Just when you think your kid will NEVER do something, it’s likely they will!! Good kids sometimes make bad choices. As parents, how do we handle these tough moments?
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Welcome to the nextTalk podcast. We are passionate about keeping kids safe in an overexposed world.
It’s Mandy and Kim and we’re navigating tech, culture and faith with our kids.
So, Kim, I saw this meme and we’ve posted it at nextTalk. We didn’t make it, but it’s so funny. This is what it says. Soon, as you say, my child would never here. They come nevering like they’ve never nevered before.
That’s one of my favorites, I have to be honest, because when I read that it took me back to my first child, my first baby. This is the first time I learned this lesson. I recall when I was pregnant, walking through the HGB grocery store looking at other moms whose kids were screaming and they didn’t have clothes on, just like a diaper, and you could tell there was poop in the diaper and I was like my child will never do that and I will never be that kind of mom. I’m telling you, fast forward, have that first baby. And I remember standing and crying in the HGB with my child in a diaper that had just exploded on the basket and he was wearing no clothes. That was the first time I realized you can never say that.
I remember starting on this journey thinking my kid will never post anything like that on social. Oh my gosh, oh my word. You never want to say never, because here’s the thing I mean. It’s so funny when your kids are little, you just have this idea of what parenting is going to be and how you’re going to be able to make them line up and do what you want them to do yes, mold them into perfect little names.
I don’t know, but they have a mind of their own and God gave us that. It’s called free will. We all have it, our kids have it, and so, no matter how much we say, honey, don’t do this, there’s this rebellion streak in our kids and so. But it’s funny to me because I think the moms of teenagers, especially as you get older, you would never say your kid would never do anything, because you’ve learned it too many times, you’ve been gut punched so many times where you’re in a position where you’re like I didn’t think my kid would ever do that. Here we are, and, yes, so, but the moms of little still hold out. Hope my kids will never be like that. They won’t.
Well, you just imagine that they will listen to you and they do. You know, somewhere deep inside they are hearing and that little seed is planted and most of the time I feel like kids. They go down the right path for the majority of the time but, like you said, they veer off and they’ve got to fall on their face and do their own thing and feel the repercussions of themselves, and I think that’s good. It’s painful and hard and sometimes embarrassing, but I think it’s good that we allow them to have those moments that are not good hopefully not lifelong changes, but those moments that are not good so they learn for themselves the truth about making good choices.
Well, and I think as a mom, as a parent in general, it’s just humbling.
It keeps us humble, first of all, that we’re never going to be the perfect parent. I mean, we strive to be, obviously, we strive to disciple them well, and the other thing is is, like you know, the trusting them with the Lord, even when they do the never thing that we never thought they would do on our knees in prayer. Lord, show me how to fix this, show me how to help this, show me how to disciple this, to correct it to. You know, this is not a good situation here. I think trusting the Lord in that is there’s something to be said about it, because it keeps us, as a parent, realize we need God to help guide us on this journey, because it is hard and kids’ brains aren’t fully developed and we say it all the time here at Next Talk good kids will make mistakes, like you just need to know that good kids from good families will make mistakes, and it doesn’t make you a bad parent if your kid does something you never thought they would do.
And I think it’s important, and this is a lesson that has been hard for me to learn and to step into, but I’ve really seen the fruit of it.
When I do it is when my kid does make a mistake.
My first instinct is to fix it for them. Like, oh my gosh, we need to call this person or we need to do this thing, and it’s because we’re older and we’ve experienced things and we understand how resolution occurs most times. But it has helped me so much when I step back and I sit with my kid and have a good conversation about like, okay, well, what do you think about this and how can we fix it and what are your ideas? And have you prayed about it? And teach them that skill of self-reflection and realizing that their actions have consequences. And then we work together on a way to fix it and then letting them follow through on it. And that is a process and it’s sometimes painful because you want to just get it done. But, man, that’s what our kids need to learn how to do is mess up and then make it right on their own, and so I think that’s one of the best things that we can do. When our kids do the never thing is help them get to the other side of it.
I think that’s such a good point, kim, too, in us not coming in with resolution and to do’s to fix it, but also like pushing them to pray about it. What do you think you should do now? Because this is a situation that you’ve done this or you know, whatever it is like a fractured relationship, or they were mean, or, you know, just posting something that wasn’t appropriate. You know, maybe they have to sit in the situation of somebody, their peer, contacting them, saying, man, that really disappointed me that you posted that, or whatever. You know, maybe they have to experience that and we always want to push them into a relationship with Jesus, like this conviction comes from Jesus, not us always just saying this is what you need to do here now.
