Family Life Radio

Rick Horne was interviewed for three consecutive days by Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine of Family Life Radio. You can listen to all three episodes here. You can also read the full transcripts of Day One, Day Two, and Day Three.

Family Life Radio Transcript, Day One

Bob: There is a line in parenting between molding and shaping our children as they grow, and trying to control our children as they grow. Here is Rick Horne.

Rick: When a teen gets the sense that the parent or a teacher, or an administrator or a youth pastor has his agenda, we are written off.

Song… All I really wanted was…. a chance for me to get on with my life
…. But you keep on getting in my way!

Rick: If we come with an approach that gives the impression that we have a different set of wants for you; you have some wants, but they are wrong. We have some wants and I am your parent and you need to want this and you need to do this. This relationship with your mom and these words that you are going to speak or not speak they are not going to be open to what we have to say.

SongCuz’ you don’t know me…. you don’t know me… what makes you think I am on your side. Don’t tell me… that you need me, get off my back – time to get a life.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for the Wednesday, December 16th. Our host is President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I am Bob Lepine. We are going to talk today with Rick Horne about what parents of teens can do to influence a child without exasperating them.

Song… So, why can’t you just leave me alone!

Bob: And welcome to FamilyLife Today! Thanks for joining us! You know there is this debate I hear from parents from time to time; some parents will say, “Boy the teenage years, you hang on by your fingernails just to get your kids through it. Then there are these other parents that I run into that say, “Well we didn’t have any problem with our teenage years, I think it is just how you parent your kids whether you are going to have problems in your teenage years.”

Dennis: Yes! I have met some of those folks! I didn’t care for them, but I have met a few!

Bob: So, you are thinking you are thinking that it is normal for parents to experience some push back from their teens during the teen years?

Dennis: Well I will tell you a little story, I was in the airport onetime with Dr. Bill Bright, who was then the President, and of course the Founder of Campus Crusade for Christ and I had picked him up at the airport and we were walking along and evidently, I don’t remember what I had said, but I must have said something that our teenage sons were a little angry. I will never forget this, he just kind of grunted and he said, “Hmmmm, all teenage boys are angry!”

Bob: Maybe at home, this had happened to him?

Dennis: So when I ran across this book, Get Outta My Face that Bob placed on my desk I thought, “I have got to meet Rick Horne!” and so he is here sitting across the table from me. Rick welcome to FamilyLife Today!

Rick: A Pleasure to be here!

Dennis: It is all about teenagers, their anger, and how we as parents can be more effective in dealing with them. Let me tell you, Rick has got some experience. Not only does he have 4 graduate degrees from various institutions, but here is the kicker, he has 30 years experience as a Christian School Guidance Counselor, plus, six children of his own.

Rick: That is the crucible!

Dennis: I have got a feeling that he has seen this look, Get Outta My Face. Tell us what that look, actually looks like. What does a kid whose really angry look like from your experience?

Rick: There can be a lots of different appearances; rolling eyes, a smirk, it can be just a flat face with no communication at all just a, “I can’t wait for you to finish this sentence and are you done yet, can I leave? I have had enough; I don’t need to hear anything else.”

Dennis: Take us to your house, you have six kids, just give us a scene….well, one of the highlights of raising your six kids.

Rick: Well, I can remember with my oldest, I can remember driving home from a hockey game one time, field hockey; she had asked permission when she was 15 years old to go out with a fellow to a Jr./ Sr. banquet that she was invited to, and she had asked me days before, “Can I do this?” “Can I do it?” She had asked her mom because our rule was nothing could occur until 16 at all.

Bob: So she is like 9th grade at this point?

Rick: She was at 9th, yes! She would have been 9th grade.

Bob: And this was the junior – senior banquet?

Rick: “And how many 9th or 10th grade students get to be invited to that kind of thing, Dad?” And I mean this is really something.

Dennis: So he is an older guy?

Rick: He is! He is a junior!

Dennis: That brings on all kinds of issues, in and of itself, right there.

Rick: Oh! Yes! It does!

Dennis: All of us as dads know how a junior or senior in High School thinks.

Rick: I had thought about it and she had talked to her mom and her mom said, “Well, you know you have to ask dad about this.” So she did and I said, “Give me a few days to think about it.” So we are driving along and I said, “Jen, I have thought about it and I think we are going to stick with the standard that we have established. I know this is disappointing.”

Well at that moment; we have always had good communication, I pray with her each evening, and we always had a pretty good relationship, I mean the ice, the coldness, and the temperature in the car really went down very quickly. And it was true also that evening when I tried to pray with her. I was praying by myself, for sure. So there was definite temperature, a thawing that needed to take place.

Bob: Now, you are a High School guidance counselor….

Rick: I do have all the answers….

Bob: You have got graduate degrees in this kind of stuff. As a parent, when that kind of stuff has happened with me, when your kids develop this kind of an angry heart, because you are parenting and they don’t like the restrictions or the boundaries. You can feel a fear as a mom or a dad that you are somehow, by your decision, pressing your child toward rebellion, that you are fostering in them a heart that is going to turn away from you and you are going to lose them.

Dennis: Or you are going to lose the relationship from them. The chill is going to be a permanent Antarctica.

Bob: Right!

Dennis: That you will never get them back.

Bob: Is that a real danger for us as parents that it could happen because we put boxes and restrictions on our kids?

Rick: Well, I think all of this has to be taken in the larger context of the relationship. What you have been doing with your son and daughter through the years. There is hope, even if we have botched things up, majorly; there is still hope because the word of God still gives great principles for healing and for helping. The material I have tried to write about as well as our own experiences, these are for sinners to practice not for perfect parents to practice. So, I am grateful for that because I qualify.

Our confidence has to be in not that we have applied the right technique, not that we have said it exactly the way it needs to be said, or that we have not been offensive. Our confidence has to be in the fact that Lord you have given this responsibility to parent and to seek by the grace of God to be faithful to You. I am going to seek to be respectful and loving and faithful to my son and daughter and I am going to trust You. We cannot control our kids.

Dennis: And I am going to hold to my convictions when our children get angry and push back on us and not wilt under the emotional pressure.

Bob: But, we read in Ephesians 6 where it says, “Do not exasperate! Fathers do not provoke your sons or your daughters to anger.”

Rick: It doesn’t mean don’t cross their will, but it does mean there is a pattern of inattentiveness, a pattern of disrespect, or a pattern of unwillingness to listen to force my will, impose my will (in a sense) or let the kids think that every time I am talking to them it is my will that matters not theirs.

Dennis: As I was reading your book, and listening to the stories, I was honestly a little envious of you. What a privilege it would be to be a High School Guidance Counselor for three decades and to have student after student come into your office and spill the beans and in many cases, probably share things of what their parents are doing wrong; maybe share some things the parents are doing right, and really glean a number of lessons from other people’s mistakes. Did that happen a lot of times as you counseled these young people?

Rick: Well, not only the young people, but even their parents.

Dennis: Yes!

Rick: You are absolutely right about the feedback and the sensitivities, but I would make one correction to your perception to what I do, as a school counselor. Teens don’t usually go to adults for the solutions. Who do they usually go to?

