Girls + Boys = Drama !

I think it’s safe to write this now… we’ll see !

I’ve raised three teen-agers ( 2 girls and a boy) and anyway you cut it… with the teen years, there is going to be drama.  Seriously, until I was a dad I had no idea how much girls fuss and fume about the boys. Hair… makeup, fashion… shoes all become “CRITICAL” issues at some point. I didn’t know how messy boys really were or how much some kids need their space to stay sane !

As parents we have a couple of choices on how to manage the DRAMA. I’m very curious if anyone has had much success with any one approach ? I’m currently working on a new book project and wanted to do some basic research with our RTP readers. Feeling strong… read on !

Girls and boys isolated or together create lots of drama. The older they get… the more it seems to be around. Tears of anger, tears of joy…tears of frustration and tears of sadness. Every kind of TEAR falls in the home of families with tweens and teens. Lots of life get’s sorted out in these years and it’s VERY difficult to know exactly what to do.

I’m starting a series of blog posts to take polls of what average families of faith are doing or have done with their tweens and teens. This is very helpful stuff for those parents living around the hormone storm and struggling to navigate the junior high and HS years.

If you would be so kind… please read and reply via social media  or email ( and let me know what your families stance has been or will be on the issues below ? This is to help other parents who are struggling a bit… so please be totally honest.  Very little has been researched with our emerging digital age of parenting, and we have much to learn from each other!

21 Essential Questions for Parents of tweens / teens !

1-Do you as parents allow your kids to date?

2-Do you have an age limit for dating ?

3-Do you have a curfew ? If so, when ?

4-Do you chaperone your kids dates ?

5-Do you allow your kids to participate with dates at school dances and special events like Prom, Homecoming ?

6-Do you talk with your kids about sexuality before they date? If so, when or at what age?

7-Do you do regular devotions with your kids… if so, how often ?

8-Do you use a particular resource (Bible, App, Ministry, Denomination) to educate your kids about their faith ?

9-How often do you attend church on average ?

10-Do you take your pre-teens or teen with you to Church or do you let them decide ?

11- Have your kids been baptized ? If so, at what age ?

12- If you were honest, which emotion is most common for you as a parent ? (Fear / or / Love)

13- Do you allow your kids to watch TV ? If so, how much and what shows ?

14- Do you allow your kids to watch R rated movies ?

15- Do you review your kids iPod’s or other mobile devices for browser history and text message content ? If so, do you tell them?

16- How do you discipline your kids ?

17 – Would you say your kids are “Christian” in the cultural sense ?

18- Would you characterize your kids as being “Passionate” about their faith ?

19- Do you know if your kids read the bible ? If so, how often would you guess ?

20- Do you know if your kids believe what you believe ? How did you determine that ?

21 – Do you allow your kids to have a mobile phone / smartphone and if so, at what age ?


Thanks so much for taking a little time to help with this project ! Results will be forthcoming and shared on RTP 🙂

Pastor B





Are your kids “training” you?

You know the annoying parent and kid who always seems to be lurking at the grocery store? The one pushing an overloaded cart while a kinda dirty, one shoe off his feet, little kid is trailing along five feet behind her, wailing. You notice his crusty fingers as he runs his little hands all over the candy or cereal boxes he can reach as she’s trying to answer her smart phone while reaching to get some Campbell’s soup from the shelf your standing next to.

If you don’t rush to the next aisle, you might notice she’s already in a parental state of ongoing irritation, angry, embarrassed and impatient! She’s full in the face red and probably squinting  as you hear her yelling up into the air at no one in particular.

You also might assume she’s annoyed with her five-year old, as she inhales an extra-large breath of air and blows out like a charging bull… “PUT DOWN THAT CANDY, RIGHT NOW CODY!!! “ Then she issues a snarling and barely muted tirade about “THAT KID and CRAYONS on the WALLS…” morphing into a half coherent refrain of… “HOW MANY TIMES“… and then the raspy…”NOT NOW, I ALREADY TOLD YOU“… etc.

You lose sight of her as she half pushes, half drags her tearful kid around the corner with his little hands still clutching the forbidden treasure, and she is already looking past him for the next item on her list and you sigh and “Thank God” for not having kids that age anymore.

