When your teenager makes you angry

Alright my dear friends, I have stepped over the edge of raising little people, into the unchartered waters of teens. Let me start by acknowledging that teenagers can bring a brand new set of triggers. Shoot! TEENAGERS CAN BE TRIGGERS! Strength cased in flesh, pushing for independence, sure they know more than we do and fast to tell us so... Of course, they are also WONDERFUL: interesting, thoughtful, and surprisingly unique. But what's a mom and dad to do...


When Teenagers


Here's our story:

It really began in those pre-teen years for us, when emotions flared (whether sad or angry or overwhelmed) and he turned suddenly to his room and tears flowed. I was thankful then that I had read books and blogs beforehand to prepare me for this sudden shift. Simply knowing it was coming helped prepare me for some of the changes. Not that I had all the answers, but I knew that my battle wasn't with my emotionally explosive / fragile boy; this battle was to be fought at his side, teenager and parent.

He needs me on his team, sometimes even holding his hand, as we walk through this transition into manhood together.

As for the most practical advice I can give: When his moods swing and his demands are unrealistic, I remember what it's like to have hormones shifting and shooting through my own body on a monthly bases. Sometimes I feel (and even act) like a crazy woman! Taking a look at my own hormonal tendencies helps me to parent form a place of grace. Of course, this is what the Christian life is like in all our relationships, inside and outside of our family. We've been forgiven much, and so we are quick to forgive. God has been long-suffering with us, and so we must suffer-long with others. God has been just and required righteousness from us, training us through His Word, and now we have the privilege to walk alongside our children as they grow up, pointing them to righteous choices and behavior... even when they are overcome by moodiness and anger.

Grace, long-suffering, and on-going discipleship will look different for each one of us - and different for mothers and fathers and daughter and sons. Ask the Lord to give you insight into what this will look like in your brand of family. For us, my husband has started getting away one-on-one with our boys for "man time." I have friends with girls where the father's have taken to "dating his daughters."

As a mom of boys I bring the Word with me to the breakfast table, over pancakes on Saturday mornings. We still read good literature aloud around the dinner table too. And I still flop down on the bed at night with my oldest, and make myself available to hear his heart.

There are plenty of nights I tickle my man-child's broad back or rub his gangly, hairy legs, and explain to him that just as his body is changing, so are his hormones. "Your voice is getting lower.. your smell is getting stinker.... your emotions are shifting from little boy emotions to man emotions."

Sometimes he wants to talk, other times he just needs me near - not judging or lecturing or nagging about the emotional melt-down he'd just had.

Now that we've made the leap into teenager-dom, these hormonal shifts have come more regularly. And sometimes I forget what is happening in his body and respond in a primal, quick-tempered, knee-jerk sort of way to the behavior that is annoying and obnoxious! But the truths about gentleness we learned when they were young still apply today... perhaps now more than ever!

Ladies, whether your kid is 8, and working through angst going to school; or 3 and figuring out his place in this family with a new baby stealing the show; or 14 and transitioning into high school, finding his own two feet to stand on amidst peer pressure and a heavy school load... whatever they are going through and however they are acting out, our kids need us to slow down and remember that their behavior is just the branches of a great big tree, waving in the tempest storms of present circumstances. Of course we see the leaves falling and the branches whipping in the wind... but God is calling us as parents to look deeper - perceive what is happening down in the root system of our children's lives.

And if you still can't get a grapple on your short tempered emotions, you must take a look at the roots going down into the soil of your own life. Are we planted steadfastly by streams of living water, drinking deeply from God's transforming Word? Or are we on social media complaining with our girlfriends about our teenager's (or whatever age) behavior? Where are we drinking from? Where are we turning to for wisdom? Where are we going for discernment each mothering day, each mothering stage?

I feel so honored that many of you come to this place for encouragement and wisdom. I pray that I use every opportunity to turn your attention to the One who gives all wisdom when we ask; provides all strength when we are weak; and gave us His Holy Spirit to counsel and guide us through each life season (ours and our children's.)

Ladies, today, take your questions and your burdens to God; ask Him for insight in whatever it is you need right now.

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2, NASB)




For more encouragement each triggered mothering day, sign up to receive email updates. And if you would like to delve deeper into God's transforming love, trusting Him to help you through your angry-mom tendencies, I suggest you grab a copy of Triggers: Exchanging Parents' Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses. By the sheer grace of God, hearts and homes are being transformed through the pages of this book (beginning with mine.)


Additional Resources

For those of you who would like to understand what is happening in your teen's developing brain, Your Teenager is Not Crazy, by Jerusha and Jeremy Clark, is a wonderful, educational read!

Parenting Teens with Love and Logic, by Foster Cline and Jim Fay, is an exceptional resource when trying to understand and apply real life, natural consiquences that will help teenagers prepare for adulthood.




affiliate links were included in this post.

Parenting Scripts - Do you want to know what to say to your kids when they...


What do you say when your child does that troublesome thing they always do? Yelling at a brother, saying "no" to you? Though you've trained them, explained them, consistently and always, still the same wrong behavior recurs. And it never ceases to take us by surprise. Why do we act as though we've been sucker punched? Blind-sided! When the wrong behaviors are so utterly consistent? Bed time, meal time, nap time... Repeat! Still you're shocked and can't help feeling personally attacked by the three year old who refuses to leave the park without flailing arms and blood-curdling screams. Coming out of bed for the fifteenth time. Crying over the meal that's been lovingly prepared. Throwing a fit in the grocery store over rainbow colored Goldfish, tic-tacs, and Sunny-D. Wet towels on bedroom floors. Complaints over chores. Staying in their seats during meal time. Sunday morning battles over church clothes. Helping to clear the plates without a dramatic melt-down. Physical and verbal explosions between siblings...

Amazingly we find ourselves surprised each time. Surprised and speechless!  Or worse... we yell back with all the wrong words.




Of course there is no one-size-fits-all response that can calm every storm in every home. But we can, individually and very intentionally, take some time to consider the right words... the right response... before the storm hits again, so that we'll be ready when it does. Because it will.

I call them scripts.


[Tweet "Parenting Scripts are words strung carefully together, when you're calm and collected. Crafted beforehand and then memorized and delivered at just the right time."]


Here are a couple of examples that showcase my pre-meditated responses. Please remember, this is not about my actual words - they are just examples of what it might look like to prepare your own responses before your responses flow reactive and emotional at your kiddos.


Example #1 Your child argues over anything and everything (from homework to the color of the sky to how many cookies they can have.)

"Sweetheart, I am calm. I'm not fighting with you. I gave you an answer. Do you want to live a life where you fight with everyone? No? Then don't fight with me. I am a good and kind mom, and you can trust that my answer is a good answer." (If they are not used to you staying calm, then you may have to repeat your words over and over.) "If you need to get upset, then you'll have to do it in your room on your own. Come on out when you are ready."


Example #2 You've asked your child to clear the breakfast table and they respond with anger.

"Every morning clearing the breakfast table is your job, honey, so there's no need to argue. You're not in trouble, this is not a consequence, this is simply your job. My job is to get you ready to have a great life once you are all grown up, and learning to clear the table is one of those jobs. So I will do my job (teaching you) and you will do your job (saying, Yes ma'am.)"


Example #3 Your child throws a fit because you didn't buy them something. "Your fit will not change my mind. I love you and am making the right choice for you. You have a wonderful mom who is making healthy choices for you today. Let's head home without crying now. Crying won't work, it will only make you sad. Here, hold my hand."


Example #4  Talking back with a rude voice and haughty eyes.

"You may choose to spend some time in your room if you want to be unkind with your words and the looks you're giving. Of course, I hope you can get over it quickly because I sure want to be with your today. But your bad attitude will not get you want you want. And you may not take it out on us." (If they fight over this loving encouragement...) "Alright Sweetheart, now I'm going to have to require you head to your room. I am not going to fight with you and you are not being kind. I'll come check in with you in a bit. Please don't call for me."


Example #5 Refusing to eat what they are served for dinner.

"I'm not going to argue with you at the dinner table. I have served you a good dinner. It is not your favorite but you may not throw a fit about this. Sit there quietly now and eat your dinner, or choose not to eat it and go to bed hungry tonight, but there will not be dessert or snacks when you get hungry... No, you may not leave the table. We are sitting here as a family having a meal together... No, you may not get a yogurt, this is dinner..."