Dennis: Yes! Sure their peers!

Rick: They go to their peers! They are not knocking down the door. So, what this effort in using the scriptures in working with teens does is it empowers parents, youth counselors, and youth pastors to go to the angry kid because they need help, but they are not going to come saying, “Oh, Lord, help me! Counselor, please help me! I know I am out of line here, I know I have a bad attitude. Please, I don’t want this bad attitude. Help me to correct it.”

Dennis: Yea!

Bob: There is a certain amount of wanting to revel in their anger and kind of enjoy the rebellion a little bit.

Rick: Could be! Sure!

Bob: Often times when a parent tries to engage an angry teen all they get is what we already described; a blank face. I am not going to engage. I am not going to talk to you. You go on and say am I doing something wrong, and the teenager just isn’t going to talk to you, they aren’t going to say anything or they just are silent with you. What do you do in that situation?

Rick: Part of the reason for that is because most of the time angry teens, when they shut down; the reason they shut down is because they believe that it is your want not their want that you are there to talk about. They have a very myopic, self-centered orientation as an angry teen. Most teens do!

Dennis: Yes! Right!

Rick: That is just where they are! I am not justifying that, I simply describing it! It is a self-centered sinful response. They are wrapped up in themselves and their universe and their way of seeing things. When you or I come as a parent come with an approach that gives the impression that we have a different set of values that you (the teen) must adopt, a different set of wants for you. You have some wants, but they are wrong. We have some wants and I am your parent and you need to want this, you need to do this, you need to choose this behavior, that pattern of homework study, or this relationship with your mom, or these words you are going to speak or not speak.

When a teen gets the sense that I, as a parent, or a teacher or an administrator or a youth pastor has his agenda we are written off. They are not going to be open to what we have to say. So the task that we have is to understand what they want and then work with their wants. It is kind of like karate. In karate, you use the weight or judo or one of the martial arts, you use the weight and the movements of the opponent to your advantage. One of the things the scriptures seem to do in the whole book of Proverbs even Jesus modeled it in some instances, is to use the wants of the people that He is talking to as a way of getting to the truth.

Dennis: I really agree with you on this. I am thinking back to a conversation I had with one of my teenage sons; I really can’t remember, so I am not trying to protect his guilt at this point, but I can still show you the spot in the road where we were jogging along and we had this… what felt like this weekly battle around taking the garbage up to the top of the hill. Now, we live at the bottom of a hill, it is not a big hill, it is not one that would cause somebody to file child labor laws against us to ask them to push the garbage can; which has wheels on it, by the way, up to the top of the hill.

And we are jogging along and I say, “Son, what would motivate you to take the garbage can up to the top of the hill when it is suppose to go up there on Sunday night?” (His answer) “Nothing! Nothing!” I said, “Would $0.50 motivate you?” (His answer) “No!” “Would $5.00 motivate you?” (His answer) “No!”

I said, “What if I told you that every time you took the garbage can up to the top of the hill I’d pay you $500, would that motivate you?” (His answer) “Well, I might start thinking about that, dad.” And I said, “Really the issue is your motivation; what it would take to motivate you to get that garbage can where it belongs.

Now there are such things in life as duties. We called them chores. How do you help a teenager understand that they have some responsibilities around the house? I don’t think I would ever be able to have convinced our teenage son that this is his want. I did talk about freedom in the future as he became responsible to deal with matters like this that he would be given more freedom. Which he does want! So, am I getting near the crux of the matter at that point?

Rick: I think you are. Why don’t we role play? You be your son.

Dennis: I could do that easily.

Rick: Okay!

Dennis: I know where they got this!

Rick: So, what is his name? What do I call you?

Dennis: Well, in this case…

Rick: I will call you Dennis.

Dennis: Yes!

Rick: That would be the name. Here’s Dennis! We will use Dennis.

Dennis: Alright!

Rick: Okay!

*Role play between Dennis and Rick:

Rick: Tell me Dennis, what is it that you want about life? What do you want?

Dennis: I want to be free!

Rick: Okay!

Dennis: I want to out from under all the rules of this house.

Rick: Because, to not be free… what kind of experience is that?

Dennis: Well, you are imprisoned! That is how I feel a lot of times when I come home.

Rick: So, you are restricted.

Dennis: Oh, it is terrible!

Rick: You can’t make your own choices…

Dennis: Yea! You and mom are just always on my case about all these things I have got to do. Constantly!

Rick: And that is not pleasant. That is not fun!

Dennis: Chores, there’s homework, all these things just keep piling up.

Rick: That’s right! All these responsibilities!

Dennis: Yes! Yes! I want freedom!

Rick: That is pain!

Dennis: It is!

Rick: So let me ask you this? Is the way you are responding right now, getting you the freedom that you want?

Dennis: Well, I am hoping it will.

Rick: Well, is it now? I mean, has it worked in the past?

Dennis: It doesn’t seem to be.

Rick: So, what has your behavior gotten you?

Dennis: Well a lot of lectures from you.

Rick: Okay, that is not fun!

Dennis: I don’t like those! I am tired of the lectures!

Rick: So, if you don’t want the lectures, and you don’t want the restrictions.

Dennis: I am tired of the stories, the sermons… I don’t!

Rick: Has there ever been a time where you have not had restriction and stories and lectures.

Dennis: Well, maybe when I was little.

Rick: okay! Can you think of a time, maybe in the past year, was anything that you wanted that you were able to actually get?

Dennis: It is kind of hard; I usually don’t think in terms like that … I am a teenager.

Rick: I understand, but teenagers live by their wants. Okay.

Bob: Let me ask you son… (I am just jumping in here to help you out).

Dennis: Now this is really going to be good.

Bob: How about like when you wanted to have some wheels to drive out on Friday night? Did you get that?

Dennis: Oh yes! I sure did!

Rick: What is it that you must have communicated to your mom and me that gave us the sense that you could be trusted with the wheels?

Dennis: You know these are hard questions.

Rick: I know they are, but you are intelligent young man.

Dennis: It is hard.

Bob: He’s intelligent enough that he sees where it is going.

Rick: That is exactly right!

Bob: And he doesn’t like what he sees.

Dennis: I am going to get passive on you now!

Bob: What you are doing and what you are modeling here and I think this is really helpful, you are saying you can help a young person connect responsibility and privilege.

Rick: Exactly!

Bob: Being responsible and gaining freedom. What the kids want is they want the freedom, but they don’t want to mess with the responsibilities.

Rick: The important thing is the freedom he wants, not the freedom I want him to have. He needs to articulate what it is that he wants, so we need to be willing as parents to be listening and appealing to our angry teen, “What do you want?” Now that freedom thing is a big, big chorus that they sing. And that is great!

That is a presumption all the way through the book of Proverbs. Underlying so many of the Proverbs is some positive of quality of what I call in the book, “wise wants.” Kids often operate just with ‘surface wants.’ I want to stay in bed. I don’t want to take the trash to the top of the hill, I don’t want to be bothered with that, but what they want they want underneath that is they want freedom, they want to be considered adults…

Dennis: They want to be trusted.

