0:00:03 – Speaker 1
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0:00:32 – Speaker 1
More than cyber parenting conversations to connect. As a parent of two teens, i’m constantly asking myself am I being too strict or am I being too lenient? Yes, the struggle is real my God.
I’m especially with my 17-year-old. I’m in this stage of parenting where she’s got a lot of freedom. I have let the kite string out and I’m always thinking, oh, is it too much freedom? Do I need to reel this in a bit? But if she’s flying well and she’s doing okay with all this freedom, I think it’s okay. It’s a balance. Everything is a balance, though.
0:01:09 – Speaker 2
Well, yeah, and I mean she’s getting ready to leave the nest, so you’ve got to let the kite out and let her practice. I’m sorry, i know You’re a politician, here’s a politician, i’m not to cry today. Well then, it seems mean that I’m saying well, as the parent of littles, you are home for a long time in my nest.
0:01:28 – Speaker 1
But you know what? I wouldn’t want to go back because littles are hard to They are.
0:01:33 – Speaker 2
They’re hard in a different way, but we ask ourselves the same question all the time Am I being too strict, am I being too lenient? But it’s with things like screens and sleepovers and activities. Am I giving them too much freedom too early or am I sheltering them too much because I’m worried? That’s a constant conversation.
0:01:50 – Speaker 1
You know why I think this is so hard to find the balance here with this question. I mean, there’s no black or white, and with each kid it’s different, and really each situation could be so different. You know, like one thing may be okay to give a lot of freedom and another thing may be like whoa, whoa, whoa, that’s that we got a real. This in This is too much, too fast, you know, and so you’re constantly having to talk through every scenario and every kid which requires a lot of work.
0:02:17 – Speaker 2
It does. You know, i have three kids and they are all different So I feel like I need a spreadsheet sometimes just to remember oh yeah, this kid’s like this. But honestly, you know, within my own family, and I bet most of us can relate to this, you’ve got your rule follower. I definitely have one of those. They know how to follow the rules, they know how to check things off the box. They’re responsible And I can be less strict with that kid. They’re hard on themselves, like my one. That’s a rule follower. He’s the one that if he doesn’t do something or follow through, he feels it right away And he’s like man, i didn’t do this And I almost have to walk them through being less hard on themselves, like it’s okay, like we all mess up or you don’t have to do that. So, to the T, it’s okay to have a little wiggle room here. That conversation is real with a rule follower.
0:03:06 – Speaker 1
And on the flip side of that equation, then some kids, like you know, push the, push the line, yeah, and you know, if you have a child like this, i mean I think everyone, i think everyone’s been gifted with one of these, right, because it’s like God’s way of keeping us humble. You thought you knew how to parent.
Surprise, got one more follow, got one pusher of the line. You know these kids aren’t hard on themselves, so you know if they turned in an assignment late they may not even care. She bad. And so we have to turn it up a little So they take responsibility a little more serious, where with the rule follower you’re like oh, don’t beat yourself up, it’s fine. It’s like a total opposite conversation, it’s a push the liners.
0:03:48 – Speaker 2
Yes. So it’s amazing We don’t lose our mind with all these different types of personalities. And in describing these two kids that we’ve talked about and of course there’s more we do want to be careful not to label our kids, And there’s a few reasons for that. I mean, we’re just describing two groups, but obviously there’s a range here and your child may not fit neatly into one of the categories we’re describing. I mean, you do have the super hard on themselves kid and you do have the push the line kid, But you may have someone that’s in between and you’ve got to navigate that as well.
0:04:19 – Speaker 1
Absolutely. Another reason not to label your kid is your kid is learning. I mean, this is a process, So they’re going to change with each season. You could have had a rule follower for years and then all of a sudden, boom, let’s push the line And you’re like Whoa, this is my kid, who’s always so. That can even surprise us and causes to overreact, Right, Because we’re like we got a problem here.
