Saturday, July 14, 2012

Let'em Hang Themselves

Learning as a parent we sometimes make parenting harder than it is with these children, teens, and the occasional college student.  Barry and I have learned over the years that there are times you just need to 'let them hang themselves'! 

What do I mean? 

When you know good and well you shouldn't let them do something because you KNOW they will fail.  But being the kids they are they will beg, plead, and explain their wisdom.  As a parent you know they mean well but you also know from years of experience it doesn't matter what they intend to do because we know their self indulging heart will take over and they will do the very thing they intend NOT to do.

Following me?

Sometimes we need to let the reins out and let them stumble/fall/fail.  Those can be the BEST teaching moments.  Not to shout and hang over their head.  But the moment you can say, "I let you do this and this is what you did..",  "Do you see why we need to help you?",  "How can you handle that different next time?".  (all of this said in a compassionate calm voice)

Two things will happen with this 'Let'em hang themselves method':
  1. They will realize you were exactly right....they may need you to help set boundaries or they need you to help explain a certain situation one more time.
  2. You will realize no matter how much they want to convince are are out of have no WILL BE RIGHT. (kids will be kids, teens will be teens, college kids...are almost there but they still need you)
...give them a few weeks and then let them go at it again!  Some will learn the lesson the first time (hooray) and others may take awhile (press-on).  It is a Tug-O-War that is our (the parents) responsibility to know when to let loose and when to pull them back in.  

Our best teaching moments will always be when they fail.
IF we can parent in LOVE and GRACE! 
IF we can't, then we all may lose the teaching moment and the parenting bond.
Someone has to be willing to walk with our children in their success and failures.  And often those failures are where we can shine in their lives!  Who else will love them inspite of their weaknesses?  Just like our Heavenly Father does for us.  He loves me at my worst!  Never leaving my side!  And guiding me back to TRUTH.  Not in a harsh voice but in a gentle, loving, encouraging, consequence living moments.

Let your kids be kids.  Decided when you see a possible teaching moment to 'Let them hang themselves' then walk them back to why this happens and why they need you.  Don't let them fail to laugh at their weakness.  Lovingly let them fail so you can say 'I know and I have been there, let me show you how to do this'.

Time to seize our moments to teach through consequences by showing Love and Grace in the midst of trials and struggles.


  1. AWESOME TRUTH ....extremely effective as you and Barry implement with Christ-centered integrity. It's a blessing to watch you live this out and with sincere humility earn the respect and trust of your children.

  2. This reminds me of what has become one of your favorite books ....James Lucas's THE PARADOX PRINCIPLE of PARENTING: How to parent your child like God parents you. This 'Let'em hang themselves method' is effective for you because at the end of your parenting rope your young adult children find you and Barry still reflecting the truth, grace, respect, love and mercy of Our Savior and Lord. Blessed to know you and to get to witness these truths being lived out!