How Competition and Performance Impacts a Childâ€™s Self-Esteem We discussed earlier this week that our self-esteem is determined by answering the question of whose we are.Â Â Â If that is the case we need to look at what He created us to be.Â He made us human beings not human doings.Â Our self worth cannot be established by what we do.Â This is an important lesson to teach our children early on. We have also spent time discussing how to help their self-esteem by communicating that our love is not attached to our childâ€™s performance.Â How do we guard them from finding their self-esteem through all of the extra curricular activities in their lives that society would deem important?Â One way is to teach them the art of loosing.Â We need to show them that itâ€™s not about the win but the effort you put in.Â This is such an important lesson to learn early on because if not our children will be looking for that next â€œwinâ€ even in adulthood.Â What we do, or donâ€™t do, doesnâ€™t define who we are.Â At the end of the day what we do needs to be left on the field.Â Our gaze needs to be upward focused on the day where we can hear â€œWell Doneâ€ from our Heavenly Father. Â Listen to todayâ€™s podcast for more insight on your childâ€™s self-esteem.
How does discipline affect self-esteem? It seems that many today would think that disciplining a child would hurt their self-esteem, which is why we have so many homes with so little rules. In fact the opposite is true. When a child has no consistent boundaries placed around them they feel very insecure.
Where does self-esteem Begin in a child's development process? It actually begins at birth with the mother/child bonding. Through the bonding experience of those early days and months we are communicating love and security. A child cannot yet comprehend the concept of God as their Father so until that time we are communicating His love through our parenting.
Get Organized- Part 2 Here is a list of reminders for parents on how to consistently communicate positively to your child. It will also help you to maintain the balance of structure and relationship. 1. Listen to your child- make sure you are taking the time to listen to your child through the process of getting organized.Â Make sure to include them in the process. It is easy for many of us to get over excited about being about to take charge of our family and forget to listen to our childâ€™s voice. 2. Be careful how you react.Â Stay calm.- Very important when your child is consistently hitting a wall.Â We need to remember that change is a gradual process.Â Remind yourself that it is about the process not the end result. 3. Be patient-A good reminder when you are feeling frustrated is to focus on the fact that they are children and not â€œmini adultsâ€. They will make mistakes and have immature moments. 4. Give them active time-All children, but especially those with ADD/ADHD need time to blow of steam.Â Make sure that there is time allotted in your schedule for physical activity. 5. Find fun.Â Thereâ€™s a huge need for laughter- Family should be about fun but it is especially important to choose fun when you are working through issues together.Â Make the time for crazy spontaneous fun. 6. The power of Touch and affection- The power of positive touch [â€¦]
Get Organized- Part 1 A great list found on ADDitudemag.com for helping parents get organized and mobilized to help their child/family function with ADD/ADHD. 1.Â Give specific instructions.Â â€œPut away the toys on your carpet on the shelf in the closet.â€ Be consistent â€” if the toys are stored on the shelf one night, they should be put there every night. Children need to know precisely what you expect. 2.Â Assign tasks that your child is capable of doing on his own.Â Success builds confidence. The goal is to teach your child to do things independently. 3.Â Involve your child in discussions about rules and routines.Â It will help him understand goals and teach him to accept responsibility. 4.Â Write downÂ routinesÂ as sequences of tasks (two to five items only), and post where easily visible (refrigerator, bathroom mirror).Â Review lists regularly with your child. 5.Â Be realistic aboutÂ time.Â Make sure youâ€™ve set aside enough time for the child to complete his homework, clear the dishes, and get out the door in theÂ morning. If the original time frame is leaving you five minutes shy, add five minutes. 6.Â Expect gradual improvement.Â It takes time to change old habits and form new ones. 7.Â PraiseÂ effort â€” not just results.Â If your child set the table but forgot napkins, acknowledge that sheâ€™s trying. Reward good behavior more often than you punish bad. 8.Â Allow for free time in daily routines.Â Kids â€” and adults â€” need downtime. 9.Â If your child isnâ€™t taking to the routine, seek help from aÂ counselorÂ who specializes in ADHD.Â A pro [â€¦]
Isnâ€™t ADHD Just An Excuse For A Lack Of Discipline? A great response to this question was found in ADDitudeMag.com, by Robert M.A. Hirschfeld, M.D., who is a psychiatrist and a father of an ADHD childâ€¦. â€œThe idea that willpower can solve all problems is as American as apple pie, but so are compassion, tolerance, and wisdom. Some people with diseases such as diabetes and hypertension can organize their lives to limit the effects of their disabilities. But some, no matter how hard they try, need insulin to break down sugar or medication to lower their blood pressure. We offer them support, and we do not blame them for their failure to â€œfixâ€ themselves. The same goes for ADHD. Unfortunately, when it comes to brain disorders, such as ADHD, depression, or other neurological conditions,Â a harmful attitude creeps in: the belief that attention deficit disorder, and other disorders originating in the mind, reflect â€œbad characterâ€ and that all it takes is more willpower to overcome them. As a psychiatrist, and also as the father of an ADHD child, I know how destructive this view is. Many people with depression suffer for years because theyâ€™ve tried to make themselves feel better, and they still canâ€™t function. Coworkers and spouses become frustrated and blame the sufferer when attempts to â€œjollyâ€ a person out of a depression donâ€™t work. Their lack of understanding adds guilt and shame to the long list of problems that depressed people cope [â€¦]
Mom Is Key Children with ADD/ADHD have a very difficult time maintaining focus on things that do not interest them.Â This can become very frustrating to parents when they see their child get very focused for a long period of time over a video game or some other hobby but are unable to maintain that focus when it comes to homework or chores. Â Â Parents need to keep in mind for a child who is truly ADD/ADHD it is not willful disobedience. Where parents can come in to help is by providing consistent rewards for an area that may be difficult for a child to self motivate.Â Something such as homework is a good area to start.Â Something like offering a small reward such as a snack for a subject completed or an allotted amount of time worked is all that may be needed to motivate the child to focus.Â Start with small chunks of time worked and slowly work to more as your child does better focusing. Â For more on this topic listen to todayâ€™s podcast.
