Today, we’ll be talking about discerning which battles are worth fighting with our children, teenagers, and our spouses. How do we know which battles to pick and when to let go? Together, we’ll look at some really helpful questions to ask as we seek to navigate these challenges with wisdom.


When do I let my kids make their own decisions, and when do I stay involved? This question applies to so many areas of life: grades, dating, friendships, a clean room, respect, their relationship with God, work ethic – the list goes on. How do we know which battles to pick?

Here are some principles to remember:

  • Curiosity—what is the reason they are doing what they are doing?
  • Correlation—people, especially our children, are a bundle of contradictions
  • Don’t let things slide that will be detrimental to them later in life
    • Don’t let your kids do things that make you dislike them.
      • These are things that will cause other people to dislike them.
    • Some things don’t matter as much as we think.
      • Get some feedback—outside perspective. Ask other parents, for example.
      • In our house—”We speak highly” of one another. This creates an environment of safety.
  • Some things matter more than we think.
    • Example: Girls, watch how a guy treats his mom. Guys, watch how a girl treats her father. Lying, disrespect, etc. are not small things.
  • Eighteen is not the finish line for parenting or developing as a human being.
    • Think of yourself at 18, and now. How much have you changed? Don’t judge your children’s current character development by your character development today.


How to Pick Battles with Our Children has four excellent questions to ask:

  1. Will this hurt my child or someone else?
  2. Will this cause property damage?
  3. Will this go against our family’s rules, values or beliefs?
  4. Will this interfere with other plans (does this prevent us from moving on)?

If the answer to these questions is “no” and the behavior is still bothering you, ask yourself this final question: why do I feel like I need to stop this behavior?


How to Pick Battles with Our Teens:

Here are some helpful questions to ask:

  • How can I get to the heart of my child?
    • Get them to see the why behind my heart.
  • Is this issue ultimately for their good, or a matter of my pride?
    • Am I more concerned about the way it reflects on my parenting ability? This is not the type of criteria to be using.
  • What will be most helpful for their life and character?
    • Sometimes, suffering and facing consequences is most helpful.
    • Does your teen fight you over going to college? There is wisdom in holding back on incurring debt for an education they have no interest in immediately after high school.
  • Ask yourself: Am I stepping in the way of God?
    • Consider that God may be teaching them through the tough consequences.
      • If they have trouble being on-time to work as a 16-year-old? This is the time to let them fail, let them get fired.


How to Pick Battles in Marriage:

  • Have as few battles as possible.
    • Are you evaluating your perception of their love for you by tasks that aren’t in their wheelhouse? Maybe they’re expressing love for you in a way you aren’t recognizing.
    • Be careful about entering into battle.
  • Is this battle truly over the heart or a mechanical function?


Ultimately, when picking your battles—choose wisely, choose rarely, and make sure they actually matter.


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Am I stepping in the way of God? Click To Tweet How can I get to the heart of my child? Click To Tweet When picking your battles—choose wisely, choose rarely, and make sure they actually matter. Click To Tweet


Resources Mentioned

Youtube: Lets Parent on Purpose

Covenant Eyes

Episode 32: Boulders, Backpacks & Boundaries

Episode 46: Behavior Should Make You Curious with Bradley McAlister

Episode 51: Prioritizing Your Battles

Cone of Responsibility

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson