What should you do when you want to make a change in your life for the health of your family, but your spouse and kids aren’t on board? Today on The AllMomDoes Podcast, Julie Lyles Carr is back for Round 2 of listener questions! Find out how to approach change in your family life, what to do when you think your child needs some help with some behavior issues, and more!
Purposely. Your life. God’s purpose. Listen at onpurposely.com.
Julie Lyles Carr: Hey friend, I’m Julie Lyles Carr of the AllMomDoes podcast. And today we are in part two of taking your questions, listener questions, and I’m sharing with you my thoughts and some of the things that might have worked for me, some things that might not have, but we’re gonna dive in and see what’s going on in your mind, in your heart, the things that you’re grappling with in your own family.
If you haven’t had a chance go back and listen to last week’s episode with a listener question, it was so good to get to hear from Brooke. And she was asking about how to be a great mom when you’re dealing with anxiety and what that means. So go take a listen to that one if you haven’t already, and today we’re gonna dive into a few more questions. I love this question. A listener writes: As a mom, how do I make changes in my household for the good of our family and mental health when other members of my family won’t help me make the change?
Wow. I love that question because there are times that I can get a fire in my belly, and I can decide that I’m going to make some changes and I start in headlong. And then I seem to be the only one trying to run the course. Does that happen to you?
Maybe you’re trying to do some things like limit screen time. Maybe you are trying to get some more nutritious foods into yourself and your family. Maybe you are saying, Hmm, I think we should cut back on such and such activity and that would be really good for us. That would take some stress out of our daily life if we did that.
And then what you can find is either your spouse or the kids, they’re not on board. So what should you do? Well, let me start out first by saying, I’m assuming this is talking about people in your immediate family. Now, let me tell you why I’m saying let’s talk about the immediate family thing. Because here’s my first rule of thumb when it comes to things like the way we’re conducting our lives, changes that we’re trying to make all of that. It needs to be the people in your household you’re primarily working with on that. And if you have extended family members, people who aren’t living in your home, aren’t part of your immediate family group who are giving all kinds of opinions and have all kinds of ideas about what they think you should be doing or why you shouldn’t be trying this new schedule with the kids or why you shouldn’t be laying down some responsibilities you’ve had.
You know what? It’s fine to appreciate people like that and to honor the fact that they’re wanting what’s good for you and good for your family, but I want to encourage you in this way. Don’t feel responsible for making external family members happy with the choices that you are making in your own life.
You know, we can have so many voices around us, right? When we are trying to make changes that we think are gonna be for the good of the mental wellness of our family, for the physical health of our family. If we allow too many people into that space to speak into what they think and what they know, it can get really crazy, really fast, and you can find yourself dealing with people who aren’t really even gonna be all that impacted by the choices that you make.
And then you’ve expended all this energy in a direction that really doesn’t matter. So with honor, and with respect, but also with a firm boundary, you have the right. You have the permission to say, I really appreciate that you care for us. And I know that’s why you’re talking to me about this. Thank you so much for loving me and loving our family. And this is just something that we’re gonna be deciding as a family, but I appreciate your thoughts. And then this really isn’t open for discussion anymore. This is a change that we’re gonna be dealing with or talking about. And again, thank you for loving us but this is something that is gonna stay in our immediate family.
I think that’s important because you can really get sidelined by a lot of opinion. So watch yourself on that. So let’s assume that we are talking about your immediate family, that you’re wanting to make changes in your household for the good of the family, for the good of everybody’s mental health. And you’re just not getting the support back.
Now, there are a couple different ways this could look. It could be that your family members are like, okay, whatever, but then they’re not doing whatever the thing is that you were wanting to make changes in. It may be that your children are young enough that you, as the mom can say, oh, we are cutting way back on, on screen time, let’s say. We are taking it back to a certain number of hours per week, and that’s gonna be the new standard.
But you find that your spouse isn’t necessarily on board and your spouse may also be, not undermining necessarily, I mean maybe, but maybe your spouse simply isn’t enforcing some of the things that you’re trying to put into place for the good of your family.