Rick: They want to be trusted. What we need to do is move our kids from thinking about the ‘surface wants’ to then asking the question about the “wise wants” that are under there and assume they are there by God’s common grace.

Bob: But, when they say, “ I want to hang out with the people I want to hang out with and I want to be able to do….

Dennis: What I want to do.

Bob: What I want to do.

All: When I want to do it.

Bob: Which may include I want to be able to drink or I may want to be able to use drugs or I may want to be able to be with my girlfriend and be sexually active with her. I mean we may be talking about their wants being sinful, destructive behaviors. What do we do then?

Rick: Underneath even the most perverse wants there are ‘wise wants.’ So, I want to sleep with my girlfriend; what you really want is a relationship that lasts. You want something that is meaningful. What you really want is pleasure that you aren’t regretting, that is not going to be something you have to hide. Is that what I am hearing you say? You really want that kind of relationship? Is what you are doing or the way kids go about getting this right now really providing that for them? Would it give you the real things that you want? The ‘wise wants” that God has put inside of you.

This is the place to actually be commending your son or daughter. I appreciate that freedom that you want. I respect it! I wanted it to when I was your age. I want that kind of intimate relationships and close relationships; you want them too. And that is good and you know why?

It’s because God has wired it into you. See for the first time, maybe, depending upon how the relationship has been, instead of there being a confrontation now between you and your son or daughter, you are going to be pushing your son or daughter into a much stronger confrontation with themselves.

Dennis: And to the parent, who is wondering how to practically go about creating some “wise wants” with their children, I would just give them this coaching advice; go to the book of Proverbs. Take a chapter a week with your teenager and just read the chapter and then talk about it a little bit.

Rick: As you move through the book, just put a ‘WW’ right beside the ‘wise wants,’ because these underlie virtually all the Proverbs. Now, some of them are not immediately applicable. I mean “a soft answer turns away wrath” is pretty immediately applicable. And you can put a little ‘WW’ there, a “Wise Want.” Why does that Proverb make any sense to a kid? It’s because he doesn’t want wrath.

Dennis: Yes!

Rick: That is what Solomon is assuming.

Dennis: But, realize that the method of teaching you are going to have to employ here is that in the New Testament Time was called the Rabbinical Method of Teaching which is one word repetition. Over and over and over again, and this was what wore us out as parents; that you had to teach and instruct and teach and instruct some of the same things over and over and over again. It is no wonder you have heard the same lecture, because we are still talking about the same thing.

Bob: Well, once you load the software you figure the program should just run perfectly.

Dennis: You really do! And you don’t think about the need for growing maturity in the teenagers’ life. All this, by the way, presupposes a very important point here; and that is that the parents have convictions of their own from the scriptures that they are guiding children to be equipped with for life.

Bob: Well, I think as a mom and dad, you can get together and maybe go through a book like this together. This is a kind of a book that as parents you don’t just want one of you to read. This something that maybe you read a chapter out loud to each other right before you go to bed at night. You finish it and you pass it on to your spouse and he or she finishes it and then you spend some time talking about what you are reading together. It is a helpful book for parents to get on the same page, especially ahead of what can be challenging or trying teen years.

We have copies of the book in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center, it is called, Get Outta My Face by Rick Horne and you can go to for more information on how to get a copy of the book. Again, it is called, Get Outta My Face, and you will find in online at

You can order online if you like or you can call-1-800-FLToday; that’s 1-800 F as in “family” L as in “life” and then the word TODAY. When you get in touch with us just mention that you would like the book we were talking about on the radio today; the book about teens. We will know what you have in mind and we will make arrangements to have a copy of it sent to you.

You know one of the things that in on all of our minds this time of year is gift giving. We have got a list and either you have already taking care of folks on your list or you are still in the process of doing that.

We have had some friends of the ministry who have already given a great gift to us. They came to us several weeks ago and said they wanted to match every donation we receive in the month of December on a dollar for dollar basis; up to a total of $ 1,250,000.

They told us what they are hoping for is that their matching gift will encourage more FamilyLife Today listeners to make a donation of their own. So during this month if you make a yearend contribution to FamilyLife, a $25 donation, they are going to match it with a $25 donation. If you send a $100, they will match it with a $100; again, up to this total amount of $1,250,000.

This is the largest matching gift we have ever had during yearend. We are hoping to take full advantage of it, so we are asking you to either go online at, or call us, toll-free, 1-800-FL-TODAY, and make as large a yearend contribution to the ministry as you possibly can.

Again our website is, you can donate online, or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY and make your donation over the phone. Your donation is going to be matched; it is going to be doubled thanks to the generosity of these friends and we do hope to hear from you.

We hope you will be back with us tomorrow. Rick Horne is going to be here again and we are going to continue to talk about the challenges we face as we raise teens and how we can be wise as parents in helping to mold and shape our teens. I hope you can join us for that.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I am Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.

© 2009 FamilyLife
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Family Life Radio Transcript, Day Two

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Bob: Can you imagine having this kind of a conversation or saying these words to your angry teenager? Here’s Rick Horne.

Rick: If you don’t want to change you don’t have to. I would like you to – I love you, and I think it’s in your best interest, but you don’t have to change if you don’t want to. Now, I have to by God’s command – I have to bring consequences to make change attractive so I’ll do that because I love you. This is an extremely respectful approach to communicating with our kids when they are angry.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, December 17th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’re going to hear today from Rick Horne a number of different ways that we can connect with angry teens – ways that work.

Welcome to FamilyLife Today thanks for joining us. You know our listeners have had a chance to hear something this week that they don’t normally get a chance to hear, and that’s you acting like a teenager. Well, it’s kind of fun for you to dive right in there, and assume the persona of one of your children. You had plenty of experience, plenty of memories to draw on to assume that role didn’t you?

Dennis: I really did – you know with six children. But, our guest on today’s program had six children as well. Rick Horne joins us on FamilyLife Today – Rick welcome back!

Rick: Thank you it’s good to be here.

Dennis: Really as I look at your book: Get Outta My Face as you talk about how to have a biblical approach to dealing with your kids anger – that’s really what you talked about here is finding a way around four big ideas that you have in your book to get in your child’s corner, and to help them.

I just want to give a sneak peek to our listeners. The four big ideas are listen big, clarify narrow, look wide, and plan small.

Bob: Now, we need to unpack that for folks so listen big means you start off by trying to hear what is going on in your teenager’s heart?

Rick: What you’re trying to listen for is what they don’t want. You want to listen – what do you not want because that’s where you’re going to have the opportunity to let them unpack the pain that they’re feeling, the experience and the negatives that they are feeling. I don’t want disapproval. I don’t want restriction. I don’t want your disrespect. I don’t want you barging into my bedroom all the time invading my privacy.

Bob: I don’t want you meddling trying to control my life.

Rick: That’s right. I don’t want you talking about my life to other people at church. Then here’s where you can feedback or echo back to the student – to your son or daughter exactly what kind of emotions that all creates. That really is oppressive, that really is uncomfortable – if I had somebody always on my case I would feel that way, too.

