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57 Comments

  1. Dear Monica,

    When I was reading this post, I could picture myself & my younger son in a similar situation. I cannot tell you how thankful I am to see this post from you, as when ever my both boys have an argument & if someone behaves in a mean way I kind of approach & react to the same way as you mentioned.. my hubby has multiple times said something similar on the line about how I am feeding them feelings & words which is actually not there!!! It’s heart warming to see how truthful you are about this & that motherly feelings are mutual irrespective of the different background.
    I respect you Monica
    Big hugs & kisses from Hong Kong

    1. Oh thank you so much Hema! That means so much to me. Keep up the great work! Blessings and Aloha! πŸ™‚

  2. Catherine says:

    Hi Monica…Am just getting round to reading this post even thouh I have been reading your blog for some years now. My heart broke and then was filled with hope because I have been dealing with a similar situation with my two boys. Infact, I wasn’t “dealing” anymore. I really didn’t know what to do. Thank you for giving me a life line and a solution that I can apply immediately! My family lives in Nairobi, Kenya and it amazes me how God can use someone oceans away to speak to us! Thank you and God bless you and your boys abundantly!

  3. Thank you for your insight & the advice youre giving Monica. After reading some of the comments, I realize I may be the only one to bring a different response to your post on parenting teens. I have 2 children-well-2 young adults now ages 18 & 20(how they cn be this old I do not know!ha) They went from Babies to these college kids I have to look up to as they are taller than me. :)I love them so much& I am blessed to say that thru all the bumps & bruises of growing up, parenting, making mistakes & successes, God has been with me as Ive been a single parent for past 3 years. It has Not been easy to say it mildly. But Ive done lot of praying, taking advice from others whove gone b4 me in parenting, & just using good common sense. And my kids are good, hardworking, respectable young adults. So what I will say is not going to be taken well w some. This is from experience—– Please sit down w all your kids and ask them how they feel about you posting their ‘problems’, their daily happenings & innermost thoughts & pictures . Show them what you post & ask how they feel. My children(when they were 8-20) would have been so angry, frustrated & would’ve blocked me from all their social media accounts & would never have told me anything personal again if I were to talk about them out in public. Im just asking all parents- Do you think your kids- whatever age they are- want their personal feelings, thoughts & emtions & picture shared w the world? These young children need to be protected not exploited. The social media world is not private. Their are many evils & darkness to whats out there. I speak from a personal knowledge & much understanding- which I can share at a later date. Please dont post personal info & pictures about your children or other children whatever the age .They need their parent to be the one person who will protect them from the dangers out there. I love hearing others share & Ive gained alot of knowledge from listening, but please consider your childrens feelings & protect them!do it in a more protective way. Have a great day & hang in there! —–from a very concerned parent. Joy

  4. Kerri Brigham says:

    Wow. I totally connected with this. I’ve got 2 boys 20 & 18. Both heading to Liberty University in Virginia. We live in West Palm Beach Florida. & their differences are night & day. I feel this awareness of time, addressing respect to your husband before jumping in, then as I also have done with my husband saying don’t give them words. You are useing trith, it is like a life preserver to give them a hand up. Sometimes words are hard for them & as a Mom we get it. This intuition I believe the Lord blesses a Mother with. & your husband what respect he gave you back. Wow, to give this control is trust that you are not trying to take the Dads control away but also using team work to conquer. What a lucky young man you have with such amazing parents. I thank you so much for this post. I am sure after this 1st semester I will need your example to guide me. You are a light in the darkness. Praise be to God for all you do for us grommoms.

  5. Thank you for your insight! As a teacher, I have found that giving a student the time to gather their thoughts, express their feelings, and consider alternative solutions builds trust in their relationship with me as well as in our class family. When a child trusts that they will be heard, they become more confident, compassionate individuals. Taking time to support and build social-emotional skills is imperative to establish a healthy family, at home and at school.