Have Hope ADD/ADHD seems to be something that many parents have questions about because it is so prevalent in todayâ€™s society, to the point where many parents worry about their children unnecessarily.Â It appears that currently only 3-5% of children truly suffer from ADD/ADHD. The characteristics of ADD/ADHD are impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity. The problem is many parents with toddlers can attest to theses characteristics showing up frequently.Â So we must ask when does it become a problem? There are several factors that can cause this in young children, everything from lack of sleep, diet, or even over stimulation.Â So we as parents need to ask ourselves a few questions to determine whether or not this is something that we need to take more seriously. Is the behavior I observe in my child similar to that of other children he encounters? Is the behavior I expect of my child developmentally appropriate? Do I see a pattern of behavior when my child engages in various activities? Do I see a pattern of behavior in various settings? It may even help to ask the perspective of another objective adult such as a teacher. Â For more on this topic listen to todayâ€™s podcast.
NO Excuses The generation of children and teens have been raised observing the â€œits never my fault attitudeâ€. Many in society want to blame every one around them for circumstances and choices, the victim mentality is sadly very prevalent.Â This is a very adolescent attitude that many adults have not grown out of. We need to teach our children that their choices are their own, which means that they need to learn how to take responsibility for their actions.Â No excuses are acceptable.Â Teaching this attitude of responsibility for decisions makes our child both marriageable and employable.Â Never being able to admit when you are at fault makes both of these areas very difficult. The Living Bible translates the Proverbs 22:6 verse like this, â€œTeach a child to choose the right path, and when he is older, he will remain upon it.â€Â We are training our children not only to make the right choices but to take responsibility and learn from the poor ones. Â Listen to todayâ€™s podcast for more on the topic of decision making. Â
Challenges The challenges of decision making are evident in every decision your child has to make.Â Rather then making these decisions for your child, or becoming frustrated with the childâ€™s poor decisions, use these as opportunities for decision making development. What are examples in the decision making training process? Well when our children are young we train them to pick up after themselves.Â Â That is ultimately helping them make the decision to do that later on.Â How they handle their allowance is a great decision making opportunity.Â Decisions about when is an appropriate time to leave if something is happening at a party or date that goes against what is appropriate. All the â€œchallengesâ€ we as parents face with our children and teens are also great training opportunities.Â The need to learn the skill of wise, disciplined decision making is often more significant then the behavior we are dealing with.Â Donâ€™t get frustrated and miss out on the opportunity to train.Â We need to instill in our kids the thought, â€œIts not that my parents caught me, itâ€™s that I made the wrong decision.â€ Â Listen to todayâ€™s podcast for more on the topic of decision making.
The Four Parts of The Training Process As we have discussed previously, there are four â€œEâ€™sâ€ to every training process we face with our children.Â We need to focus on all four of these steps for successful training. The first is our example as parents.Â Are we setting the example of good decision making?Â If we make a bad choice are we humble enough to explain and help our children learn from our mistake?Â Do our children see us going to Godâ€™s word, praying about it and seeking Godly advice when we make a decision? Remember a very big part of the training process is living out what we are teaching. The second step is exposing them to the decision making process.Â Like we said in example, include your children in decisions that are being made as a family.Â Allow them to see how to process a big decision. The third â€œEâ€, is experience.Â Â We need to allow our children the experience of making their own decisions.Â We stated Monday that often it is easier as parents to make decisions for our child because it is so time consuming to walk them through the process.Â However, if we are not allowing them to practice decision making then we are actually stunting development in this area. Finally comes encouragement.Â We also need to take the time to encourage our children when they make decisions.Â We need to go crazy with praise when they make [â€¦]
The 2 Components of Making Wise Decisions There are two components that are necessary to teach our children so they can consistently make wise choices.Â The first is knowing where to go to find answers.Â This is the first step to a good decision making process. There are many places we can train our children to go to look for answers if they are unsure in a decision. The first is always Godâ€™s word.Â Â Many of the answers we need, can be found by simply cracking open the Bible and looking.Â Another place to go is other people who can help give wise and Godly advice.Â This is great area to help our children practice.Â The more quickly they learn not to take advice from just anyone the better their decisions will be. The second is learning the discipline to do the things I know are the wisest things to do even when I am tempted to do the opposite. This means that we need to teach our children, when they find the answer that they are looking for in scripture or through wise advice, they need to stick with it even if it is hard.Â Helping our children to use their heads in the decision process and not their wants or emotions will help them in the face of temptation. The second thing that we need to help our child with is learning the discipline of saying no.Â This is a very difficult [â€¦]
Why Itâ€™s Important to Raise Good Decision Makers This seems like an obvious question, because how our child makes decisions will affect every aspect of their life.Â But if we truly believe this then why is this not a more prevalent focus of our parenting? For one thing it is a lot easier for us to make decisions for our child and not take the time to train the to make decisions for themselves.Â We are usually in a rush and taking the time to present and explain decisions to our child takes a lot of time and effort. When we are in a rush and our child makes a poor decision we usually donâ€™t take the time to help them process through how to make a better choice next time, we usually just yell and move on.Â Keep in mind if our child doesnâ€™t know how to make decisions for themselves then they will spend their lives allowing others to make decisions for them. Two verses that we consistently bring up in discussing parenting which apply to the decision making process as well are, Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what Godâ€™s will isâ€”his good, pleasing and perfect will. Proverbs 22:6 Train up a childÂ in the way he should go,Â even when he is old he will not depart from [â€¦]
Ways To Get Help As A Mom And As An Individual One thing that we could all use more of is encouragement.Â As moms we really benefit from being around others who are in the same stage of life as we are or even people who have gone ahead of us.Â It is so easy for us as moms to get isolated in our daily activities and unless we are intentional we end up feeling so lonely. There are many ways to find time to be with other moms.Â Â Many churches have ministries solely for moms.Â You can even set up a time every week for a park date with other moms who have kids of similar age.Â Especially as we head into the summer months with our children home we need to be intentional about making these times out with other moms. It is also beneficial to be able to have some adult woman time away from the children.Â Whether that is a bible study that has child care or your husband is willing to take the children for an evening every once in a while.Â Women thrive in community.Â We even seem to get energy from being around each other.Â This is another thing that is important to make sure and some how fit it into that crazy schedule.Â It is worth the effort! Â Listen to todayâ€™s podcast for more insight on the topic of mothering. Â
How Is A Mom To Get Help Many moms today because of the economy are working outside the home.Â There are also many moms who are having to work from home to bring in extra income.Â The problem is that statistics show that most of the time it is the women who are still coming home from work to do all of the house work and cooking and dealing with the kids.Â This is not a slam on men, most donâ€™t know how they can help.Â They probably didnâ€™t observe it in their home or are afraid to mess up the system. There is a way to create a team for the family especially when both parents are working.Â That is encouragement!Â Donâ€™t be afraid to ask your spouse to do something.Â Most men would happily help if they knew what their wife needed help with.Â Then we need to encourage when they help. This is another area of struggle for many women.Â Many of us are very particular in how we want things done and nitpick if someone else does it.Â We need to learn to be grateful and express the gratitude for a job done, not complain how it wasnâ€™t done right.Â Make sure you are taking the time to express gratitude for help offered to you! Â Listen to todayâ€™s podcast for more insight on the topic of mothering!