Remember, these are my words, my ecxamples, my responses, scripted in calm moments. You don't have to like my responses, you get to write your own.  That's what this is about.


[Tweet "Figure out what you mean to say, before you say something mean."]


Then wave it like a magic wand over each stress-filled moment. Wave it consistently, with calm kindness.


For more on calm parenting, when your kids want to tussle, join me here.

Let your light shine - a 40 day sugar fast to help lift the clouds

Whether you're a single mom, married mom, remarried mom,

stay-at-home mom, working mom,

grand mom, step-mom...

or a complicated mix of the above,

there's one simple call on every mother's life:


Let your light shine!


Jesus spoke these words about Himself, "I am the Light of the World," then He passed the torch to us, His followers, in Matthew 5:14 - "You are the light of the world!" Yet, somehow, over the course of our long mothering days, our lights can flicker dim, until they all but die. There are too many reasons to count, I'm sure, darkening our lives and snuffing out our testimonies of light: the worries of this world, the challenges of marriage and child rearing, financial stress, broken hearts, broken dreams, dashed expectations, a lack of healthy lifestyles in the busyness of life, even depression brought on by a chemical imbalance, to name of a few.  All of these things, and so many more, can work like a bushel (from the old Sunday School song) hiding our little lights.

While I'm not going to address all of the factors that blow strong against our call to shine, I am inviting you to join me for a 40 day fast from refined sugars!  It is my belief that much of our mothering stress comes back to our inability to control our emotions. We give in to the stress and then parent with stress, adding stress up upon stress to everyone in our house.

Often we deal with the anxiety by running to the half-empty bag of chocolate chips in the pantry, rather than running to God in His Word.

So you see, this fast is both Spiritual and physical, as we commit to denying ourselves sugar, that we might taste the sweetness of Christ - and then share Him with those we care for most - shining His sweet love right where we are, in our home lives.

Moms struggle with sugar addition as much as our sweet-toothed kiddos. Just like them, we experience sugar spiked highs and sugar crashing lows. Though we desire to practice the fruit of self-control and hold every thought captive, to put on compassion and gentleness, be slow to speak and quick to listen...  sugar makes it hard on us.





40 DAY SUGAR FAST! January 16th - February 24th

Sign up here



By signing up you'll receive an invitation to join our private Facebook group and receive weekly emails to encourage you along the way. Since I won't be providing a hard core dietary plan to follow, simply some suggestions, you may want to order a book online.  You can find a more rigorous guideline in the pages of The Daniel Plan: Forty Days to a Healthier Life by Pastor Rick Warren, or the secular, practical cookbook, The Whole 30, a 30 day guide to total health and food freedom.

If you'd like a great companion book to talk you through your relationship with food, in light of who Jesus is in our lives, I heartily endorse FULL: Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction by Asheritah Ciuciu. As a special treat, Asheritah will actually be leading us through each chapter in our interactive Facebook group this year! So make sure you sign up here!

Ladies, you are going to love our community each day, as we support and hold one another accountable as experience the bondage breaking power of Jesus! Setting us free from the strong-hold of addiction, sugar induced meltdowns, depression, crabby attitudes, adrenal fatigue, and angry parenting.

The ultimate goal is freedom and emotional stability so that you might let your light shine, from your healthy stable heart, out into your home.  That's my own personal and ongoing focus, and the theme of my encouragement to you.


Sign up today!

Headshots - AAPROVED PORT0007I am not a nutritionist, nor do I play one on television, I'm simply a woman who has known the dark side of sugar-addiction while trying to love my family and community well.  I believe that men and women who are committed to letting their lights shine for Christ, are constantly under attack, and sugar has become a common weapon forged against loving homes; a chain, holding us back from abundant and happy lives with our dear ones.

Don't you see the way your children bounce wildly and then crash when they've ingested too much sugar?  Well, moms and dads, men and women, are losing control of themselves too, forsaking self-control, losing their tempers, hurting their relationships, shunning the light.

Below you'll find links to related posts that friends and I have written during our last two 40 Day Sugar Fasts.  Join a great congregation of moms who are committed to taking our cravings to the One who made us to crave... Him.