Of course, sometimes we have to point it out, we have to be like hey, why did you do this? Why, if you, if you see them doing something that you’re like, huh, I never thought they would do that, you know it is okay with the spirit lead you to do so in saying, hey, like tell me how you got here, like what, what was your thought process and doing this and kind of walking them through it. But what, we always want to push them into this conviction, this relationship with Jesus, and I think an example of this is just saying to your kid you know, what do you think you need to do next? Why don’t you pray about it and then let’s talk about it? And it’s more them leading the way than you telling them, like a checkbox, to do this. This is what grows their little spirit, their conviction, their soul, and and I think it’s very important that we don’t miss those moments in the middle of maybe being disappointed or surprised that they did this thing and you can start that when they’re younger.
I remember when my kids were little little and they would mess up or do something crazy because all little kids do I would start with giving them examples and choices, like, okay, this was not a good choice. Here are three things you could do to fix it. What do you think? And just start with something simple like that, so you get into that rhythm with them thinking through resolution, and so you can start that as young as you know, two or three years old, and so it’s not new for them by the time they’re on social media and having these bigger relationships and then, as they get older, they’re bringing the solutions to you and because they’re, they’ve learned to do that as a life scale when they were young.
I love that and I, kim, I want to talk about the the opposite pendulum swing of this, though. You know you, you say my kids would never, never, and I’ve really been humbled so much as a parent I think we all have, and so sometimes what I tend to do when I’m like don’t want to be shocked at something my kid’s going to do, is I swing the pendulum to the extreme side, where now I’m expecting my kids to do horrible things.
And that’s not good, expecting the worst.
You expect the worst. And so say, you walk in on your kid and they’re on your phone and you immediately go to a horrible thought where it could just be their chat with their friends and it’s no big deal. But your mind goes to a place. And I think we do that because we want to prepare our hearts for the disappointment or for the bad choices that we know kids may make. And so we prepare our hearts. But I think we have to be really careful with this, because if we are always expecting the worst of our kids I mean, you know, we could create a self-fulfilling prophecy, we could push them away. They could take on that label like I’m a bad kid, mom expects this of me and so this is how I’m going to behave, and so we have to be really delicate here.
All parents have heard and teachers, you know leaders, people live up to your expectations, and if your expectation is that my kid is making bad choices or doing bad things and they know that you feel that way, you’re right. It could be a self-fulfilling prophecy. They start to live up to that. So, like well, she thinks that anyway, I might as well do it, and I think we see that. I’ve seen it happen before, not so much online, but just in social situations or with personality things like oh, he’s the crazy one or she’s the shy one, those type of expectations.
That’s a lot of times, I think, how it starts, and I remember a mentor in my life we were talking about how she had always said oh, my daughter introduced her daughter as the shy one and she started to live up to that and she was shy, but only because that was what was put on her. It was a label and that was never meant to be. And so being really aware of what we’re saying and how we’re treating our kids and what they think we think of them which I know is a little bit confusing, but we find that out through conversation with our kids and asking them. You know things like what can I do better as a parent? We find out what our kids think. We think of them. All of that put together, we can avoid those labels. We can avoid those negative expectations, so that our kids don’t feel that from us we don’t want that.
I love that example you give of like, oh, this is the shy kid. You know, I’ve heard people say, well, my kid’s just sneaky, or this kid just doesn’t like to talk, and if they hear that over and over they become that Like it’s a label. And again we always say no label except child of God. You know, no labels except child of God. That’s where our whole identity lies, is being in a relationship with God. That’s our identity, first and foremost, before we take on anything else. But these labels, they can have really detrimental effects to how our kids see themselves and how we see them also. And so you know, as funny as this is, my kid would never, never.
And what we want to be real careful about is that we don’t swing the pendulum too far and then just plan to expect the worst. We don’t want to do that, you know, with everything. At Next Talk we say there’s always these two extremes and we want to look at both of those extremes and kind of dissect them. Whether it’s a philosophy or a school of thought or whatever, it is right. Let’s look at those two extremes. And then where’s Jesus lying? All this, you know, where’s the balance, where’s the non-extreme, non-crazy side? And we’re doing that with everything, and so we want to do that with this thought process too. Of my kid would never. We need to make sure that we’re looking at both extremes and we’re not swinging that pendulum too far to either side.
And I think practically what that looks like is being aware, being aware of the world and what they’re facing when they go to school and online, all of those challenges, so that our heart is not constantly like in shock, like what, oh my God, I had no idea. So I think preparing our hearts is a practical way, by educating ourselves and learning about their world and asking them open-ended questions and being willing to learn from our kids. But on the other side of that, expecting that the seeds that you plant and the way that you’ve led your kid that they will choose well and when they don’t, I love you the same, let’s find a resolution together, but not expecting them to always make a bad choice just because that’s an option.
I think that’s key, kim, is that they can come to you even if they know you’re going to be upset or kind of disappointed, even though you may not say that to them. They know your belief system and they know your expectation, so they know when they’ve messed up or they haven’t lived up to something or they just did something totally out of character. They know they already have that conviction and them being able to come into a space where they’re loved unconditionally. You know that default to love.