    1. Thank you Cindy! Love hearing that from a teacher. πŸ™‚ I bet this is really useful in the classroom too–and what a difference you can make to kids who may not have such an environment in their home. Teachers are so important! Much aloha-

  6. Listening, not reacting and then affirming feelings- I think this super helpful advice works with all people, not just teens. And I love these posts from the archives since I’m a newish reader. You’re an inspiration, Monica.

    1. oh thank you so much Katie. You’re right–these are across-the-board relationship skills, so true. Blessings and Aloha!

  7. Thank you for this post. We have been going through this EXACT scenario with Mr 15, Mr 14 and Mr 12 just this morning (and on a recurring basis).
    Your posts always seem to be written just for me!
    xx

    1. There is no greater compliment. πŸ™‚ Thank you. Hope you make some progress and most of all know that your efforts matter! πŸ™‚ XO

  8. I can relate, I’ve had to teach my husband to listen to his family

  9. Aww Monica you’re always such inspiration to us all, thankyou for sharing that story with us it was so real & heart felt .

    Loved your p.s’s made me chuckle & yes I too was thinking he was so tall in the pics & that your son & husband were now like mirror images of each other. Bless them & you & the rest of your lovely family xxx

  10. Thank you Monica

    Love reading your posts. It really encourages me .. I have a 16 year old boy and 13 year old girl and just love keeping the communication channel open at all times.

    You are a great blessing to all moms

    Be blessedxxx

  11. So helpful, MonicaπŸ’™β€ΌοΈ

    1. So glad!! πŸ˜‰ Thanks for taking time to comment!

      1. btw…I just shared this with my husband, and it really spoke to him and got us talking, thinking through our own patterns. Whenever I sends him your blogposts, he reads them on the spot! We both appreciate you so much!

        1. Oh wow, that means to much. Thank you and all the best to both (all) of you! πŸ™‚ XO

  12. Thank you for this article! I have 3 boys ages 6, 3, and 3 months but I truly enjoy reading and learning from you & your boys, you keep me ahead of the curve! Loved this one!
    Thanks again

    1. Thank you Karen–You are very wise to be preparing in advance because (it really is true–) Time will fly! πŸ™‚ Aloha–

  13. Needed this today……great encouragement ❀️

    1. SO glad to hear it! πŸ™‚ XO have a great week–

  14. I really love this and completely agree. It is so important to look past the behaviour and to seek to understand the why behind it. Doing this from a very young age communicates to your child that you are on their side and will listen to them, understand them and love them no matter what. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I will be sharing for sure.

    I recently wrote a post on acceptance and understanding centred around my young daughter. Being little she is not always able to clearly articulate her feelings so I often have to guess and ask questions to see whether I can get to the bottom of it. If you’d like to read it, here’s the link:

    https://peacefulparentsconfidentkids.com/2015/06/my-daughter-is-not-giving-me-a-hard-time-she-is-having-a-hard-time/

    1. Hi Kate,
      Thank you for commenting. You have a beautiful site and I enjoyed reading your post. You are a very loving momma with an empathetic heart. Thank you for sharing.
      Be blessed and so glad I ‘met you’ here today! aloha

  15. Wow, what a fabulous post… I seriously hope you’re still writing stuff like this when my baby is your kids’ age (or at least re-posting these current posts to jog my memory).

  16. This is great, Monica! Sounds exactly like something we are dealing with in one of our kiddos, and your words and advice in this are sound and so encouraging. To search out their hearts and motives and desires and feelings behind their disobedience can bring lasting change IN them rather than just an outward change that brings no real peace to their hearts. I find myself frequently reminding my kids that, “No discipline is pleasant at the time, but only painful, but in the end it produces righteousness and peace in the hearts of those who have been trained by it.” We are not seeking only outward righteousness in them through our discipline, but also longing for the lasting peace, found only in Jesus, in their hearts. Even though his consequences still stand, he will LOVE you and feel respected by you in this for caring more for his heart than solely his wrong actions. Jesus certainly saw Mary’s heart, and not just her sin, as she knelt at his feet, washing them with her tears and hair and pouring her jar of expensive perfume over his feet. I pray we will always be able to see our children with these eyes!

