007 Parenting: Eleven Ways Parents Sabotage Their Kids’ Future & How To Stop


From the day junior is born he is set forth on a learning journey.  It’s a parent’s job to foster a learning environment.  From day one he is being prepared for the day that he will be a self-supporting adult.  I think our culture has lost sight of this.

We have gotten caught up in the minutiae of status, grades and extra-curricular activities. We have shirked the importance of learning the basics of life.  Essentially, kids are growing into adults who do not know how to “adult”, but they can take a test.

I do not want to parent-shame.  That will get us nowhere fast. Instead, I’d like to offer some alternatives to some common issues that have developed recently in our culture.

1.) Do not do your child’s homework or projects.

You can be a helpful presence if questions arise, but your child is going to school to learn, not to get an A.  If your child chooses not to do his homework, let him see what the consequences are, rather than enabling him to never fail.  Failure is one of life’s greatest teachers.

2.) Do not excuse your child from chores.

Being in a family means being a part of a team.  Excusing a child from helping out sends the message that that child is set apart from others, more special than the rest.  This can lead to a sense of entitlement.

Having them help around the house should be a weekly expectation and if need be, chores should be posted where the child can be reminded.  Just because you have a project at work does not mean that you get a free pass from your other responsibilities, the same is true for your child.  He needs to learn this now; his boss will not be his parent.

3.) Let’s Not Make Academics Priority One.

With the onslaught of charter schools, IB schools and other accelerated programs, I’m finding parents are pushing academics over life skills and kids are sorely losing out.  Some parents are making striving in academics more important than other responsibilities—this is not reality.  When your child becomes an adult he does not get a free pass from all other responsibilities at home because he has a project due at work.

4.) Teens Need Jobs.

Thirty years ago it would be almost unheard of for a parent to show up for a teen’s job interview.  These days employers are shocked when parents are doing the talking for the teen.

A job interview is an important life lesson, and so is working with the public.  It’s not a parent’s job to “protect” a child from difficult people.  Nothing teaches conflict resolution skills like having to serve someone who is having a bad day.  Make it clear that a summer job is expected, along with the possibility of a job during the school year.

5.) Allow Your Child to Order For Himself.  

Kids need to learn that they can interact with authorities.  One of the best and easiest learning environments for this is at a restaurant.

Your child knows what he wants, so why isn’t he saying it to the person who will actually serve him?  Have him say it, or no burger.

6.) Teenagers Should Drive.  

Being able to drive is a milestone in development.  It creates a sense of freedom and responsibility that is necessary to prepare for living on one’s own.  

Unless you live in an urban area where public transportation is the primary means for transportation, your fifteen year old needs to be driving.

7.) Kids Need to Handle Their Own Conflicts.

There are a few caveats for this one.  Sometimes kids are thrust into situations that are not age appropriate and need parental guidance, but for the most part this is not the case.

Use discretion before jumping onto every little scuffle or disagreement.  See how your child handles it first.

Your child may very well be learning conflict resolution without you being the teacher every time, and such is life.  (Of course, the greatest teaching is modeling it yourself.  Read more about “Five Things Your Kids Need To See You Do.”)

8.) Do Away With Micromanagement.  

A child should be the most creative, wistful being on the planet.  With the advent of smartphones, tablets, and incessant extra-curricular opportunities kids are becoming slaves to technology and time.

It’s almost like kids are not allowed to be kids any more.  There is no freedom for “free play.”

Play is a major way kids learn.  Denying them this freedom prevents them from learning in the best way they know how.  This means giving them the time to play as they wish without the stipulation of a particular activity that you have chosen for them.

Let them use their imaginations.  They NEED to be creative.  (Not sure if you are micromanaging?  Read “The Greatest Lessons That You Cannot Teach Your Children:  Overcoming Helicopter Parenting.”)

9.) Family Time is a Must.  

We live in a demanding world, but kids need to know that home is their foundation and the soft place to fall.  This means protecting family time.

 Kids should learn to have more mature conversations from sitting around the dinner table with everyone discussing their day.  Let kids learn how to be mature from you. Don’t deny them this opportunity and let them learn how to be “mature” from other kids and the media.  (Have a no technology at the table policy to ensure interaction.)

10.) Teach Your Child to Accept Responsibility for Failure.  

Do not blame teachers or others for your child’s shortcomings.  As much as your child is the light of your life, he’s human.  He makes mistakes.  He will be a more humble and agreeable human being if he is taught to own up to his failings.

This means taking a look at how you handle your own foibles.  It means having to watch how you talk about situations in your own life. You may have easily blamed another, but deep down the problem resulted from your own shortcoming.

11.) Speak Positively.  

Your kids are watching you.  It is incredibly easy to complain.  Oftentimes complaining is a result of blaming someone else for the way you feel.

Model a more positive attitude by catching yourself in the midst of a complaint.  Say out-loud, “How could I look at this differently?”  Watching mom correct herself says a lot to a child!  (Concerned about your child’s future?  Read “Five Things Your Child Needs More Than College.”)


     The culture of “low self-esteem” is rooted in a low sense of mastery.  Young adults in massive numbers are feeling insecure and dissatisfied with life.

