All posts by Teri Maxwell

Teri Maxwell is wife to Steve for over 40 years, mom to eight children (three married), and grandma to eight. She loves keeping her home running smoothly and sharing with women in the vein of Titus 2:4&5. Teri homeschooled for thirty years, and she's graduated all her children. In between her other responsibilities, she manages to squeeze in writing time. She is co-author of the popular Managers of Their Homes and Managers of Their Chores. In addition, Teri's written three books just for ladies Homeschooling with a Meek & Quiet Spirit, Sweet Journey, and Sweet Relationships. She has been writing monthly encouragement articles for homeschool moms for 25 years. Find more information on Teri Maxwell and her books.

Simplified Meal Strategies

Busy moms and especially homeschooling moms need strategies to streamline kitchen work. Proverbs 31:27 talks about this: “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”

One of the most frustrating situations for Mom is when she doesn’t know what to prepare for a meal and spends time wracking her brain for ideas with nothing coming together. Schedule for the following suggestions, and you will eliminate the emotional drain of indecision and also gain valuable time for other endeavors.

“She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens” (Proverbs 31:15). I imagine that a woman who gets up while it is still dark to prepare food for the day knew what she was going to make. Her plan allowed her to get to her work early.

Schedule Planning Time

Schedule time each week for meal planning and populating a grocery list. You could start with 1 hour a week and back down to 1/2 hour with experience and speed. Plan to grocery shop weekly and have your planning time the day of shopping or the day before.

Begin with three master meal lists: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The easiest way to do this is to simply write down—track—each unique meal you eat as you eat it. Your master list will grow itself. You can also write from memory meals your family eats and enjoys. From the master meal list, you can quickly choose meals without dealing with empty brain and without eating the same meal every other night.

Standardized Weekly Menus

I suggest a standardized weekly breakfast and lunch menu. That doesn’t require any decisions after the initial plan is developed, and all you have to do is check the food supply to see what you need to purchase to have enough for those meals that week. Pick favorites from your master breakfast and lunch meals that are simple and nutritious. Change the standardized menu up every couple of months or stick to it, if everyone is satisfied with it.

For example:

S – Egg casserole
M – Yogurt, granola, fruit
T – Oatmeal, fruit
W – Pancakes, fruit
Th – Muffins and eggs
F – Yogurt, granola, fruit
S – Oatmeal, fruit

S – Quesadillas
M – Sandwiches
T – Soup
W – Leftovers
Th – Sandwiches
F – Soup
S – Leftovers

Themed Weekly Menus

For dinners, you could have a theme or a meal for some nights plus nights left open to be determined from your master dinner meal list when you meal plan. For example:

S –
M – Beef
T – Chicken
W – Meatless
Th – Mexican
F – Homemade Pizza
S –

If you want to take the planning further, add your side dishes on the menu.

There is nothing binding about the menu. You always have the flexibility and choice to do something different. Having the plan, however, directs meals and allows you to be efficient in the kitchen. You don’t eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every lunch because you can’t think of anything else to eat or don’t have what you need for anything else. You don’t spend the morning trying to decide what to have for dinner. You don’t run to the store because you decide to have something you are missing ingredients for. If you post your menu for the family and stick to it, you won’t have to tell every family member what’s for dinner since you forestall their questions.

I loved the ease my master meal lists, standardized and themed meal plans, plus weekly meal planning and grocery shopping brought to my full homeschooling lifestyle. I think you will benefit from it as well.

If you need scheduling help, Managers of Their Homes is an excellent resource. If you need help with a family chore plan, Managers of Their Chores is the resource for you.

For our downloadable shopping lists, see this link.

For meal planning ideas, see this popular blog post Simple Ideas for Homeschool Moms, and make sure to read the comments too!

The Modern Curse

Recently at a restaurant, I observed a grandmother-aged woman with two girls in their late teens sit down in a booth near ours. After a while, I heard the older woman complain, “Are you going to be on your phones the whole time you are with me?” Both assured her they weren’t but neither put her phone down.

Moms have issues with their phones as well:

I know better, but I do it anyways. My biggest problem is my phone. I don’t know how I manage to waste so much time there. I deactivated my Facebook account, so there’s just that much less to do on my phone when I absentmindedly pick it up.

This mom took a huge step to be free of bondage to her phone by deactivating her Facebook account, but she’s still spending time on her phone she doesn’t want to spend there. Whether it is making someone feel devalued or wasting time, smartphones have negative consequences.

