T.L.P. Episode 44: Practical Anti-Terrorism | Applying Truth to a Terrorist with The Communication House and Revolving Priorities

Today Aaron and Johanna Brewster role-play a real-life parent/child conflict and demonstrate for us how to use The Communication House, Revolving Priorities, and Anti-Terrorism techniques to apply Truth to our children’s lives.

Scroll down for Episode 44 Transcript.


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We need to jump right in to our application today so we have enough time to explore it, but I want to take just a moment to introduce my special guest, the one who will be helping me illustrate how to use the parenting tools we’ve been talking about for almost four weeks.

My guest today is the most specialist one on the planet. She’s my friend, my help, my wife, Johanna.

Thanks for helping me out today, Babe.

Given the nature of today’s show, there won’t be any episode notes, but the transcript will be available at EvermindMinistries.com.


And speaking of the format of today’s show, let me explain what Johanna and I are going to do.

Back in episode 37, we talked about parenting a terrorist. Then in subsequent episodes we outlined numerous parenting tools including The Communication House, Revolving Priorities, and various ways of applying Truth to someone’s life. And lastly, we dealt with the twin topics of the most potentially destructive influence in the life of our children and how we can train our kids to rebel.

So, if you haven’t heard all of those episodes, I strongly encourage you to start there, otherwise today’s show may be quite confusing.

Our goal today is to wrap up that entire discussion by using it in a real-life example.

Jo is going to pretend to be my terrorist daughter, and we’re going to role-play what it looks like for you — the parent — to use these parenting tools.

But we need to set the stage. No family conflict ever happens in a vacuum. There’s always relationships, previously communicated information, and a whole history of similar situations that each member of the conflict is subconsciously using to judge how each is going to react in the current disagreement.

So, first, let’s talk about the dad and daughter. I wish I could do a bunch of different versions. You know, one for toddlers, one for elementary, and so on, but honestly, using these tools with younger terrorists is much easier than using them older ones. For those of you with young children, I’m certain you’ll be able to apply today’s example to your parenting far better than a parent of an older child listening to us role-play a toddler.

So, Johanna is going to do her best to portray a 14-16 year old.

I, obviously, will be the dad, but it’s vital that we understand the relationship this father and daughter have. We’re going to play this a little left of center. It won’t help you at all to portray a daughter who’s sweet and loving. She needs to be a terrorist because that’s where many of your kids are or are going.

Which means that I — as the father — have not been laying a solid biblical foundation in her life. I’m going to speak as a recovering Dictator Father who in the past few months has been convicted that my parenting doesn’t glorify God. So, I’ve started listening to Truth.Love.Parent. and am trying to use the lessons I’ve learned.

Of course, as with any terrorist, my daughter’s not excited about the new me. Though she’s a Christian, I’ve done too good a job modeling “acceptable” levels of self-worship. In her immaturity, she’s lost sight of her first Love and has been losing herself in sin.

Now, if your child isn’t born again, the only change I would make to today’s illustration is that you will need to ground everything you say in evangelism. And you also need to be prepared that their blind eyes will not understand anything you’re saying because they’re spiritually dead.

That’s why it’s impossible to admonish an unbeliever. Life-training couched in evangelism is the only effective model in that situation.

We will be talking about parenting unsaved children in an upcoming episode and hope to address this with greater depth then. But, for now, Johanna is a 14-16 year old Christian girl who does experience the Hold Spirit’s conviction, but is so enslaved to her own emotions and desires that the things of God don’t resonate the way she should.

And I will be the dad who though I haven’t laid the right foundation, and though it’s never easy to start from scratch with a teenager, is embracing God’s promises that I can glorify Him in my parenting and my daughter can be the woman God wants her to be. Because of this, I’m going to do my best to fight the fear I’ll be tempted to feel when my daughter engages in terrorism, and I’ll rest on God’s grace by speaking His Truth in love so that I influence my daughter positively and don’t train her to rebel.

