Living with a Rebellious Child – ETB #87

What should you do when you have a rebellious child? When your child pulls away from you? When your adult child is estranged from you? We don’t openly talk about these kinds of struggles or share these heartbreaking experiences readily on social media. The picture of life can become blurry during these kinds of painful seasons, but there are things that you can do. Let’s talk about the possibilities!

Living with a Rebellious Child - ETB #87

Living with Rebellious Child or an Estranged Adult Child

I say frequently that rules minus relationship equals rebellion. I wrote in Parenting Beyond the Rules about how you have to go beyond the rules. You have to be willing to pivot and adjust. There’s freedom in the pivot! Rules don’t always mean rebellion and having a great relationship doesn’t keep your child from having a mood swing!

I remember my parents’ divorce. I was just 11 years old when my dad told me that he was leaving and that it was all my mother’s fault. Processing that with all of the information that I had and could understand as a child, I became very angry with my mother. The problem is that an 11 year old doesn’t know how to process that. If you know my story, you know I love my mom dearly. Over the years, I let many career opportunities pass by so that I could take care of my mom until her passing a few years ago. Sadly, there was a lot of ugly in the in between years.

There is a raw kind of pain deep in a mom’s heart surrounding rebellious children. If you tried to articulate it, you’d choke up and become speechless. Words cannot express the pain you feel. I’ve sat with many moms in this messy middle. Maybe you’re in these in between years? You have a rebellious child. A child who is sneaky or lies. A child who is estranged. A young adult child who doesn’t respond to texts, doesn’t come around to celebrate the holidays, or doesn’t send a birthday card. You are not alone!

If you have a child and a relationship like this, you likely want to chase after this child like the prodigal son. But, don’t forget the ones who are still at home and doing life with you like your spouse and other children. Despite the hurt, you have to remember to keep showing up for the ones who still present and asking to spend time with you. Letting go seems hard to do. It’s like a death of sorts. It carries so much guilt and so many unspoken words. But you do have to find a way to carry on for the rest of the family.

I’ve written a lot about the challenges of parenting teenagers. I had no idea how hard it would be when they became adults. Everything changes. Your focus needs to be working on the parent you want your child to get to know. So many times, children create a narrative; some of it is real while other parts are not. The story they hear or tell themselves can become etched in their hearts when they put up a wall. They think it is to protect them from you, but it keeps them from seeing the real you. Your heart. Your love. Your devotion over the years. 

The Gift of Time

“There is a gift of time, but you aren’t the controller of the time clock.”

Connie Albers

Time can be a great healer. I can’t tell you how much time is required. Maybe it will just be a year, but it might take 5 or 10 years or more. Here are some things that you can do along the way:

Don’t dwell on the situation. Be sure to focus on the children who do want to be near you.

Guard your heart against bitterness, anger, and resentment.

  • Bitterness will hurt you and the others living with you more than the wayward child.
  • Anger will cause you to do and say things that you regret.
  • Resentment keeps you from having an open heart. 

Don’t withdraw or isolate yourself. Find a friend or support group or ministry you can connect with. We are made for relationships! When a relationship is broken, so is our heart. 

Don’t expect your friends who aren’t walking this journey to understand. They simply can’t understand. Some things can only be understood after the fact.

Moving Forward

Here are some practical reminders and steps forward:

  • Stay kind. 
  • Stay full of hope.
  • Believe the Lord is still at work. 
  • Be faithful to show love when or if you are around that child. 
  • Remember that God can restore what was lost. 
  • Remember that God cares about your relationship with your child. 

“Keep working on the parent you want your child to know.”

Connie Albers

If you’re trying to figure out how to live with a rebellious child or an estranged adult child, ask God for opportunities to rewrite the story. He can restore, redeem, and make things new.

References and Links

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How to Build Sibling Relationships – ETB #86

Tom and I did a lot over the years to cultivate close sibling relationships within our family. I hear frequently that this is an issue of importance and concern for you as you raise your kids. You want to build strong sibling relationships between your kids. So, what do you want to see for your relationship with your kids when they become adults? What do you want to see in the relationships between your children when they become adults? Let’s talk about how you can build a strong foundation starting now to achieve that vision.