Here’s a brave mom who made some tough decisions:

I’ve deactivated and deleted Facebook several times. I deleted it for the final time last August after God took the blinders off and showed me how utterly wasteful it is. There are zero benefits for me in this season of my life. Not to mention safety concerns with all the information that is sold and used. I actually deleted all social media.

However, the deal with smartphones is there’s SO much you can do from your phone that it’s hard to live without it being near you. I would encourage you to do a fast though. Go back to calling instead of texting. Use a real calendar. Designate a certain time of day that you check emails or utilize apps. If it’s not a part of your structured/scheduled day then it can become unruly and uncontrolled. You’ll be amazed at how addicted you were and begin to notice how 80% of the world around you is too! That’s not an addiction I want my kids to inherit, and I still have to be diligent to carefully watch the time I use it.

When I was raising children, we didn’t have smartphones. They are 21st-century distractions that moms today have to deal with, but they are also helpful, time savers. How you manage your phone will determine your ability to engage emotionally with your children, your productivity, your children’s memories of you, and how they will utilize their phones when they have one and manage their own time.

I suggest you have a scheduled computer time and don’t do anything on your phone that you can do on your computer, including texting. Then prioritize your computer time so you accomplish the most pressing and important tasks first. Keep your phone on airplane mode so you aren’t distracted by all its notification sounds. Then you can keep it with you for a timer, calculator, or camera without being distracted by texts. During scheduled computer time, you can look at the notifications that came in since your last computer time and deal with them. Windows users: This would be the time you would turn your phone back on to check texts and such because those won’t come to your computer. 

Are you brave enough to make tough decisions so you control your phone rather than it controlling you? “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls” (Proverbs 25:28). I don’t think you will regret focusing on the Lord and your family rather than your phone.

Posted in: Mom's Corner

The Power of Time

August means school starting for most homeschool families. After a slower pace of summer, the thought of adding in school hours can be daunting for the homeschool mom. You might be a mom with all younger children who are not yet school age, but you are drowning in all that you have to do. I know the secret that will make it possible for you to keep up and regain your joyful spirit. You need a schedule for your time and your children’s time.

A schedule forces you to critically evaluate your time and prioritize it. When you put your life into a schedule, it is definable and quantifiable. God gave us each 24 hours in a day, and those are the boundaries with which we work. Your priorities are no longer missed because your day ended. Each one has its rightful place in the schedule. 

A schedule makes what you do on a daily basis habitual. Once a habit is formed, you don’t think about it any more. It just happens. No more trying to keep everything that has to be accomplished in your mind, hoping you don’t forget, and then getting sidetracked by what isn’t a priority at all.

A schedule brings maximum productivity into your home. You don’t waste time doing what doesn’t matter, and you don’t waste time trying to decide what to do next. You are utilizing every moment in the most productive way according to its priority, that you and the Lord have determined. That might mean taking an afternoon nap if you are up with a baby or child in the night. It could be reading out loud to your children or playing games with them because that is important to you.

A schedule frees you from battles with your children to get them to do what they are supposed to do. When you consistently follow the schedule, their days become habitual as well, and they know what to do and when to do it.

A schedule allows you to do activities you didn’t think you had time to do. It makes you so productive that it is likely you will keep up with what you weren’t keeping up with before your schedule and have time for what you had only hoped for in the past.

A schedule improves your health because it assures adequate sleep, exercise, and healthy eating. Bedtime and wake up time are the foundations on which your whole day is built. A schedule defines and stabilizes them. Without enough sleep, you drag through the day, are emotionally short with the children, and put your health at risk. Lack of exercise and poor nutrition have the same effects.

A schedule grows your relationship with Jesus because you daily have time with Him. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). 

This verse encourages us on physical exercise but even more on our time with the Lord. “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8).

I lived that discouraged, overwhelmed, there’s-never-enough-time, stressed life. I didn’t like it, and I doubt you do either. I know firsthand the differences and benefits a schedule brings, and I want those for you, your family, and your home. Please don’t excuse the idea away by saying you couldn’t do it or that it isn’t for you. I have seen so many moms move from despair to joy, from frustration to peace, and from stressed to contentment. “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). Are you?

If you need help with scheduling, Managers of Their Homes is your proven tool.

Posted in: Mom's Corner

More Mature Than Your Children?

Are you more mature than your children?