So with this kind of situation, you know you haven’t had to be too strict And then all of a sudden you need to turn it up. Your kid’s going to be like what is happening? Why are you being so strict all of a sudden? And so that’s going to require a conversation. Hey, you used to be like this and you follow the rules and you know you, you didn’t even press the guidelines And now you’re asking about them, And that’s okay. You’re just changing as a kid and you’re learning. But that’s why we have to kind of talk about them more and enforce them a little bit more, because I’m seeing this change in you And we need to get back on the same page again.
0:05:16 – Speaker 2
You know we talk about this all the time. Instead of just laying down the law or making a new rule or suddenly being strict, it is really important to explain the why behind your behavior. So your kid isn’t blindsided. I will say I have a new middle schooler. This is a whole new world for us And I’ve had so many calls from moms who said, since we’ve gone into middle school I have this rule follower. But with all the changes and the moving of classes and the freedom and the going to a different school or moving up in school, they’re pushing a little more than normal. And I think that’s part of the normal process of a tween transitioning into middle school. But I’ve noticed even in my own house that’s a time when your rule follower may start to push a little bit. So kind of prepare your headspace for that and have that conversation with them when you start to see some changes.
0:06:06 – Speaker 1
There’s a great book called middle school, the inside story, and In it they explain like a bubble and they’re talking about really the middle school, like their brain fog is basically, and they’re like in this new space and they don’t know what to do with it And they’re pretty much self-absorbed because they’re trying to figure it out. Yeah, and so be patient with those kids, yeah, and you do have to step it up a bit.
Yes that with hey, these are the guidelines, you need to do this, you need to do that where you may not have had to. You know, talk about that before, yep, okay. So I think we’ve kind of set this up. We’ve talked about the two different opposite ends of the spectrum, but we’ve also said, hey, there’s a lot of range in between here. You know, don’t label your kid one or the other, and they can change from season to season. They can be a real follower and then become a push the liner, and so you, you’re gonna have to change the balance. But I really want to talk now about, like, some specific examples of what we mean here, and so one that comes to mind for me are close, hmm, close, you know, and we just recently did a show on the Matthew West controversy, with that whole thing, and it was one of our most viewed shows. We had a lot of feedback from that. We thought we were gonna get canceled. We haven’t yet. We may still.
This is one of the things that you know. I have a teen daughter, and so you know She’s older now and so she I’m much more lenient in how she dresses at this stage than I was when she was nine Right. And so one of the things that I think that I have learned through this process of watching her find her own style with clothes and everything is We cannot be too strict. If we’re so strict, then it ends up in rebellion, where you know, we all know the girls who Sneak a different outfit to school Because and we don’t want that, we don’t want to create liars in our home Yeah, so we want to have this open communication about you know, why do you want to dress like that and how are you representing yourself and giving them the bigger picture Thought process you know it’s really about are you honoring God in this? Does that make sense?
0:08:13 – Speaker 2
Yes, it totally makes sense. I mean those conversations about looking at the bigger picture and the why behind their choices are not only important in the moment, but preparing them for when they are older, like you’re saying, and they’re getting ready to leave the nest. They’ve got to be able to make those decisions on their own, so I think that’s imperative. I mean some of the styles that kids are wearing you know their friends may be wearing, but even bigger than that, the influence of something like TikTok. I mean those styles sometimes come with a label from social media. So you want to ask them just what you’re choosing to wear. Come with a label. Is that what you want to put on yourself? I mean we even have some shows about this one called influence. That is good to listen to. We talk about labels on that show Very helpful.
0:08:57 – Speaker 1
Yeah, and we have a ton of shows on TikTok because this. There’s this big thing at an aesthetic on TikTok that you really need to know about, because sometimes if you like this style, well then that means this, this and this also, and so there’s some great conversations to have about. Okay, you can like this style but not pick up the label or not vote that way or not, whatever. You just have to break it down for your kid because there’s so much coming at them. We have a team member that says she has a little saying and she says kids need to try on shoes. Now, what she means by that is we need to give our kids a little space to figure out their style, or this could also mean like to figure out their slang, and as they get older They will, they will use different slang words or whatever.