How to Build Sibling Relationships - ETB #86

Throughout the day we spend a lot of time settling arguments and soothing hurt feelings between the kids, don’t we? Someone did something to someone… again.

  • “Mom! So and so looked at me funny.”
  • “Mom! So and so broke my lego set.”
  • “Mom! Why does he always get to stay up late?”

Sometimes it’s an endless list of offenses, isn’t it? By the end of the day mom falls into bed worn down and worn out. Maybe she’s even begging the Lord to please make the kids stop fighting and start getting along. I bet that happens in your family too. If you have several kids, the amount time spent being a peacemaker or referee can quickly add up.

The truth is that teaching your children to love and honor and accept each other for who God made them to be is necessary to the future of your family. I believe God established the family unit to not only bring Him glory but to help us live a life of togetherness. 

You probably already spend countless hours investing in your child:

  • Reading
  • Playing
  • Teaching
  • Going to church
  • Reading God’s Word

What more can you do?

Relationships, Relationships, Relationships

You want to build a strong family. You want what’s best for your family. It’s going pretty well until maybe around middle school or high school or college and then you might find these relationship related things are becoming a little harder. 

People often ask me about my kids and our relationships. How are the relationships now that they are adults? How did we get there? Well, it is important to know first that how we live life has changed over the years. This is something I write about in Parenting Beyond the Rules. The schedules and routines we clung to when the kids were little, like nap times and bedtimes, shifted when we hit new seasons like high school. I suggest not becoming perplexed when what used to work stops working. There is a natural shifting and changing that takes place over time. Let God lead you in how to change these things as you and your children grow and change.

I don’t think when I was a younger mom there were as many self-proclaimed experts telling me what to do, but I was still careful of who I let give me advice in those days. Back then, I would sometimes get down thinking about how imperfect our family was or how I wished things could be better. That’s the internal drive I have towards ideal. The problem is that’s not realistic. What is realistic is that we have to cultivate that which we want. We have to put in the effort it takes to guard and protect and nurture those sibling relationships. Then we must be willing to adjust along the way. 

Richard Plass and James Cofield wrote in The Relational Soul (page 12): “We are designed for and defined by our relationships.” Think about that for a minute. You are designed for relationships. First with God, then with others. Next, you are defined by your relationships. First with God, then with others. Being designed for relationships with others starts within your home with the imperfect people God chose for you to do life with.

“We were born with a relentless longing to participate in the lives of others… We cannot not be relational.”

The Relational Soul – Plass and Cofield

How to Build Sibling Relationships

We must nurture trust with and between our children. They need to know that your family is safe. This is a safe place to be you. Here are some ways that you can do that:

  • Don’t allow your children to poke, make fun of, or shame their siblings for their weaknesses.
  • Listen to learn why a child struggles with another sibling.
  • Don’t allow your kids to compare between each other.
  • Ask leading questions
  • Don’t let joking cross the line to making fun of a sibling.
  • Remind each child they are part of something larger – the family!

Trust is the key to building the relationships that hold your family together. It takes sincerity, reliability, competence, and care every step of the way.

References and Links

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Learn to Love Struggles and Trials – ETB #85

How can you learn to love struggles and trials? We are conditioned to ignore and suppress struggles and trials in order to not appear weak or vulnerable. But, God can use struggles and trials to grow and change you if follow His leading.

Learn to Love Struggles and Trials - ETB #85

It is important that you know that God has equipped you to walk through struggles, and you should not be consumed by them!

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.

Lamentations 3:22 NKJV

Struggles and trials are common to everyone. I’ve been in difficult situations many times in my life. I’ve learned that these struggles and trials are teaching you something you wouldn’t learn without them. God can teach you things like:

  • Patience
  • Perseverance
  • Perspective
  • and more!

These struggles and trials are making you stronger! My husband and daughter recently went on a cross-country motorcycle trip. From the outside, it looked like an amazing trip. The reality is that they faced all kinds of storms and winds along the way. In pursuit of their dream, they endured incredible trials and struggles. God took them on unexpected detours that allowed them to experience the most beautiful places, but it wasn’t easy.