Consider this. You ask your child to do something he doesn’t want to do, and he responds with a sigh, verbal complaint, or non-compliance. I doubt that is the response you want. I know a smile along with, “Yes, Mom, I’d be happy to” is what delights your heart.

Now think about your response to the hard things the Lord asks you to do (or maybe they aren’t even so difficult, just not to your liking), especially areas of daily life and mothering. Jesus wants you to respond to your child’s bad attitude with a meek and quiet spirit. Is that what you do, or do you sigh inside and complain to the Lord about how tired you are of your child’s bad attitudes, how much time it takes to correct him, and how you sure wish he would change? Do you have a tone in your voice when you correct the child? Perhaps you raise your voice at him, or simply ignore it?

Do we want our children to obey us, and yet we fail at obeying Him? “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).  Are we more mature than our children?


Would it make a difference to you if that scenario with your child happens, and five minutes later he comes to you saying, “Mommy, my attitude was wrong. Please forgive me. I will happily do what you asked me to do.” Might that response knock you over? Would it change your thoughts about the child’s bad attitude?

Do you repent when you fail? Perhaps you think repenting doesn’t matter that much, or your wrong responses happen often so you ignore the repenting part and just try a little harder. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

If our children’s repentance brings us joy, what does our repentance do to our heavenly Father? If our children don’t repent over their wrong childish behavior, and we don’t repent over our wrong adult behavior, are we really more mature than our children?


Are you frustrated with a child who doesn’t have initiative? One that you have to remind all the time to do what he is supposed to do? Perhaps he starts on a task but doesn’t finish it.

What about you? When you have a free moment, do you do something productive or feel like you deserve a break? Do you have a schedule but choose not to follow it? Do you allow your devices to distract you from the job you are involved in doing? Would God view you as His child who wants to hurry away from responsibility, has to be reminded to do what needs to be done, and is pulled away to her own interests or His faithful servant, diligent and happy to do more? “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).

If we don’t do what we should do, when we should do it, are we more mature than our children?

More Mature

Perhaps as we consider our failures, we will have more patience and compassion working with our children. That doesn’t mean we let down the bar, but it does mean we consistently and sweetly encourage them along the right path.

When we feel frustrated with our children’s lack of maturity, it reminds us to obey the Lord, repent of our sin, and be His diligent servants.

If you’d like encouragement in this area of a meek and quiet spirit, I suggest you read Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit. I wrote it when I was a mom in the trenches, with five young ones, including an epic dawdler. Whew! Some ladies share that they read this book at the beginning of each school year!

Deborah Claims Her Summer

Here we are, it’s June already. Can I encourage you to have a no-regrets summer? I’m pretty sure I share about this every year (see last June’s get-ready-for summer article).

Real-life testimonies always motivate, so follow Deborah’s summer journal below. 

I am delighted that I actually have the summer schedule in place, and we are using it this early in the summer. Last summer was a huge wash for a variety of reasons, so I am really looking forward to this summer. Deborah

I am beyond excited with our summer schedule. I put in special activities I’d like to do, such as crafts with my daughter, “Funtime with Mom” times with each child individually, and an hour of family activities (bike riding, sitting by the campfire, playing games, taking a walk, etc.) after dinner. Since my son is older, I asked him what he wanted included and was able to find blocks for those activities, as well.

We’re still going to do a bit of homeschooling, but we also have time for outdoor jobs for the children, as well as gardening/canning, and other projects. I am truly hoping that this will finally be the summer I’ve always desired. 🙂 Deborah

Last week was our first week on our summer schedule. The children really seem to like the new schedule, and I am loving the peace and order it is bringing to our home, as well as the way it is allowing me to do those tasks that I desire and feel are important, rather than frittering away the summer.  In just one week, happy memories have been made, work has been accomplished, our house has stayed orderly instead of turning into a mess from chaos, and our standardized testing went smoothly.