It will change over time. You know, i remember when my kids were little it was like don’t ever say the word stupid. You know that was our mm-hmm. Okay, now we’re saying stupid, like you know. Now I want them to say stupid instead of some of the other things I said, right, and so it changes over time and you kind of have to change with your kid. Now that doesn’t mean there are certain lines that don’t get crossed, because it’s a biblical moral compass And you talk about those all the time and your kid needs to know the line that should not be crossed. Yes, right, and we need to talk about that, but we also need to give them space, too, to figure it out along that same line is social media.
0:10:21 – Speaker 2
I mean we definitely don’t want to give our kids social media before they’re ready. It should be earned, because you trust them. You know They’re consistently telling you the things that they’re seeing or hearing, the things that kids are showing them on their phones at school or they’re hearing on the bus or at the lunch table, if that’s a regular thing happening. They have gained trust by being open and honest with you. At the same time, we don’t want to wait until their 18th birthday and you’re dropping them off at college and you give them social media the night before. Then you haven’t given them an opportunity to learn how to navigate it under your roof, where you can guide them. It’s a balance.
0:10:59 – Speaker 1
You know, i see a lot of parents struggling with this, particularly moms, and I do too. A lot is I don’t want to feel peer pressured and again, my kids social media. I don’t want to get my kids social media because everyone else has it And we need to make sure we are not doing that. But I do very much believe wholeheartedly that you have a certain number of years and really I think it’s between the years of 14 and 16 really where you can really get them there and teach them how to use social media. For some kids, for the rural followers, it may be 13. They may get it a little bit earlier. For the push, the liners, it may be a little bit later. It’s going to range differently, but there’s a certain number of years that we can get in there and really teach our kids some healthy screen habits. And I think sometimes we miss it because we are like digging our heels in and saying I’m not going to cave to peer pressure, and I don’t really think it’s peer pressure when they’re that older, because it’s their world. They’re growing up in a tech saturated world. Do I wish that were not the case? Yes, but I can’t change the entire world, so I have to help my kid learn how to navigate that in a healthy way.
You know, now, at 17, my daughter is pretty much navigating this on her own. Very rarely do I have to say, hey, are you sure you want to post that? Or what do you, what are you doing? kind of thing. I mean, we’ve walked through every social media platform, one at a time. So it was Instagram, and then it was she earned Snapchat, and then she earned Twitter, and then she earned TikTok. And please note, tiktok was the last, because I believe it is the worst with everything that I have navigated her through. It impacted her the most, it influenced her the most. Your for you page is not the same as her for you page, and so you need to know that.
0:12:51 – Speaker 2
And you know in this conversation of being too strict and too lenient. Having those very clear guidelines, especially when they’re young, is preparing them for you to be more lenient when they’re older. So things like not letting them have phones behind closed door or screens when they’re younger gives them that guideline that you can see. Are they actually following it? So as they get older and they have a phone, that’s already something they know not to do.
0:13:18 – Speaker 1
Well, you move into more of a coaching conversational style as they get older and you’re letting them make the decisions, And so laying the foundation, like you said, when they’re little is so important.
0:13:31 – Speaker 2
So if you’re struggling to figure out a situation, you know, whatever it might be. We want to share a couple of practical things that can help you figure it out. First of all, pray. Now, we know that sounds cliche and we say it all the time, but you know your child and your family dynamic better than anyone else And, of course, god does above all else. So pray and ask him for direction. Should I allow my child to do this or not, and then wait on the Holy Spirit?