Wow. All right, here goes. The situation is a middle-ground issue. I walk into the kitchen and see that Johanna hasn’t completed her evening chore — washing the dinner dishes. And she’s nowhere to be seen. So I knock on her door and she answers.

The best way to approach situations like this is to ask questions. Don’t assume you know what’s going on.

Dad: Why haven’t you started the dishes?

Daughter: I’m going over to Bekah’s tonight. Remember?

Dad: Yeah, I do, but that doesn’t mean you get to skip your chore.

Daughter: Seriously? I won’t have any time over there if I don’t leave soon.

At this point, you need to watch out for two things that betray the fact that she’s either believing a lie or manipulating. Listen for tone and terms. Tone is her tone of voice, and terms are the actual words she uses.

Her response betrayed two issues: 1. It sounds like she’s getting irritated, which is leading her to sounding disrespectful. The second is her terms, specifically the mock-question, “Seriously?” At this point she’s revealed that she doesn’t like my plan. Watch carefully for this. Rolled eyes, exasperated sighs, screwed-up faces, and exclamations like this are ways of saying, “I don’t like what you’re saying.” It’s disrespectful every time. She’s also started exaggerating. This is a common manipulation technique that makes it sound like her plight is worse than it is.

But before we continue, I have to point out that interpreting her expression, language, and demeanor isn’t enough. I need to check myself too. God says to attend to the log sticking out of your own eye before addressing the dust in someone else’s. As a recovering Dictator, disrespect and disobedience were a no-go because it rubbed my pride the wrong way. I was being really good when I entered her room calm and collected, but now she’s pushing my buttons, and I need to remember that this interaction is happening because I love my God and I love my daughter. There can be no other reason.

This can’t be about the dishes or my authority. I need to stay in the Communication House and get her back inside too. This discussion must be grounded on Truth and spoken in Love for God’s glory. This is where I need to use revolving priorities.

Daughter: Seriously? I won’t have any time over there if I don’t leave soon.

Dad: First of all, you’ll have all the time you need. But – more importantly — please don’t be disrespectful. Questioning my plans with a bad attitude isn’t Christ-honoring.

Daughter: This is so stupid! I could have left already! Why do we have to talk about this now?

Okay, so she’s moving farther and farther from the house and she’s layering her manipulation by making me out to be the bad guy. I need to keep the conversation in the house. The most important thing right now is to help her acknowledge Truth.

Daughter: This is so stupid! I could have left already! Why do we have to talk about this now?

Dad: We have to talk about this because you’re not obeying.

Daughter: It’s just dishes!

Dad: I’m not talking about the dishes. Why is it okay for you to talk like this to me? I’m doing my best not to raise my voice. We need to respect each other or we’re not pleasing the Lord.

Daughter: If you respected me, you wouldn’t have me waste my time with Bekah washing a few stupid dishes. I can do those any time. I need to leave for Bekah’s now, and this conversation is making me late.

It’s often very helpful to present a Respect Reversal to help someone see they’re living a Failure Philosophy. It’s obvious she’s getting worked up and she’s showing no regard for God’s Word, so I’ll try the Respect Reversal to at least help her realize that she’s not even making logical sense. Listen to what this sounds like.

Dad: You need to calm now. Do you want me talking to you the way you’re talking to me?

Daughter: You deserve it, you’re being a jerk!

Dad: Alright then. If it’s okay for a daughter to speak unkindly to her father because he’s doing something she doesn’t like, then what is the father allowed to do when his daughter is disobeying her God?

By asking the question, you force them to answer the question — even if it’s just in their heads. At many points throughout this conversation the daughter has had opportunities to acknowledge and respond to Truth. And, it’s at this point that many kids will start to see the error of their thinking. But this daughter isn’t going to, because for many of you — the issue rarely ends that quickly, and I want this illustration to be realistic for you.