So what do you do then? Well, I wanna ask you to do something that may sting a little bit, but I’m just gonna put it out there. First of all, check your motive. And what do I mean by that? You know, there are a lot of things that we can want to do because we think it’s going to improve our family life. We think it can be more healthy for our family. We’re coming at it from a good place. But sometimes our motives can get messy. Right. Our motives can get messy and we can sometimes look at making changes in our life because we heard somebody we really respect at a women’s conference talk on something that just really lit us up, or we have a good friend who’s gotten involved in a certain new way of eating or arranging their schedule. And we now are really excited and motivated to do the same thing. And we can’t seem to get everybody else on board.
And so we begin pushing for that thing. Come on. This is for the good of our family. This is to help us. This is to get us in a more healthful place and conflicts can begin. There can be border skirmishes if you will, because we may be crossing over into some areas where we might not exactly have a right to tread.
We can invite. But we don’t have a right to control. So when I say check your motive, that was really a gentle way of me trying to say, are you trying to control things? And if you are, why. Now again, depending on the ages of your kids, you might have a little more latitude here because you can say I’m the mom, you’re four years old, I’m going to control, for example, screen time. That is something I am going to control. But let’s say that you’re telling your spouse, we are all going to be under a screen time protocol. We are all going to get off of our devices at such and such time at night. And if your spouse has not said, you know what? I’d like to have a conversation about screen time, what are your thoughts? What are my thoughts? Hey, let’s arrive at this thing together where we’re going to say that we’re as a family, going to have X amount of hours of screen time per week, and then you go out as a united front to put this protocol into place.
If that hasn’t happened and you’ve simply delivered the news to your spouse that screen time’s gonna be cut back. Yeah. Here’s the deal. In our family life we do have children at various ages and stages that we do have the ability to exert a lot of control and protocols around their time and around the things they’re doing.
But we don’t have the same right with our spouses. And so on, check your motive. You can absolutely be wanting to do something for the good of your family and too quickly our motive can slide to control. And it’s tough. I know, I know that’s probably not something you wanna hear. It’s not something I wanna hear, but I do have to back up and take a look.
You know, our spouses are adults and our children, even when they’re under our roofs, begin to move into seasons of life where they should have some more autonomy as well. Let’s say, for example, that for the health of your family, you’re wanting to make really significant nutrition changes, meal changes.
Well, there is a certain point with your kids when they’re 15, 16 years old, that it is not appropriate and honoring of them at that age to say, oh, you’re gonna eat blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Or you’re not gonna eat da, da dah, dah. All we’re doing at those ages and stages, when we should be teaching our kids, when we should be having conversations about our kids, about the benefits of healthy living, of nourishing our bodies well, of reducing our stress. If we are trying to enforce externally on some of those things, because it’s something that we’ve decided we’re gonna make a change in our own life, we are not honoring that they are moving into seasons where they’re preparing to move away from us.
When we try to control every decision, when we try to control every bite that goes in their mouth. When we try to control every minute as our kids are moving into those mid-teens and later teen stages, what we’re saying to them in the sense is I don’t trust that you have picked up on anything in your years of living in this house to know how to live your life moving forward with wisdom and to consider ideas that can keep you healthy.
And that feeling of wanting to cram a lot of lessons into our kids and a, and a lot of templating about maybe how we believe they should be living their lives when it comes to daily habits and things like that, that can intensify as we get closer and closer to the line of them moving out. But I want you to consider in this idea about making changes in your household.
I really, really want you to think about the ages and stages that your children are in as you begin trying to make some of these changes. Because we want for our kids, particularly as they’re getting older and closer to launch, to feel like that we are giving them choice as well in our home so that we can help reduce that sense a lot of times of pushback. You know, it’s not that we’re advocating that we should just have rebellious kids everywhere and they should just get to do whatever they want, not at all. But if we are still trying to maintain such control over every aspect, because they are coming into launch years, because they are exploring and they need to know that we know they’re gonna be able to handle life as young adults, they’re also gonna need some more autonomy to make some decisions for themselves. So check that motive about why you’re bringing this particular change into your home at this time.
