been talking about how we handle the situation as parents when we see our kids in a relationship that we think danger Will Robinson morning you know that that kind of thing and I think we should pull back here and say some parents can attach a toxic label to something that is just a a flawed human being.
Your daughter is not marrying Jesus so whoever she's marrying is going to have sent issues in his life. Your son is marrying somebody was can have sent issues in her life.
We gotta be careful not to attach in our own minds. All will there toxic because they have seen issues in their lives trying to know exactly right. I have wonderful son-in-law's daughter Lawrence, but were all sinners, so is mom and dad and but when we talk about toxic were talking about people with very very serious deep emotional issues that come from addiction can come from insecurities, it can come from a lot of different places that make them very, very difficult to deal with so is apparently say your daughter son is dating somebody and you know the question would be, will India know it's toxic, you know, my daughter and I making this up. I don't have a daughters for my daughters dating a guy who says he struggles with pornography a little bit.
Is there a point where you're like oh my goodness this is not just to a little problem with sexual temptation. This is toxic and drinking well.
I think a lot of the toxic behaviors gradually find themselves in the control and manipulation side. They come in very strongly controlling their spouse. Whether be daughter or son and they control them, cause them to be away from their families. They don't want intrusion from any other person, they won't go to a counselor they don't want to talk to anybody else they want to have their lives private exposure of the toxic person scares them to death because they know their behavior is really bad, but you could have a son-in-law that's really open about things in his life. He really wants to grow himself spiritually. He's just one of us guys and gals that struggle. I mean that's just the way it is but a toxic person doesn't want to be exposed. They want to keep it all private and they want to keep their spouse private and they don't want her him having friends and there's a big difference.
So if you see some humility and some transparency. Yes, that doesn't mean there toxic now. This means their normal human BL and are growing in Christ there growing their reading their Bibles.
They really applying Scripture. Those are good signs.
But when a person is toxic. They are a long ways away from that that when it's toxic. You know you look at the flag and it's very dangerous yeah danger danger read it's this young man has a drinking problem, we can see it for an anger problem or anger, love you, Cynthia. He's hit my daughter once or twice, but he doesn't often but you see that in your daughter or son can't see it. What does a parent do when it's toxic. Toxic read.
It's hard Dave.
These are hard times. These are hard decisions because you don't want to go too fast, too hard.
It gets apparent in her very very particular spot.
That's dangerous. I think the protective resources that I mentioned in my book are really important. You gotta think in terms outside the box who can come into this who can protect me from hurting my relationship with my son or daughter, or hindering me from seeing my grandchildren ever. The only way that's going to happen is I can kinda stay out of this a little bit and use the protective resources have a good mentor have a good coach. Have a good person in your life that you can refer them to a good counselor and it may even come to a point where you can refer them to an attorney if there has to be legal things.
There's other people that can step in your what can happen is that it may not ever end in divorce. It's just going to keep going like this and if you want to see your grandkids and if you want to have a relationship with your son. You better be very careful and bring other people into the loop that can speak truth to them and speak about their lives working to be in cellular stress troubles let somebody else the bad somebody else needs to be the bad guy learned about information. I think that's where we get the it's dangerous for us to say those things because like we said before, they're never going to forget what we say and if your child isn't open to hearing or getting any kind of help or mentoring are counseling, then life will listen to this.
You are good parents, David and your trying to be good parents, we have trained our kids. We help them make decisions in some respects, you gotta trust your parenting. Have a good relationship. You gotta be able to trust their maturity, and trust their insight and so asking the questions, how, when, why, where are an easy way for us to deflect our opinions.
We can ask them to really dig deep into their own souls.
We've taught them. We've trained them rely on that and rely on God to help them. There are of principles of conflict resolution that we talk about at the weekend to remember marriage getaway for married couples where we say if you don't have to have a hard conversation with your spouse about an area of conflict. You need to think about what's the best time to say it. How do I want to make sure I say it may be you write down what you want to say maybe you need to give them some time to process rather than just dumping on them and expecting, or a response right away if we need to as parents have a hard conversation with our kids. We need to follow some of those same guidelines. Don't you think where we need to pre-think what is it I want to say when's the right time to say it lets make sure I choose my words very carefully so that if you do need to say sweetheart. I've seen some things that are troubling to me because I'm concerned about you. I'm concerned about your relationship, you know we love you we know we we care about you and we do anything for you. Here are the things I'm seeing. I want you to just hear this and process it.