In the middle of the week, we had a situation arise that could have wrecked havoc to our schedule, but I was able to say “No” to a request from a friend—something that has always been very difficult for me to do. Although I felt very guilty at the time, I now see the good that came out of it and the great benefit to our family and our week of testing. Deborah

I see how keeping with a consistent schedule this summer has really helped my children, so I want to be able to do the same in the fall. Deborah

I’m still loving our summer schedule. For the longest time, I’ve wanted a craft time with my daughter, but I never got around to it. This summer I have a block twice a week to do crafts with her. Oh, how she looks forward to it! This week, she sweetly called down to me, “Mom, it’s our time together!” Needless to say, I made sure I came right up and worked with her. Currently, I’m teaching her to crochet and she’s so pleased with what she is learning! Deborah

I am so excited about the difference using a schedule made this summer, that I’m already looking ahead to next summer and want to make sure we plan well for the school year, so we can start our summer schedule on time. I only wish I could go back in time and would have used a summer schedule when my oldest was still young. It makes me sad to think of the many lost years, but I am encouraged that we are on the right path now and am glad my children are not yet grown. 🙂 Deborah

I want YOU to experience a summer like Deborah. What an amazing feeling to get to the end of the summer and have no regrets for how you spent your time!

If you need resources to help you reclaim summer with scheduling, putting together a chore system, or planning for the new school has them available.

Mother’s Day Thoughts

This is written by my amazing husband of 40+ years, Steve. He requested to share this month. Be blessed!

The ups and downs of being a mom are incredible. Admit it, did you have any idea how tough being a good mom was going to be? I remember hearing Teri, sleep deprived and discouraged in the days after our first child’s birth, say, “Mom never told me it would be like this.” Maybe you have felt like that.

Twenty years later, when our eighth child was born, Teri had a good idea what motherhood meant. She still had struggles, and she knew a lot of work was ahead. She, however, had the comparison of the joy set before her. She had learned how critical a daily walk with the Lord Jesus was to her calling.

I wonder if it isn’t even more difficult these days for moms to want to invest in their children’s lives when children are seen as having little value compared to 40 years ago when we started having children. Sadly our society has turned it upside down. To the world, the huge investment of motherhood is seen as nothing compared to the value of Mom earning a paycheck.

Wouldn’t you agree that for most a woman’s worth is evaluated by the size of her paycheck? We’ve seen that sort of trade before when Esau traded his birthright for a bowl of soup. Paychecks hardly last from one to the next, but children are eternal. Think about what you are pouring your life out for.

As I write this I am looking out my window on a beautiful spring day watching two of my daughters in the backyard with nine of my little grandchildren—all of them joyfully singing praises to the Lord. I want to put that picture in your mind as you continue to pour out your life into your children’s lives. All those sleepless nights, dirty diapers, runny noses, spilled milk, and hours upon hours of teaching result in servants fit for the Master’s use.

Truly there is no tougher or more rewarding job than being a mom. If God calls, He equips. You might ask, “But if I’m equipped, then why is it so difficult?” Are you abiding in the Lord Jesus? He doesn’t ask you to do this on your own. Your spiritual energy, your stamina, your peace, and your hope are all in Christ.

“… He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).

“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16).

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9). I saw days when Teri grew weary of her well-doing in motherhood. She needed to be encouraged not to faint but to look forward to the season of reaping. May I be the one to encourage you moms who are reading this Mom’s Corner that your children are worth every sacrifice you make. I want you to look out your window in the future and see your little grandchildren singing and praising the Lord! Remember Christ’s own words, “And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me” (Matthew 18:5).

Steve Maxwell

Posted in: Mom's Corner

Making God Real to Our Children

Recently a mom asked me a question for a Mom’s Corner: ​

How do I practically teach kids about God outside Bible reading/family worship time and other formal situations to teach God’s Word? Sadly this does not come naturally to me. How do I show the little ones that God is real and loving, and they need Him a lot?

I believe moms have a powerful platform of spiritual influence in their children’s lives by being purposeful in this area. It is something I wish I had done more and better when my children were little. I encourage you to take the challenge.

“We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children whichshould be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Psalm 78:4-7).

Praise and Thanksgiving

One thing we see in Scripture is the call to praise and thanksgiving. “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Hebrews 13:15).

If you continually thank the Lord, out loud, at every opportunity, and praise Him often, you will be bringing Christ into your children’s little hearts and lives. They emulate you and develop grateful hearts.


Teach yourself to stop and pray out loud with your children often. Pray together when you hear Daddy is having a rough day at work, when someone gets hurt, when you hear the sirens going down your street, or when you have a friend who is sick.

When your children struggle with each other, have bad attitudes toward you, or even difficulty with school, pray with them. Help them learn to cry out to the Lord with their needs. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Recognize answers to prayer with your children. Talk about those answers to prayer, thank the Lord for them, and praise Him for them.