1 - Sugar-fast - Because it's time to get a handle on our emotions, our days, and the negative self-talk

2 - Renouncing Lies - Believing Truth

3 - 40 Scriptures for a 40 DayFast

4 - Made to Crave

5- Return to Me

6- Streams in the Desert

7- Taste and See

8- Strongholds or Strong Arms

9- When not to fast - a guest post on eating disorders by Kelli Stuart

10- Social Media Fasting - Because we want to care what God "likes" more than man

11- Learning to fast - a guest post by Asheritah at OneThingAlone.com

12- Muslims and Christians both fast and pray - Do you know what you believe?

13- I Want God - Is there anything else I should be fasting from?

14- Falling off the wagon - Falling into Grace

15- That time I ate ice-cream and then remembered I was fasting - a guest post by Julie at Happystronghome

16- Just a Closer Walk with Thee

17- Flash the Donkey - because sometimes a donkey has something to say about fasting too.

18- Fasting Like a Child - a guest post by Christy at The Write Season

19- Praying for America - learning to pray for others

20- Do you think of prayer as a sort of magic trick? There's a magic deeper still...

21- What fasting taught me about an angry woman and a kind God - a guest post by Katie Reid at Echos of my Heart

22- When God takes a straight-blade straight to a woman's heart

23- Chocolate Avocado Pudding - a sweet recipe

24- Self Control - this fast has taken lots of it - and so will the next challenge

25- Fasting Dr. Pepper - a guest post by Laura Mitchell at Hope Anchors


Don't miss this ongoing series. Sign up here to have future posts delivered via email straight to your inbox.




My Personal Plan

1) Pray. While this is a physical fast it is also a spiritual one.  Our goal is to break the ties that so easily bind us, holding us back from the fruit of God's Spirit displayed in our lives.

2) Scripture.  Choose a scripture or two or forty, to meditate on when as your body craves sugar and you feel like giving up.  (One of the blog posts in this series will have some suggestion). You are purposefully taking something out of your body (through fasting), therefore, this is the perfect time to replant something new (choose God's Word for strength and support.)

3) Dump the sugar.  If it's not in your pantry you will not be tempted at home.  That means the chocolate chips you have stashed away, the candied nuts, left-over Easter treats, those packages of brownie mix, the half eaten tub of ice cream, and your heavily sweetened coffee creamers. (ouch) Don't count the monetary cost.  $60 worth of pantry items is less than the price-tag of having a professional come in and trash it for you.

4) Restock your kitchen.  Just like you are fasting from sugar in your body and replacing those empty places with the truth of God's power to get you through, restock the shelves of your pantry and fridge with protein, vegetables and low sugar fruit items (grapefruit, berries, granny smith apples are your best options).  Avoid simple carbs like white bread, pasta, and white rice, as they turn to sugars in your gut.  Natural sweeteners such as maple syrup and local raw honey are good alternatives to sugar when used sparingly.

5) Plan your meals.  I find that when I eat the exact same things each day, I am less likely to follow temptation down a side-street.  Every morning I have a protein rich smoothie, for snacks I have a piece of fruit, raw carrots or a handful of almonds, lunch is either eggs and canadian bacon, a salad with light dressing, or sandwich meat wrapped around a cheese stick.  If you want to simply have regular meal, go for it, just don't load your salad with high calorie dressing and slurp down a lemonade.  Make a plan ahead of time and stick to it for forty days!

6) Invite others.  Include your spouse, your children, and your friends.  Let's be a community that says goodbye to testimony trashing sugars!

7) Expect Spiritual Attack. Though this is a physical fast, we have spiritual reasons for doing it.  The devil loves nothing more than hearing you raise your voice at your kids.  He delights in your emotional meltdowns at bedtime instead of seeing you make love to your husband.  He wants you staying inside in the dark of your home, lethargic and depressed, rather than enjoy an energized day with your family and neighbors.

8) Stock up on vitamins and minerals.  If your adrenal glands have been burned out by sugar, caffeine, and stress, then look for an adrenal support capsule at your local health food store. Vitamin B is also good for stress, that that's what chases you to your daily spoonful of Nutella.

9) Exercise.  Once you make it through the first 5 days your energy is going to skyrocket.  Layer in some exercise and those healthy endorphins will be an added bonus.  Get ready to find yourself smiling more often!  Your family will notice it too!

