The space between expectation and reality in relationships can be difficult for middle schoolers to understand. Often, the only idea of what a relationship should look like for someone their age comes from what our culture and media portrays, not from their personal experience.

Romans 12:1-2


God’s design for sex is better than the world’s design for sex.


Talk with your student about expectations they have for both themselves and others. Help them see the difference between realistic and unrealistic expectations, and talk with them about healthy ways to respond when their expectations aren’t met.


Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.


little girl spraying a car with a water hose in a sunny afternoon, rubber hose, pour water on over

My guess is that in your house—like my house—there’s a constant tension between rules and relationships.

Your nine-year-old is supposed to help wash the car, but instead decides that riding his bike is a far more important to the functioning of the universe than cleaning your dirty minivan.
How do you respond?

On the one hand, you need . . .
rules—boundaries, guidelines and limits that make life work and shape character.

On the other hand, you need. . .
relationships—love for each other, respect and even some basic kindness.

But rules and relationships always seem to be in tension with each other, don’t they?

Clamp down too hard on the rules, and the relationship suffers. Or work hard on relationship and the temptation is to slack off on the rules.

To make matters more confusing, in most families, one parent tends to be the relationship parent and the other tends to be the rules parent.

If you’re like me, a rules guy, you are tempted to ground your nine-year-old for life, pull all video gaming privileges and be angry enough that most observers would assume you discovered your son had joined a street gang, not failed to pick up a sponge.

If you’re more the relationship type, you’ll abandon your bucket in the driveway, get on your bike and go have a picnic in a green field with your new found best friend while gentle music plays in the background and your rules-loving spouse drives the car to the junkyard in protest.

Left unchecked. . .

The rules parent thinks the relationship parent is a left-leaning hippie type left over from the sixties who thinks love can solve every problem.

The relationship parent becomes convinced they have married someone who should probably quit family to become a drill sergeant, robot or warlord.

Recognize the tension? So what do you do?



For more parenting resources visit www.ParentCue.org

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