Dennis: You know earlier we role-played with me being a teenager, and you kind of unpacked it, and showed our listeners how you do that. Let’s make Bob a teenager today, and I want you to demonstrate to our listeners how you would do that with Bob. Let’s say it’s over him missing curfew – all right?

Rick: Okay!

Bob: Okay – so I’ve come home – it’s a half an hour late.

Dennis: Repeatedly you’ve come home a half an hour late.

Bob: Now you’re piling on!


That’s what you’re doing – you always do this!

Dennis: The facts are the facts!

Rick: Always – that is a good word – always!

Bob: So, okay so it’s been repeatedly, and it’s now the next morning and you’re sitting down, and you’re saying you came in late last night. I’ll let you play your part – okay?

Rick: Okay – so you did – you came in late last evening.

Bob: Well, yes I was a little late but you know we got hung up with some stuff, and I didn’t want to call you because I figured you guys were asleep.

Rick: Now, part of the consequences that come your way when this happens – what usually does occur?

Bob: Well, you guys usually come up with some kind of restriction like you won’t let me do the computer for a month or you come up with some job I have to do. I don’t see what the big deal is because I was a half an hour late?

Rick: It really makes you feel like we’re making a mountain out of a molehill?

Bob: Yes! I mean I can’t understand why this is such a big deal for you guys?

Rick: It seems like it’s irrational!

Bob: What’s the big deal between coming in at midnight or coming in at 12:30?

Rick: It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to you at all?

Bob: Thirty minutes – what’s the big deal?

Rick: It seems like it’s really not something that should be a rule!

Bob: Exactly!

Dennis: There’s a self-righteous look on Bob’s face right now that could melt an iceberg.


Bob: What you’re doing, and I want to break in here, because what you’re doing is you’re trying to say – yes you want the son or daughter to understand – I understand how this makes you feel.

Rick: That’s exactly what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to say I want to understand how this is making you feel.

Dennis: Rick – noticing what you’re doing here even though you’ve understood what he’s feeling you’re not taking his side necessarily in agreeing that it’s right.

Rick: That’s right – what I’m doing is simply trying to tune into what Bob’s experience is.

Bob: This is what you call listen big?

Rick: Listening big because what I’m trying to listen for is what you don’t want – okay? What you don’t want is the pain, and the consequences. The things that are hurting you—the pinching, the restriction, the lack of freedom. That’s what you don’t want. I want to hear that, and I want to echo that back to you, and you know when I was your age Bob I didn’t want those things either. That is really uncomfortable!

Bob: Yes, so can we just lighten up?

Rick: Well, God does put responsibilities on my back as a dad, but let me ask you a question – okay? Can I change you?

Bob: Well, no!

Rick: Ultimately?

Bob: Only I can change me!

Rick: That’s right, and I can’t change you, and I want you to know that I respect the fact that you want some of those things. Those qualities of wanting freedom, wanting maturity – it sounds to me like that’s something that you’re wanting? You don’t want restriction!

Bob: Yes, I think I am old enough. I think I am mature enough that I ought to be able to decide when I can come in.

Rick: To be treated with respect and to be treated in a way that gives you freedom and recognizes you as a young adult is something that you really want from your parents.

Bob: Now, you’re trying to move from listening big to clarifying narrow at this point?

Rick: I am! I am!

Bob: So explain the idea of clarify narrow – what are you doing?

Rick: What I’m doing is I’m trying to clarify – number one I’m trying to clarify what he does want because I found out what Bob doesn’t want. Now what I’m trying to do is say: So what you really want is to be treated respectfully, to be treated like a young adult, to be trusted, to be given freedom. Those are great things to want, and I commend the maturity that you even see that. There are some kids that just wrap themselves up in their bitterness, and they never really think about the things that they want so I respect that. The reason you want those things is because God’s hardwired them into you, and I just respect that.

Bob: Okay!

Rick: Let me ask you a question.

Bob: Yes?

Rick: Has there been a time that you can think of in the past year when you’ve been given freedom?

Dennis: Now, you move into the next phase which is look wide – helping the young person reflect back on what does feel good, and where they felt rewarded?

Rick: Places where the things that they want they actually received – other experiences.

Bob: So, I would say well in the area of curfew – no – you guys have been really rigid about this 12:00 thing – so no I haven’t seen any flexing on that at all.

Rick: How about in any other area of your life? Is there any other area where I hear what you’re saying there, and I know that’s uncomfortable – but is there any other area that you have been given freedom, and you’ve felt that freedom?

Bob: I feel like you treat me like a kid all the time!

Rick: Is there any place that you’ve been allowed to go to be with some of your friend’s overnight?

Bob: Well, yes – but!

Rick: Have there been others that we haven’t allowed you to go to be with?

Bob: Okay – yes!

Rick: Okay so what do you think has made the difference between the ones that we allowed you to go with, and the ones that we didn’t?

Bob: You let me go with the people you like, and you won’t let me go with the people you don’t like.

Rick: You’re playing it really hard here Bob!


Dennis: This is why if you met Mrs. Lepine her eyes would be rolling back right now!


Bob: The reality is our kids are pretty skilled at some of this so we’d better know.

Rick: They are, and if they’re resistant it’s because I’m doing exactly what you said. I’m starting to move from thinking about what you want to what I want. Let me ask you a question a little differently: Is there any place in your life Bob maybe not here at home at all – as your dad I’m disappointed that’s the way I’ve communicated to you because I want you to feel respected, and I want you to feel like you have some freedom but is there any place at all where you have experienced a sense of freedom and respect?

Bob: Uh huh – Mr. Edelman at school!

Rick: Okay – tell me about that!

Bob: Well, he treats all of us like adults.

Rick: How does he treat you that way?

Bob: We know what we have to do but he gives us flexibility, and I was late on this paper, and he said, “Okay that’s no big deal.” He understood why I was late and he let that slide, and in the Science lab he lets us go and check stuff out and handle things.

Rick: So, what are you doing there that’s making him give you that kind of freedom?

Bob: Well, he just treats us all like adults.

Rick: Well, now that may be but you’re doing something because there are some students he doesn’t trust.

Bob: Well, okay – yes!

Rick: So, you’re doing something that is showing that you’re trustworthy – that he can give you that freedom. What are you doing?

Bob: I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

Rick: Okay so by doing what you’re supposed to be doing like getting assignments in on-time for the most part being respectful in class, putting away the supplies, or getting them out, working cooperatively in class – by doing those things you’re teaching him that you can be trusted.

Bob: Well, he just chills out.

Rick: Now, you can’t blame him. You’re the one who’s teaching your teacher that you can be trusted – you’re making good decisions, and because of your good decisions he’s giving you freedom.

Bob: But he’s more relaxed than you guys are!

Rick: That may be but it’s what you’re doing that’s teaching him that you can be trusted.

Dennis: Okay, so you’ve shown us how to look back. This last one of plan small how would you apply that in the situation with Bob?