Memorize key verses that are applicable to your children’s lives to quote to them when it is appropriate. If you do that regularly, they will grow up with those Scriptures embedded in their minds available to pop up when it is helpful.


Memorize hymns, and sing them when you are working in the kitchen, folding laundry, or during other tasks where your mind isn’t very engaged. Singing reflects a joyful heart, and it puts your thoughts on the Lord Jesus. You will be drawing your children to the Lord, while giving them the sweet spirit of joyful song. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).

Through these suggestions, you bring your personal relationship with the Lord to the outside so that it is visible to your children, and you make them a part of it. You are discipling them in a real, personal walk with Jesus. This is the eternal investment you make in your children’s lives, and it is worth planning, purposing, and making real.

Trusting in Jesus,

Posted in: Mom's Corner

Would Your Boss Fire You?

If you had been hired for your job as a mom and homemaker, at your annual review would your boss give you a raise or fire you?

We value our roles as mothers and homemakers, but we also make excuses for what isn’t running smoothly. Usually, we know what we should do, but we choose not to do it. “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8 ). 

Bedtime + Wake up Time

Let’s get specific. If you had a boss, and he asked you to study a book that was vitally applicable to your job for the first 1/2 hour of your work time each day, would you stay up late, come in to work 1/2 hour late, and tell him you didn’t think that assignment was important enough to arrive at work on time? Do we make an excuse like that to our Savior when we don’t go to bed at a time that allows us to get up and be in His Word? “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).

If you had a job with an annual salary of $200,000 and you were required to be at work at 6:00 a.m. each day, could you do it? Would you make sure you went to bed early enough to have the sleep you require to be alert for beginning work at 6:00 a.m.? I think so. 

Are we double minded? Do we value money more than our relationship with Jesus and investing in our children? Do we think we can accomplish what God has called us to do without Him?

Home Management

“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully” (1 Timothy 5:14). If one uses valuable, home-management time for Facebook, TV, movies, or reading novels, are you being a responsible, diligent worker? What does a manager in the workforce think if he comes by an employee’s desk to find him engaged in those activities?

If employees choose to curb time wasters, how much more for us as moms who are servants of the most High God. Don’t we express love for Him and gratitude to Him by faithfully doing what He has called us to do? Discover and eliminate whatever sidetracks you from guiding your home.

Child Interactions

Finally, what about your interactions with your children? If you had a high-level managerial role in a Fortune 500 company, would you express anger at your employees, be impatient with them, or cry over their behavior? 

Here again, it seems we are more motivated by a paycheck to do what we know is right than we are by accountability to God and love for our family. I discovered this when I was a homeschooling mom and told the Lord I couldn’t put off my anger toward my children.

One day the telephone rang when I was angry with my children, but I answered with a calm, sweet voice. That was an effective lesson! “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth” (Colossians 3:8). 

Our Accountability

As stay-at-home moms, we don’t have a physical boss to be accountable to, but we have One to Whom we should care even more if we please. I think we can become lazy and allow our flesh and excuses to rule rather than yielding to Jesus. The “I Can” mom doesn’t live with excuses. She jumps on the path to overcoming whatever excuses stand between her and doing. The “I Can’t” mom listens to and believes her excuses. “I Can” or “I Can’t?”

Trusting in Jesus,

Posted in: Mom's Corner

Short and Sweet

Recently, our young adult children talked about growing up in our home, and how we managed problems and issues. They were positive about it, praising Steve and me as parents, especially now that they observe other families from an adult perspective. However, in that conversation, I heard two words that caught my attention and made me cringe. They were “Mom’s lectures.” They weren’t speaking negatively about my lectures per se, but the word “lecture” doesn’t have as appealing a ring to it as say, “talks,” or “sharing,” or even “instruction.”

The Lecture

I don’t think my children came up with the term “lecture” because of the content of my talks but because of the length of them. A lecture to them was something that seemed to go on and on. Looking back, I wish I had kept the messages for my children short and sweet. “The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning” (Proverbs 16:21).

As I pondered lectures versus their alternatives, I thought about how I want Steve to present something negative to me. I prefer that he express it kindly, stating the facts, and moving on. If he spent a long time going over every little aspect of it and repeating each part a couple of times, I might think, “Okay. Enough. I’ve got it. I understand.”

Could it be that way for children? For younger children, they don’t have the maturity to understand a full explanation anyway. Older children have that maturity, but would likely prefer the truth spoken in love but briefly.