Finding You As a Woman and As a Person Like we said yesterday it is so important to prioritize our schedules in order to find balance.Â There is another thing that we need to find time to fit in and that is time for ourselves.Â We need to make sure that we do not completely loose our identity and solely become mom.Â It is so easy to get caught up in the frenetic chaos of the day to day and realize down the road that you donâ€™t even know who you are anymore.Â It is hard to relate to your spouse and your children as they get older if you donâ€™t have a sense of self.Â Now this is not to be confused with a sense of selfishness.Â There must be a balance to this.Â It seems that we live in a time of extremes in this area.Â Either we think its all about me and sacrifice what is really best for our children for our wants or we attempt to become so completely selfless that we lose who we are.Â Find the balance.Â Make sure that you are taking a little bit of time every week as alone time.Â Whether that is taking a small amount of time during naps to read or just sit in the tub, or take turns with a friend babysitting children just so you can have some quiet time.Â And like we said yesterday make sure that [â€¦]
Find The Balance In Life One thing that helps moms find the concept of balance is learning how to prioritize. It seems that we all have this huge checklist of things to get done and if we canâ€™t check them off we feel an inordinate amount of guilt.Â Â So we all need to sit down with our lists and learn to make what is truly important the priority. First is our relationship with God.Â We first and foremost need to be making time to spend with God.Â Even if itâ€™s a few moments of reading scripture and some quick prayers, it will help with your focus and attitude through the day.Â Part of our problem is most of us feel the pressure to do every thing awesome.Â Our expectation is to have these major bible study times and hour long prayer sessions.Â With small children this is probably not a feasibility.Â I know of moms who spend their shower time as their prayer time because it is uninterrupted.Â The point is this is the first priority, our relationship with God. The second priority is our marriage.Â We are first husband and wife, then parents.Â Todayâ€™s podcast states it like this marriage is the priority and children the ministry of that marriage.Â So often we place our marriage on the altar of parenting.Â That cannot be, because the health of the family is gauged by the marriage.Â Marriage should be the second priority.Â Make [â€¦]
Motherhood Is More Challenging Then I Imagined This weekâ€™s topic hits very close to home for me personally as the mother of a two year old.Â We are going to talk about how to deal with the overwhelming day to day responsibilities of being a mom.Â I can say that I have seen this from all aspects, from ten years working with the teens parents in residential care to the current stage of being around my friends with young children, every mom has days of feeling overwhelmed at the continuous task at hand.. .raising children! We are going to spend the week talking about how we cope on those days and how we get to the point of choosing to be fulfilled with the awesome job we have been privileged too.Â The first thing that we can do is take a step back and analyze our expectations.Â Some one once said to me â€œthereâ€™s no such thing as a perfect parent, just a good enough parent.â€Â I love this quote and every time I think about this it takes a weight off. Â Part of a momâ€™s stress today is the feeling that we are expected to be able to do everything and do it all perfectly, in perfect balance.Â From keeping house, bringing in money, pouring into our kids lives, raising spiritual giants, keeping our kids healthy and well exercised, being involved in school and church functions and have time to work out [â€¦]
We talked yesterday about cultivating a grateful heart by focusing on serving those around us. A great Thanksgiving table discussion, even with extended family, is beginning to plan your family Christmas service project. What a great way to show your thanks to God for all He has given your family.
What do I do if my child is older and I am just processing this now? It is never too late to begin this process. You may have a little bit of extra work ahead of you as you set different family priorities and patterns. It is well worth the effort.
It would be such a tragedy to drop our child off on a college campus or watch them go out the door as adults and have regrets about our parenting. One way to make sure we are able to do our best to train our children is to have goals or a parenting curriculum.
Have we put so much emphasis on the "success" of our kids that life has simply become racing from one activity to another? Society would have us believe that our children need to be academically, socially and athletically successful to be ready for the adult world. So childhood flies by in a whirlwind of homework and practices.
When There Is No Return On Your Investment First we need to clarify what this means.Â What we are discussing today is when it feels like one spouse is investing more then the other.Â This is not when there are major sin issues, affairs, or abuse these are areas which need professional guidance.Â This is simply a period of time in a marriage where one spouse may be working harder on the marriage then the other. There are some actions that we can take during this time.Â The first thing we need to be doing, and often times it is sadly our last resort, is prayer.Â We need to be praying for our spouse, marriage and areas we can do better to serve our spouse.Â Next we can decide who we are truly doing this for.Â If we are doing marriage to meet our needs then we will be disappointed.Â Our focus should be to serve our spouse, because by doing this we are ultimately serving Christ.Â Something that will help as well is to â€œtake captive every thoughtâ€.Â If there are negative thoughts about your spouse choose to focus on positives.Â What do they do well? Are they a great parent, hard worker, anything that is a positive trait that you can focus on and be grateful for.Â These are just a few ideas, for more things to do listen to todayâ€™s podcast. Â
The Five â€œAâ€™sâ€- The Need For Affection & The Need For Activity Even though some people may be more â€œtouchy feelyâ€ we all need affection to feel loved.Â We also need to have a sense of fun in the relationship.Â This is accomplished through activity together.Â These two are examples of areas that couples are so good about while they are dating.Â You tell â€œhoneymoonâ€ phase of a relationship because first, they canâ€™t keep their hands off each other and second they do everything together.Â These areas can get lost in the shuffle of busy married life if we are not careful.Â We must be intentional to make sure that both the areas of affection and fun activity happen in our marriage.Â Make sure to listen to todayâ€™s podcast to hear more about these two important topics. Â
The Five â€œAâ€™sâ€- The Need For Admiration It is amazing when you are dating and the relationship is new how your significant other can seem to do no wrong, and even when they do it is easily glossed over.Â Equally amazing how that changes quickly in a marriage and almost reverses.Â It is easy to pick at your spouse for small petty things.Â This is why our need for admiration is so important to remember, because nitpicking undermines this.Â Men need to feel admiration and respect from their wives.Â They need to feel that they are doing a great job protecting, providing for and leading their family.Â Even if there are times when they are not, they will be much more apt to discuss if they have felt their wives continued respect.Â Women need to feel their husbandâ€™s love and admiration.Â They still need to feel beautiful to their husbands, feel protected and cherished.Â When God gave us Ephesians 5 as a road map for this there were no conditions.Â It doesnâ€™t say husband love your wives as Christ loved the church and wives respect your husbands but only as much as they deserve your love and respect.Â It is unconditional.Â This reveals the deep need for both spouses to feel admiration. Â
