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How to Parent When You’re Losing It (…Or Your Kids Are)

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
February 22, 2022 9:00 pm

How to Parent When You’re Losing It (…Or Your Kids Are)

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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February 22, 2022 9:00 pm

How do you relate to your child when you don't know what to do? On FamilyLife Today, authors Marcus Warner and Chris Coursey teach parents how to go from reactive to relational.

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If you thought, "what do you mean you can’t spoil a toddler?”, find out more in this bonus content with Marcus and Chris Coursey..

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Building Relationships
Dr. Gary Chapman
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Chuck Swindoll
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Truth for Life
Alistair Begg

Teenagers are very hard and so we encourage parents stay relational. The best thing you could do with self-care and stay relational that will go a long way.

How do we stay anchored in the storms and how we remember who we are, so we can remind our teenagers who they are welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most and Wilson and Dave Wilson. Then you can find his family life or on our family life is his family life today. Okay, let's talk teenage years as a parent.

Now remember those years I was like 15. They were somehow mango every year. So I love the teenagers and yet they were some of my most dreaded mistakes in our listeners of hurt if they read our book. They know about you and the snowbank did tell the whole story, but as I was a frustrating time. Okay, so we're with a bunch of our friends and what were all distinct, potluck, and somebody says, hey, somebody's in the price of the entire room assignment. There's probably 30 people. There's probably 20 kids, all from our church and suddenly you hear someone say this food looks like hope that our son I didn't highlight all you are in so much trouble.

So that goes on and totally humiliated. Later were leaving and I say hand, could you walk your brother put your brother on your back because he didn't bring issues for some reason and take him out to the car and then again the room assignment that are sent to everything in this cell now I'm following him how he's carrying the sign and now we are out of all the years and so I think you learned so much trouble that was so disrespectful and it was embarrassing. We get to the car. There's a snowbank and he's putting his little brother into the car and I see this snowbank and the sun is off balance insight to my shoulder and I just imagine any false snowbank I get into the car and I lack all the cars pounding on the door. My husband, the pastor is cut into the car is what's happening right now, so he finally gets in the car because I unlocked it and I start crying saying I am the worst mom ever and I will never talk about parenting ever again here we are done with the two dads who wrote a book about about also have studied brain sciences relates to marriage and life and faith in now.

So, welcome back to family of today we got Marcus Warner and Chris Gorski was a thank you for meter what God loves you guys we just news you mean this latest book for habits of raising joyful kids remind us with the four habits are, then let's talk about how you plan to adult age teenage age kids absolutely love. So the four habits are ABCD and you can think a be with the right side of the brain CD with the left side of the brain dominantly, but it is a tune to their motion through the body language Beas help them bounce back from their motion sees correct with care and is develop discipline relationally did that perfectly with the snow okay so honestly I wasn't in the story going every parent right has a story like you because what it is is that my emotional capacity got overwhelmed in the switch of my brain that controls whether or not I stay myself and act like myself had gone off and you try to do different person momentarily did turning right different person so soon as you switch came back online. You were mortified yeah like this, not like me to do that and so now your true self is having an argument with.

Also, if it was up there a minute ago going. You know, will the real me. Please stand up and it's confusing and it's shaming and we've all been there, right interesting to because the enemy of our soul. Assess your true self. You just became that's who you are and and golfing.

I created you to be exactly too many of us identify ourselves by our malfunctions and not by who we are, or living with joy the center of the brain is the highest level of brain functions on the right side of the brain and really what were talking about is how do I parent with my relational circuitry on it as a poster printing with my relational circuitry off because when relational circuitry goes off. I do turn into a different person, and that's what our kids can a sense in us like which data my talking to which the mom and I are talking to and what they're saying is you change right you if you're feeling this emotion you don't act like you do when you're feeling that emotion and I get scared of you when you're feeling this emotion but I love being around you when you're at this one right. So we all have those holes and that's part of what were trying to do in growing our own maturities filling out those holes of the emotions that cause us to turn to somebody else so Chris how we get the switch on yeah you know there's a couple things that we can do to get the switchback on Marcus and I have an acrostic called cake and so lawyer acrostic ABC try to keep it easy here so the sea is just for curiosity so we can notice in my relational rent on my curious about what you're thinking. So curiosity is a very quick way to go. You know, I'm not curious right now because I'm really mad at you. That's a good sign. I'm not relational and the a is just for appreciation. Can I feel appreciation so appreciation is just what we call package joy. Can you think of something from your day. That was good.