Rick: Well, what I would do is there’s a little transition in there. What I have to say is: I wonder how what you’re doing in school to teach Mr. so and so that you’re responsible could work here in our home? What could you do to teach us because we want you to have freedom, but we don’t want to give you freedom that we think is going to hurt you. So, what could you do to teach us that we could trust your judgment?

Bob: I don’t know – you tell me!

Rick: Well, you think about it – where are the restrictions?

Bob: Well, around curfew.

Rick: Okay – so if you showed us around curfew that you could be trusted to use good judgment is it possible that if we really want you to have freedom that we’ll find in time that standard change?

Bob: Well, I don’t know – let me ask you: Is there any way I’m going to get a curfew that’s past midnight while I’m still in high school?

Dennis: To that point, I think at this point you could say as a parent, “You know generally by the time you’re a senior we try to move with all of our children toward the last semester in your senior year of you tell us where you’re going to be, but you can come home whenever you come home.”

Bob: You let the reins out a little bit?

Dennis: Yes, because they’re going to be free.

Rick: Sure – that’s what going to happen next year in college.

Dennis: Yes, in six months they’re going to be on their own. I’d rather them test the freedom while they’re still at the house – where their mom and I can observe their behavior, and do a little coaching perhaps not a lot, but a little. So, at this point you might hold a carrot out there for Bob to say, “You know, if you’d like that kind of freedom you really need to begin to exhibit some responsibility today in terms of meeting the curfews your Mom and I are setting for you.” Right?

Rick: That’s exactly the direction but I would want that to come from Bob. In other words I want the plan to come from him rather than from me. What can you do to teach us over the next three months that you can be trusted even with more time? Or without a curfew what could you do to teach us?

Bob: Well, I guess I could come home on time for like a period of time.

Rick: Okay, and if we’re really wanting to see would that communicate trust? Would that communicate responsibility on your part?

Bob: I guess – would it?

Rick: I think it would – yes – we would see it that way. So, that’s what I mean by planning small – you pick one thing. There might be a hundred things. You know I see this with kids – well, she’s easier than, or but it’s more fun in that class so I do the work.

Bob: She trusts me or whatever else.

Rick: Well, that may be but you’re doing something to earn the trust. You’re doing something to succeed in the class. Well, yes but she makes it fun. Yes I hear that but you’re doing something – what are you doing?

That’s finding an exception – that’s the looking wide for something that is already working. Then what you do is you hypothesize with them, and say “So, what could you do to teach me the same thing that could give you what you want?”

Bob: So the parent who says okay I want to try this – I want to try to listen big, and clarify narrow, and look wide, and plan small. I think I hear what you’re saying, and I may need some more practice at this because this is an acquired skill for a parent. But, they try to do it – they try to listen big, and what they hear is silence. They’re not getting any response. They’re just getting a passive, aggressive kind of a thing.

So, they say, “Tell me how you’re feeling,” and the teenager says, “I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to talk about this at all because you guys always twist what I say I’m not going to talk about it.” What does a parent do in that situation?

Rick: Part of the way we approach our kids is going to have an awful lot to do with their response to us. I address this in the first few chapters when I talk about the stance that we have. This is not a cure all, and I don’t intend the strategies that I’m trying to give here to be a silver bullet.

Dennis: Yes, it’s not like it’s a formula.

Bob: Do this and it’ll always work?!

Dennis: Yes, exactly it does work but it’s not like the law of gravity that works every time.

Rick: Usually it’s the way God’s made life to work – right? The point is the principles. This is an extremely respectful approach to communicating with our kids when they’re angry. The reason it’s respectful is because number one it affirms the fact that I’m going to try to listen to what you want. I’m going to respect the fact that you are a separate person, and you have your own wants. Number two I can’t change you. Number three you don’t have to change if you don’t want to. This is hard for parents to hear.

Dennis: Unpack that a little bit because you share that in the book. You’re giving the child the freedom to stay in their own mud puddle and be irresponsible.

Rick: We’ll not exactly – that sounds that way at first, but what I’m saying to them is: “Now God tells me as a parent I have to hold you accountable but I also recognize the fact that I can’t change you. You are your own person so if you don’t want to change you don’t have to. I would like you to – I love you, and I think it’s in your best interest, but you don’t have to change if you don’t want to.”

Now, I have to by God’s command – I have to bring consequences in you to make change attractive so I’ll do that because I love you.

Bob: You have to put boundaries around your behavior so you won’t become self destructive

Rick: That’s right – that’s exactly right!

Dennis: Well, if the child’s an in-house prodigal where they’re abusive to their other siblings or to their mother at some point you may have to put boundaries around those relationships too, and it can get so rough and tough by the time they’re a senior…

Rick: That they may not be able to be in the house.

Dennis: Exactly!

Rick: In can be that way!

Bob: Have you seen that happen with families?

Rick: I’ve lived with that. One of my six children was in exactly that set of circumstances. The things that worked with our other four kids – Betty and I thought we had it fine together with four wonderful kids as we brought them up, and then number five came along. Now, he made it real clear that he had a will, and he was going to do what he wanted to do when he wanted to do it. It is heart wrenching, and it is heart breaking but this is also where being part of the community of God’s people is so very important for your own support, and for your own strength.

But, you must hold them accountable, and when you have God’s people – now by having these brother’s and sister’s in our basement, in our rec. room, and with Jed my son sitting there, and these folks in his face, and they’re saying, “Jed – you do this, and here’s where it’s going to go. You do this you’re going to be out of here.”

Dennis: So, it was an intervention of sorts?

Rick: It was very much so, and it was repeated. I’m just highlighting the fact of having the church body, as part of your community of support is so very, very important for you.

Bob: But, you got to a point with him where you had to say, “You can’t stay in the house”?

Rick: That’s exactly right – we did! That was costly in a lot of different ways, and heart wrenching, and heart breaking as you can imagine. That was when he was 15, and so there are a number of Christian facilities, and Christian resources.

At one point we had to have the police come to our home because he was threatening to hurt himself with a knife. He was so angry, and so the police came, and it was really quite interesting: He lived on the third floor. He met them on the second floor very calm, and very in control, but they took him off to the psych unit of a local hospital, and I followed.

Just to take him there to be interviewed by the psychiatrist was really interesting because in the Lord’s providence – this is what we wanted to happen because he needed to see where his behavior was taking him. When we had this one confrontation – this intervention that we described he knew that he had – that is the church was there, and the people – the brothers said, “Jed – you can’t live here like this – you have two options – you either go to the facility in Vermont, or you go to the psych unit – which do you want?” So, there are your options!

Dennis: Legally you could say that because he was under the age of 18!

Rick: That’s correct – that’s correct.

Bob: You know as you’re describing that story Dennis I’m thinking back to the conversation we had a few years ago with Billy Graham’s grandson.

Dennis: I was thinking about that same thing Bob.

Bob: Tullian Tchividjian who had almost the exact same situation at the age of 15 – angry – his parents had to make the hard decision to say, “You can’t live here.”

Rick: Oh, it’s heart wrenching – it’s heart wrenching.

Dennis: Police came and took him away.