The Five â€œAâ€™sâ€- The Need For Attention & The Need For Acceptance We all have basic needs as spouses.Â With our focus this week on being proactive, a great place to start is to look at the needs of our spouse and do what we can to meet them.Â The first basic need of both spouses is the need for attention.Â This is especially important in todayâ€™s digital age.Â Sadly, there have been times where I have seen a couple out to dinner both on their cell phones.Â We must find a way to communicate to our spouse that there are specific times where they can have our undivided attention. The second area is the need for acceptance. Our spouse needs to feel that they are loved for who they are unconditionally.Â It is not our job to change who our spouse is.Â God brings two people together who usually have very different strengths.Â Â This is because the two can become one and become an amazing team. Â Â Â It is so much easier for our spouse to feel our acceptance, if instead of looking at the areas we feel they need to change, we focus on how best we can serve.Â Â Being proactive to meet the needs of your spouse is extremely important.Â Look for ways you can serve your spouse today. Â Â
The Need To Set Boundaries With everything going on in the world around us it is easy to see how important placing boundaries around your marriage is.Â We must be proactive to protect our relationship with our spouse.Â This is such an important topic we spent a week discussing it.Â Click here to check out our series on boundaries in marriage.Â Be sure to check back tomorrow as we begin to discuss the Five â€œAâ€™sâ€ or areas of need in a marriage. Â
Being Otherâ€™s Focused This is such an important topic we have written another series on teaching your child to serve. Click here to view the week long series on this. And as always listen to todayâ€™s podcast for more on finding the balance of family and individuality. Â
What We Can Do There are many things that we can do as a family to help our children look outward to the needs of others. Todayâ€™s child will fight a battle of not even knowing how to interact appropriately with others, if we allow devices and social media free reign in their lives. One of the first things that we can do to help them see whatâ€™s truly going on around them at hands reach, is helping them place boundaries on devices. Having set aside unplugged family time is a great way to do this. Taking turns discussing what is going on in each otherâ€™s lives at this dinner table is a simple way to start. A child listening to how a parentâ€™s or siblingâ€™s day went is a very simple and easy way to look past their own self. The next step is taking time to train your child to â€œsee a need, fill a needâ€, a great quote from the kids movie Robots. This can start in your own home but it will take some time and encouragement. Little things like taking their own plate to the sink after meals and not leaving it for someone else to clear is such a simple way to start. Next you can take it a step further by creating a random acts of kindness game. Go crazy if you catch your child doing something nice for another family member, like not only clearing [â€¦]
Why Is This Important? We touched on this yesterday, why it is imperative to teach our children to function in a unit. If our goals for parenting are to raise a child to become a Godly adult who is both marriageable and employable, then teaching a child how to â€œlay down selfâ€ is an extremely important lesson. We have all been around people who are just 30 year old adolescents. They give in to their every whim or desire regardless of the needs of those around them. This is not a desirable characteristic for an employee or a spouse. We mentioned yesterday how Philippians tells us to value others before yourself. Romans explains why we do this. â€œTherefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of Godâ€™s mercy, to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to Godâ€”this is your spiritual act of worship.â€ We lay down our will and desires not only because it is in our best interest to function in a unit, but because it is an act of worship to God. Listen to todayâ€™s podcast for more insight on this topic.
Getting Past the â€œSelfieâ€ Todayâ€™s cultural focus is the individual. If we are not careful we can allow this to impact our parenting. We are told to value â€œme timeâ€ or that we â€œdeserveâ€ certain things, even if it is to the detriment of others. This seems to be blatantly obvious anytime we are out on the road, itâ€™s hard to find a lot of selfless drivers. Now while it is important to celebrate each special quality that makes our children unique, the gifts and talents that God gave them, we have to find balance and help them learn to thrive in a unit. In todayâ€™s â€œselfieâ€ culture we are raising a generation that if we are not conscious, will not be marriageable and employable. I think we could all agree that we want our children to be selfless not selfish. In fact this is imperative if we are Christ followers. Christ taught us in order to lead we must serve. Philippians 2:3 tells us, â€œDo nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interest but each of you to the interest of the others.â€ Â
Donâ€™t Teach Them To Love and Respect God How are we living out our faith in front of our children? Are we a family who lives out what it means to have a relationship with Jesus or are we merely a family who follows a list of religious doâ€™s and donâ€™ts?Â Is this relationship something that permeates all aspects of our family life or is it simply something we do on Sunday? The very core and center of what we do, should be focused on opportunities to teach our child about Christ. For more on this click here to see our week long series on how to raise a disciple. Always check out the podcast for more insight. Â
Let The Culture Around You Dictate Your Parenting Plan There are several areas we can allow the culture to impact how we parent.Â The first is keeping a crazy schedule.Â It seems like there is a belief that if I keep my children busy they wonâ€™t get into trouble.Â The problem with that is then training your child gets placed on the back burner.Â Another area of cultural influence can be the concept of all work and no play.Â With all the busyness and homework in our childrenâ€™s lives we must make sure to carve out time for family fun.Â Our culture also seems to have our children growing up too fast.Â We need to remember that our children are still children.Â We need to have realistic expectations of what they are capable of but have a plan for when unacceptable childish behavior happens.Â Parents have to be sure to work as a team to create the plan for training their children.Â We must set aside a time to talk as a team weekly, to make sure that we are on and stay on the same page.Â This is just the â€œtip of the icebergâ€ of areas we can let culture impact our parenting.Â Even if it is counter cultural we must make parenting our children one of our top priorities behind our relationship with God and our spouse.Â Take time out to evaluate how you may be allowing culture to influence your [â€¦]