Maybe we can talk about it later. I think there are ways to have those conversations appropriately. But the point you're making Doyle in all this is if we sabotage the relational foundation and blow up that bridge. Then we've got no access left at that point. That's right. We have to make sure we're doing everything we can to preserve that relationship so we can continue to interact in and try to bring help and healing here right. You can say what you just said Bob in a very kind and loving way and you can close that statement by saying what do you think, and then changes the whole thing of me asserting on you versus asking you what you think drawing them out, and I think it's a lot safer. This is one of the things Dave I've seen your wife do over and over again. It's one of her strengths you you routinely rather than going in and saying should be this way and you're wrong and that you will go in and say let me ask you some questions and then what you think and you've learned that as a strategy that has worked with all kinds of relation to say I think I started learning that with teenagers because I do this there like now found by asking questions. I think that's true of anyone of our friends at just helping them process the situation so they're coming up with the answers and listening to guide themselves because most the time with adult kids we had done our job.
Yes, and so by asking them questions. It's helping them to come up with some conclusions are things I didn't realize until later. My best friend was my sister when she was engaged there. It was a very tumultuous relationship and my parents could see that's what we talked about it as siblings to my sister like we feel like this is can be a bad decision. My sister told me this later that right before the wedding. My mom went to my sister and she said honey it feels like you having second thoughts.
I see that you're anxious I just want you to know that if you feel like you need to step out of this.
I know the wedding this week. But if you feel like you need to step out of this because it could put you in a situation.
It's not healthy. We will back you doesn't matter about the gas. It doesn't matter about the money we spent. It doesn't matter about any of the gifts of receipt we will back you and we will help you with whatever you decide to do now inside they were thinking, don't do this, but they gave her the option did she get married she did she have a good relationship with her mom a wonderful relationship. That's the answer. The way she approached it in her mom was always very gentle and yet it was truth in love as you can feel the truth was there and I and you as we said so often.
I think it's so hard to be a parent especially when you see your son or daughter is in danger, drawing because of the toxic relationship.
That's when you want to give Gracie when asked the question so what are you thinking when answer it wrongly and I like. I think he's fine. I think it's okay. I'm not in danger.
It's so hard and okay what is is you can't control it. One of the stories that I use in my book_that very thing was about a young lady at cost her life because her husband would not allow her to go to the hospital wouldn't allow her to see a doctor and the end result of that she had an infection and she died in the mother and father were destroyed by this socialist era time oil if you're sitting with somebody in your counseling office and they go our son you you tell one story in the book about a son whose wife was physically abusive toward him. Our son is being kicked and battered by his wife, and she has threatened to kill him. Is there a time when parents step in and say this is not to happen with our kid and they don't be gentle and keep your mouth shut and prayed they go in and say all right were here to save the life of our child, Bob, I just don't think they can save the life of their child. I think they step into hard they can make their opinion known.
This is a very dangerous thing to this young man. What do you think about this is there a time for you on your timeline that this is we need to get some help.
What do you do about this. Well, that particular couple is still together in their thriving they're doing well, but initially this is a very dangerous place for this family to be and they couldn't see the grandchildren. Everything was going wrong with this the parents, patients, and he would call me and they were so angry and upset about the danger that their son was facing.
They now have a continuing relationship with her son. Their daughter-in-law on them get along there able to see the grandchildren.
It's all worked out, but time is on the people side times on your side and I think there's a place for us to be concerned. But we gotta be careful. Let me ask about the grand children. Grandparent issue because in the last political cycle.