So the second thing that I wanna challenge you with when you are bringing change into your household is to do this first, particularly if you’re feeling some pushback from family. Change yourself first. I know. This is where I have struggled before, because when I get excited about something, I want all of my crew to come on board with me. And yet the places that I have personally seen that I’ve been able to influence my family the most when it comes to lifestyle changes, mental wellness practices, things like that, has been when I have just on my own, made the change and they’ve observed it over time.
When they’ve observed me making healthier choices about meals. Not because I’m talking about it all the time. Not because I have an entire monologue built into it. When I’m just doing the thing. When I have increased my exercise habits and I’ve become more disciplined about getting out there, it takes a while, might take a few weeks, couple months, but sure enough.
There will come that day when one of my kids will go, I think I’m gonna go on a run. What’s that? What’s that app you’ve been using? When another kid will say, you know what? I just feel like I need to get out and walk the block like you do after dinner. It happens. It really does. When I think about places where I’ve tried to reduce some stress in my life, I still have some family members who are absolute gerbils. That is for sure.
One of my kids who was one of my most late night, people observed that I was trying to wind down in the evenings. I talked about this in the last episode with a listener question about anxiety. I found that if I started trying to wind down more intentionally in the evenings, take things a little slower, be mindful about what I was watching and what I was listening to and all of that kind of stuff that I was doing better at night.
And it was helping reduce a lot of my stressful feelings the next day. I didn’t really say anything about it. I didn’t talk a whole lot about it, but that young adult in my life, who’s still living under my roof. He observed all that. And it’s, I’m telling you it is wild. Again, given that I have all of these nocturnal creatures around me. He now is the one like clockwork. He’s like, well, 10 o’clock heading to bed. I can’t believe it, but I will tell you when your family members watch you do something that’s good for you, when they see change beginning to come. And when they can trust that your motive in living this out is not about trying to control them, it’s about living vibrantly. It’s about living abundantly yourself. That can really bring people to a point of wanting to engage with you and walk alongside with you and begin to experience some of the changes that you’ve made.
So think about that, change yourself first and just see what happens with your spouse and with your kids who are old enough to really appreciate what you’re doing. Just see what happens next. That can be a far easier and relationship preserving way to go about changes in your own life. And as part of that, I kinda have this separated in my own mind as like a part three, like check your motive, change yourself first. And this kind of could maybe be combined into that second one, but maybe not. So we’ll just try it this way.
Win without a word. There is a verse that I go to a lot in 1 Peter 3 that I think about a lot and it says be devoted to your own husband so that even if some of them do not obey the word of God, your kind conduct may win them over without you saying a thing, for when they observe your pure godly life before God, it will impact them deeply.
Now, I’m assuming in this question, we’re talking about lifestyle changes for health and for emotional wellness. And obviously this verse was written specifically in context for women who were married to husbands who were not followers of Jesus. And this is Peter saying, Hey, don’t keep preaching at them, just go win them without a word.
So I’m not trying to take scripture out of context, but I do think the core wisdom of this, even when we’re talking about lifestyle and habit changes is really powerful. The more we try to harp at people on things, the more we try to push people into things. There are those people in our lives who will acquiesce, but maybe with some resentment.
And then there are those people in our lives who are going to dig in even deeper and refuse even more. And so to be aware of who you’re living with and how God wired them is really important. And for some of the people in your world, just winning them without a word is going to be so important to help open up the doors of possibility for the change that you’re wanting to bring within your family.
And it can be so hard when we’re passionate about something. It can be really difficult when we know that if we could just make this one simple change, it would really green things up for our whole family. But I wanna encourage you, you getting in there, you doing the work and you doing it without talking about it a whole lot can sometimes be one of the most profound messages that you ever give.
But I want you to hear me friend. I understand. I so get it. It can be so hard when you are really making changes and you know that you could help make things better for your family and you feel like you’re not getting the support that you need from your spouse, or you’re not getting the enthusiasm that you want for your kids.
And so let’s wrap up this question with this reminder. Once you have told your extended family, you need to stay on the other side of that line. And then when you’ve checked your motive, when you have started changing yourself first, without insisting that family be alongside, and when you begin winning your family without a word, because they see the fruit of the changes that you’ve made. I also wanna encourage you to bathe all of those stages with a lot of prayer.