Bob: The good news is: Today Tullian is the senior pastor at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and is leading God’s people. I mean there is redemption that happens in the midst of these situations.

Rick: That’s what’s exciting too because we’re seeing some of that same spiritual pilgrimage that turned in Jed – he’s 21 – he’s in the Army and he incidentally to his credit as I was writing this book, and I make reference to a few of the instances. I wrote to him, and asked permission and he wrote back and said, “Dad, if it will help anybody else please write it – include it.” He said, “You feel free to use it!”

Dennis: You know I like where we’re ending our broadcast today because there are parent’s who are listening to us right now who think they have it all wired together but someday they may be facing an in-house prodigal.

I want to tell you – you can do everything to the best of your ability – children, and young people do have their own choices they don’t have to respond to you – they don’t have to respond to God, but this is the cool thing about the gospel – it is a gospel of grace. The gospel of grace redeemed me – took me as a broken person, and is still in the process of working through the cracks in the pot that are there.
The thing I like about your book Get Outta My Face is that it’s not just counsel, but it’s biblical counsel – it’s anchored in scripture so people can trust the counsel you’re giving to them.

Bob, I think this is going to be increasingly important, as America becomes more of a post-Christian nation we need to find our authority as parents. It’s in books like this, and ultimately in the scripture that we point people here everyday on FamilyLife Today.

Bob: The reality is we all need help – right? I mean as we go through this process with our teens we need counsel, we need some expert advice. I think Rick has provided that not only here today, but in the book that he’s written called: Get Outta My Face which we have in our FamilyLife Today resource center.

I want to encourage you to go to – there’s more information about the book on-line. You can order it from us on the website if you’d like, or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800 F as in “family L as in “life and then the word TODAY. Again the website is – get in touch with us, and we’ll make arrangements to send a copy of the book your direction.

I want to take just a minute here before we’re done and just remind you of a conviction we have here at FamilyLife in the area of financial giving. We believe that your first priority when it comes time to give money – the first place you ought to look to give is your local church – that ought to be your first giving priority. If you’re going to do anything to support a ministry like FamilyLife or other ministries it ought to be above and beyond whatever you’re already doing to help support your local church. I hope that’s the case with most of our listeners – now we do hope that some of our listeners will be able to make a year-end contribution to FamilyLife, and help support us without taking anything away from what you’re already doing with your local church.

We’ve had some friends of the ministry who have come to us recently, and they have said, “That they would like to match every donation we receive during the month of December on a dollar for dollar basis up to a total of $1,250,000.” That’s the largest year-end matching gift opportunity we’ve ever had as a ministry. If we’re going to take full advantage of it then we need as many listeners as possible to make a year-end contribution. So, if that’s something you might be able to do can I encourage you to go to our website or to call 1-800-FLTODAY?

Either make your donation on-line or make your donation over the phone, and again just know that your donation is being matched dollar for dollar. So, whatever you give they’re going to match that gift up to a total of $1,250,000. I just want to say, Thanks in advance to those of you who are able to make a year-end donation, and say thanks again to those folks who provided the matching gift fund for us during the month of December.

We hope you’ll be back with us tomorrow. Rick Horne is going to be here again. We’re going to continue talking about how we raise teenagers even through those outbursts of anger that intermittently appear during the teen years. I hope you can be with us for that.

I want to thank our engineer today Keith Lynch and our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our host Dennis Rainey I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.
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© 2009 FamilyLife

Family Life Radio Transcript, Day Three

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Bob: Part of how we know a child is moving from immaturity to maturity is we see that child beginning to take some responsibility for their actions – for their behavior. Here’s Rick Horne.

Rick: Teenagers like to think but they don’t like to think – you know what I mean? They don’t want to see it sometimes – they don’t want to go there because they know where it’s going to lead. They know that they have to make a choice: You mean these problems that I’m experiencing, these things that I don’t like I’m bringing on myself? So, if I make changes to be different – things can be different?

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, December 18th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. When you’re working with a teenager instead of trying to make that child change sometimes it’s better to show the child why making a change makes sense.

Welcome to FamilyLife Today thanks for joining us. You going to make me act like a teenager again?

Dennis: Well, you earlier asked me to act like one.

Bob: Well, I know.

Dennis: You and I both got into the role with our guest though quite quickly.


Bob: We were able to jump right in!

Dennis: I do have to give you the award. A little bit later we’re going to talk about body language that a parent has – Bob was into the part—wouldn’t you say?

Rick: He sure was!

Dennis: Rick Horne joins us again on FamilyLife Today—Rick welcome back. I’m just glad you came back after Bob did that to you.


Bob: It’s that much pain from a teenager.

Dennis: I mean his mom almost quit.

Rick: He knows how to role-play a teenager that’s angry!

Dennis: He really does! Rick is the author of a book: Get Outta My Face. It’s a book on how to deal with teenage anger, and it comes from a gentleman who has six children of his own – 30 years of experience as a Christian school guidance counselor. I just want to take you to one of the core parts of the book here that I found really helpful.

It was a biblical lens, or a biblical look at a teenager. Really there’s nothing profound about it. I don’t want to diminish what you’ve said here, but it’s just a reminder of who it is we’re dealing with when we’re dealing with teenagers. Share those eight things with our listeners.

Rick: That’s right – yes. Well these are eight lenses: I call them biblical lenses – ways to look at teens because we do forget sometimes who we’re looking at. The first one is that teens are sinners – that sounds like a pretty negative way to start but it’s really very positive in the sense that if we don’t remember that they’re sinners then whatever solutions we’re going to ever bring to help our kids are going to be off track as well.

Bob: Not just that they’re not perfect but that the root of their problem is their rebellion against God.

Rick: That’s right – that’s ultimately where it is.

Bob: If we figure that it’s something else, and try to treat the symptom we may wind up with nothing fixed at all.

Dennis: Well, when a teenager is angry the easiest thing to feel is that they’re angry at you. They’re rebelling against you, but if you have this concept in place you realize that there’s a bigger picture taking place here that their real rebellion is against God not you as the parent.
What’s the second one?

Rick: By having that – that leads to the second one because teenagers can be respected as young adults. It doesn’t mean they have everything together but they are created in the image of God so, they are given an identity by God. One of the Hebrew words – na’ar is the most common word used in the Old Testament. It’s used more than 200 times primarily for young people from the time of puberty til about the age of 30. So, we’re talking about Daniel, and David – they were both identified as na’ar. The book of Proverbs – in Proverbs 1:4 is addressed to the youth— that’s the same word.

So, you think of all the things in the book of Proverbs—they relate to these people—all those kind of decisions they can be respected.

Bob: I think you point out here that a lot of time as parent’s we fail to make the shift between looking at our children as children, and looking at them as young adults. If we fail to make that shift, and continue to treat them like children as they are emerging adults then we do exasperate our kids don’t we?

Rick: We do that’s right. There’s more to them than the fact that they’re sinners. They are sinners, and we can’t forget that, but there’s more to them, and that’s the third lens. By common grace we can see our angry teens have the ability to make good choices. Every once in a while I’ll have kids come in and say, “Well, I can’t do anything—it doesn’t matter what I do—it’s always going to be wrong.”