And can you feel that and so when our relational circuit is off.

We can't feel appreciation right know I'm really mad so if you can take a moment and just pause and catch your breath and think about something that was good. One of God's gifts to you that can actually help to get this relational circuit back on saying that even as a and is walking out to the car with our oldest in front of her she could possibly even though she's frustrated from what happened inside the room just right away go okay what am I thinking what am I feeling my curious about how CJ's doing a you and I could be thankful right now. I got a son.

This is yet with a little bit of practice so if I would've been there the first thing I would probably had to do is just take some deep breaths and just breathe your really upset right now just take some deep breath.

Where were you take some deep breath that the spouse can yes we can just remembering you know it just takes a little bit of practice, you practice it on the good days will show up on the hard to get all practices deathly not going to show up on the hard days indicate just kindness. Do I feel like being kind. No I don't. I know it's off you don't want to be kind you want to know what a blast this child.

Here the ease eye contact.

Do you have eye contact with your child or not, you know, could you feel like looking your child in the eye right now to get when were in non-relational mode.

What we call enemy mode right the people I love feel like enemies instead of my son that I love. We don't want to look at what we want to give him the eye of death because were really think she knew what was going on with me. I was embarrassed. Yes your complex yeah. Harris because what if this do.

It made me parent and so really that's very self-centered email instead of taking breath being the parent having my switch on being able to look at CJ. What should I have said, you know, what's that conversation look like after I'm calm and he's calm look a little different ways. Of course, let me say one thing about take your riches that is both a way to assess for right if I am fit to be having this conversation so that site so the point here is that if I am walking out to the car and I am feeling about my son. No curiosity, no appreciation, no I says the only eye contact. I want to make with them as a staring down what it tells me as I have a problem.


And my problem is not my son.

My problem is that half of my brain has shut down just knowing no is helpful right and so I'm going my problem that I need to fix right now is I need to get the right side of my brain back online so that whatever I say to my child. I act like myself when I do it so say nothing better that point to say nothing yeah and work on finding some curiosity in finding some appreciation and thinking avoid to do this with kindness and then engaging which we totally did later yeah because switch was back on tonight exactly which is why your kids still probably look back on their child with joy overalls. The general feeling yeah right as you read these moments were well yeah that was not a joyful moment in my truck yeah but the goal here is that I knew this virtue so I know that my dad was happy to have me around right that's actually bond that means that you have a joy filled kids when they know instinctively you know my dad loves having me around.

But then they also learn my debt doesn't like having me around five. This emotion of this form of fear bond with you when they have certain motion joy bond with you when they don't all H yes you yes especially it, which is where we started the same right as that is how does this apply to the teenagers and you when I don't know what to do. My default setting is validate right and like I don't know what to do with you right now so I need to attune try to read your body language and see if I can't validate your motion. Which means I don't have to agree that you should be feeling this way.

I just have to recognize my son or my daughter right now is feeling a level X sadness. I don't know why I don't think they should be feeling. That said, but they are so what I don't want to do is minimize and go with something you should be yeah yeah exactly no stopping sets are being thankful.

Aren't you a good Christian right yes that that's not to be helpful there.

What we need to do is meet them in their big sadness like you are really sad right aren't you so this is something is really, really bothering you. And so with the tone of my voice with the expression on my face with my words I want to let them know that I see them. If I am accurate, then their reaction should be not yeah that's right. That's what's going on. I can mess it up to I can say why are you so. They're not actually angry right yeah that's not gonna work.