I have had times in my life, I’ve had times in people close to me where there was change that was so badly needed and there was such resistance to that change and it was painful to watch. Because things were tougher than they needed to be. And my friend or myself, in retrospect, we were right about the things that needed to change. And it was hard to be patient and to wait, but I want you to bathe all of this in prayer because I continue to be so blown away and how after I’ve done everything I know to do, to try to change someone’s mind, or to try to help infuse healthier habits emotionally or physically, I’ve done all that I know to do. And then it will finally dawn on me. Oh, Maybe I should ask God to help with this.
I’m telling you, there are times absolutely that you will find that God will come alongside and either the situation will begin to change or your heart will begin to change, or you will find that people in your life, all of a sudden have a renewed excitement for the things that you have hoped they’d be willing to do to create greater health in your family. So be encouraged.
Here’s a second question. What if I see something in my kids I think needs to be addressed with counseling? How do I approach this with my kids?
Oh, I just think this is such a great question. You know, part of this has to do with the age of your children and this what I’m gonna say next is not predicated on research. I don’t have a scholarly article to give you . This is just, this is just mom experience over the years. And if it makes you feel better that I’ve got eight kids so I’ve walked this a few times, or if you feel like, I don’t know that Julie, she’s kind of a cautionary tale. You decide. But what I will tell you is this, I do think there are certain ages that if we are seeing some things that are concerning us, we just pick our kids up and go.
We explain why, but we don’t necessarily just say, what do you think about doing this? It’s up to you. Now that really, to me would be kids up until the ages of eight, nine years old. And I think what will surprise you is most kids, if they are wrestling with something, let’s say that they are dealing with being bullied at school.
And you are concerned. You are seeing this play out of their enthusiasm for being in classes dropped. You’re just seeing their entire countenance kind of come down. I think what you’re gonna find is they’re going to find relief when you say, let’s go get some tools for working with this bullying situation, let’s see what we can do to get you some help so that you don’t have to feel this way anymore and you have some things that, you know to do when you’re faced with this situation.
A lot of kids in my experience, they’re just super excited to go do that. The idea that they could gather some tools to help them feels empowering. So I would say in those ages, you know, 8, 9, 10, you’re gonna know your child’s personality the best, but you just scoop ’em up and go.
It’s the cleaning that you do at the dentist office. It’s the checkup. It’s just part of what you do. And if you make it part of how your family does things early on, then it can help prevent it becoming something that feels like, wait, what you want me to do what? We’ve never done that before. We’ve never, you know, so if when you can start early this conversation about, there are great people out there, they help give us tools when we run into hard situations, let’s go in and have you talk to so, and so I think that is very, very powerful at those ages. When your children begin to get into those early preteen years, it is best. You’re going to find the best result if they feel like they are part of that decision. I’ve talked about this before I addressed it a little bit in the question that I was talking about just previous to this one. We are working hard in those preteen ages to begin building into our kids’ minds, that they are going to be launching in a few short years and we want to be alongside them and help them in every way that we can, because we know they’re gonna be amazing young adults.
If we give them a message that we think that they are incapable of making decisions, that they’re being dumb, all those kinds of things. We’re not gonna walk in cooperation with each other. People just don’t respond to that. People don’t respond to being told that they’re dumb or that they don’t know, or they’re incapable. When we walk with them from a place of you’re so smart. You want to do great things. I’m here to support you in that, that is a far more powerful place to walk in cooperation with our kids if we can. Now within saying that, I also absolutely honor that we can have one track with our kids as they’re in their, those preteen and early teen years, that is about helping give them tools.
Let’s say they’re grappling with anxiety and stress and we can talk to them. Let’s Hey, let’s get you in with so, and so they’re really great. They’re really gonna be able to help you pull together some ideas for how to manage your emotions and your physicality when you’re feeling this way. Okay. So that’s one scenario.