Then, you know whether they think that of us as a parent or whatever. I use a rather kind of a silly illustration—I think it’s in the book, but it really communicates to kids too. I’ll say, “Well, when you woke up this morning did you kind of have a pressure in your mid-section, and you went down to a room maybe at the end of the hall in your house and you went in there, and you came out a little bit later and there was no longer any pressure.” You mean going to the bathroom – yes I went to the bathroom.

Well, then I’ll say, “Well, that was a good choice. You can still make good choices. Now you’ve made some bad ones. Yes you might have gotten yourself into some hot water but you can make good choices.

I notice you’re sitting here, and you have clothes on—that’s a good choice. There are simple ways but sometimes kids can become very narrow in their perspective—very tunnel vision oriented, and they lose perspective. By us communicating this bigger picture right away they’re hearing something different from us than just focusing on their problem.

Dennis: Yes, and just thinking about the negatives. One of the things that I always thought about our teenager, and I would remind Barbara quite frequently as well as remind myself is that teenagers desperately need their parents to believe in them because they go through a period of time when they do not believe in themselves.

Rick: Because the problem is what’s annoying us the temptation is for us to only see that and lose the broader scope of who God has made them by common grace, and what they really are composed of.

Dennis: Your teen needs you to be on his team not always on his case.

Rick: That doesn’t mean you necessarily approve of everything he does. It just means you’re there to love him, and respect him, and support him as a person who’s created in the image of God, and one who can make good choices.

Bob: If all your teen is hearing from you is all of the ways he’s messing up or all of the things that he’s doing wrong. If he never hears or she never hears any affirmation who wants to live in that house right? I don’t want to live in that house so there has to be some expression of affirmation and love, and cheering them on when they do make good choices.

Rick: That’s the next lens that it leads to naturally and that is God’s goodness builds right into us – hardwires into us the ability to make wise choices. We all have good desires within us by God’s common grace. God’s put a sense of His law within us Paul tells us in Romans chapter 2. So, there is a sense of fairness, a sense of justice, a sense of rightness. They want freedom, they want to be mature – now sin has distorted all of that for sure, and I don’t want to minimize any of that but at the same time to say, “That there is more to our kids than just the sinful expression of those things.” If we recognize that it enables us to really show a respect, and communicate respect to them.

Dennis: Yes, just to affirm for those wise choices.

Rick: That’s right. They can make good choices. Another lens was: changes need to go deeper than just the surface. We need to see that the change that’s necessary in our kids is really a heart change.

One of the dangers of what I’ve written here is that because when these principles are practiced kids will often make some very dramatic changes in their behavior. The reason is because for the first time I’m helping them see that what they really want they’re destroying by doing some of the things they’re doing. If they change their behavior they can get what they really want.

The temptation is just to stay then on the surface, and to settle for the fact that now there’s peace in the home. Now they’re not using profanity, now they’re coming in on time, now they’re not slamming the door, and being angry all the time. Those changes can be very real, and they can come about but if we only settle for that we’re missing the fact that they have a heart that needs to be changed, and transformed too. So, the heart needs to be in the cross hairs of every parent from the outset in terms of our working with kids.

Bob: Let me unpack this a little bit because I think this is very important. We can get our kids whether they’re small or big to modify their behavior, and we do that with rewards and punishment. When you reward a child and they like the reward they’ll act right – when you punish them they’ll stop acting that way. The problem is if you don’t deal with the heart issues then as soon as the reward and punishment structure is taken away they just go back to whatever feels good or is working at the time.

Rick: It’s not propped up any longer that’s right.

Bob: That’s right so you have to ask the question what’s in your heart? Out of the abundance of the heart not only does the mouth speak, but all behavior flows out of the heart and that’s where we have to be reaching inside and saying, “I want to make sure I’m getting into my child’s heart.”

Dennis: A great Bible study for your kids if they’re teenagers is to pay them 25 cents, 50 cents, or if you have a lot of cash a buck for every reference, and every principle they can find in scripture about the word heart. I did this in a Bible study with our youngest two, and it cost me about 45 dollars.


Bob: Could they just go to the concordance and look it up or go on the Bible software and type it in?

Dennis: I think they had the concordance so I taught them how to use that but I think one of them found like 40 to 50, and the other was 35 to 40 different lessons about the heart. It’s all about how God wants our whole heart. He wants to change us from the heart all the way to the exterior, and it ultimately is where is your heart? What does have your attention, what is the object of your love, your affection, what are you living for?

I think a Bible study like this can cause some great discussion with your teenagers in terms of where their hearts are focused. This next one is teens can, and must think about their choices in light of goals and consequences.

Rick: Yes, I often talk to kids about – they are free to choose or not choose to change. I can’t make them change and I will very often several times throughout a discussion pepper the conversation with the fact—listen you don’t have to change anything – if you’re okay being grounded, if it’s okay for you to keep on having a bad relationship with your mom or your dad – if you like that I’d say, “Keep doing what you’re doing because you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.”

But, if you want that to change then you can make changes because you’ve already shown some other experiences where you’ve changed and because you made some changes some things in your relationships changed, and people trusted you and you had other privileges and so forth. But if you don’t want to – you don’t have to. There are no such things as accidental choices – they’re all intentional and they are connected to what I want.

That’s one of the reasons radical changes can take place with angry kids because when they begin to see that what they’re doing is really shooting themselves in the foot then they’ll change their behavior because they’re going to get what they really want – what they wisely want and kids will move mountains in order for that to happen.

Dennis: This next biblical lens that you have – I really liked a section of your book that illustrated this: its scriptural principles cover both how to speak, and what to say to angry teens. In other words you didn’t just coach parents in what they say but you also talk about their body language and how they say it. You actually have an acrostic for how their body language is important in communicating with a teen. You spell out the word resolve: Share that with our listeners.

Rick: There are pretty common body language features. There are some folks like Howard Hendricks and others who have made just an awful lot of an emphasis on the fact that we only communicate with words about 7% of the time. You know body language comprises about 38% of that communication, or tone of voice I guess does, and body language about 55%. So, without ever saying a word we can communicate mountains worth of material. R E S O L V E just several principles – relax – the time for this kind of discussion is not when I’m tense but when I am relaxed and I bring it before the Lord, and I have His calming spirit bringing me to have a bigger perspective about what’s going on.

Dennis: In other words you have to be in control!

Rick: Have to be in control.

Bob: Don’t do it as soon as you’ve gotten home from the traffic jam, and you’re off the highway, and you’ve had a bad day.

Rick: You’re hungry. Yes that’s right! Enjoy the time – as a parent talking even to our angry kids when you approach it with these concepts in mind can be enjoyable because you’re not again confronting your son or daughter. You’re going to allow the confrontation between your daughter, and her self, or your son, and himself not between you and them. That becomes kind of fun because one of the things that makes working with teenagers at least for me fun is teenagers like to think but they don’t like to think – do you know what I mean?

Dennis: So, you’re helping them with self-discovery?