10) Pray.  Let's bookend this list with prayer.  "Dear Lord, we want to let Your lights shine into our homes and out into the world, but our moods have been all over the place lately.  Give us the courage to do this fast, that we might learn to depend on You and not sugar crutches and short term fixes.  You came that we might have life, and abundant life at that, we believe that this fast will help us to experience the life You came to give us.  Speak truth into the empty places of our hearts as we fast and pray.  We do this so that our lights will shine strong and sure, that others may see the light and glorify You! Amen."


Let me know in the comments if you'll be joining me in the forty days ahead.



Angry Mom: From Tears to Transformation


We've talked a lot about anger this week.  Anger toward our children.  Anger in our hearts.  Prayer requests from women overwhelm me on weeks like this.  And the ones that break me to the core are the notes from moms who can't get a handle on their emotions and their tongues.  Women like you and me who love deeply, but get all out of sorts amidst the unending stream of training.  This post is for them.

Dear Angry Mom,

I just read your letter.  Had it been hand-written the ink would have been smudged by your tears.  I imagine you there, moaning over the keypad, feeling ashamed... but mostly you feel angry.  You're angry with your children and angry with yourself, and angry with your children for making you so blasted angry at yourself, which makes you only angrier... and sadder, always sadder.

I link over sometimes to your Facebook page, and see the smiling faces of your children, and I lay hands on my computer monitor.  Praying.  Praying for your heart, praying for their hearts, praying for the hearts here in my home too.  Because I get the pit you're stuck in, but more than that, I get the blessed hand that is powerful enough to pull us out.


I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD.…  (Psalm 40:1-3)


But you're not there yet.  You're just hurting.

"Anger, discontentment, lack of patience, a hardened heart..." Your words and wounds astound me as you ask for prayer.  You're so aware of your sin-stained angry tendencies. You recognize your problem, you recognize your need of saving, you cry out and ask for prayer...  That's powerful, POWERFUL stuff! Acknowledging the problem stirs in us a desperate need for a miracle-working GOD to do the heavy lifting in our transformation.  But it's just the first step.

The First Step -

Crying out to God is just the first step up and out of the pit.

But there is more to be done!  More steps to take in this treacherous "CHANGE ME JESUS" journey.


For years I made that first step regularly... daily... nightly... over and over, crying "Lord, change me, help me, make me more like you." But the recognition never made its way from tears to transformation until I started taking more steps in the Spirit.

We are absolutely right to ask God to change us, but we also need to take more faith-filled steps. Simple daily steps that say to Him, "I know You are faithful to do the transforming work, so I'm going to do a bit of work too... I'm going to whisper today instead of shout - I'm going to give gentle tuck-ins tonight instead of hurried exasperated ones - I'm going to get into a relationship with a Godly woman who can model right behavior for me - I'm going to set my alarm clock 30 minutes before my family gets up so that I can read my devotional on the treadmill - I'm going to partner with a friend who struggles with the same heart challenges so that we can pray for one another, serve one another, care for one another in the messiest places of life."




When sin overwhelms, recognition must give way to repentance. Take the first step of repentance.  Don't just feel bad and cry out for help... take His hand and let Him lift you.  Keep the steps moving forward, then make a U-turn, putting one righteous foot in front of the faithful other!  Walk yourself, in the power of God's Holy Spirit, out of bondage and into deliverance.  It is possible.  Step by step, by faithful, gentle, step.


You may have heard it said,

"To triumph you need only to try... God provides the Umph!"


Try... little steps, every day. Every day, little steps.


You've already called out to Him, that was the first step.

You felt conviction and you repented. Two more mighty steps.

Now what?

Abide, gather tools, and practice self-control...

Little steps to practice each faithful day

Step one - Get in God's Word. God tells us clearly that the fruit of His Spirit in our lives is love, but we can only bear fruit when we're securely attached to the vine.  He is the vine, we are the branches... apart from Him we can do nothing. Abide in His Word.  Abide in His love.

