How can you keep your home “SAFE?” Parenting tips for Mom’s from Nationally Certified Counselor, Dwight Bain

Here’s a simple way to remember how to make your home life the most peaceful part of your day, (instead of a war zone). Just remember the letters to the word S.A.F.E. as a way to keep focused on making some healthy changes to improve the quality of life at your house. Here’s what they stand for:

S- Structure.
Keeping a structured schedule with regular routines will keep everyone in your home feeling more secure. Regular mealtimes, bedtimes, prayer time and family fun time create strength inside of a child during these uncertain times. Having life on a predictable and structured schedule will help your child stay on a track of personal responsibility from their childhood, which makes them stronger for a lifetime.

A- Accountability.
Having other healthy people in your extended family, neighbors or church family is a great way to stay focused and not let negative patterns develop, because someone who loves you will be asking you the hard questions to keep your family life on track, and moving forward in a positive way. Instead of staying stuck with abusive or dysfunctional behavior patterns.

F- Faith.
I don’t believe that you can make it in this highly stressed world without knowing what you believe in. Whatever your faith background, staying close to a house of worship and being around people filled with God’s love will keep you more focused and more positive, and that Spiritual peace will make your home life a happier and more fulfilled place.

E- Encourage.
This may be the greatest gift a mom could ever hear, since so many things that moms do for their families tend to go unnoticed. Encouragement is different from praise, since it’s about building someone’s courage, verbally or through writing to let them know how much you care, especially through the tough times.

It’s a simple formula, but hopefully you and the people in your family can put the S.A.F.E. plan into effect as soon as you can, so that you can experience the peace and security that your home was designed by God to live at. If you are on track, excellent! Teach others so that they can find a healthier path as well.

Below are several resources to help you if the tension in your home is stealing away the joy that family life was designed by God to bring. – DB

Mean Girls-
Understanding the psychological issues behind Mother/Daughter Conflict
By Dwight Bain, Nationally Certified CounselorMoms & daughters. Why is it that sometimes they can’t stand to be apart- and other times they can’t stand each other? One of the most complex, challenging, confusing as well as rewarding and meaningful relationships in life can be found between mothers and their daughters. This psychological tension could occur early as early as childhood or be delayed until the teen years, and in extreme cases create problems for decades. At its worst, the friction and fights generated by these conflicts can destroy a relationship for good and even ripple into serious damage that could break a family apart.

Understanding what is causing the conflict in a home is the beginning of solving the problem. When a young woman is engaged in a battle with her mother over power and control their home can become a war-zone.

The five most common conflict styles that surface during the journey from girl to young woman are listed below. Once you identify the traits that seem to describe the tension in your home, skip down to use the parenting strategies as well as what to do to directly cope with conflict and bring peace back to your home.
1) KIA- Know it all'sMethod: Showing disrespect through continual arguments to degrade and discredit their mother as an authority on anything, especially being a parent.
(Boss)Mood: Bossy, harsh, critical, aloof and continual verbal conflict. (Mood worsens as Mom attempts to confront her behavior).Message: "I'm in control of my life, you can't tell me what to do- so don't even try. Wake up and smell the coffee Mom- you’re an idiot."Motivation: (Arrogance from self-Authority)
2) Drama QueensMethod: Dressing like a fully "grown up" woman with sophistication on the outside; while underneath acting like a spoiled little girl with self-serving behavior. (Princess)Mood: Changes instantly with no predictability. Weepy and screaming one minute, then brooding or giggly the next. Loud with continual demands for more!Message: "I want to look like I just stepped out of a clothing catalog, but really I’m scared to death inside. Watch out! Next mood swing- two minutes!"Motivation: (Approval through Adult Acting)
3) Tough ChicksMethod: Attacking mom with aggression and meanness, this pushes her away, but also continually punishes mom as the one closest person in her life.(Bully)
Mood: Dark, evil, hateful, spiteful, bitter or extreme. Use of gutter talk and lifestyle are common ways to add to the hurt directed to Mom. This often includes the lifestyle of “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll”, Gothic, or whatever will tick their mom's off the most.Message: "Get the *#*&%* out of my way you sorry *#%&*. I hate you, I hate you, I hate you! Please don't ever leave me!"Motivation: (Attacking to prove Acceptance)