But because deep inside she knows her actions and attitudes are wrong, the only way she can plunge forward with her Failure Philosophy is 1. to deny reality and start spouting nonsense or 2. distract from the point. I’ve dealt with many kids who love to spiral into the wasteland of the idiotic just because they hate to be wrong. They want so badly to win the conversation they will contradict themselves and say ludicrous things just to leave you speechless. And here’s a very important observation from my a decade in family counseling: every person who’s ever lowered themselves to this level — spouting ridiculous fantasies which they know are ridiculous and which they know you know are wrong — in my experience — have been unsaved. Let me give you a sedate example and then I’ll explain what I mean.

Dad: Alright then. If it’s okay for a daughter to speak unkindly to her father because he’s doing something she doesn’t like, then what is the father allowed to do when his daughter is disobeying her God?

Daughter: I guess he’s allowed to beat her. Maybe even kill her. That’s what muslims do. They let the men beat their wives and children.

Dad: We’re talking about God’s Word.

Daughter: Yeah, well, why don’t you kill me. Go ahead and stone me. That’s what God commands parents to do to their rebellious kids.

You see, when people descend to this level, they’ve crossed the line from foolish to scorner. Scorners aren’t your typical fool. If you have a child like this in your house, do a word study in the book of Proverbs about scoffers and scorners. They deliberately mock and deride God and His Word because they loath it. A born-again believer cannot be a scorner.

Now, if my daughter were to say this, my priorities would revolve quicker than you can imagine. The spiritual life of my daughter is at stake.

But, for this illustration, this young lady is born again, and she’s not going to go that direction. She’s going to try misdirection instead.

Dad: So, if it’s okay for a daughter to speak unkindly to her father because he’s doing something she doesn’t like, what is the father allowed to do when his daughter is disobeying God’s Word?

Daughter: Why does this always have to be about me?! You can never just admit to being a jerk. You always have to hit me with the Bible.

So, I’m going to need to revolve again. Any time your child lies, you can’t move forward with the conversation until you clear it up. And another thing, if there’s ever an opportunity in conversations like this to show your frailty, to show them you’re not perfect, you’re still growing, and that you’re in this together, it will go a long way. And, had I lost my cool, had I been sinful in my attitudes, thoughts, actions, or words, I need to get myself back in the Communication House. I need to apologize for my Failure Philosophies. 1. I need to do it because God commands it, but 2. It shows my child that I’m in this sanctification process with her, and 3. It helps her see the right way to deal with her sin.

Dad: I am not hitting you with the Bible. I’m actually doing what God commands parents to do because I’m trying very hard obey Him right now. And that’s all I want for you. You told me that two summers ago you asked Jesus to save you, and since then I’ve seen big change in you. I praise God that He’s not only been working in your life, but He’s also been working in me. I think you can see that I’m not the man I used to be any more than you’re same person you used to be. That doesn’t mean I’m perfect; I still make many bad choices, but I try very hard to apologize to you when I realize it. Well, right now, you’re sinning. This conversation could have been over a long time ago if I had come in here and reminded you about the dishes and you apologized for not doing them and then politely asked me to help you get them done so you could leave for Bekah’s. But instead you chose to dishonor me by being very disrespectful. And, you know what, I hate saying that. I struggle so much with pride that I hate playing the authority card. I used to do that all the time, but I did it for the wrong reason. I wanted you to respect me because of how it made me feel. But the reality is that you need to honor and obey your parents because God commands it. You need to obey me because you love God. I want to discuss the dishes with you, but we can’t talk about it unless we can both agree to honor the Lord with our attitudes and words. Will you have a mature conversation with me?

Daughter: Okay.

Dad: I think I understand why you wanted to save the dishes for later, and that may have been a good idea. But the problem is you chose to be the parent and make a decision that wasn’t yours to make. The better choice would have been to explain your situation and ask me.

Daughter: But I knew you would say, “No.”