Get Your Own Issues In the Way of Your Parenting Because this is so easy to do, we probably need to constantly monitor to make sure that we arenâ€™t allowing our issues to impact our parenting. Â This battle may be greater then ever before. Â One of the issues that can impact how we parent, is the temptation to compare our children to others. To feel superior or defeated by how our child â€œstacks upâ€ to children around them. That is far too much pressure to put on our child. It is also attempting to meet our self worth needs through the performance of our child. Another area where we can be tempted to find our self worth, is how we are performing. While pinterest has been an amazing place to find ideas to help all areas of home life, it can also add a lot of pressure. Pressure to make sure we are organizing like this, cooking like that, creatively crafting with our children and making every holiday an extreme blow out. While all of these things can be good, we cannot allow ourselves to get wrapped up in this and miss the important parts of parenting, such as being there for our kids, listening to their hearts and simply spending time with them. These are just a few small examples of how we can let our own issues get in the way of parenting and make it harder. Â Â
Donâ€™t Prepare Them To Become Adults The whole goal of parenting should be to raise Godly children who will become responsible adults. This will make them marriageable and employable.Â To do this we should be giving them more and more responsibilities as they age. They can earn more privileges and freedoms as they prove themselves responsible.Â Sometimes this means allowing natural consequences to occur.Â It is tempting for us to fall into the trap of rescuing our children.Â If we keep rescuing our child for something like forgetting their homework, we are actually enabling their irresponsibility.Â We also need to hold them accountable, make sure they are doing what they say and following instructions.Â Another area we need to be working on with our children is teaching them how to share, give and sacrifice for others.Â This is an extremely important lesson to have learned before going into marriage.Â Siblings help a parent to train in these lessons.Â Make sure you are encouraging and applauding when you see one child sacrificing, no matter how small, for their sibling.Â Keep the end goal of parenting at the forefront of your mind and remember that we are raising our children for adulthood. Â Â
Donâ€™t Teach Them To Respect Authority Many have said that parenting isnâ€™t for the feint of heart. Â Parenting is hard work! Unfortunately, there are things that we can do to make it much more difficult then it has to be. Â The first thing that will make life a lot more difficult is to not instill respect for authority in our children. Â This can make things much more difficult at home and sets our child up for failure, not only at school but as an adult. Â This is such an important issue we spent a week discussing how and why to teach respect to your children. Â Click here to see that series. Â
Get The Big Picture We may ask why are we doing this in the first place? Is having a bedtime really that important?Â We have given several reasons through the course of this week answering those questions. Everything from making sure your â€œno means noâ€ to preparing your teen for college life.Â There is one more area that childrenâ€™s bedtime affects and that is the parentâ€™s marriage.Â There needs to be time for relationship for mom and dad.Â That is why it is important, even in the teen years when they may not have a bedtime, for the parents to have some time together before they go to sleep.Â This time can be debriefing the day, a time to reconnect, or simply just some adult time.Â Making sure to have this time is one of the ways to communicate to your children, as well as your spouse, that the marriage relationship is a priority.Â Make sure to carve out this time as husband and wife, especially if you are in a season of battling bedtime. Â Â
Help Them Manage Their Fears We mentioned earlier this week that one of the reasons for the bedtime battle especially for young children is fear.Â It is our job as parents to acknowledge, help them cope and eventually overcome these fears.Â But what does that look like?Â It first starts with acknowledging that it is happening.Â We need to comfort our young child when they have a bad dream or are afraid of the dark.Â To this day I donâ€™t like sleeping with my closet door open.Â We can then begin to train them to cope with their fears.Â Get to the bottom of what it is. If it is simply the dark then a night light may help.Â If it is bad dreams then we can begin to train our children to pray and ask God for comfort and protection. Every child is different in this area so we need to take the time to find out what our child needs.Â Parenting doesnâ€™t end at night.Â Take the time to comfort your child and help them work through their fears. Â Â
Teens And Bedtime The goal for parenting is raising a Godly, responsible adult, who is both marriageable and employable.Â Part of this is knowing how to be responsible with getting some sleep.Â How many college students are not responsible with this part of their lives and their classes suffer? It is very difficult in the dorm to make the right decision and spend some time sleeping, when friends are up talking, gaming or having fun. Preparing your child for this, starts back in high school.Â Parents should have the goal of allowing their child be in charge of their own bedtime before they leave the house, so they can practice.Â As a child proves to be more and more responsible with their bedtime and getting up on time, their bedtime can be pushed back.Â Gradually over time it can be moved to where there is no set â€œbedtimeâ€.Â Two things with no bedtime need to be discussed.Â Â The teen needs to realize that mom and dad need their own time and are not there to entertain them.Â This may mean that they spend time in their room after a certain point. Secondly, parameters need to be placed on internet and phone usage. It is unwise for a child to be allowed internet usage in their room with all the temptations out there, especially when there is not the accountability around.Â This is great practice for teens but they can easily be given a [â€¦]
Why Is It So Challenging? It almost seems that the area of bedtime can be a battle for every stage of parenting, from birth to curfew.Â This week we will address those issues, as well as, steps we can take as parents to help the bedtime battle. The first thing we need to ask is why does this battle take place?Â For smaller children the resistance can be rooted in fear.Â There may be a legitimate fear of the dark, a fear of the unknown or a fear of being alone.Â The last may be especially true if one parent has left.Â We need to be sensitive to our children if fear is involved.Â Things that seem irrational to adults can be a source of fear in children because of the developmental phase they are in.Â For example, fears of being sucked down the drain with the draining water in the bathtub is very real to the over imaginative child. Bedtime can also be one of the first battles of the will, however.Â It becomes not about going to bed or staying in bed, it becomes a battle of control.Â This can be one of the first big tests for making your â€œno mean no.â€Â It is our job as parents to take the time at bedtime to decipher if there are legitimate fears but be consistent with our â€œnoâ€. Â Â