4) Lost Girls
Method: Driven for acceptance, particularly from young men, while over reaching for relationship with mom. (Note- this behavior is often tied to the absent father syndrome that occurs in homes where the dad leaves after divorce, or is gone all the time at work).
Mood: Nice, naughty, needy or seductive, passive-aggressive, codependent, compliant, fearful, clingy, chameleon in all settings, but never the real person inside because she doesn’t know who she really is.
Message: "I'll do whatever a guy wants me to do or be whoever he wants me to be, as long as he doesn't let go!"
Motivation: (Acceptance from Anyone who cares)

5) Good GirlsMethod: Dodging mom with busy activity and lots of "yes ma'am" talk but never letting mom get close enough to see what’s really going on.
(Yes)Mood: Distant, casual, deception, socially acceptable- perhaps even friendly at times- but you are never allowed inside to see the heart. Or the hurt she hides.Message: "I'll play by the rules to keep the peace, but cannot wait to get out of this house and be away from you b-----!"Motivation: (Avoidance through Activity)

Frequently asked questions about mother/daughter conflict:When do these mother/daughter conflicts show up and when are they the hardest to deal with?
(The patterns can be identified in late childhood, around age 7-8, but are definitely the worst at age 15-16 when things can become completely chaotic and out of control. Sadly as an older teen, dangerous and impulsive choices can occur that result in permanent damage or death, like some of the tragic car accidents you hear about in the news when a teen girl breaks all the rules of safe driving and it seriously injures her or even sometimes may cost her life).
Is it possible to have more than one of these mother/daughter conflict styles going at the same time?
(Sadly, yes and the more conflict dynamics going at the same time, the harder it is to stabilize and treat to bring stability back to the home).

Why do daughters do these terrible things to their Mom?
(Lots of factors seem to complicate and influence this hurtful behavior from daughters to their mothers; however the biggest issues are listed below).
- Negative peer pressure from other girls andspecially from the influence of older guys who seem to have unusual power over impressionable girls who are younger.
- Experimentation with drugs, alcohol or other forms of substance abuse, which can cause a child to act totally differently toward family members. Remember, parental denial is a subconscious reaction to prevent the parent from feeling the pain of discovery, but research shows that teens are actually into substances 6 times more often than their parents believe. Secrets, lies, cover-ups and sudden changes in behavior are warning signs of dangerous behavior changes that may require immediate attention.
- Cultural and society pressure to be "perfectly" beautiful or thin, and the often dramatic shift in a girls behavior because of the secretive life that comes from Anorexia, Bulimia or compulsive overeating disorders.
- Media pressures to act like a thirty year old female in charge of her life and new found sexuality instead of a teenaged girl. (e.g. television shows like “Sex and the City”, “Friends”, and many "chick flick" films portray this message as well, which is easily misinterpreted by teens who are confused as to how a grown up woman should act).
- The need to feel in control of one's life as part of discovering one's identity in adolescence. This is normal, but really complicated in broken, blended or dysfunctional families where the girl doesn't feel connected, or feels lost and unattached to her family.

Can Mom's make a difficult situation like the ones you have described worse and not even know it?
(Mom's are often the closest human connection to a teen, who is trying to figure out how to be an adult. The girl part of her wants to take control of her future by experimenting with new feelings and attitudes, which is a normal and healthy emotion in young women on the journey to adulthood. However, if a Mom steps in with a parenting style that feels "smothering" to the teen, Rebellion is worsened if a Mom isn't tuned into her daughter’s changes and reacts with the appropriate parenting style. This is seriously complicated when a dad is absent; either through divorce, workaholism or addiction to sports or TV; as well as the number of other children that Mom may be parenting or number of other jobs she works!
- Mom's have an IMPOSSIBLE job! God never designed for her to do it alone, and if a dad isn't involved, he has to be drawn in to reach out to protect and guide his daughter. Mom's can never replace a dad, nor should they try. That's why it’s so important for girls to see healthy role models and have access to other safe adults, especially a trusted woman like a relative, teacher or coach during these years when it may be really difficult sometimes to connect to their own Mom.
So what can we do to begin to rebuild and restore mothers and daughters?
Take positive action now to address the issues that you may have identified in this special report. Don't wait another minute to reach out to rebuild this lifelong relationship!