Step two -  Get practical.  Take a simple sheet of lined paper, or the notepad app on your iphone, or the front page in a brand new journal.  Write down the triggers that make you feel overwhelmed or frustrated, and come up with a game plan of how you will train your children without explosive anger.  How will you respond when they... what will you say when they say... what will you do when they... Come up with a game plan and don't let yourself be swept away by unprepared emotional responses any more.

Step three - Let go of the monitor "Angry Mom".  I addressed you as such only to get your attention (search engines really do work!) But now that you're here and we're talking, let me say that you are simply "Mom".  Mom.  Renounce the anger and remember what's true.  You do not hate them, and you do not hate yourself.  You are simply Mom, and it's hard, but there's love and the promise of God making all things new.  Renounce the anger and remember the love.

One little step at a time.


How do I stop yelling at my kids?


Moms all over the internet are crying out, "I want to stop yelling at my kids." They're up to their throats in shame, grabbing hold of the promise that change is possible. And it is.  But where do we go to talk about this stuff?  Where do we go to ask one another for prayer and the tools we need to change unhealthy, possibly generational, patterns.  Well, as strange as it may seem, there's a community at your fingertips, heaven-bent on encouraging you in your transformation. There is a private Facebook group sponsored by The MOB Society (MOB - Mothers of Boys), called "No More Angry MOB".  A couple of times a day author Amber Lia  and I post scripture promises, quotes about patience, prayers of confession and prayers of hope, and we tell stories and share testimonies of how whole families can be radically changed when parents learn to control their anger.  We talk together about how we got here, and how to get out of the ugly cycle of anger and hopelessness.  We talk about the sulfuric lies we tend to believe, (I can never change,) and rally together to believe what is true, (With God all things are possible!) It's a hopeful yet hurting motley group, and I've grown to love them deeply.

Maybe you would find yourself at home in their ranks.  Possibly you were raised by angry, yelling moms and dads.  Others of you may be naturally calm men and women who were raised in a laid back home, but suddenly, under the new and unexpected stresses of parenthood, you've found yourself short on patience and long on anger.  It can be an out of body experience, "How did I get here?"  But no matter how you got to this point, it can be shameful and surprising.  And you know, regardless of the path that lead you here, it must stop.  You know it, and I know it, but what can we do?


We can start by reaching out and joining a conversation like this, reaching out and confessing the ugly.  And bit by bit, voice by voice, baby steps at a time we start pointing out the promises and the hope and cheering one another on.  And then, out of nowhere, testimonies of how God transforms a sinner's heart start pouring down.  Here's how it goes:

Yesterday I asked a question on our No More Angry MOB Facebook page, and a conversation caught like wildfire.  I thought I'd share some of the highlights here, so that we can fan the flames and keep the dialogue going.


A woman replied to my simple question with one of her own:  "How do you get your kids to listen without screaming at them? Right now my children are four and five and they won't listen to me or pay attention to me unless I raise my voice and threaten them. I have to scream at them to get them to listen. I don't understand what I'm doing wrong or how can I change this. I don't want to be a bad mom." (Erin)

I nodded, over the internet, then wrote these words:

"First off, I think many of us have taught our children that it's all right to ignore us. Over the years we've called them to the table, asked them to get their shoes on, reminded them to clean their rooms... and when they didn't do what we asked, we raised our voices to get their attention. Other times we did nothing about it at all (telling ourselves that we were just "picking our battles.") The next day we thought we'd try giving more choices and speaking in a calm manner... only to get frustrated that it didn't work. So we yelled again.

But WHY don't our calm voices work?



I believe that when we are inconsistent we really only teach our children one thing... they don't have to honor us, UNLESS WE YELL!!!! They don't have to answer us, UNLESS WE YELL!!!! They don't need to turn off their lights and go to sleep, UNLESS WE YELL!!!!

But the thing is, what appears to give you control in the moment is really just you being out of control. And while it may get the result you were looking for short term, it doesn't reach their hearts of your little people... or refine long-term behavior.

But you asked "what should I do," not "how did I get here."

Here's what I suggest we do from here on out, every time. Let's commit to consistency. Like working out a muscle that is weak, you commit to speaking gently. Every. Time. Yes, it is difficult. Yes, they will ignore you. (Remember that they've gotten away with it before.)  But from here on out you will stop, though you are inconvenienced, if you are tired, even when you are upset.... And you will go to them with a soft voice. "John, I just asked you to pick up your train set. Our friends are coming for dinner. Please stop what you're doing and pick it up now."