Struggles and trials force you to your knees, not to crush you, but to make you look to the Lord. In your weakness, God’s strength is made known. Struggles and trials change you. You will come through a struggle or trial differently than when you entered. Your faith will grow. Your resilience will increase. Your attitude will improve. Think about grandparents. Why are grandparents typically easier on grandkids than they were on you? They learned everything isn’t the battle we think.

How will you look at your next difficult circumstance? Will you learn to love struggles and trials?

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Knowing Your Strengths Part 4 – ETB #74

Why does knowing your strengths, talents, and the domain order matter?

If you missed episodes #71, #72, or #73, go back and listen to those first before jumping into this episode.

Knowing Your Strengths Part 4 - ETB #74

Here are three reasons why you should utilize the Talent Theme Domains.

  1. It gives an individual another way to think about their talents. If you know the underlying motivation, you can communicate more effectively. We can better understand why we do what we do. Believing God has given you and others unique talents, gifts, and strengths allows you to use words and phrases intentionally.
  2. It gives an individual more confidence in mitigating their weaknesses. Rather than focusing on their bottom Talent Theme, the individual can look at the Talent Theme in the same domain that is highest in their sequence and determine how to use that talent to achieve the result the results they are looking for. You gain more confidence when you learn how to manage your weaknesses regarding Talents. Now, I want to remind you there are no bad strengths. One strength is no better than another. The purpose is to see what is good and right about you. I’m just going to repeat this. I think I’ve said it in every episode. But it needs to be repeated because we tend to see what’s wrong with us and others, which causes anxiety and strife. The purpose of this series is that I want to help you know what is good and right about you. God formed and fashioned you; he made you exactly as he wanted you to be. Should you work on areas of your life? We do because we need to; we’re not perfect. We are in the process of being polished and refined, and that takes intentionality.
  3. It gives you a way to look for gaps and learn how you speak to others to get people moving in a specific direction. For example, to get your children to do what you’re asking them to do or get them to talk about something important to them. If you learn how to utilize the Talent Theme Domain buckets, you can motivate your children or even yourself to move towards that goal. 

Invite your friends to tune in. You should also go back and listen to the first three parts of the Strengths series on Knowing Your Strengths. I hope and pray that this is a huge blessing to you and helps communicate with your children, spouse, friends, co-workers, and ministry leaders better. It’s just so important to learn to pause for a moment and think about how others will hear what you say. 

If you’re a note-taker, press pause for a second. I want you to write something down: It’s not about what you say. It’s about what someone else hears that matters.  

For example, you can communicate a request thinking others know the intent behind your words, but it comes off as a command to the hearer. On the other hand, not thinking first can cause a simple request to fold the laundry to come across as an abrupt or demanding void of empathy or compassion. We want others to hear our words to land in a tender place of someone’s heart. So we can’t be harsh or reckless with our words.

Focusing on your Talent Themes and where they place in the order of dominance can make a huge difference in your relationships. The Gallup Organization puts talents into four domains: The Relating Theme, Impacting Theme, Striving (Executive) Theme, and Thinking Theme. 

We can use the knowledge of Talents to identify negative labels as clues to a talent. In addition, learning to use negative labels as clues can positively benefit those we love. 

Four Talent Theme Domains

Relating Talents—used to create, develop, and sustain relationships effectively. Prompt how a person reaches out to others and responds to those who reach out to them.

  • Adaptability
  • Developer
  • Connectedness
  • Empathy
  • Harmony
  • Includer
  • Individualization
  • Positivity
  • Relator

Influencing Talents—contained in themes used to motivate others to action. Prompts a person to set a course for individuals and groups to follow and then get them moving along that course. Stimulate others to be more productive, reach for excellence, and fulfill personal potential. 

  • Activator
  • Command
  • Communication
  • Competition
  • Maximizer
  • Self-Assurance
  • Significance
  • Woo

Striving Talents—contained in the themes used to push the self towards results motivates a person to get things done, then seek greater accomplishments. Distinctive motivations that influence individuals to do the same task differently. Striving themes are the fuel that propels people to excel, take risks, and set high expectations.

  • Achiever
  • Arranger
  • Belief
  • Consistency
  • Deliberative
  • Discipline
  • Focus
  • Responsibility
  • Restorative

Thinking Talents—the way people gather, process, and make decisions with information and mental images. People think in the past, present, or future. Thinking themes influence one’s view of the world, the way they treat others, interpret current events, solve problems, and create opportunities.