Mother/Daughter Conflict Strategy:To connect a daughter into healthy family relationships and guide her to become a strong young woman, she needs to receive the five elements of becoming a confident young woman. These are the areas for both mothers and fathers to focus on giving to their daughter in her journey to become successful as an adult.
1) Acceptance- From the people closest to her, no matter what she may have said or done in the past.
2) Approval- In spite of all of her teen insecurities, imperfections, fears and failures, which she feels like she is drowning in sometimes.
3) Affection- Gentle, tender, kindness and love from safe people in her family and life. She needs healthy touch now more than ever!
4) Authority- Giving up control to accept the leading of her parents and God’s purpose in her life as the ultimate source of guidance, love and support.
5) Accountable- Following measurable actions with responsible attitude to develop strength and character.
Remember, whatever steps you take to build a better relationship with your daughter is worth it for now and forever!

NOTE: you can freely redistribute this helpful resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the authors information intact in the box below. Thank you!

About the Author: Dwight Bain is a Nationally Certified Counselor & Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. Critical Incident Stress Management expert with the Orange County Sheriffs Office, founder of and trainer for over 1,000 business groups on the topic of making strategic change to overcome major stress- both personally & professionally. He is a professional member of the National Speakers Association who partners with major corporations and national organizations to make a positive difference in our culture for Jesus Christ. Dwight is the founder of the LifeWorks Group, a team of professionals committed to personal growth and development emotionally and spiritually through counseling, coaching and communications events.

Access more extensive counseling and coaching resources from the LifeWorks Counseling team at 407.647.7005 or by accessing dozens of free special reports and resources designed to make your life work better at

Note: Here’s a great resource from my LifeWorks Group team-mate and fellow Christian Counselor Aaron Welch designed to help provide insight and solutions with the mother/son conflict. I believe that you will find it useful. DB