A few minutes later your coasting through the express checkout, ready to pay and you hear and see the exact same mom and bedraggled kid in the aisle along side of you. She’s busily unloading her purchases onto the conveyor belt thingee and the kid is clutching at whatever super sugary – neon colored candy is at eye level. You hear the conversation along with fifteen other people at the checkout, It sounds a lot like the one you already witnessed back in the soup aisle. Just louder and more exasperated!

Five more minutes and you’re pulling out of the parking lot, pausing at the cross walk as the same mom and whiz kid cruise by with their bulging bags and cart, except the kid has his treasure in hand, a brilliantly colored neon treat and its half buried in his face as you watch them coast by, oblivious to your interest.

I’ve seen that many times, I’ve even been that parent in years past… for an outsider watching, It’s clear that someone is indeed being trained and I’m pretty sure it’s not the kid.

Parents, let’s be sure when we give our children boundaries we’re serious about it. The rules are meant to be obeyed, not negotiated. Random, angry and sullen rules aren’t helpful, I’m talking about calm, rational and wise decisions that are made “ahead of time”, not in the heat of the battle.

Take the time to gently and firmly explain to your children the rules. Don’t always explain the “why” and “how comes” for them, just clearly outline the boundaries and the consequences for their being disobeyed. Then speak “ONE” time, calmly and without anger, if they don’t respond. Take action, firmly and without loosing your temper.

Repeat as necessary.

In time, you will see a significant difference in your kids, it’s called discipline and your now officially the parent.

The bugger is this… if you don’t start early, by the time they hit junior high… they will have little if any respect or regard for your “rules” and that’s a nightmare you don’t want to live, see picture to the right !.(or read  Road Trip to Redemption -)

Parenting is hard, exhausting and often lonely work… but in the end, those boundaries and your consistency will provide your children with the peace and stability they desperately crave, and will make your family time a true joy to share at any age!

Love you, Pastor B.

Saying “NO” when it would be so much easier to just say “YES”

We’ve all had a similar experience with our kids. Struggling to decide how we’re going to react to the latest issue within our families. The little voice inside of us tells us quickly that we need to act, to change course and re-direct our child from where they are to where they need to be. That requires us to say “NO” to something….


To act on that voice requires us to take extra time and attention away from what we had planned to do and focus on our kid. To re-schedule our day so we can adequately address whatever issue has reared its ugly little head in our happy home. It would be so much easier to just say “YES” and let it go. Deal with it later, when we have more time and some extra energy to push through their resistance and whining and anger at us. It would be so much less headache and hassle to just let them have their way for the short-term with an eye on the long-term goal.


Have you ever had that conversation with yourself? I bet you have it frequently…like everyday if you have teenagers. It’s an age-old process that every parent and family confronts. How much is too much? How often is too often? Do we fight every battle, every issue that comes our way, or do we pace ourselves and respond only to the bigger issues and bigger problems and trust for the smaller ones to resolve themselves?

Each of us will have to answer those questions on our own, but I do believe there are times and places where we feel that extra “nudge” from God to stick firm. To hold our line and not allow things to go any further. To push back and lovingly, but firmly correct or re-direct our kids.

It will take extra time and energy and effort to do. It will be a pain in the bottom to work with them for the next few hours or days or even weeks, but in the end… I believe it’s essential that we do.

Our kids, especially our tweens and teens are living in our homes as a way to “prepare” for real life. The one they live now is sheltered, secure and largely insulated from the extreme pressures of adulthood. Our kids do not have the extra awareness of decades of life, of hard work and perspective on poverty and loss, success and accomplishment. They are in a cocoon of our own making, and it’s no surprise they develop a surreal view of their lives.

Our teens often become so self-absorbed and inwardly focused, it takes a commited parent to take the time to help break them out of the psuedo-reality they live in and see the real world. To assist them in moving beyond just looking out for their desires and wants, to see the “other’s” around them who may have real needs.

Take the time, make the investment when God prompts you to do so… it’s worth the aggravation, our kids are counting on us to help them become mature and well-rounded young men and women. Without us making the effort, we will essentially be surrendering their adolescent training time to someone or something else.

Take courage fellow parents, sometimes it’s all we can do to simply keep the path that God has directed us to follow and trust that HE will intercede on our behalf to win our childs hearts and minds,… it may just take some time.