The Response

Since this realization hit me, I have shared it with several moms who have little children. They acknowledge doing a fair amount of talking to their children to try to keep them on the right path. Often during these lectures, the children have blank or bored looks or argue with Mom.

From those typical negative childish responses to lectures, I wonder if there isn’t a greater possibility, too, that Mom will have negative attitudes and emotions toward her child. “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19). Whereas we want to display gentleness and love with a quiet voice and spirit, we might be frustrated, irritated, and even angry with a child who isn’t grabbing hold of our words with agreement and a positive spirit.

What To Do

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). Could it be that we would do better to briefly explain to a child what he did wrong, why it was wrong, and the consequence? Briefly. Sweetly. Over and done in just a minute or less, and then move on with life. 

I am not saying that there won’t be times for longer discipleship discussions with our children based on the Word. I am, however, doubting whether those are most productive when a child has done something he shouldn’t or not done something he should. Heart to heart talks might be better received when not in the midst of a possible consequence and when the emotions on both sides are neutral or positive.

Listen to Yourself

If you did something foolish or wrong and someone talked to you about it the way you talk to your child, would you like it? Is your child old enough to comprehend the depth of explanation you give for his bad behavior? If he is old enough, does he emotionally engage with you positively through your discussion with him? If the answers to those questions are “no,” then you might want to consider changing your method to “short and sweet.”

Bossy, Controlling Daughters

In traveling, speaking, and interacting with families, we often observe some undesirable characteristics especially in first-born daughters. We also receive e-mails from moms seeking suggestions about these girls. While it begins earlier than this, the concerns are generally raised when the girl is 7 or 8.


This daughter bosses and controls her siblings. She corrects her parents and regularly, but not always, disrespects them with words and attitudes. She responds selfishly and emotionally when she doesn’t get her way. She manipulates. When in a conflict with a sibling, she tells the story, making herself out as faultless and a victim of her sibling’s wrong behavior with no other option than to do what she did that was also wrong.

Parents know this behavior isn’t right whether it is from a first-born girl or third-born son, but they don’t know how to tackle it. It is exacerbated by the fact that the child is often right. Mom or Dad forgot something. Little brother did what he shouldn’t do. Sister didn’t feed the dog.

Sometimes these daughters develop their bossiness and controlling because they are given responsibility at young ages, especially with siblings. Because of their maturity, these girls are wonderful help.

A Team Plan

Here are some thoughts on what you might do to tackle this situation. Initially, agree as husband and wife that there is a problem to be addressed. If allowed to continue, the patterns become ingrained and difficult to root out. “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right” (Proverbs 20:11). Controlling will greatly undermine her ability to be a godly helpmeet should she eventually marry.

Work as a team, discuss her issues, and pray together about them. Seek the One Who knows your child, you, and the future. Cry out to Him for wisdom, direction, tenacity, and the patient spirit you need.

Then develop a purposeful plan to turn her attitudes around based on what the Lord showed you and Scripture that applies. Include responses to the negative attitudes, actions, and words your child displays.


Lovingly and privately in a discipleship manner talk with your daughter about the problem. Ask if she wants to grow up to be bossy, controlling, and critical. Hopefully she says she doesn’t, and then share with her other options she can choose. Teach and instruct her from God’s Word concerning her behavior.

Help her learn to take her concerns to the Lord in prayer rather than correcting or controlling. After all, He can remind you, and if He doesn’t, you will soon discover what she wanted to correct you concerning. If you don’t, it doesn’t matter any way. Set aside a special time each week to meet with her for ongoing talks and accountability.

Be consistent. Each time your daughter corrects you, remind her that it isn’t appropriate. Point out when her words, attitudes, or actions are not sweet and respectful. Be short and matter-of-fact, not lecturing. Consider a secret sign that you can give her that she will notice and others won’t, in an attempt to correct her behavior without embarrassing her to others.

Limit the time this daughter has child-care assignments, and when she does have those jobs, supervise. Help her with loving, patient strategies.

Finally, make sure you are the best possible role model, starting with your interactions with your husband. Don’t be a critical, controlling, disrespectful wife. Don’t treat your children that way either.


God desires this in a woman: “a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Peter 3:4). Will your daughter exemplify this later in life if she isn’t as a child? Will you help her away from her bossy, controlling ways or continue facilitating them?

Posted in: Mom's Corner