How to Skillfully Choose Your Parenting Battles

‘We say “YES” as much as we possibly can, because we know we will have to say “NO” so much!’

This is one of the best tidbits of advice I learned from my friend Debbie who was raising teenagers.

My children were small at the time, but I still remember that conversation like it was yesterday.

And, I thought of it often during the middle and high school years with my own children.

There is so much you will have to say NO to as parents. Click To Tweet

There is so much junk, ugly, unsafe, weird, and dangerous stuff out there.

But, you cannot say “NO” every single time.

You must find some things to say “YES” to as well.


Over the course of the last few weeks, we’ve been talking about “How to Win and Keep the Heart of Your Children into Adulthood.”


Today’s post highlights Strategy Six:

Choose your BATTLES wisely!


How to Skillfully Choose Your Parenting Battles - Melanie Redd

Not everything necessitates a fight.

Carefully select what you want to make a BIG deal out of with your kids. Click To Tweet

Say, “YES” as often as you can.

Say “NO” when you must.

But don’t say “NO” to every single thing!


How do you do this?

How do you know when to say “YES” and when to say “NO”?

I can’t answer that completely for you.

You and your spouse are going to have to decide when to answer affirmatively and when to answer negatively. It will ultimately be up to you.

However, I can make a few suggestions that may help along the way.


Here are 3 suggestions for how to pick your battles: Click To Tweet

1] Pray for great wisdom!

Ask God to make you as wise and as insightful as you have ever been. 

Pray over the parties, clubs, purchases, teams, other kids, dates, relationships, teachers, and everything else. Invite the Lord to give you wisdom as you pray.

“But if any of you needs [lacks] wisdom, you should ask God for it.

He is generous to everyone and will give you wisdom without criticizing you [without finding fault; ungrudgingly;].   (James 1:5)


2] Consider a few qualifying questions:

~ Is it a high enough hill to die on?

~ Is it a conviction or a preference on my part?

~ Is this really a watershed moment?

~ What is ultimately the best choice for this child?

~ Does this activity really matter in the grand scheme of things? Click To Tweet

~ Will this matter in a year?

~ Will I be sorry tomorrow that I fought over this thing today?

~ Will my children learn more from doing this or NOT doing this?

~ Is this too dangerous or too much for them right now?

~ What would my pastor do? My parents do? My mentor do in this situation?

~ What does God want me to do here?

How to Skillfully Choose Your Parenting Battles - Melanie Redd

3] Be willing to try something different if your tactics are not working!

Sometimes — when what you are doing isn’t working — you need to try a new tactic, a new strategy.

As a parent, don't be afraid to change course or do something new and unexpected. Click To Tweet

Let me illustrate from my own late teenage years…

There was this boy, a boy I really thought I was “in love” with.

He was charming and handsome, and I thought I might marry him one day.

But, my dad didn’t like him.

There were just some things in his home life and family that really concerned my father. And, he fought me over this relationship.

It put me in a tough place as a young adult – would I follow my heart or submit to my dad’s wishes?

I was so torn.

Then, one day, the craziest thing happened – my dad backed off.

He told me that I was mature enough and old enough to make my own decisions; he would stop fighting me regarding this dating relationship.

Amazingly, when my father quit fighting me over the relationship, everything changed.

What had once felt like a “forbidden romance” was now just a guy and a girl. The intrigue, the mystery, and the drama was immediately sucked out of the relationship.

We weren’t desperately seeking to be together (against my dad’s wishes) anymore. We were just a boring young couple who could date if they wanted to!

I lost interest very quickly after my father quit fighting me, and I didn’t even want to date this boy anymore.

My dad’s change in tactic saved the day.


And, I learned from his example – sometimes if you quit fighting, they will quit fighting too.

I mean, what fun is it as a teenager to fight a battle with authority when the authorities quit fighting back!

Sometimes, you need to say “YES” because it will take some of the fight right out of the battle.

How to Skillfully Choose Your Parenting Battles - Melanie Redd

So, I wonder today:

~ What sorts of battles are you waging with your kids? Click To Tweet

~ Are you saying “NO” too often?

~ What 2-3 things might you be able to say “YES” to this week?

~ What other tactics have you learned about picking your battles?

~ Got any great stories to share? (about you or your kids)


I always enjoy hearing from you!

You can leave a comment in the section below or send me an email at

**And, would you do me a favor — if this article has helped you today — would you share it with someone else? 

~ I regularly link to these AMAZING SITES~

© Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Blessed wife of Randy for over 25 years, mom to two great college students, blogger, women's ministry coach, speaker and author who is amazed by God's grace-

30 thoughts on “How to Skillfully Choose Your Parenting Battles

  1. I find myself saying no a lot to my children, who are only preschool age. I am trying to say yes more often in these early years. Hopefully, I will be better at it when they are teenagers!

    1. Hey Ana,

      Thanks for stopping by to leave a good word today! I really appreciate your visit!

      And, you can start saying “YES” now. It’s not too soon.

      Bet you are an amazing mom!

      Have a blessed weekend~

  2. The essence of your practical post is ‘balance’ and not to always saying ‘No’ to your children. You are absolutely right, we have to say ‘no’ to so many things, we should remember to look for opportunities and be willing to say ‘yes’ to them! Love this topic!

  3. What a great post! I love your example of how your dad backed off and you were able to see clearly after that. Thank you for reminding me to choose my battles wisely. I am embarking on the teen years in just a few and need to save this post, lol!

