Spy vs Spy Parenting

As the father of four children, I’m painfully aware of how difficult it can be to communicate effectively with our teenagers. Where they’re at in the developmental stage can lead to an awkwardness that brings out our worst responses. All this week we’re going to look at what Dr. Ted Tripp calls common pitfalls in dealing with teens. Dr. Tripp warns against assuming the spy versus spy mentality in our communication. This happens when parents and teens play a cat and mouse game, where the teen tries to get away with as much as possible, while the parent’s mission is to catch them. Dr. Tripp tells about one mother who hid in the bushes in front of a friend’s house to see if her daughter was secretly meeting with a banned boyfriend. Not only was that not happening, but the daughter caught the mother in the bushes. This spy versus spy approach is a negative response that does nothing to build trust or facilitate positive, God- honoring communication patterns with our teens.