Galatians 6:9-10 (ESV) 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Managing Tween Anger


Help your tween grow into a thoughtful, discriminating adult who rules his own emotions.

by  Shana Schutte for  (Focus on the Family)

When I was a teacher I could never understand what happened to the 2nd graders during summer vacation. When I walked out the school doors in May and returned three months later, they were noticeably more grounded and grown up. It was part of a dramatic shift from being a child to preparing to be an adolescent.

The word “adolescent” might scare you because you’re anything but ready for your third grader to grow up. However, because your eight-year-old is more emotionally aware and and intellectually advanced, you can help him understand more about himself — including how he handles his anger. In fact, these anger strategies apply to kids in the Tween years between the ages of 8 to 12.

When your child is angry, let him exercise more authority

My mother always says that sometimes you have to pick your battles and some aren’t worth fighting. This couldn’t be more true as your child progresses from being a child to an adolescent.

As your child grows intellectually and emotionally between the ages of eight and twelve, you will naturally want to grant him more responsibility so that he can grow into a responsible adult. This means that when he gets mad or rants and raves because he wants to buy a cheap toy with his hard-earned lawn mowing money, and you know it’s a bad idea, you can give up your ground and let the consequences of his choice speak for themselves. This way, you can spare yourself a battle and he can grow into a calm, thoughtful and discriminating adult who doesn’t allow his emotions to rule him.

Dr. Kevin Leman calls this “reality discipline” because reality serves up the discipline, not you. For some kids, especially those who are strong-willed and often demand that they get their way, it’s a great way to go. Of course, you can’t say yes to everything, but you can make it a practice not to say no just for the sake of saying it — and you can try to say yes often.

Don’t only speak to your child about his anger when he’s angry

With life pressures, it can be difficult to squeeze in teachable moments with your child. However, it’s imperative that if you want your child to learn how to handle his anger in a constructive way, you’ll need to speak with him when he’s not angry.

Think back to the last time when you were really angry. Could anyone reason with you? Did your breathing accelerate? Were you talking in circles? Did you forgot what the other person said (if you were locked in battle)? Obviously, it’s tough to reason with someone who is out of control with anger. That’s why you’ll need to speak with your child to make a constructive plan to handle anger when he’s not angry.

As a part of helping your child, let him know that since he’s getting older, he can take more responsibility in helping himself, since you won’t always be there for him. Express sympathy by letting him know that it’s normal to get angry sometimes. But also tell him that how he reacts to his anger is his choice and how he chooses will either make him more miserable or help him.

During one of your non-anger teachable moments, you can use a technique I used as a teacher. It’s important that you use this technique shortly after the event because he may not remember what happened later. Ask him how he felt (in his emotions and his body), what happened that made him angry, how he responded, what the outcome was and how he could respond next time. Over time, he may begin to see the connection between his actions and the result.

In the beginning, it’s reasonable to assume that he may not see how he contributed to the argument or blow-up with his siblings. However, I’ve seen this technique work with kids over a period of time. It gives them the opportunity to reflect inwardly and process the situation without you telling him how he should act. In short, it helps him see that his response is his responsibility.

Help your child create his own discipline plan

Once your child begins to see that his anger can be a problem, and that it’s making his life difficult, you can calmly consult with him about the consequences if he responds inappropriately. First, you’ll need to determine what “inappropriate” means. By discussing with him, ask him if it involves hitting someone, calling them names or spitting. Let him decide. I’ve found that most kids are amazingly honest about what is right and wrong when they’re not threatened.

After you have created a list of what is not an acceptable response to anger, you can create another list of what he will do when he acts inappropriately. For example, will he put himself in time-out? Spend the afternoon in his room? Or give a prized toy to a friend?

You can also offer healthy alternatives to express his anger, such as scream outside until he feels better, punch a soft toy in the privacy of his room, or draw a picture about his feelings when he’s angry.

Once your plan is complete and you’ve both agreed, both of you can sign it and post it somewhere obvious for future reference. This way, he can’t say he was never part of the decision-making process, and it puts him in charge of his response.

Above all, whenever your Tween is angry, remain calm. This will let him know that you are on his side and working with him to help him master anger.

Copyright © 2008 Shana Schutte. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.
This Blog is a repost from Focus on the – a great resource for faith and family concerns. Roadtripparenting is a strong
supporter of the FOTF website and its many resources for families of pre-teens and teens.
Peace out,