Rick: You really are, and they don’t want to see it sometimes. They don’t want to go there because they know where it’s going to lead. They know that they have to make a choice. You mean these problems that I’m experiencing, these things I don’t like I’m bringing on myself? So if I make changes to be different things can be different? Sometimes they don’t like to see that but you can enjoy this – enjoy the time.

The way we sit is also important. In my office I have a much like this kind of like a dining room table, but it’s kind of oval so there’s no place to really be a barrier but there is still an edge that I’m not forcing eye contact. I give them an opportunity to be safe and they can sit in an angle. You know if you sit face-to-face it’s kind of like an interrogation but sitting at an angle you give your son or daughter an opportunity to not have to look at you. That gives them freedom – in fact that’s one of the ways you can tell that you’ve really tuned in and that you’ve listened big. The way we’ve talked in the beginning of this – when you have connected there will actually very often be a change in the physical appearance of your son or daughter.

Bob: They’re going move more in your direction.

Rick: They’ll move – they’ll look your way, they’ll maybe move your way, they’ll sit back and relax more – there are a variety of ways when you see that happen you know I’ve made some contact.

Dennis: To that point the open stance that a parent can have rather than having arms crossed, legs crossed, finger pointed, we just need to be open. It’s interesting I’ve been involved in a number of conflicts both at home with the kids but also here in the ministry working with people. When I sense my arms beginning to fold I check my attitude, and wonder if it’s not a reflection of what’s taking place – am I getting defensive? Or, am I starting to want to preach, or feeling self-righteous? I feel like we could learn a lot about just kind of checking out your own posture as a parent as you engage in the child. What’s the next one?

Rick: Leaning – you can intensify or relax a conversation just by your posture as to whether you lean forward, whether you lean back –if you want to make a point, you want to really get attention leaning forward can help do that. At the same time there’s a place to lean back – now none of these are intended to be manipulative strategies, and they can all be construed as that. They can be artificial – it’s like so many other things if there isn’t genuineness.

The purpose of this is to recognize that communication is not just my words. So, I am communicating by my body language as well so if I lean forward I’m saying something. If I lean back it might be that I’m trying to say something else. It’s the same way with your son or daughter when they lean forward or back.

Dennis: Especially if you’re trying to listen to your child to make sure they feel like you understand it may really help that you lean towards them.

Rick: Absolutely – yes because then they get the sense you are trying to tune in.

Bob: The last two letters in the acrostic V and E – voice and eye contact – again the tone of voice we use, the volume of our voice, just the sound even as I’ve just softened my voice in here makes a difference. Or, if I get forceful with my voice – I mean how we use our voice is significant in our communication, and then looking.

Rick: Yes – eye contact can mean I’m grilling you, it can mean I’m interrogating you, or it can mean I’m sensitive toward you. I mean even when the news broadcasters put criminals on TV – if they are somebody that’s going to testify what they’ll do is they’ll block out eyes because the eyes can communicate so much. So they can as well with us in talking to our teens.

Dennis: You know what we’re doing here is attempting to come alongside parents and help them just be wise in how they’re communicating, and what they’re communicating because sometimes how we’re standing, where our fingers are pointed, how we’re looking at our child can completely distract, and create a defensiveness in the child so the child will never ever hear what we’re saying.

If you look at 1 Corinthians 13 it’s talking about love enduring all things, bearing all things, believing all things. Love is looking for a way to break through. I think we as parents many times feel like the child needs to do more of this, and we shouldn’t have to bear so much responsibility but that’s why we’re the parents. We’re supposed to be more mature, we’re supposed to engage our children in wisdom, and as I’ve said many times not get in the emotional mud puddle with them, and become a mud wrestler. Because that’s what a teenager will try to do. They’ll try to completely manipulate you, get you so upset that you lose control and at that point you’re no longer the parent – they’re in control.

Rick: I believe the real antidote to that is making sure my goals, my posture, my stance right from the outset is to want the glory of God in this whole thing. The ultimate goal is not peace in my home – I want that! The ultimate goal isn’t my good reputation as a dad, or as a parent, or as a counselor – the ultimate goal is wanting the glory of God.

Bob: It’s not even that I get things done my way as a parent or that my child respect me except in this context as you’re saying where the scriptures teach a child to respect his parents. Do we care about God’s reputation and God’s glory more than our own agenda?

Rick: Because that frees me up then to love my son and daughter without thinking I have to make them change.

Dennis: Yes – it’s not about me as the parent. What your dream is for the parent is you want their lives to ultimately honor God, and that’s the glory of God. That’s what you’re talking about here. Rick I just appreciate what you’ve done here in this book taking your years of experience – more than three decades as a guidance counselor – working with teens as well as a father of six children – we had six as well: Four teenagers at one time.

As I read your book I thought I wish he’d have been around about 20 years ago when we first started our teenage journey because we had teenagers for I think more than a dozen years. You know in those times parents need coaching, they need friends, they need counselors, and they need people who have experience outside of ours to come alongside us and to biblically counsel us. That’s what we want to do here on FamilyLife Today, and that’s what you’ve done in your book. Thanks for doing it.

Rick: Thank you!

Bob: Well, and I think there are a lot of parents who have been listening today who are walking away with a fresh sense of what their assignment is, and how they’re supposed to carry it out in a way that keeps the objective in mind, and that keeps God at the center of their task.

Let me encourage folks to go to our website – there’s more information available there about the book that Rick has written- it’s called: Get Outta My Face and you can find out more on-line at or call 1-800-FLTODAY. 1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800 F as in “family L as in “life and then the word TODAY. When you get in touch with us we’ll let you know how you can have a copy of Rick’s book sent to you.

Well, you know next week it’s going to be Christmas day, and then the week after that it’s going to be 2010 so just a couple of weeks left in the year, and a couple of weeks left for us to take advantage of the matching gift opportunity that has been extended to us here during December.

We had some friends of the ministry who came to us back before the month began, and they said, We want to encourage FamilyLife Today listeners to consider making a year-end contribution to help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today and to do that they said we’d like to make a matching gift available. After we had heard from a handful of families the total amount of that matching gift had grown to actually the largest matching gift opportunity we’ve ever had here at year-end at FamilyLife, and that is $1,250,000.

We’ve already heard from a number of listeners who have called in and said We want to be a part of helping to support the ministry, and see our donation be doubled. Thanks to those of you who have already called in or gone on-line to make a donation: We appreciate it.

We still have a ways to go so we’re hoping you will consider today either calling 1-800-FLTODAY – make a donation over the phone or go on-line at and make your donation online. When you do, whatever that donation is it’s going to be matched dollar for dollar up to a total of $1.25 million dollars. So, again we hope to hear from you, and I want to say, Thanks in advance for whatever you’re able to do in helping to support this radio ministry.

We hope you have a great weekend. I hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and I hope you can be back with us on Monday when Dr. Al Mohler is going to join us. We’re going to talk about how we walk as followers of Christ in a culture where the very existence of God is being called into question regularly. I hope you can join us for that.

I want to thank our engineer today Keith Lynch and our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our host Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.

© 2009 FamilyLife
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