    1. Hey Valerie,

      Thanks for stopping by today and leaving such an encouraging word! You have blessed me!

      And, you are going to great through those teen years. Your prayer life will increase dramatically!!

      Hope you and your family have a great weekend~

  4. Hi Melanie, I like dads change in tactic. Thank you for these three suggestions.
    My hubby and I discuss some of our parenting actions and see if it is working.

    God Bless, friend

    1. Thanks, Ifeoma!

      It’s always good to have a parent “meeting” and discuss strategies. A united front always works well with our kids!

      I’m sure you all are great parents.

      Hope you have a blessed weekend~

  5. Great post, Melanie. I’ve been living this post for the last 3 years … it is SO TOUGH, too. As a teenager, I was easy, a people pleaser–and I liked it. I liked doing what was expected–what God expected. With my own teenagers, although they love the Lord, they aren’t like ai was when I was their age. (doh!) I’ve had to re-evaluate what is really important. I love your questions. I need to print these off and keep them handy. We have “yes/no” moments almost daily.

    1. Thank you, Dianne!

      It is a challenge to handle our young adults, isn’t it! One day they are up, and the next day they are down. I do think this generation has more potential for good than any before them – if they can get past themselves!

      Praying that God will give us such clarity & wisdom as we walk through every one of these yes/no choices.

      May He bless you and your husband with incredible insight!

  6. GREAT message, Melanie! You’ve shared GODLY wisdom and practical advice as well. I know that many parents will be greatly blessed by this! Peace and many blessings to you, Love! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Tai!

      Peace and blessings to you girl!

      And, I can’t wait until God sends you a bunch of little “Tai’s” to raise up! You are going to be an amazing mom!


      1. Awww! *Tears* … Melanie, thank you so much for such kind words. Truly, I thank you! I know who to come to for advice when HE does. 😉 Love you, sweet Sister! *HUGS* 🙂

  7. Melanie, this is a great post. My old is just now getting to the point where I am not always with him during the day as he is in school and sports. There have been many times I had to back off and simply allow him to try. He still wants to tell me about his new friends, but I know that might not always be the case. I’ve also learned in the past year, natural consequences teach a better lesson then I ever could.

    Thanks for sharing



    1. Thank you, Marissa!

      I really appreciate you and your visit today. And, thank you for your kind words.

      Sounds like you have a great relationship with your son. And, it will transition as he gets older. But, you can keep those doors of communication open.

      It is hard to let them suffer, but it is often such a valuable way for them to learn! (And you sound like a great mom!!)

      Praying that God will bless you and your family today!

  8. I completely agree with this! I really try not to battle the kids on small things here and there. We don’t have teens yet, but we will in just a couple of years, so I hope this strategy will continue to help us in our parenting journey.

    1. Hey Jamie,

      Thanks for stopping by to leave a kind word today! I really appreciate you and your visit.

      And you can start skillfully winning battles right now! It’s never too early to start!

      Hope you have a blessed day~

  9. Super helpful post. It’s one of those things I think we forget – that we do say no to a great many things. I definitely see things I could work on in this post! 🙂


    1. Thank you! I really appreciate you stopping by to leave a good word today.

      Saying “yes” more often is a challenge. And, we all have things we can work on! I’m sure you are a fabulous mom!

      Hope you have a blessed day today~

  10. This is really a great post. I find myself saying “no” to just about everything that my younger two children ask (ages 8 & 4) and I find that I am not really listening to what they are asking. My automatic response is just no. I really need to sit back and reflect about what did and didn’t work with my older children (24, 20 & 19) and how I can learn to better pick my battles with my youngest children. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Lisa!

      I really appreciate you stopping by to leave a good word today.

      And, it is so easy to say “no.” You’ll just have to teach your lips to say “yes” a little more often! Those younger kids will appreciate it (and the older kids may even be a little jealous!!)

      Sounds like you are a great mom! Anyone with 5 kids is stellar in my book!

      Hope you have a blessed day and find something you can say “yes” to today!

  11. I have a teenager and my heart wants to keep him safe, but my mind knows that I do have to say Yes sometimes. I pray before a decision and on some things I have been saying yes. But if I feel uneasy for any reason I take that and say no, not this time, but maybe next time.

    1. Thanks for stopping by to leave a good word today! I appreciate you and your visit!

      And, it can be hard to say, “Yes,” but you can do it! Try to come up with some positive things he can do. Look for things to say “yes” to as much as you can.

      Of course, you will have to say, “No.” But, a few answers of “yes” sprinkled it, help the negative answers to go down better.

      My kids are 22 and 20 now, and I am still working on this! You can do it too!

      Sounds like you are a wonderful mom! Keep on keeping on!


  12. I totally 100% agree with this. My mantra — and one I say regularly to my husband about the twins — is ‘pick your battles’. No point saying no to everything — if they want to wear batman costume/socks on their hands/wellies in summer — fine, go ahead. I’ll say no to things that *really* matter!! 😉 Thanks for linking up with us on #TwinklyTuesday 🙂

    1. Thanks Caro!

      I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a good word today!

      And, I think you and your husband are wise to let those twins be as free in the “non-essentials” as possible. There are so many things that will matter to you so much more. Sounds like you are a fabulous mom!

      You’ve encouraged me today!

      And, I’m enjoying linking up on Twinkly! Much fun~

      Blessings to you,

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