But sometimes when our kids are in those preteen and teen stages, they may go into behaviors that are destructive, that are wildly impulsive, that are aggressive toward family. If we’re talking about a scenario like that, they don’t get choice. When they are stomping through and they are making a big mess of things for themselves, for their siblings, for you, for your spouse, they, at that point, don’t get a choice. That’s a different set of circumstances because they live in your home and because they eat your groceries. If they are engaging in destructive behavior, deeply destructive behavior, then they go. You get into counseling with them and you get into family counseling with them also, because there are dynamics afoot there, even though I know you’ve done all the things you’ve tried so hard.
I know, but there are dynamics there that are triggering some of this that are creating some of this. This is not about fault. This is about understanding that your family is an ecosystem. And so when you have a kid who is really grappling with destructive behavior, you need tools too, to know how to deal with that.
So that kiddo needs to get into counseling and your family needs to come alongside and also get some coaching on what to do next. But if we’re talking about the first scenario where you have a kid who is doing the things, they are walking through, getting ready for launch, and you see in them some places where they’re getting tripped up, that’s when you can come alongside as companion and say, you know what I did when I was wrestling with some things like this, I went and got some tools and it was so helpful.
And again, I don’t expect that you’re gonna meet a lot of resistance on this when you are modeling. And when you are being transparent with your own journey, and you’re saying to your kid, this is something that is so powerful to do for yourself. This is how you take care of yourself. This is how you get tools for knowing how to walk through and deal with something.
I find that at least in my own world, my kids have been super receptive to that. And actually it’s been my kids who’ve pursued me saying, Hey, can I go talk to Miss Juliet? We have, we have someone we just adore who has spoken into our lives. She is incredible. And so she’s just part of the fabric now. It’s like, you know what?
I think I probably don’t need to go have a couple sessions with Juliet. So I wanna encourage you to, if you see something that you think needs to be addressed in your kids, don’t wait. Go ahead and get moving on that. And when they’re in those younger ages, just sweep ’em up and you just take ’em.
You just go, you explain what’s happening. You explain why. You explain they’re not in trouble, that this is something to empower them to empower you, too, as a mom. If they’re in those teen stages. And you’re in the getting ready to launch stages, as long as it’s within that category of a kid needing more tools for dealing with daily stressors and certain behaviors that are challenging for them and are making their life not feel so great. Come alongside them as companion. If it is destructive behavior, don’t pause.
If it is destructive behavior. Get ’em in. They gotta go. It’s just part of the toll at the tollgate for living in your house if you start seeing destructive behavior. And let me tell you this really fast too, because I think it’s really important.
Not every therapist or counselor that you may initially see may be the right fit. You may have to shop. And I wanna encourage you to do that. Now, let me say this. If you’re on like counselor number six or seven, and you just think that all these counselors or idiots or can’t help you, or don’t know what you’re doing, you need to get a rear view mirror check on that.
But if you go to the first counselor and that person just doesn’t jive with your child, and it doesn’t seem to be helping, it is okay to respectfully just say, you know what, for whatever reason with this kid, I just think we need to find a little bit better personality fit. Do you have someone you could recommend with what you’ve seen with my child? And talk to your friends, see who they are using, who has been powerful for them in these ages and stages of life, when sometimes we need a little extra help, somebody to come alongside. Don’t be afraid to work through one or two, maybe three counselors or therapists to find the right fit for you, your family and your kid.
Well Hey, if you didn’t hear your question addressed as we worked through these last couple of episodes, never fear. We’re gonna do this again. I told you that I love doing Q and As. I love hearing from you because you come up with stuff that I wouldn’t have thought of. So thank you so much for taking the time to ask those listener questions and we will be back with more of those soon, but be sure in tune in next week, because we are starting a brand new series that I think is gonna be just so timely.
We are gonna start talking about the various seasons of your life because seasons are how we live our lives. So tune in next time to the AllMomDoes podcast, be sure and check out AllMomDoes.com for more inspiration and information. Check out the show notes from Rebecca. She’s the best. Put them together every week.
And I’d love to talk to you too. I’m usually over on Instagram at Julie Lyles Carr. You can DM me. I’ll see you next time on the AllMomDoes podcast.