So validating has to be accurate and you are validating their right brain emotion. What you not validating is any narrative they are expressing are any beliefs that they are stating other words, you don't say. I feel like I'm the biggest loser in the world what you don't validate that by saying will you know you are the biggest right now you're reading what's the emotion behind that you're feeling a tremendous amount of shame right now aren't you. That's what this is and so you're you're walking through that you validate their emotion and then once you done a good job validating then you can move the comforting. What most parents a mistake we make is we try to comfort kids of all ages without validating the motion first and it sends an un-meant message, we don't mean to send a message, but that I don't care about you. I just want you to get fixed for my sake from my right it feels like selfish parenting to the kids and it is helpful to know for teenagers. The teenage brain is going through a housecleaning.

So what that means is there's a whole rewiring going on around puberty and so whatever skills were there. They will still be there. After this housecleaning process, but if they weren't there. They're going to be really harder to learn after the housecleaning, so that's why parents want to pull out their hair, sometimes with teenagers because there's hormones are to motion everything is big everything is loud and it feels like everything is difficult.

While that's because the brain is very irritable during this housecleaning, and so basically the brain is saying what we use will keep whatever we don't usually get rid of so teenage years are very hard and so we encourage parents stay relational.

The best thing you could do a self care and stay relational that will go a long way. How do we stay anchored in the storms and how we remember who we are, so we can remind our teenagers who they are found to that the biggest challenges we face in the teen years are emotions that they didn't learn how to bounce back from his children. So in other words, when they get to be teenagers there now feeling really big emotions and as kids we were able to remain relational with them and comfort them and they didn't get that really solid foundation and so now is teens they feel doubly alone with this emotion and when I feel alone with an emotion it's traumatizing to me so I feel like I feel so much shame right now and I can't tell anybody you know I just cannot hide him not to let anybody know or I'm so mad at the world. I'm so angry, you know, but my parents don't care.

And so what happens is teenage years are get especially hard because they're having really big emotions and with no expectation that those emotions are going to get validated and that there's going to be any kind of connection to them other than a correction like stop having such big emotions. You're ruining my day listeners. Right now I teenagers are saying yes yes yes and I think it's hard to do is because his parents are trying to build relationship. Many times the team will push them away. Parent will leave in our parenting book. We said that in the teenage years. It's all about relationship, but a lot of parents are like so what's it look like us are pushing me away there actually flipping me sarcastic remarks and sort of acting like I'm an idiot and get in her car because I now can and driving away, and yet I'm supposed to be pursuing a relationship, but they don't want it but do they so pursue a relationship out of fear makes you dormant right when you mean by that most like if I am like, please don't run away from me, please. We have to be relationship. Please, I couldn't handle it emotionally if you don't like me. That turns me into a doormat. They perceive that they pick up on it.

They know they can walk all over us and get away with anything you we haven't talked to Holland about the sea and the D right here. The developing disciplines relationally, but there is I have to be stubborn as a parent on things and so I may lead with this and I am meeting them in their emotion, but it doesn't mean I'm not going to correct especially with teens.

What I would tell my kids a lot is my goal for use. I want you to be successful. I what I mean by that is I want you to be a high achiever.

I what you have lots of friends, close friendships, really big in the team right I want you to be have a lot of friends. I want to be the sort of person the people like hanging out with. I want you to to have a family of your own someday I'm testing this picture for them.

This vision of I want you to have a successful life path you're on right now is not can get you there is sounds like we've got a make a correction here so there have to be some consequences right now for what you've done what you're doing. The attitude you're displaying that you displayed. We are not to be tolerated in this house. Okay, we are putting down some boundaries but I have done the validating and in the of things. First, submit them where they are there emotions first, but now I'm correcting them saying, but this is not to keep happening this way so if you only have a tuning in building bounce and you never get to correcting you spoil your kids. Is that true for the toddler to the child up to four years old, or even later we are still parents.