Dad: Be careful. I don’t think you’re trying to lie to me, but what you said was untrue. You didn’t know what I would say. You assumed you knew. I Corinthians says that love hopes all things and believes all things. That means that love gives the benefit of the doubt. If you chose not to do the dishes like I asked because you were certain I wasn’t going to give you permission, you made a very selfish, unloving choice. How’d you like it if I assumed you were going to start in volleyball this year just because you didn’t start last year”? Or how would it feel if I thought to myself, “She is so disrespectful. I’m not even going to bother with talking to her. All she cares about is herself, and she will never change”?

Daughter: I wouldn’t like it.

Dad: That’s because it’s unkind to assume the worst of people . . . even when they’ve hurt you before. That’s why Jesus said that if someone sins against us, apologizes, and then commits the same sin, and apologizes, and then does the same thing over and over and over in the same day . . . we should forgive them every time. To be honest, I was on my way to the kitchen to offer you help because I knew you wanted to go to Bekah’s. The dishes didn’t have to be a big deal, but your selfish heart is. You chose to disobey because you were only thinking of yourself, and then when I asked you about it you acted very disrespectfully. So, what do you think needs to be done?

For the sake of this part, we’re going to assume that the daughter has already been taught what it means to biblically apologize.

Daughter: Will you forgive me for being so selfish, not doing my chore, and for disrespecting you?

Dad: Of course I do. God’s forgiven me of so much, how could I not forgive you.

Daughter: So, should I finish the dishes?

This stage is so important because we’re finally back to the original priority. After the daughter returned to the house, we can now discuss the dishes, and what happens here is so incredibly important. And – to be honest – I can’t tell you what I’d do in this situation.

In some cases the best thing to do would be to show grace — give her what she doesn’t deserve. Offer to do the dishes for her while she heads off to her friend’s.

However, if this is a recurring issue with my daughter — even after an apology — it may be necessary for her to feel the sting of her sin. Remember, sin hurts. If we allow our kids to think that you can sin all you want with no consequences, we’re lying to them. So, if she’s making a habit of this and not changing, she probably needs to finish the dishes before she leaves. Whether I help her with them is also subjective. How long has this been an issue? How quickly did she get back into The Communication House? Did she mean it?

“Did she mean it?” is a hard one because some terrorists get really good at faking right responses in order to shut down the conversation. I highly encourage you parents to tune your radar. Listen to your child’s tone and terms to verify that they genuinely understand their sin and want to do right. If you think they may be faking it, I would suggest giving the consequence. If the child was trying to manipulate you into thinking they were reformed just so they could go do what they want, they won’t be happy at all with consequences. But if they truly understand their sin, then they should have no problem receiving the consequences they know they deserve. In fact, true humility recognizes they probably deserve worse than they’re going to get.

Regardless of what consequence I give her, I must be certain I’m glorifying God while I give it to her and for the reasons I’m giving it to her. In this situation I may be tempted to send her off to her friends while I take care of the dishes because I’m honestly afraid that we’re going to replay the entire conversation if I suggest she needs to finish the dishes before she goes. That’s Fearful Parenting. I’ve just negotiated with the terrorist.

But I may also require her to stay because I want her to feel an unnecessary amount of pain. This is Sado/Masochistic Parenting. These are parents who like to inflict pain on their kids. This is wicked and vile parenting, but we have to be honest with ourselves — we’re all tempted to do this in one way or another. Just like our children, it’s so easy for us to be vindictive. Humans like to hurt those who hurt us. We want them to feel what they put us through — and quite often we retaliate with worse.

But regardless of the actual consequences, the two examples I just gave were sinful because of my heart. I chose the consequences because of how I felt about the situation — not what I knew about God.


I want to thank my wife again for helping me today, and I look forward to her joining me in the future to discuss parenting and not pretend to be a brat.

And I wand to thank you for sticking around little longer than usual.

Don’t forget about today’s show transcript at EvermindMinistries.com.

And don’t miss our next episode, entitled “The Second Most Important Question You Need to Ask Your Kids.”

I hope to see you then.

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