Communication Blockers (part 2) The final blocker this week is one that we all have to deal with at one time or another.Â It is impatience.Â This is an emotion that can sometimes be avoided if we are simply more organized and not having to rush everywhere.Â Â But ultimately patience is a Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), which means that it is not something that we come by naturally. When we are impatient with our children for whatever reason we can more easily brush off what they are saying and not truly listen to them.Â Â If we get in a pattern of impatience it can cause them to clam up and either turn elsewhere to be listened to or internalize everything.Â Both of these are bad especially when it is our job to make them feel loved and valued. Choose to be patient with your children.Â Make sure that you are spending time communicating with God.Â Only through His strength can you be patient through any frustration, and communicate to your children not only your love for them but ultimately His! Â
Communication Blockers (part 1) For many, the summer is a down time for the family because the kids are not in school there is extra time to do some fun family activities.Â With the start of the school year, for some even this week, the family day to day activities begin in full swing.Â Even if your children are not yet in school many churches kick off all of the fall events and small groups as well.Â All this to say we are no longer in relaxed mode and for many the busy season begins.Â It is so easy to look back during the holiday season and think, â€œwow where did the fall go?!â€ This time of crazy schedules can really be a communication blocker if we allow it to be.Â We must carve out time for family to be together and be intentional to take full advantage of those small moments we have previously discussed.Â Sit down with your spouse and schedule in family nights if you have to.Â Look for times daily to communicate with your kids.Â Be Intentional! We need to make each day count and not just live for the weekend or those vacation days.Â So often it is easy to pass the time or just attempt to relax in front of the TV.Â But this is another thing that can become a communication blocker if we donâ€™t set up boundaries around it. Like we have stated in the [â€¦]
Utilizing Grandparents and Other Adults A last great venue for teaching communication is one that is sometimes overlooked.Â It is the grandparent.Â In todayâ€™s transient culture many families donâ€™t live down the street from each other anymore.Â In fact, many donâ€™t even live in the same state.Â The tragedy of this is that for most families the grandparent is an awesome toolÂ for teaching communication.Â Many would love to do nothing more than listen and give of their time to their beloved grandchildren.Â This is a great tool because it also teaches children how to relate to a person of a different generation but also can be a wealth of wisdom because of life experience. Many families donâ€™t live close to their grandparents and some unfortunately donâ€™t have great relationships with their grandparents.Â This is where there is a great advantage to having a church home.Â Â There are many couples whose children are far away that can be great â€œadopted grandparentsâ€ for your family. Â Â
Bed Time Another great venue for communication is bedtime.Â When children are small it is so important to create a bedtime routine.Â Many of these routines include reading to your child and singing before they go to sleep.Â The important thing about these sweet times with our children is just getting to be with them in these last few moments of their day.Â As our children grow, many times we leave these â€œbedtime routinesâ€ behind.Â Bedtimes can even become a battle and a time of frustration for both parent and child. Many times if a bedtime routine can be put back into place a battle can be avoided.Â Instead of rocking your child to sleep with a song, you can sit with them on their bed and listen.Â For many kids a hard day is being processed through in these last moments before going to sleep.Â If we are there in these moments with our older kids, just listening, we can help by offering support or even just the comfort of mom or dad.Â The great bedtime moments donâ€™t have to be left behind as our kids get older.Â We again just have to be intentional in giving our kids our time and teaching communication. Â
Drive Time Many moms today spend countless hours in the car, aka the family taxi, because of the many extracurricular activities their children are involved in.Â Some parents sacrifice their time driving their kids to Christian school or braving the carpool line. We can turn these times into communication training because we have a captive audience.Â Sure there may be days where your son or daughter would rather sleep then talk but there are also moments where great conversations can happen.Â Â It is our job as parents to create the atmosphere for these moments and then wait.Â Some times we can spark conversation by just asking a few questions and then listening.Â You may even have to set up some boundaries for older kids, such as their music or cell phone is not on until they get home.Â Â We must take advantage of even the small minutes for communication. As parents we also need to keep in mind that kids are often the most willing to talk when their hands are busy.Â Â This is where we can get creative.Â Pulling a child in to help you make dinner can not only teach them a life skill but can open the doors of communication.Â Â There are certain hobbies that our kids like to do that can be great talk times, such as throwing a ball or shooting hoops.Â Even some old timey family activities can spark great conversation, like keeping a puzzle out to [â€¦]
Communication Opportunities: The Family Dinner Table We have already addressed several reasons why communication is so important. Â Next we will discuss a few venues for communication.Â Each of these venues we can use to â€œzone outâ€ as a family but we have discussed the fact that we need to be intentional in creating opportunities for communication. The venue we will be discussing today is the dinner table.Â Itâ€™s ok every once in a while to enjoy pizza in front of a movie as a family or brown bag dinner in the car because of a crazy night.Â Â This however should not be the norm.Â Â Research over the past few years has shown the value of eating together as a family.Â In fact, an article in TIME, by Nancy Gibbs called The Magic of the Family Meal states, â€œStudies show that the more often families eat together, the less likely kids are to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders and consider suicide, and the more likely they are to do well in school, delay having sex, eat their vegetables, learn big words and know which fork to use.â€ Sitting down together as a family can also be such an awesome tool for teaching communication.Â Children can learn the give and take of a conversation.Â It can also be a great place to talk through how their day went as well as listening to how other family members faired.Â The dinner table [â€¦]
Talking Through And About Conflict This week we have been talking about the importance of making communication training a priority in parenting. We have also mentioned that knowing how to communicate is a vital characteristic to have for a successful marriage.Â Teaching your child the basics of communication is important because it will lay the foundation for them to develop into successful communicators with their future spouse.Â Â As your child grows the home should be a training ground to teach things such as how to communicate feelings, learn to ask for and grant forgiveness and work through disagreements. All of us have personality and temperament bents that can affect our communication style.Â Some of us are stubborn and donâ€™t like to give in during an argument while others find it fun to argue just for arguing sake.Â People who are more laid back may not want to offend by sharing a differing opinion.Â Still others may clam up when asked how they feel.Â Through out childhood and adolescence we can begin to decipher our childâ€™s communication style and help them process through any pitfalls that may come with their particular personality. Â
