#081 From tough to powerful parenting moments

#081 From tough to powerful parenting moments

Most parents see “tough” parenting moments as something that has gone wrong or needs to change, but I see “tough” parenting moments as huge opportunities.

What are “Tough” Parenting Moments?

Bottom line is, whether or not a parenting moment is “TOUGH” or not is based on your thoughts about the moment.

Tough parenting moments can be anything from a fight with your teen, to broken rules, to letting go and letting your teen make their own mistakes.

One of the toughest things I regularly do with my teen is letting him make his own decisions when I disagree with the decision and think it’s dumb or wrong.

Other times, tough parenting moments look like me arguing with my teen, desperately trying to get him to see things my way.

If you’re like most parents, you’ve experienced tons of “tough” parenting moments.

You know the frustration, disappointment, anger, and even sorrow that can come with tough parenting moments.

What you might not know is that these tough parenting moments are actually HUGE opportunities!

These moments are opportunities for growth, for both you and your teen, and for powerful connection.

Most Parents Want “Tough” Parenting Moment to Go Away

Most parents simply want these tough parenting moments to go away.

I get it!

Tough parenting moments can be super uncomfortable, but that’s not the answer.

When it comes to tough parenting moments, most parents spend tons of energy trying to make the problem go away or trying to change their teen, hoping that will make it go away.

If you’re like most parents, you’re probably guilty of avoiding tough parenting moments.

Maybe you’ve given in to your teen’s demands and backed down from your boundaries.

Maybe you’ve made the tough parenting moment even worse by fighting with your teen and trying to get them to change.

The bottom line is, tough parenting moments aren’t the problem.

If you’re trying to avoid tough parenting moments, you are missing out on powerful parenting moments.

“Tough” Parenting Moments are Actually HUGE Opportunities

If you’re like most parents and trying to skip, change, or avoid tough parenting moments, you’re going to miss these huge opportunities.

Instead, I want to invite you to start looking at this “tough” parenting moments as opportunities.

I want you to start looking for opportunities in two areas, growth and connection.


First, let’s talk about growth.

If you’re experiencing tough parenting moments, these are nothing more than opportunities to grow.

It’s only tough because it’s challenging.

Challenges force us to grow.

Embrace the challenge.

Commit to learning whatever lessons are there to be learned. Not only will this help you grow as a parent, but this is part of the process of continual development.

Tough parenting moments have helped me grow in the following areas:

  • Patience
  • Love
  • Compassion
  • Setting and upholding boundaries
  • and Relationships.

Don’t pass up the opportunities for growth because you’re trying to avoid these “tough” parenting moments.


This is one of my favorite things to talk about.

This was one of my secrets as a high school principal and one of the reasons I was so successful.

“Tough” parenting moments are an opportunity to build and improve your connection with your teen.

I learned this as a principal. I noticed that often, when I had to discipline my students because they had gotten in trouble, afterward we had a way better relationship than we had had before.

I realized that these “tough” principaling moments were huge opportunities for me to connect with my students.

I had the power to turn these moments of students being in trouble into powerful moments of connection and friendship.

I learned that it was pretty easy.

All I had to do was stay calm, listen, treat the student with kindness and fairness, and do my best to let them know that I wasn’t mad and that I cared about them.

And here’s the best part.

This made those “tough” principaling moments even easier.

You can do the exact same thing and make tough parenting moments powerful opportunities for connection.

These are nothing more than opportunities to stay calm, listen, treat your teen with kindness and fairness, and do your best to let them know that you aren’t mad and that you love and care about them.

How To Turn “Tough” Parenting Moments into Powerful Parenting Moments

  1. Find the opportunities
    • Seriously, LOOK for the opportunities.
    • Every time you catch yourself thinking, “This sucks,” or “This is a tough parenting moment,” OPEN YOUR EYES and look for the opportunities!
    • I promise, this “tough” moment can be a huge gift if you choose.
    • This is an opportunity to grow!
  2. Commit to connection
    • Be 100% committed to connect to your teen.
    • Show them that you love them.
    • Show them that you are confident that they will be okay.
    • Let them know that you trust that EVERYTHING will be okay.
    • Connect with them right where they are.
    • Stay calm, listen, treat your teen with kindness and fairness, and do your best to let them know that you aren’t mad and that you love and care about them.
  3. Embrace the moment
    • Far too often we are guilty of not being present.
    • Don’t try to avoid the moment.
    • Don’t try to fix, change, or improve it.
    • Be in the moment WITH your teen!

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#081 From tough to powerful parenting moments

#051 Growth Through Tough Parenting Moments with Zach Spafford

Tough parenting moments are opportunities for connection, growth, and increasing your capacity as a parent!

“I no longer make what my kids do mean anything about me.”
~ Zack Spafford

What Tough Parenting Moments DO & DON’T Mean

Becoming a Professional Parent

No one shames profesional atheletes for working to improve themselves. We actually respect them for their dedicaiton and hard work.

Don’t let others hold you back because of their thoughts or their shame. You can improve as a parent with dedication and hard work.

I Should vs I Want vs I Will vs I AM!

Should doesn’t serve us. It holds us back.

An up grade from “I should” is “I want.” The next step is, “I will.” But, the most powerful belief is “I AM!”

When you go from thinking, “I should be better,” to believing, “I AM a great parent,” you will find that you have way more power than you realize. You will start to parent with confidence and purpose because you trust yourself.

What are your “I” statements? What do you believe about who you are? What are your values?

What are the “I” statements that you need to be the parent that you want to be?

Your teens will pattern their personal beliefs off of your “I” and “you” statements.

How to Practice for Tough Parenting Moments

It’s okay to want to be your best.

The Wheel of Life is a visual concept that I teach to help parents and teens understand that life is 50/50. It’s 50% pleasant and 50% unpleasant. This is normal. Nothing has gone wrong.

When things are going great in our lives, we are on the top of the wheel. When things kind of suck, or things aren’t going how we want them to, we are on the bottom of the wheel.

Sometimes, when we are on the top of the wheel, we forget to enjoy where we are in life’s journey, and we forget that being on the top isn’t going to last forever. This leads us to think that something has gone wrong when we find ourselves on the bottom of the wheel.

When we are on the top of the wheel is the best time to prepare for the inevitable times that are coming when we will be on the bottom of the wheel.

When we practice when we are on the top of the wheel, when things are going well, we can prepare for future struggles. This is an opportunity to be intentional about who we are and how we want to live. This way, when things get tough, we are prepared to be who we want to be.

This is how you can prepare yourself for tough parenting moments. When you’re on the top of the wheel, identify “How can I use the to prepare for when I’m on the bottom of the wheel?”

Then, when you’re on the bottom of the wheel, realize that you have prepared for this. Trust yourself and show up with confidence as the best version of yourself as you can.

How to Connect with Zach Spafford

Zack and his wife are the hosts of The Self Mastery Podcast.

You can check it out by clicking here:

You can also connect with Zach on Instagram here:

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