I had just finished laying out how we were going to handle grades for next quarter…the incentives and consequences that I thought I’d try.

“I’m not going to participate in that,” my daughter said. She didn’t say it unkindly; she just didn’t agree with me.

I see this daughter of mine - the girl who is now taller than me, who can drive, who can go on dates, who can decide to go on mission trips - and a part of me forgets for a split second that though she’s my equal as far as we’re both human and we’re both creations of God, she is not my equal in role in this family. And I almost let it go.

But I don’t. Because though the time is ticking away and though in what will feel like just moments, I’m sure of it, she’ll be moving out on her own, she is still my daughter. And I am still the mother.

So today, no matter the ages of your children, if you are feeling steamrolled by your child, or disrespected, or unappreciated, or like you’re more friends than parent/child, I want you to be honest with yourself. Do a little heart check and ask yourself these questions.

How did we get to this place? What small choices have I been making that have led us to the point where my child thinks he/she doesn’t have to do what I say?

Why are we here? What’s going on inside that has brought me to letting things like this slide? (Fear of rejection, fear of being disobeyed, fear of being laughed at, something else entirely?)

And what can I do, starting today, to make a course correction?

I didn’t let this go. I told her that it’s fine if she foregoes the incentives but that as her mother, I have the right to enforce the consequences, whether she likes it or not. She was not pleased with me, but then again, she doesn’t have to be.

I’m here, in this role, for a reason. I see much farther down the road than she does. I know what no rules and no boundaries and no consequences could lead to and I want to spare her some things, some pain.

I’ll take five minutes of her being upset with for a lifetime of knowing I did what’s right any day. Wouldn’t you

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6).

Elisabeth K. Corcoran, 2013.

Elisabeth is mom to Sara (16) and Jack (14-1/2).  She loves spending time with her kids, her friends, reading and writing. She is the author of At the Corner of Broken & Love: Where God Meets Us in the Everyday; One Girl, Third World: One Woman’s Journey into Social Justice; He Is Just That Into You: Stories of a Faithful God who Pursues, Engages, and Has No Fear of Commitment; In Search of Calm: Renewal for a Mother’s Heart; and Calm in My Chaos: Encouragement for a Mom’s Weary Soul. All these books can be purchased on Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle.

Her upcoming book, Unraveling, is releasing with Abingdon Press in October 2013.

Visit her website and her blogYou can follow her on Twitter at ekcorcoran or friend her on Facebook.

If you are in a difficult marriage or find yourself going through a difficult divorce, I have created two private groups on Facebook that I would like to invite you to. Simply email me at elisabethkcorcoran@gmail.com, let me know if you're interested in the married group or separated/divorced group, then send me a friend request on Facebook. If you're in need of some encouragement, I invite you to join us.

Elisabeth is a proud Member of Redbud Writer's Guild (www.redbudwritersguild.com).

Publication date: April 25, 2013