I was talking to moms and dads were saying our kids are saying you can't see your grandkids anymore because who you're supporting for president. If the situation is such that whether it's politics or there's any other wedge issue that causes the kids to say if that's what you believe. If that's what your church believes were cutting off the relationship completely to parents just have to say. Well I guess that's what were stuck. I've got one family very close to me that I love dearly. They been not seen their grandchildren for probably at this point, 15 years they cut them over over religious reasons. This particular person was a extremist and extreme legalistic convictions and because the parents were not that way, they have not seen their children for 15 years and I think most generally those things heal themselves. If the parents are careful because the kids are going to want babysitting.
They do want them to come by. There's things that happen naturally away from the argument and away from the fighting that goes on. Sometimes those things will often heal themselves, but they don't always do that and those of grandkids when they turn 15 or 20 maybe think about what we must do well and that can happen just yet. I'm also thinking of the grandkids who are in danger, you know, it's one thing if I feel like my daughter my sons in danger may be physically hit because maybe their spouses abusive. But now I get grandkids that are two and three years old and has a grandparent like oh my goodness, I want to go in there just to get them safe. Yes, Lily hello I am Mike getting knocked down the door save my grandkids think that everything in me is like going to rescue me to get her stirred and most especially moms and dads that protected element of grandkids are kids or adults. But these grandkids. Now there anything even though they're not our children when we do it well. I just think you have to trust your kids. You've raised them to be responsible. You raise and be good kids select out there and there's going to be other people that are going to come in the loop. Social services are going to come in the loop.
Other people neighbors are going to pick up on this.
There's a lot of people I can pick up on it and I think asking those right questions. I've heard you say several times in this inner conversation.
How big is your God, and run.
Anyways it comes back to there is a God that knows and sees in his huge and he intimately involved in the small details of our life and he can be trusted and it's hard times. At times, but it's true you in the end of your book you talk about safe people and unsafe people borrowing from the work of the cloud and Townsend who wrote the book on safe people, but you say that unsafe people are people who think they have it all together rather than admitting to their weaknesses. If you see a son-in-law or daughter-in-law either before or after marriage and there there like yeah I got this. There's an arrogance or pride there. There should be a fly go up there should likely to use a unsafe people are religious instead of spiritual. Explain what you mean by not go to church faithfully and they may go to men's meetings, but they're not spiritually inclined or not really in a relationship with Christ. This life-changing character building and that's a big difference and we should point out, you talked about this earlier David and you talked about the fact that when you started dating you were a new Christian and if my daughter stating a new Christian, I want that new Christian to have a little bit of a track record before that relationship goes too far because sometimes that new Christian is somebody who's there for a couple months and then not around anymore so you do want to have some time to see is this really gonna prove itself out and actuary behavior.
You say that an unsafe person is somebody who's defensive instead of open to feedback for back to humility is the current site. People are self-righteous instead of humble.
They all only apologize instead of changing their behavior.
A quick solution to everything is all I have to do is apologize. Hopefully you will forgive and that's it but go right back into it and as we often say of the week and remember marriage get away an apology will not include the words if or but you don't say I'm sorry if right and you don't say I'm sorry but you just negated the I'm sorry part when you say and oftentimes you don't even explain the depth of what you're actually apologizing for the hurt that you've caused the depth of what you've done. They don't apologize for the whole thing. They want to just say I'm sorry I said that and go on but they don't realize what that does the person they set it to the child.
They said it to her. Whatever you say that unsafe people avoid working on their problems instead of dealing with them. What's the difference between working on your problem in dealing with the ones recognizing that working on it means that I'm investing in it.
I'm really investing in change.
I'm really trying to make the adjustments that I need to. I'm changing my habits. I'm changing the direction I drive to work. I'm really working on it day in and day I read that I thought there was a point where I was recognizing in my own life. How self focused. I was about things and how much everything I needed to have the spotlight on me on so I would tell people for a while.
Yeah, I recognize this about myself and I'm working on it and I learned that those people respected me more if I said that and so I just kept saying that I was really working on anything. I was just saying spotlight was on. Yeah right yeah it became a nude so there's a difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow right. Have you known some 51.
David prays for contrite heart study and years ago with the contrite heart compared to a trite hard. Here's how I ended up a trite heart is. I'm sorry, got caught contrite heart is.