Many are feeling empty and powerless.  Starting a child out early with the intention of helping him develop a sense of mastery over life skills will be one of the greatest experiences you can give him.

Remember: Sometimes teaching means getting out of the way.

Want your children to grow into well-adjusted adults? Learn how with “11 Ways Parents Sabotage Their Kids’ Future & How to Stop.” Therapist Laura Ketchie provides encouragement and helpful advice on how to turn negative parenting patterns into positive ones, in her free podcast and show notes.

004 – Traci Lester – “Teaching the Birds and the Bees Without the Butterflies”


Today’s guest is Traci Lester, author of “Teaching the Birds and the Bees Without the Butterflies.” Her book encourages parents on how to give the “sex talk” to their children in a more comfortable and helpful way.

Traci has been in the pregnancy care ministry for twenty-five years and is a client services director for our local pregnancy center. Her heart is for reaching women in the midst of crisis when discovering an unplanned pregnancy.

Traci’s book arose from speaking to school, youth and other groups about sex, in hopes to encourage more informed thinking about sex, leading to fewer pregnancies.

Teenagers Do Not Know Their Value

Traci shares an experience about a group of three fifteen-year old clients. They sought out pregnancy tests at the local pregnancy center.

Traci was struck by the disappointment one felt because she was not pregnant. She had hoped that being pregnant would help her to keep her boyfriend. The girl was trying to find worth in being pregnant.

Traci shared with her how valuable she is to God and how her God-given sexuality is precious. One of the girls did happen to be pregnant, and Traci prepared her for that possibility.

Parents Are Not Talking To Their Kids About God and Their Value

Traci felt that the missing piece in this story was the parents. She feels it imperative that parents teach their children about how precious they are to God. Parents need to be a constant resource for them when they need support.

After talking with parents of teens, it occurred to Traci that the values and much of the knowledge about sex had already been formed. It felt like having to erase years of the world’s influence—doing damage control.

It became apparent that reaching parents of younger children would be the key to starting a foundation upon healthy sex talk.

Traci discusses the misconceptions that keep parents from talking about sex, such as trying to preserve their child’s innocence by not talking about sex.

Parents Need To Be The Experts On Sex To Their Kids

We should be the experts about sex to our kids, rather than society. Parents’ feelings of discomfort have superseded the importance of broaching the topic of sex.

Parents need to talk to each other prior to talking to the children. There is no perfect way to approach the sex talk, but parents need to be prepared with a plan.

Be prepared for them to ask at the most inopportune times. Parents need to be proactive. Parents do not need to know all the answers, only prepared to say “let’s find out together”.

Parents need to be an open door of communication for their children. Their children should feel comfortable to reach out to them when they have questions or concerns.

Traci ends today’s show discussing her call to address taboo topics such as sex, abortion, and the church. She advises asking children what they know about these topics so that they can better fill in the gaps and better educate them.

Traci Lester, author of “Teaching the Birds and the Bees Without the Butterflies”

Traci’s Book

Purchase Traci’s book below:

Traci’s Contact Info

Website: www.teachingthebirdsandthebees.com

Email:  tracilester@charter.net

Nervous about giving “THE TALK” to your children? Let Traci Lester put you at ease with her book, “Teaching the Birds and the Bees Without the Butterflies”. Listen to our podcast to learn more from Traci and her book.

003: When Your Help Doesn’t Help


Different life events (surgery, childbirth, loss) can place a person in need of help and unable to fulfill typical day-to-day tasks for example:  cooking, laundry, driving, etc.

What are the barriers to getting the help you need?

  1. Not having a social support group or local family.
  2. Not asking for it.
  3. Being a people-pleaser.
  4. Not being direct about what specifically you need.

How do I get the help I need?

  1. Sometimes it means recognizing that you have difficulty being direct.
  2. Understand that others can get frustrated when you are not direct.  You may think you are being “nice” by not being direct, but you could actually be frustrating the person trying to help.
  3. In what seems to be overwhelming or difficult situations, people like to feel like they are contributing.  Giving someone a specific task can make them feel that they are truly helping you.
  4. Recognize that some people are not really sincere about helping.  They may want to “look” like they are helping, when in actuality they have an ulterior motive.  (This is commonly seen in examples of the birth of a child.  When I was discharged from the hospital after the birth of my son, a nurse told me about a woman who had just had a c-section and family had come to visit and she was cleaning her breast pump while the others cooed over the baby. NOT helping.)
  5. This can be a cultural phenomenon.  Women often feel that they must entertain those who come to visit, even when they are in need of an extra set of hands.
  6. If you notice that someone is not helpful, and you have been direct with them, it may be in your best interest to delegate tasks to others who are more helpful rather than keeping up the charade that the other person is helping.
  7. You may need to look at your pride.  And ask yourself, “Is my pride getting in the way?”
Had a baby recently and struggling with the people that are supposed to be helping? Listen to “When Your Help Doesn’t Help” from licensed professional counselors Laura and Vincent Ketchie of Relationship Helpers and their podcast to gain insight into ways to improve your situation.