Rules Without Relationship is the final ingredient—and probably the most critical of all of the ingredients to avoid. (Of course, without relationship, we as parents have no desire or motivation to try to explain rules, listen to their appeals, or remain consistent in our parenting.) Relationship must be in place in order to keep our children from rebelling against us.
Quiet Questioning: Let Your Kids Question You Without Being Disrespectful
“Mom, that’s not fair!”
“Why can’t I…..”
“It’s her turn!”
One of the ways that our children begin the disrespect spiral is when we let them “talk back” to us. At first, this can be simply questioning us with a slightly raised voice. But before we know it, it can become full-fledged disrespect. And the more we allow it, the more it happens.
The second ingredient in the Recipe for Rebellion is that of rules without responses–developing rules without allowing our children to question those rules—without allowing them to respond to our instruction. This is a common ingredient in rules-oriented families. We often do not listen to our children if they disagree with something or question something. Even those who are not opposed to telling children the why’s of rules (Ingredient #1) are sometimes not comfortable with letting children ask us about our rules.
Recipe for Rebellion
Rules Without Reasons
Rules Without Response
Rules Without Repetition
Rules Without Relationship
Can we change that to…..
These questions are often asked of us parents when we fail to give children the reason for our decisions and instruction.
While there it is true that our children should learn to obey us and trust that we have their best in mind (but again, that comes through lots of talking and letting them see that we have their best interest in mind!), we have determined four key ingredients that cause teens to rebel—Reishes’ Recipe for Rebellion.
I prayed for you today, though I didn’t know your name,
I saw a hurting look, so I had to stop and pray.
I prayed for you today, when I saw you on the street,
Playing on your trumpet, for everyone you meet.
That is the first verse of a song I wrote that we sang together as a family during family worship and in the van driving (especially on trips). It was our empathy song—the song that reminded us to try to put ourselves in others’ shoes and understand how they are feeling.
Besides the “techno free” zones and “sitting in your house” that I described in earlier posts, drive time has come to be a meaningful talk time for our family. (See Who’s Got Their Shoes On? for more one-on-one vehicle talking tips.) In this drive time post, I just want to encourage families in general to reduce the “independent” times in the vehicle and make drive time more “community” time.
What is a techno-free zone today? I remember when we would have our nightly living room meetings with our teens and pre-teens before they went to bed at night. We only had a television on a cart in our bedroom closet that we would pull out to watch things together as a family. We had one desk top computer in the dining room—an open room between the kitchen and living room. And that was it. Period.
Techno-free zones were easy to come by for us.
It got harder as the kids got older. We eventually had to declare techno free talks—phones off, etc.
The scene was familiar….a teen sprawled across the foot of our bed. Hubby has to get up. The clock indicating it was after midnight. The aforementioned teen in tears.
Hurt. Disappointment. Rejection.
And the “all nighter” was in progress.
The scene was the same for our three girls and Mom and Dad—time to gather in the living room with calendars in hand, ready to go over the upcoming weeks and months to be sure we have everything down on the schedule—and to be sure that we have plenty of time set aside for each other and our family. What wasn’t the same was the addition of our future son-in-law—a sweet, amazing young man who has no need for meetings, sitting for long periods of time listening to three teenage/young adult girls and their parents gab. His response to our “calendar meeting” was hilarious as he put a pillow over his head and kept coming up periodically to ask if it was almost over!
When our older kids turned twelve (girls) or thirteen (boys), they began to have a special privilege known as “half birthday dates.” At the 12 ½ (or 13 ½) year old mark, that child got taken out to dinner with Mom and Dad for a unique dinner date.