But just sometimes hugging my kid in the moment and crying together like I love you the same, like I don’t ever expect perfection, what I do expect is for you to seek God and wanna be like Him, and we’re all trying to do that and we all fall short on a daily basis. And so the fact that you wanna come to me and tell me, mom, this happened, or whatever that is, makes my heart that’s a win. That makes my heart leap with joy because you’re trying, you are understanding that, oh, that wasn’t right what I did and that’s what we want. We don’t expect perfection. We don’t expect our kids to be robots and line up and believe everything we believe and, you know, do everything we do. That’s not, should be our expectation. They have free will. We want to disciple this little soul well, so that they love Jesus and they chase after Jesus. That’s the goal here, not for them to line up to our expectations or our thought process of what they should be, what our kids should be.
So true, and they need to hear that. I have realized that the older my kids get, it’s easy not to love on them and share those things with them, because they’re older, you know and you think they know, but every once in a while you know how we say. It’s not a one time sit down conversation, so every once in a while I’ll repeat the same thing and it’ll be about things like this Like you know what, you are going to mess up and I just need to remind you that I’m going to love you the same and we’re going to figure it out and just leave it at that. You know, it doesn’t have to be some big conversation. You don’t have to give them all these examples. Sometimes, just reminding them of your love for them and that you are there to support them, you are on their team, is all they need to hear in the moment and it is powerful.
It is powerful. You said something earlier, kim, and I just want to circle back to it because I thought it was good. You said if we know what their world is like, we’ll be less shocked when they bring us stuff or even they mess up or start to struggle with something that we’re like whoa, where did this come from? Kind of thing. You know, and I think that’s really critical to know the culture. It’s.
That’s really important for us at Next Talk. You know, yeah, we’re about keeping your kids safe online. We want to create that open communication because we think that is the first line of defense in keeping your kids safe. But one of the main components of Next Talk, too, is also like making sure, especially Christian parents who are sometimes I mean, we’re Christian parents, so I can say this we live in a bubble sometimes and we don’t understand how the world sees things. And Christian parents I like want to encourage you. You need to see how the world sees things and we want to help you with that. We want to tell you what’s going on. But that way, when your kid does talk to you about their culture or their online world or does a never that you never thought they would do? You are prepared to be like okay, let’s look at both sides here, let’s look at both extreme of what’s happening and let’s put it through the filter of Jesus, like what does Jesus say, what does the Bible say about this? And that is really, really important.
That’s all really good, mandy, and I’ll be honest with you, this show is about our kids and parenting. But the older I get and the older my kids get and the longer I’m married, I realize this is really important for all of our relationships, like friends, spouse, knowing what they’re going through, supporting them and resolving things that they walk through, and giving them the benefit of the doubt, not thinking the worst of our friend or our spouse, and being prepared to encourage them to always seek Jesus, and so, as much as this is about parenting, I think this is really something important that we apply to all of our relationships.
Absolutely, absolutely. I do want to end with this, kim, if you tuned into this show and thought my kid just never, never, and I don’t know what I’m going to do now. A couple of things. I hope the talking points that we shared help throughout the show, but I do want to leave you with this because one of my humbling moments when my kid never, when I thought they would never, ever kind of thing I remember the Lord taking me to a famous verse, and this is what it said.
It’s Proverbs 22, 6,. Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old. He will not depart from it. And I remember thinking, Lord, like we’ve discipled, we’ve read your scripture, we’ve you know? I’ve tried to be diligent, like why is my kid never, never here? Why, what is going wrong?
And that day, when I was in prayer, the Lord just told me circle when he is old. Your kid is not old yet. Your kid is still maturing, mandy. Your kid is still figuring out who they are and who’s they are. Your kid is still developing their brain and their thought processes and their belief system. And I need you to keep being diligent and praying through this and trust me with your kid, because when your kid is old he will not depart from it.
So I just want to leave this with you If you’ve got a prodigal right now or you’ve got a kid that’s just way astray and you’re like my kid never, and they’re way off the never, never land, you know. And if you’re struggling with that, I want to leave you with that verse because in my moment, my humbling parent moments, that has really helped me and every time it happens I go back to that and that word when he is old is circled in my Bible and it just reminds me that your good kid will make mistakes. He’s not old yet. This podcast is ad free because of all the people who donate to our nonprofit.
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This podcast is not intended to replace the advice of a trained healthcare or legal professional, or to diagnose, treat or otherwise render expert advice regarding any type of medical, psychological or legal problem. Listeners are advised to consult a qualified expert for treatment.
This podcast is not intended to replace the advice of a trained healthcare or legal professional, or to diagnose, treat, or otherwise render expert advice regarding any type of medical, psychological, or legal problem. Listeners are advised to consult a qualified expert for treatment.
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