  17. Love love love! Thankyou so much for your inspiration, your encouragement, the extra tools that we can swipe for our own parenting toolboxes πŸ˜‰ and for your willingness to share and uplift others. Keep up the wonderful work! Your wisdom is very much appreciated!

    1. Gina–What a huge encouragement! Thank you. πŸ™‚ So glad you enjoyed the post and plz. come visit anytime! aloha

  18. Stephanie says:

    Wow. Just wow! Such a timely post for me. My husband and I literally just talked about this today. Searching for a way to parent with the same grace that the Lord has given us. Tough to do when you just want your kids to “act this way” or ” do this”.
    Thank you!!

  19. Thank you for walking through this and sharing! This post is just what I needed to read, we are having issues with our children (12 &9) regarding their treatment of each other. Again thank you for reminding me to listen first. Hugs ~ Carol W.

  20. Monica, thank you for sharing this. It truly shows the culture of honoring relationships before issues in a big way and our children, sons and daughters need more of this.

    Thank you again.

    Daryl

    1. Wow, thank you Daryl. “honoring relationships before issues.” i love that. Aloha-

  21. Hello Monica.
    Wow what an article. It could not have come at a better time. I have loved your posts and they are so encouraging and helpful. This article had opened my eyes to a situation we are facing. Continue writing! God uses you for others.β™‘
    Regards Candy

  22. Angela Carr says:

    Just wanted to say I really appreciated the thoughts you had in this blog. I am a parent of 4 children aged 5 to 16 years and sometimes I focus too much on behaviour modification and forget to look into their heart and see why they are acting the way they do. Thank you for the reminder to look behind the behaviour to see the real issue. God bless you!

    1. Thank you Angela! So glad and I do hope this helps. Also just noticed that our kids ages are nearly the same range. My boys are age 4 to 15! πŸ™‚ Keep it up, Momma! πŸ™‚ aloha

  23. I’ve been working on some similar issues with my son. I’ve discovered that the more you work on the relationship building, the more the behavior issues begin to fade away. Parenting is tough but teenage stuff is tough too, so helping each other just makes sense. Good post!

    1. Yes Adrian–Such good points. Thank you so much!! Aloha πŸ™‚

  24. Angelique says:

    My husband actually just sent me an article about dealing with our children’s misbehavior or not reaching the bar with grace..We explain our disappointment and that we do want to see better, but that we ourselves don’t always rise to the occasion..sometimes mom and dad also lose their tempers and do things we shouldn’t. Say things. But thanks to God we know that if we come to Him with a humble heart and admit our failings, asking forgiveness, He will give us grace upon grace. So, I’m so looking forward to using this method and sharing God’s grace with them. Your blog went right along with the theme this week..would you believe our small group was working on a chapter entitled Grace this week in our Bible studies? πŸ™‚

  25. Oh man, this nearly had me in tears! Suffice to say, I’ve been in his position more than I care to remember, and I can only imagine how much I would have appreciated the kind of safe space you gave him. Too many times, in the middle of arguments, I would ask one of my parents “Do you ever wonder why I do X/Y/Z? Do you ever think I’m screwing up like this because something in me is screwed up?”
    Your son is so lucky to have you and Dave, and he’s going to benefit more than you know for your grace and guidance.

  26. Dear Monica
    Thank you for your wise words! There is always such a real vulnerability to the way you write and it’s so encouraging.
    You’re a great mom with a great heart!
    Have a wonderful day!
    Much love from South Africa xxx

  27. This wa s sooo good! I need to do this more often with my kids. Thanks a lot for sharing! πŸ™‚

  28. Tricia Brindle says:

    I too am a mom of boys…3
    This was so helpful as I just encountered a recurring issue between #1 & #3. I loved your telling him that he has a safe place to speak his mind. I am going to add this into my parenting toolbox. I think it’s important for our children to know that they can be vulnerable to us and that we are mainly here to help them navigate thru their first 18 years. thanks for sharing your experiences.

  29. Dede Thies says:

    Loving this, Monica!