I'm sorry. Did it choose events and you want to see that obviously in in your in your sons and daughters and who they're doing and you can see that perfectly but me when you see true humility which says I am broken that I did this godly sorrow that leads to working out and saying guide you to change me. I think for listeners that have kids in their home. We teach our kids these things when they're under our roof who to marry of what to look for in a spouse.
I know that when our kids were little, and when I kids are below 12 there sponges there soaking up everything that are saying and I remember saying what kind of girl he can marry now and I penetrated my continent narrate not just a Christian woman who loves Jesus teaching and in the why and they get older.
Why is that important. What is that look like to have those conversations at bedtime around the dinner table. What is marriage and why does it matter who I married, what am I looking for in American legacy.
These are great conversations to have in kids a lot want to hear. They want to have instruction of what to be looking for. Of who to be looking for in character qualities of people that are following Jesus and by the way you sit beside and thinking.
I watched her do this for 20 some years. He was a genius at this. I just sit there dinner table like go girl you know and the boys would soak it up and they married three incredible women and again I'm thankful to God for that. And you can't really control that but they mean and really trained him and that's our job as parents to step up unite.
Dave did which I would encourage everyone and anyone to do that he would take Fridays every Friday morning he would fast until dinner time and you started getting out when Dave conceded was born so 34 years he would be praying for their spouses and it's never too late to start that I had a couple women that I have fasted with and paid for on Wednesday that were praying for our kids, their spouses, our grandkids, that is a great principle to put into practice when you sit or in my situation get the stand to be the pastor and the father of these three weddings and you look at your future daughter-in-law. She didn't know this but you know what I pray for you before you were born I been praying for you without knowing your name your entire life and now is an answer to a prayer that my son would marry a godly woman and again when I sit here saying we have perfect family perfect, but their amazing women and God is big right he can really interested in you Doyle have given us encouragement and hope and counsel and this subject I know is heart wrenching for so many of our listeners. Thank you for taking time to share and thanks for the book but absolutely thanks for being here.
Thank you for having me. I appreciate the work of family life. Appreciate you guys love you guys. Thanks for laying the foundation.
Bob you for many years of been here Dave you and and stepping up to the helm. We just praise God for you. Keep it going and keep thinking we are a course making your book available this week. The family like today listeners who are supporting the ongoing work of family life today those listeners who can help advance the mission of family life today. Doyle's book is our thank you gift to you. It's called toxic sons and daughters in law, untangling difficult relationships you can purchase a copy on the website of family like today.com or will send you a copy as a thank you gift when you support family life today with the donation of any amount. Your donations extend the reach of this ministry and help us connect with more people more regularly to effectively develop godly marriages and families.
That's our goal.
That's what you're investing in. When you invest in the work of family life today and were grateful for that. You can donate email@example.com you can call one 800 FL today to make a donation by phone and again, be sure to ask for Doyle Roth's book, toxic sons and daughters in law when you donate out David Robbins, the present family life is here with us today. Dave and I want to take a moment and talk about one of our newest resources of family life that you probably have heard us talk about but were starting to hear from people who are doing the dates to remember box and it really is an experienced three different moments that you can have with your spouse to really develop closer connection not just spend time together on a day but really have intentional conversation. That's also really fine and I just got this email that share the impact that the dates remember experience had on this couple and and the husband said it gave us a Chrysler way to focus on one another on a date night rather than just focusing on a movie or an event we may in the conversation in the evening with very little connection actually happening. It really provided a way for us to connect deeply. I just want to encourage you if you are continuing to look for creative ways to have connection with your spouse, the dates to remember box has been designed for you. Hope you'll check it out in a course is a link on our firstname.lastname@example.org with more information about dates to remember so on. Thank you, David, thanks for that. Tomorrow we're going to talk about just how critical it is for all of us to be living our lives with an extended community around us. Sharon Hirsch joins us to talk about the power of belonging to one another.
You can tune in for that. I don't think our engineer today. Keith Lynch, we got some help from Bruce Goff and our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our host Steven M. Wilson.
I'm Bob Payne will see you back tomorrow for another edition of family life today. Family life today is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas crew ministry help for today hope for tomorrow