Teaching Your Child Communication By Example There are many things that we teach our children by simply showing them how to do it.Â One of the most important and sometimes difficult things about parenting is that we must always be aware there are little eyes watching everything we do.Â This means our words and actions need to match up. We must teach them how to communicate by example.Â We each need to ask ourselves, what do my children see when I am angry?Â Are we able to process and talk through things when we are upset or do we take out our anger on those around us?Â Remember we must teach communication intentionally and one of the biggest ways children learn is by observing those closest to them. Another area that we can teach by example is how to listen.Â One of the first places we can be an example in listening is with our children.Â This is not always as easy as it sounds.Â How many times do we absently answer a childâ€™s question without really listening to what they are saying? Are there ever times that we assess a situation and make up our minds about what happened without listening to our children?Â That is just in everyday situations, when a child is acting out listening can become even more difficult.Â We need to remember to be intentional because our children will learn how to listen from how we listen to [â€¦]
Helping My Child Share Feelings In A Positive Way One of the most important aspects of communication is the ability to share ones feelings. Although this seems such a basic form of communication it can be easily overlooked in the training of our children. Yesterday we talked about how our current culture is so distracted and fast paced that we cannot take our job of training our children to communicate for granted.Â It must be something that is done very intentionally. When children are younger we are constantly reminding them to, â€œUse your Wordsâ€, in order to help them communicate. As they grow older we may allow them to try and communicate through emotions,Â such as anger or frustration, because we have grown weary of the time it takes to deal with their behavior . Â However, when our children are acting out in frustration or anger, we need to remind them to use their words.Â If our children are not trained how to communicate their feelings both positive and negative, it can lead to some destructive behavior patterns.Â Bottling up emotions can be very dangerous.Â When you are teaching your child how to communicate their feelings, you are also beginning to help them learn how to process through their emotions.Â Emotions that are raw and un-processed can also lead to destructive behaviors.Â Â We must be constantly in tune with our childrenâ€™s day to day so that we can remind them to â€œuse their [â€¦]
Why Is This So Important? For the next two weeks, we will be talking about training your kids to communicate.Â This is one of those valuable tools that will help your kids be marriageable and employable in the future. There are many adults today that have not been trained how to communicate.Â Because of Â the distractions of todayâ€™s culture this is something that we have to make a priority for the family.Â In the past families did things together for entertainment so communication was more natural.Â With the introduction of the three â€œTâ€™sâ€ (television, transportation, technology) the natural family communication state has been interrupted. With television, the entertainment was moved from internal, or within the family, to external.Â This and other technological advances have made it that we must be intentional in training our children to communicate. Â
The Importance Of Receiving Forgiveness There are many reasons to focus on teaching forgiveness. One of which is learning how to forgive enables your child to have a successful marriage. It helps your child avoid a life filled with bitterness and resentment. As they learn the cost of forgiveness it helps them to understand what it meant for God to forgives them. 1 John 4:7-8 says, â€œDear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.â€ A major component to any love relationship is giving and receiving forgiveness, parent/child, spouses and God to us. Make sure you are including this important training in your parenting. Â
When Your Child Is Hurt This may be one of the most if not the most difficult thing about being a parent, watching your child hurt. Whether it is physically hurt, being sick or emotionally hurting it pains us to see. Many of us would do anything to carry that burden for our child.Â So what can we do when our child is hurt? One of the first places we can teach forgiveness is in the home. Siblings are great practice for many areas of life, forgiveness definitely being one. Teaching siblingsÂ the choice of forgiveness can start very early when they inevitably hurt each other.Â We start by acknowledging the incident and the pain. Then have one sibling ask for forgiveness and the other give it. This may seem simple but we are instilling this concept early for when the bigger hurts come later on. It needs to be the same process if they are hurt by a peer. Talk through with your child by acknowledging their pain. It is easy to blow off when a teen brings up a social situation but we need to use every situation to practice forgiveness in the heart of our child.Â When dealing with a bully we donâ€™t want our child to be a doormat but Christ would not have us teach retaliation either.Â Click hereÂ for our series on dealing with bullies. Spend time listening to your children and allowing them to emote, offering forgiveness seems [â€¦]
What Forgiveness Is Not Forgiveness is not a feeling, much like love. It is a choice, an action or a journey; forgiveness is something we live. Depending on the level of wound, forgiveness may be something that we must choose daily for our lifetime. Jesus reminds us, â€œYou have heard the law that says, â€˜Love your neighborâ€™ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.â€ (Matthew 5:43-47) Forgiveness is not understood by the world around us. The world around us seeks revenge when they are wronged. One of the biggest evidences to those around us of Godâ€™s work in our heart is forgiveness. Choose a lifestyle of forgiveness, for the sake of the eyes watching, both big and small. Â
Forgiveness Is Not Natural, Itâ€™s A Discipline Forgiveness is a significant part of any relationship, but some areas of forgiveness donâ€™t even seem natural, especially when itâ€™s forgiving someone who has hurt us deeply.Â We discussed yesterday how our example, especially in this area, is critical.Â WhatÂ do my children see when they observe my attitudes and actions towards people who have wounded me? There are several quotes that apply here and are good for us to keep in mind.Â â€œForgiveness is like letting a prisoner go free only to realize the prisoner was me.â€ And John Elderidge said, â€œNot forgiving a person for what they have done to you is like drinking poison expecting the other person to get poisoned.â€ The Bible gives us a key in working through the process of forgiveness. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, â€œWe demolish arguments andÂ everyÂ pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and weÂ takeÂ captiveÂ everyÂ thoughtÂ to make it obedient to Christ.â€ So the idea is when an angry or bitter thought pops into your head you immediately dismiss it and force yourself to think of a positive, better yet to pray for the person.Â How we deal with the issue of forgiveness in our own lives is probably how our children will. We must be sure to model it well.