  • Analytical
  • Context
  • Futuristic
  • Ideations
  • Input
  • Intellection
  • Learner
  • Strategic

Words to Use When Describing Negative Labels.

Use those labels as clues to see the positive side of their characteristics:

  • Controlling say In-Control
  • Bossy use Assertive, Determined
  • Doormat use Flexible
  • Obstinate use Persistent
  • Anti-social use Inner-directed
  • Uncooperative, antagonistic use Independent thinker
  • Smart-aleck use Clever
  • Nosey use Curious
  • Not a team player use Self-motivated, Inner-directed

Think about the positive attributes of negative words. Our words have the power to build up or tear down. By taking the time to think before we speak, we will be heard and understood more clearly. 

God uses people to accomplish his will. He expects us to engage with the world around us in an understanding way. Furthermore, we are to teach and train our children in the way they should go. Leading our children by speaking in a way they hear can have a dramatic impact on your relationship.

God has uniquely wired people to complete their assignments.

Thank you for tuning in. We would love for you to leave a review. Unfortunately, I forget to ask you to leave a review regularly or to hit the subscribe button in your favorite podcast app so it pops up in your feed so that you can listen every Wednesday at 8:00 AM Eastern.

Thank you for joining us and be blessed!

Xoxo, Connie


*Note: if you purchase one of the books with a code, you do not need to buy an additional code from Gallup. But, don’t buy a used one. The chances are that code has already been used.

**If you have a tween or younger teen, I recommend that they take Strengths Explorer. It is geared for kids ages 10-14.

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Stop Giving People Headspace – ETB #53

Do the words of others linger in your mind? You can hear them play over and over again. You want to erase their words, but you can’t get them out of your head. It’s because we’ve given people headspace. It’s like giving free rent in my head to others, and it has to stop.

Stop Giving People Headspace - ETB #53

Most people can remember a time when someone said something they couldn’t let go of:

  • You’re a jerk!
  • You’re no good at that!
  • You should give it up and try something else!

Those become haunting words that trigger emotions and attitudes, causing us to alter our behavior.

Allowing others to speak life-giving words to us is a good thing. Those are the words we want to linger in our minds, but giving headspace to the wrong person, who speaks untruths or faulty information, can be detrimental and derail our lives.

Stop Giving People Headspace

We have to stop allowing people to take up residency in our heads. By allowing someone to take up headspace, you permit them to influence your thoughts or beliefs about yourself.

It can happen to all of us if we don’t realize that what’s going on.

Be careful what you allow others to say about you to you. Not everything someone says to you is true about you! Let me repeat… not everything someone says to you about you is true!

How to Keep Someone from Getting into Your Head

  • Use God’s Word to replace untruths.
  • Examine our thought processes often. If you catch yourself dwelling on negative words, replace them with the truth. When we allow them to linger, they can derail, discourage, and defeat us.
  • Take your thoughts captive. If you start to doubt your ability, remember God has equipped you. He will lead you, and He will be with you.
  • Avoid people who are thoughtless with their words.

Bottom line: Don’t allow other people’s words to take up headspace. Stop giving people headspace!

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Foster Respect Between You and Your Teen – ETB #49

Fostering a foundation of respect between you and your teen requires time and intentionality. The good news is that your investment now pays off in the long run as you show your child respect.

Foster Respect Between You and Your Teen - ETB #49

Respecting each other is not just a good idea to help your relationship grow stronger, but God requires that we show respect. In I Peter 2:17 (NIV), the Bible says, “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”

In this episode, I share ways you can foster respect between you and your child.

Ways to Foster Respect Between You and Your Teen

  • Understand your child’s point of view.
  • Remember, every person is made in God’s image.
  • Let your child feel seen and heard.
  • Look at your teen in the eyes
  • Serve one another
  • Monitor how you speak to each child

Over the years, I’ve seen well-intentioned parents who believed respect wasn’t a two-way street. They demanded to be respected by their child but failed to understand their responsibility to show respect to their child. When you take the time to show your child respect, your child will start to mirror your example.

Bible References to Ponder

  • Genesis 1:27
  • Philippians 2:1-8
  • Romans 12:2
  • I Corinthians 11:1

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