You can't spoil babies or toddlers like there is an receiving mode and so ultimately it's about the parents fear will I'm afraid if I do this my child, get spoiled and in the book Marcus and I really will try to bring this home in bold letters as you cannot spoil an infant. They are receiving but you can be an example to help them better learn how to manage what they feel because they're going to take that training and you that every day of their life, especially when they get into the teenage years, where their brain is going through the big housecleaning that so ultimately how do we help people manage what they feel and how do I as a parent not be fearful and I'll parents. What are your fears here with your teenager what your phrase going to happen.

Want to write much else I can like me yeah afraid they're going to be mad at me okay will. Those are valid fears. Now how do you stay your relational self. How would you navigate this without that fear, so it really helps to identify the one of the fears that are driving this bus. Let's acknowledge him, must give them to Jesus. Let's give an example my son or daughter is depressed. I feel like their suicidal. My fear is there can take their life.

That's a very big, much more extreme. Yeah, right. So there are a lot of steps to get there first. But secondly, once you are there, what you want to let them know is I'm here for you all the way and whatever's going on, no matter how dark this gets one of the six especially Christians I think tend to make it when it comes to hopelessness is that we want to cut it off and inject hope. Yes, instead of allowing people to fully express the level of hopelessness. The room to sort all straight like Dr. Robert was telling me of like he often gets asked to come in and sit in on you know the hardest client and some feel when he's in as a guest and a summons like this person is really depressed he could really use some hope. Please inject some hoping to them and so the person says well you know sometimes at night. I knew I would just wish I wasn't here and he looked and said you want to bet it gets even worse. And that doesn't look around like yeah does, it gets darker than that. They went on to express that sometimes I think about killing myself and doing this stuff is that you know what and sometimes it gets even darker than that doesn't like yeah you know sometimes I even thought about this but nobody has ever let them fully get into the darkest feel what they need to feel to feel what they need to feel and know that somebody is still happy to be with me in my dark sky like Job's friends. They did a really good job sitting with him for those days. They just sat there yeah moment they started to try to explain it or justify it by fixing what miserable comforters you are. Joe said like if only they could have stayed silent. So in a sense, sometimes in all people just need to feel seen, heard and understood.

I need to be able to feel my hopelessness and if I am sitting with my friend who's hopeless of my brain knows how to get back to relational glad to be together. Joy. I'm not afraid to go to that level of hopelessness and been there before. I know how to get back if I don't then I will try to stop it all minimized. I'll try to put the fire out, and then the person is going to feel misunderstood because I'm trying to fix it or I'm trying to shortchange it so is very good especially for parents to know like your children ultimately have to learn how to manage what they feel. Which means, as parents we have to learn how to manage what we feel right if there is a time to getting professionals involved citizens a replacement about yeah but it's like if you're getting in no professional help in their door job is apparent what is it I'm supposed to be doing and part of this is to let them know I'm happy to be with you no matter how dark things get for you that you're not alone. Yeah, a lot of us say that really all be here for you, but they kinda already know where our limit is on how far down will go with them so that's why our own capacity has to grow in these areas and we have to push into it is not easy. Thank you is that feeling that our kids or even our spouse gets that like they want to be with me.

Yes, they are excited and I'm here yeah no matter what age or even a spouse is really key is your senior kid ill and in some kind of a meltdown or whatever and had the thought, you know what, I'm the perfect person to be here right now because I know exactly what to do. I'm going to go in here and that you no longer to take care of and you're genuinely happy to be with them in the middle of their meltdown because you're not overwhelmed by what's going on your thinking to yourself. I love this kid.

I'm exactly who they need right now I'm to come in here and be with them as they get through this help them recover in your thinking that because in you may not be telling yourself I'm the perfect person to be here, but you can't have that confidence like I don't do. I'm not I'm not overwhelmed by this list. I've been so a lot of us as parents don't have that because we don't actually have a picture of the head of what I'm supposed to do it right so we have to grow that over time if we are if we can only start were read. So if you're starting your parenting years without a lot of these skills you're like well I guess I know that's part of my homework now is beginning to develop skills on how I recover from emotions so that I can pass those on to my kids and you know at the end of the day, our children need to know they're not alone. Whatever we can do as parents to remind and show our children. You're not alone, that will go a long way because a lot of times parents we should.