When he doesn't, (because he won't,) come in with a paper bag and put it all away for him - on the top shelf of your closet. Then take him in your arms and tell him. "I am not going to yell anymore, I love you too much to yell. So I will simply take this toy away for one week."

Or maybe your style is to clean it up with him, making it a game, that's fine too. It's not how you do this, it's that you do it calm. "John, I'll get the track and you get the trains. We're a team. Our family is a team. All aboard!" Then praise him when he does it, even if it took more effort than you thought you had to give.

[Tweet "Flex your calm muscle, consistently, and they will eventually grow the muscle of obedience."]


Another woman chimed into this online conversation:

"I completely agree, but haven't for the life of me been able to think of any appropriate consequences for the following scenarios: 1) The child who ignores me when I ask him to get dressed or wash his hands after going to the bathroom. And 2) The same child who constantly aggravates his little brother by getting in his face and growling at him (which scares him) and  then he ignores me when I calmly ask him to leave his brother alone. Anybody had similar behaviors with some success in changing them? He's almost four. Thanks so much!" (Heather)

Again I nodded and again I typed:

"Sally Clarkson often reminds women that this is a marathon not a sprint, and that expecting immediate obedience is harmful to them and to us as the race stretches long and we need patience and endurance.


Heather, I have a child that does what yours does (and he is nine and should be through this challenging stage, right? Wrong! It's a marathon.) So I go to him, when he should already be dressed and should have remembered to wash his hands, and I simply say, "You are ignoring me, so I will help you put down those toys and walk back into the bathroom. Now please wash your hands and get dressed." And I go to him when he purposefully aggravates his little brother.  I get down on his eye level, and say with calm resolve, "Our home is safe and our home is loving. That wasn't safe or loving and so we can't have you around us right now. Go ahead and grab a book or a puzzle and go to your room. I will come get you in 30 minutes. When you come out I know you'll do a great job being gentle and kind with us."

The key is calm... He needs you calm. And you need you calm.  So get in close, because it's hard to yell when you're right up close. Go to him. You are going to do great! Some times we just need some tools."

 [Tweet "It's hard to yell when you're right up close."]


In this thread of conversation testimonies started flooding in.  I'd worked myself out of a counseling position because others had so much grace to add to the party:

"I have 3 boys...15, 13, 11. I was a yeller. I would cry in the shower because I was a yeller. I didn't want to yell. I wanted the circumstances to change so I didn't "have to" yell. What I found was that anxiety triggered my yelling. Pride triggered my yelling. Fear of my husband's yelling triggered my own. So...I faced my fears, anxieties, and pride. The flesh had to be crucified. I don't want my boys learning that yelling is the way to solve their problems or to use it to "motivate " anyone. It is crushing and painful. So now we do differently. My prayer...Lord, change ME. A beautiful thing is happening here. All glory to God. Push past the pain, moms. God is with you, He is for you." (Francea) "Walking this thru too. Love this quote: "Recognize yelling as a sign of weakness... Yelling tends to be a learned response to anger, stress and frustration... 'I have to yell just to be heard.' These parents are trying to direct my attention to the negative behavior of thier children but all I hear is that they are losing or have already lost control of their home. If you have to yell to be heard, something is wrong. Authority figures like policemen or judges don't have to yell to get their point across. Why? Because they hold the ultimate power. They are in control and don't have to prove a thing. Yelling sends a message to your child that his/her behavior has the power to unnerve you to the point of provoking an outburst.... Your lack of restraint reveals that your child holds the reins." fr "Toe to Toe with Your Teen by Dr Jim Myers. Great book, great encouragement for parenting defiant teens. In the chapter just before this, he reviews the amazing characteristics of God and gives specific ideas how to model these to our kids. I'm a work in progress - but it is possible! Push thru my friends! Victory awaits." (Jo-Ann)


...let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25


This is just a taste from the banqueting table that we feast around together.  The nuggets are transformative and hopeful, and we leave our times together built up and courageous.   You are welcome to join us as we spur one another on to abide, that we might bear the fruit of God's Spirit in each of our lives and there in our homes.


Come abide with us!