A Closer Look at Mother/Son Conflict During Adolescence.
By: Aaron Welch, LMHC, NCC
Oh, how things can change. Maybe it’s all in my head but I am noticing a dramatic shift in parent/child conflict lately. It used to be that I would work with teenage guys and their big issue would be with a demanding and overbearing father. The common problem was that their dad was always wanting to control them and was in their business all the time and that these boys never could live up to their dad’s expectations. I would see lots of anger come out in these boys but, in this scenario, there was also a strong underlying sense of pride in their fathers and the urge to relate to them in a powerful way. I would have to say that this scenario was the norm for a long time. I believe I am noticing a real shift in the issues I see now amongst adolescent guys. Not that there are no controlling or overbearing fathers anymore. This is still a fairly common issue that I deal with in the counseling room. But, there has been a subtle but very noticeable movement in our culture. I dare say that the winds seem to be “a’changin”.
Now, at least as often as the above scenario and maybe even more so, I have noticed that there seems to be more and more conflict between mothers and sons. Seriously, this has become a staple in my work. I cannot tell you how many times a family comes to me and the major fighting and behavioral problems are between the son and the mother; especially when the son gets to be around fifteen or sixteen years old. The boys come to me with lots of anger and frustration, as well as shame and guilt in many cases. The mothers are full of hurt, rejection, and frustration. And, oftentimes, dad is not sure what is going on, when it really started, or how to fix it. Most of the time, the family history shows that the son was usually very close to his mother, mother was very involved with son and his activities, and life was harmonious.........until now. (Dramatic music here)
So, why the shift? Why does a loving and dutiful son suddenly become so angry at his loving and attentive mother?
Obviously, as with any emotional issue, there are lots of reasons that come together to spin a complex web of trouble. For the sake of brevity, let me submit a few of the more common reasons that I see.
First, I believe we are reaping the consequences of becoming a more and more fatherless society. Too many boys are growing up in homes that are void of a dad. This can mean that the father is not there physically, due to divorce, death, or apathy but it can also mean a home where dad resides but is not emotionally involved with the rest of the family. In dealing with the former scenario, I cannot remember a time when I have met more boys that have less contact with their fathers. Seriously, whether I have been in the classroom, on the athletic field, or in the counseling room, I have met countless young men who haven’t even met there dads. It is heartbreaking to hear boys, in false bravado, joke about the fact that they were twelve before they met their dad, or that their father is in prison so they’ve never been together or that dad has decided to live far away and there is little contact. Young men joke or laugh about these things, not because they think it’s funny, but so they don’t show how much this deeply hurts them. Many teenage boys have some contact with their fathers but it is not consistent or meaningful. Children of divorce need to feel valued by both parents, even the one that is not the primary custodian. It bothers me deeply to see so many fathers that neglect the essential role they play in the development of their sons.
Because of this cultural dynamic, mothers are in a position where they have to step up and attempt to play both parental roles on a daily basis. God bless them for this! Please be sure to know that I am not scolding single mothers or blaming them for all of these problems. I hope the above paragraph was clear in showing that I firmly believe that, in many cases, the fault lies with the fathers who are not fulfilling their God-given responsibilities. However, when a home is fatherless, it leaves a boy with a void. It is a void in a young man’s search for what it means to be a man. Eventually the boy will strive for manhood and, without a strong father to emulate, he will have to find his own way. Because he will be learning as he goes, he is prone to mistakes and awkwardness that can often include things his mother will not understand, and it will lead to conflict.
The home with an overly passive father is also prone to mother/son conflict. If a father is physically present but is not a strong presence, mom will often take the lead role in the home. As the boy grows, he will want to look to his dad to figure out how to become a strong man. If dad is not a strong person, the boy will be confused about manhood. A son might even resent his dad if the young man sees that his father allows his mother to control him or push him around. The boy might also resent his mother for doing so and, in his heart, the young man might vow never to let his mom treat him the way she treats his passive father. The young man will still strive for manhood (all boys do) and might see rebelling against his mother as the best way to show he is strong.
Finally, boys often reach an age where they believe they MUST get out of from the shadow of their mothers. This especially happens when a son has always been coddled or protected by his mother. When a boy is young, this is great for him. His mother provides him with compassion when he is hurt, provision when he is sick, and shelters him from the harsh realities of his world. However, when a boy is on the edge of manhood, he wants to be dangerous and strong. A young man will want to prove that he is no “mama’s boy” but is a budding man to be reckoned with. If the mother resists this need for independence, the son will resist in return. If the mother REALLY resists the need for the boy to leave her side, then the boy will REALLY strive to pull away. Sometimes, a young man will go to great lengths to do things he knows his mother will hate and not approve of.........not because he necessarily wants to do them but simply to show that he is his own person. At this stage boys are like soap in the palms of their mothers; the more she tries to grab him, the more he will work to slip through her fingers. If a mother takes this as personal rejection, the seeds are planted and the situation is ripe for conflict.Moms, if you can see yourself in this type of situation with your sons, let me offer just some bullet points of advice:1. Research the masculine psyche. There are lots of books on the subject of boys: “Wild at Heart”, “Bringing Up Boys”, and “Raising Cain” are excellent resources for helping you to understand the needs and motives of young men. Read them with an open heart and mind.2. Work to UNDERSTAND your son: not CONTROL him. It doesn’t mean you stop being a parent. Just be a parent that values your son enough to listen.3. Remember your main role as a parent is to prepare your son to be an adult that can make his own decisions; not let you make them.4. Look in the mirror: How much of the conflict is due to your own insecurities or need for control?5. Allow your son to face the consequences of his actions. Don’t save him all the time. If you don’t allow him the freedom to make his own mistakes, he can always blame you when things go wrong. Let him have enough rope to hang himself sometimes. He’ll learn faster.6. Be consistent and fair in discipline and setting boundaries and consequences, based upon your son’s age.7. If possible, encourage his father to take a more active role in your son’s life. He needs his dad, if possible.8. Expose your son to healthy male role models: teachers, coaches, youth leaders. Obviously, we want to be careful about this but a boy needs examples to follow.9. Work on your ability to “let go”.10. Be loving and graceful when he fails. Try to resist the urge to say, “I told you so”.Being a mother is not easy. I realize that, in spite of my limitations (you know, that I’m a man). However, the truth is that being a young man is not easy either. There are lots of reasons that mothers and sons end up fighting. In fact, there are more reasons that we can cover in this article. However, I just want to remind you that there are even more reasons for mothers and sons to work out these conflicts so that they can remember how much they love each other and how valuable each of them are.

NOTE: you can freely redistribute this helpful resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the authors information intact in the box below. Thank you!

About the Author: Aaron Welch is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor at the LifeWorks Group, Inc. in Winter Park, Florida. He has devoted his life to reaching out and helping people grow and mature through difficult life situations. Whether it has been through clinical counseling, pastoral ministry, youth camps and conventions, public speaking, leadership training, educational instruction, athletic coaching or small group ministry, Aaron has over eighteen years of experience in assisting people through life struggles and personal growth. His genuine love for people and his outgoing personality combine to create a safe and caring environment for putting the pieces of life back together. To learn more about helpful resources to save you time by providing positive solutions to make your life work better, visit our extensive counseling blog at:

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