We have to have all the answers we have to fix this with put the fire out as we learn to manage what we feel weird showing our children and demonstrating this is the kind of people we are. I love how Jesus wept when he came upon the reading community for Lazarus like Jesus knew it undo that he wet he shared he didn't tell him hey, there's no need to be sad you don't have. He actually entered in and shared the communal grief. And that's just so helpful for parents to hold onto like look, you have to have every right answer but just can't get it just being with your children and letting them know their loved.

I'm glad to be with you, even in this mess. I'm glad I can be with you and walk you through that that is just this life changing dad is such a great word for parents of any age child you said your child is longing to look at your face and see that you are happy that there your child. I think that doesn't change when their teenager adults just doesn't change. They want to know are you still pleased that I'm your child, and when they feel in sunset from us, even when were disciplining them. They feel secure.

That's it. They'll use that for the rest of their lives that no matter what happens here I am loved. I belong I'm going to be all right no matter what. And this would be my joy filled yeah and the goal here is to start a joy revolution right we live in a very low joy, culture we live in a very low joy church for the most part, and a lot of us were raised in low joy families and what were really after.

Here is if we're going to start a joy revolution in the culture.

It's gotta start with the families were better than the Christian families right is so will we know the answer right. We know the end of the story is so often Christian families been so focused on behavior and that they been focusing on making sure their kids behave like Christians and I look that God created us to be part of his family and what was he want for his family. He wants is all the love each other, to love him and for there to be joy to be fulfilled joy to be complete so is all going back to that. How do we can fulfill God's original intention for creating humans in the first place. He wanted joy filled family and when he sees us. There's a smile and harsh sons and daughters should feel the same thing from us. Thank you guys. This been awesome, so good. Thank you so good.

What you think your kids would say if at dinner tonight. You asked the question, do you think were a joy filled family coming for the most part, not all the time, nobody is all the time but do you think that for the most part, our family is joy filled and if they said yes it would be a good follow-up to say what is it that produces joy in our family. What makes us joy filled and if they said no and asked the question what you think would take for us to be a joy filled family and get ready for those answers. Maybe get a copy of the book we been talking about this week that Marcus Warner and Chris Corsi of Britain called the four habits of joy filled kids. It's a book we got in our family like today resource Center.

In fact we been sending this book out all week to those of you who can help support the ministry of family like today. I don't know how many of you realize this but this program every day. This podcast if you're listening to it as a podcast is all possible because listeners like you make it possible family life today would not exist if it weren't for friends of the ministry donors who stepped forward and say this is important to me and my family. We think it's important for our culture and our community and we want to help expand the outreach of family life today, so thanks to those of you who have given in the past.

If you can give today to support our mission to effectively develop godly marriages and families who change the world one home at the time, go to our website. Family life to make a donation or call one 800 FL today and make a donation online again.

The website is family like or call one 803 586-329-1800 F is an family L as in life, and then the word today and ask for your copy of the book the four habits of joy filled kids when you make your donation now. Dave and Ann Wilson have the opportunity to continue their conversation with Marcus Warner and Chris Corsi talking about whether it's really impossible to spoil a toddler.

One of the things that came up this week. They also talked about the difference between empathy and sympathy. Just lots more about how we create joy filled kids that conversation is available on the family life today at if you've not already downloaded the family life app go to the app store for your device and just type in family life is one word download the app and you'll have access to this additional bonus content with Chris Corsi and Marcus Warner already got the app, it should be right there available to you and you can listen to him. More on this subject with Dave and Wilson. Not tomorrow.

We want to talk about the importance the value of boundaries. A lot of times we think boundaries constrain us or constrict us while Ashley Hales joins us tomorrow to talk about how appropriate boundaries can actually open things up for you in life or to talk about what it looks like to lead a spacious life.

Tomorrow I hope you can join us for that on behalf of our host statement and Wilson on Bob team. See you back next time for another edition of family life today like today is a production of family life accrued ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most

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