    I am finally getting to this way of discipline with my kids. You are RIGHT and it is rarely ever about the actual action they have been portraying. It is hard when you only have time to scream and say, “STOP ACTING LIKE THIS!” But, usually it comes down to wanting to be heard in our crazy busy life! Thank you for your wisdom!

    Dede

  30. I love your insight, transparency and wisdom. Having boys the same age, wading through the same waters, it helps to know my husband and I are not alone and that there are real answers to some of these basic teen boy problems.

  31. It is always a joy and confirmation to see that God cares for us as a people, but also as individuals, when I read your articles, usually the next day after something exactly the same has happened in our home- which is true in this case! I had the “15 minute talk” with my oldest son last night in the car on the way home from youth group. He has been irritating and instigating trouble with all his siblings lately, to the point of physical harm at times, which he tells me he never intended it to end up that way. I had reached the end of my patience with it and finally asked him to be honest with me about what was going on…
    He confided in me that a couple of his friends have been bugging him lately about a lot of small things that has added up to a bigger problem as time has gone on. My husband is also out of the country for work for a month which only contributes to our son’s frustration and emotional state- he finds security in having his dad home, and 4 weeks is a long time for a 14 yr old!
    I reassured him that his friends have issues, just like he does, and that he needs to forgive and ask God for the grace to accept each person for who they are, letting them know when it gets to be too much. As for the issue of dad being out of the picture, I encouraged him to focus on the things he’d like to do with him when he gets back, instead of dwelling on the fact that he’s not here now. I hope this is enough to get him by until dad is back and all is well in his world.
    Thanks Monica for your gentle-spirited advice as a mom and wife, you are highly respected in my book and I admit, I get a little excited every time I see your email pop up in my inbox πŸ™‚

    1. Carmelia—Thank you. Your comment blesses me. I love to hear that the timing of my posts is so often in line with what you’re going through. You shared such a great example of taking the time to parent well–way to go. Just think, you could have been busy on your phone, or just listening to music for that drive home…But you chose to initiate a conversation instead. That may have changed everything. God bless you and thank you for being here and the sweet encouragement! aloha!

      1. Btw, I read your post about the book by Stephanie Fast and your highly acclaimed reviews so I went to Amazon (made simple by your link ;)) and snatched it up for only $8.50!! They’re running a promo for today only for 30% off any book and I have Prime with free shipping so it was a steal.
        I should tell you I’m not an avid reader, not for lack of ability, but just not one of my fav past times. However, these kind of inspirational stories intrigue me so I’m excited to get it just a few days from now!!
        Thanks for the recommendation πŸ™‚

        1. yay! You’ll have to tell me how you like it! πŸ™‚ So glad you got it–and at such a great price too! xo

  32. This happens in our home at times. My husband thinks I am speaking for my boys, but I’m not always…. Thank you for encouraging me, Monica! I love your heart and blog!

    1. Thank you Heather! πŸ˜‰ Yes, I suppose it is a fine line, but giving those words can really help a kid learn to communicate. Much aloha to you!!

  33. I love this Monica! Such an important way to look at things. We have been working through some school behavior with my oldest son that seems to keep coming back. I started to feel we were ganging up on him, the teacher and we the parents. I had to sit him down and really talk through it. He was so stressed out all the time. That’s not what we want. He needed to know we are FOR him, not against him. Just as a god is FOR us. Still consequences, but also recognition that he is trying. Our approach is so much more team based now. Bigger picture. Your guy will be so much better from this! I pray mine will too.

  34. Sheena Carnie says:

    Once again a wonderful column that rings true for all of us with kids. Plenty to learn from sharing our experiences with each other. Your kids are indeed blessed to have parents who are prepared to listen – too often we shout at them and demand they change their behaviour without fully exploring the reasoning behind it.

    1. Yes Sheena. And we are not perfect at all–We’ve done it wrong many times, but we keep trying! πŸ™‚ Bless you, and thank you for the comment! aloha

    1. Thank you Alexandra! We do indeed! bless you for the sweet encouragement!

  35. granof4boys says:

    Well done. With class and respect for your son.
    Bless you