Relationships with Families and Friends

Please read our July dating column to get the background information on the three behavior types before reading this article.

The Dominant, Childish, and Adult behaviors can be applied to other relationships as well; for example, your relationship with your parents, friends, or teachers.


What do you think will happen if you have Dominant or Childish behavior tendencies and you start to become Adult-like? People generally start to treat you differently! You start to gain respect and you are trusted. Have you ever asked your parents, “Why do you treat me like a child?” Well girls, are you acting like one? Answer honestly.

Have you given your parents any reason not to trust you? Do you argue, pout, or slam doors? Have you ever lied to them? Can they depend on you to be where you say you are going? Do you keep your curfew? Take a good look at yourself and be totally honest!

If you aren’t getting the respect you want, read back over the Adult personality type (see July’s dating column), and start making some changes. You might gain some freedom!

Sometimes you can negotiate with your parents whenever you want to do something special. Try this approach: Say, “If I wash the dishes all week, or if I clean out the garage (or whatever you want to agree with), may I go to the football game on Friday?” Learn to negotiate whenever it’s appropriate.

Whenever you decide to negotiate, it cannot be about things you should be doing anyway, like keeping your room clean or doing your homework without being told. This is above and beyond that. You shouldn’t get a reward for doing what you should already be doing.

If your parents say “No,” don’t argue! Say, “All right, I’m not sure I understand but you must have a good reason.” Don’t whine, beg, or stomp away and slam your door! Ephesians 6:1-3 says, “Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” Act Adult-like with them and you’ll probably be amazed at how quickly you are treated like an adult!

Don’t stay out past your curfew. Come home early! I never had to give my youngest son a curfew because he was always home by 11 PM. He probably had more freedom than my other three children, even though my other children were very good kids! I just knew I could count on him to be home by a specific time. If something ever came up and he wouldn’t be home by 11 PM, he would always call and tell me why he was delayed and what time I could expect him back home.

That is a great gift to a parent! He was very Adult-like because he took responsibility for himself. You will gain a lot of respect from your parents for that. They will appreciate your being responsible for yourself.

Do your parents have to wake you up every morning to make sure you leave for school on time? Do they constantly need to tell you to clean your room, to feed your pets, or to wash your laundry? If you want to enjoy the benefits of the Adult-like behavior, you must be responsible for yourself.

You can start to develop a friendship with your parents only when they don’t have to monitor you like a child. As you reach the age of 18, when you can officially be considered an adult, make certain that you act like one. If you haven’t started behaving Adult-like, begin now. Start to be responsible for yourself! It’s time to grow up, ladies.


If you have a friendship where your friend is always talking badly behind other people’s backs, you can be sure that they’re talking about you whenever you’re not around. Tell that person not to say unkind things about people. Stand up for what is right in a kind but firm way. That’s being assertive, and very Adult-like!

Remember that they are exhibiting Childish behavior when they gossip or slander someone. Childish people are jealous and have a low self-esteem. The only way they can feel good about themselves is to tear others down. God warns us against associating with such people (Romans 1:28-32).

If they won’t stop talking about others, tell them you are not going to be a part of the slander and gossip. Then, quietly walk away. In 2 Timothy 3:2-5, we are told of people we are to avoid, one of those being gossipers. Maybe they will get the message, or perhaps you need to find new friends! First Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals.” Be careful whenever you choose your friends. Someone can pull you down to their level much easier than you can bring them up to yours—if someone is standing on a chair, it’s easier to pull them off of it than for them to pull you up. Think about it.


Are any of you having trouble obtaining the respect you deserve from a teacher? Sometimes, even when you are acting Adult-like, another adult has to maintain control because that is the nature of their profession. That is just a part of life and you’ll have to learn to adjust to that.

You can only control your behavior and remember to be as Adult-like as possible. They are in authority and they can pass you or fail you. Sometimes we just have to accept that fact. Some teachers like to push their authority around, and there is nothing you can do about that either. The other person’s actions are a reflection of their true inner self. We need to exhibit all the godly traits we can all of the time. You just might be the example that teacher needs to change his/her ways. First Timothy 4:12 tells us, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” In most situations, an Adult-like person will treat you with the respect you deserve whenever you exhibit Adult behavior yourself.


I hope this discussion about the three basic behavior types will help you for the rest of your life. It should give you a better outlook on why people are the way they are. It should help you to decipher what is happening when you deal with people, why they act the way they do, and how to handle them.

Hopefully, this will help you make good choices in the friends you choose, in those whom you will date, in your relationship with your parents, and in your communication with your teachers.

Remember, also, that when we live how God tells us to, we will automatically behave Adult-like. Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

By: Carol Gartman

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