0:13:55 – Speaker 1
Also ask yourself can I trust this child? Do I have warning signs that they’re hiding things from me? If you have warning signs, then that may be a sign that you need to be a little bit more strict. Make sure that they understand your guidelines and make sure they understand what you expect them to do. A lot of times they’re not reporting things to you because you’ve never said these are the things I want reported, And so, again, we just need to be very clear about what our expectations are.
0:14:21 – Speaker 2
And here’s one that I struggle with I think a lot of us, as parents, do is am I making this rule or drawing a line because of fear? You know how it is It creeps up. We are just afraid of the unknown or what could happen. All the what ifs that we ask ourselves and we go down that dark trail Instead of praying and asking God to show us, in my child’s specific situation, what’s the best route here. What do I need to do, instead of just going straight to the worst case scenario?
0:14:52 – Speaker 1
One of the things when we talk about fear cause a lot of things will pop up my 17 year old can I go out of town for this, can I do this? That kind of thing We say, okay, is this based on because we can’t trust her, or is this based on the fact that we’re just afraid of the what ifs? And that really helps us get to the bottom of if we should let her go or not, because if it’s just fear, we’re always gonna have fear. Yeah, You know, as parents of course we are We wanna protect them from everything. Yes, so we have to move past that.
0:15:25 – Speaker 2
And let’s be honest here sometimes we imagine the worst because it’s something in our own past And we project that on our kids and within a decision, and so it’s really important to be able to learn from our past but not operate out of fear that our kids will become us.
0:15:39 – Speaker 1
And whatever you are trying to decide, i want you to talk it over with your spouse or a trusted friend, or both. Now, this is really important because your spouse will bring different perspectives to the table, So that’s very important. Sometimes your spouse or your trusted friend may be able to speak truth into you that you can’t see What I mean by that is and Kim, you’ve kind of said this to me before. Well, mandy, you know you always go to fear mode. Has your kid done anything to not earn this? We’ve all got blind spots And sometimes we’re super strict or we’re super lenient and we don’t realize it. And so if we can have a trusted person speak that into us, it will help us with this balance of navigating each decision that we have to make with our kids.
0:16:32 – Speaker 2
Well, and if your spouse and your friend are telling you these hard to hear things like, hey, i think you’re operating out of fear or, you know, i think you’re struggling through this decision for reasons that don’t have anything to do with your kid, i think that’s that. iron sharpens, iron verse and proverbs. That’s what we want. If it’s a trusted friend who’s being respectful and not demeaning, and it’s your spouse who’s sharing this with you in a loving way to help you be better, that’s a good thing. It may be hard to hear, it may be difficult, but it will only make you better, which then makes you a better parent, and that’s what we want.
0:17:04 – Speaker 1
Absolutely, and I just want to reiterate this is a trusted friend or a spouse, somebody in your inner circle. This is not throwing it out to the Twitter folks, everybody, and saying should I let my kids go on the sleepover, right, okay, because they don’t know you, they don’t know your kid, they don’t know anything about your family. So when we talk about this, iron sharpens iron. not anyone just gets to speak this kind of conviction into you, like hey, you always are kind of strict or you’re always letting them do everything and not thinking it through. This is only a trusted person in your life that gets to speak those hard things into you.
0:17:40 – Speaker 2
Very true, and since you said the word conviction, our next show is gonna be about guilt and shame versus conviction, because it’s really important to recognize that and sometimes that guilt and shame can come from something somebody says and we’re processing and taking it on and it really is not healthy. And so we need to recognize the difference, be willing to see our faults but also not live in guilt and shame. There’s a difference between the two and we’re gonna talk about that.
0:18:07 – Speaker 1
So if you’re struggling to figure out a situation and you’re constantly asking yourself, am I being too strict or am I being too lenient, you are not alone. That struggle is real. Yes, we hope this show helped a little.
0:18:20 – Speaker 2
If you have anything to add, some tips on how you’re figuring this out in your family, we’d love to hear from you. You can email us at admin at nextTalk.org.
Transcribed by https://podium.page