Why Itâ€™s Important To Teach Forgiveness is not something that is focused on much in todayâ€™s society. We want our children to stick up for themselves, to be on top of the â€œpecking orderâ€. Itâ€™s not a very popular idea to turn the other cheek or â€œlove your enemies.â€ We unfortunately can see the emotional effects of this attitude in the world around us. We live in a world of revenge, anger, bitterness and road rage. Our anger bubbles so close to the surface that someone cuts us off or steps in front of us in the grocery store line and we are ready to â€œlet them have itâ€.Â Unfortunately, this attitude is being observed by our children. Our example is probably one of the most important things in training our children. So our question for today is are we teaching our children to forgiveness even in these small instances so they are prepared for when the big offenses happen? We are forgiven by God so we can offer forgiveness to others. Scriptures go so far to say that the level of forgiveness we offer is the level we will be given. We must keep Christ as our example. â€œWhile we were yet sinners Christ died for us.â€Â He even took it a step further, while He was on the cross in His agony He beseeched His Father to forgive us. Wow, what a high calling we have to live this out for [â€¦]
Perfection vs. Fun There is such pressure for performance and perfection in todayâ€™s culture, from how we perform at work/school to our appearance.Â A great way to defuse this pressure is family fun.Â Especially fun at a parentâ€™s expense, this helps model for a child how not to take themselves to seriously.Â Â In our house this was Dad.Â Dad made sure that he rigged it so that he lost most of the games we played.Â He then would make a huge show of loosing meaning that he would burst into tears or being silly throw a temper tantrum.Â There were many creative ways to have us all hysterically laughing.Â It seems he took it as a challenge if one of us was in a bad mood to do something ridiculous to make us laugh.Â There was even several times that he â€œfell asleepâ€ at the breakfast table and got oatmeal all over his face.Â This was a great lesson for us in how its ok to be silly and to laugh at yourself. Â
The Value of Food Coloring With the explosion of social media there is an overwhelming amount of information on how to have fun and create fun family memories. From blogs,Â like this one, to pinterest we have no excuse to not have creative family time.Â We just have to make the time. There are two types of fun that need to take place because they serve two different purposes.Â The first is spontaneous fun, this is the type of fun that breaks routine. We gave an example of this unexpected fun with the story of the water balloons earlier this week.Â It can even be something like having a themed dinner, picnic on the floor, dinner at the beach or the park on a weeknight, or even as simple as stopping for an ice-cream off the dollar menu to celebrate a Tuesday. The other type of fun is scheduled fun.Â This is setting aside time to have fun together as a family.Â A great example of this is a family game night.Â Family game night can do a lot more then just fun. It can help to teach a child how to have fun with competition and how to win/loose appropriately. Make it a habit to have moments of spontaneous and scheduled fun at least once a week. Â Â
It Doesnâ€™t Have to Cost Money Todayâ€™s society has such a warped view of what fun is.Â For many of us fun is wrapped around getting something new or paying someone/something to entertain us. Â Many of us pay to take our children places for them to be entertained.Â We need to teach our children what it means to have fun with out spending.Â This doesnâ€™t mean sitting your children down and lecturing them how when you were a child you could spend the day entertaining yourself out side with only a stick or a rock.Â This means setting the example.Â Play with your children, donâ€™t just set them in front of the TV or videogame as a babysitter. Another thing that we can do is encourage our children to develop their imagination.Â Spend time reading to your children or making time for them to read.Â Loose your inhibitions and spend time in the back yard pretending to fight the dragon or sailing across the ocean with your young children.Â Take the time to kick/throw/ hit a ball with your older children.Â Show them that fun doesnâ€™t have to cost anything. There is also something to be said for the value of knowing how to entertain yourself and not have to be entertained. Â Â Â
It Relieves Stress We touched on the concept of fun as a stress relieve a little bit yesterday.Â It is amazing that fun can be like a mini vacation from life. It is amazing how just a few brief moments of fun can lighten the load of a stressful situation.Â It also helps us as parents keep proper perspective on what truly is important. For example, during a particularly stressful time for the girls in the residential program, meaning they were having a bad week of fighting between each other, the house mom and I decided that we needed to create a â€œdistraction of funâ€.Â When the house pop left in the van to pick up the girls we spent 30 minutes filling water balloons.Â Now was there other things that we could have, and probably should have, been doing with that time? Yes, but we knew that it would help the girls relationally if we could create a distraction.Â We were around the corner of the house when the van pulled in and soaked them as they got out.Â It is amazing what being pelted with water balloons does to build camaraderie in a group.Â We were able to defuse the tension and relational stress with fun. Try finding time for some silly fun in your house this week. Â Â
Why Itâ€™s Important To Have There are so many stressors on every member of the family today, financial, relational, and work/ school related stress to name a few.Â The home is suppose to be an environment that will shield us from those stresses.Â It is our safe place and shelter from the world around us.Â It is also the place to build those lasting childhood memories.Â How sad for time to just fly by because of our busy lives and have regrets about the time spent with our children.Â We canâ€™t spend our time living only for the weekend or the vacation time. We need to incorporate fun into our day to day.Â When children are young get into the habit of making family meals something that you do together.Â Take that opportunity around the table to talk but also donâ€™t miss out on the opportunity for laughing and just plain silliness.Â It is amazing the stress relief of a really good laugh.Â Taking opportunities to look for fun also sets the tone for the atmosphere of your family.Â What will your children feel as they think about their childhood? Will it be fond memories of great family times or will it be memories of wishing for something different. Make sure to not take yourself to seriously and just have fun with your family. Â Â
Attributes Of A Friend-Part 2 We are continuing yesterdayâ€™s study on what it looks like to be a best friend. Here are some more attributes and verses to study through. Best friends strive to become great encouragers. Hebrews 3:13 â€œBut encourage one another dailyâ€¦ â€ Best friends strive to be Self-Sacrificing . Philippians 2:4 â€œEach of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Best friends strive to be spiritually challenging. Proverbs 13:20 â€œHe who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.â€ Best friends are fun to be with, remember fun? Proverbs 17:22 â€œA cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.â€ Â
Attributes Of A Friend-Part 1 The next two days we will simply share the attributes of a friend and some verses that go along with them for you to process. Take the time to look these up over the next few days. Best friends are loyal. Proverbs 17:17 â€œA friend Loves at all times..â€ Best friends share. One way they do this is by being good listeners. James 1:19 â€œMy dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,â€ They also share by being wise talkers. Ephesians 4:29 â€œDo not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.â€ Best friends strive to be intellectually stimulating. Proverbs 27:17 â€œAs iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. â€ Â
Risking Who I Am There is an incredible focus today on self. We say words like self-esteem, self-worth, self-discovery and self-preservation. The problem is before marriage we have not really practiced the art of loosing oneself. We harp on this scenario a lot but 100 years ago a family meant sharing things; you shared toys, a room and possibly even a bed with siblings. The concepts of my own and selfishness were not what they are today. Children today have there own set of toys and many today donâ€™t even understand the concept of sharing the family phone because everyone has their own cell phone. So if the sharing of things is rare this concept of sharing self is very foreign. As we talked about yesterday God has brought two very different people together with the purpose of making them become one. This means we have to give up this sense of self for this purpose. Ultimately sacrificing our wants, desires and even needs to put the other first. This is what becoming best friends looks like sacrificing self to gain becoming one. Â
Understanding Your Spouses Perspective There is a choice we have to make in any relationship but especially in marriage, and that is choosing to understand the other personâ€™s perspective. We are going to have very different outlooks on life. There are gender differences which will cause us to see things differently. We also have differences in personality as well as different communication styles. To further complicate the situation we tend to marry our opposite in these areas. Morning people marry night people, communicators marry non-communicators and introverts marry extroverts to name a few. God intentionally put us with people who are our opposite to smooth out the rough edges, allow us to be an effective team and be more well rounded and prepared then just one of us alone. So instead of getting annoyed that our spouse doesnâ€™t do things the same way we do, we need to embrace it. Even take it a step further and try to see things from their perspective. Friends take the time to understand each other. The amazing thing is a lot of the ways we are opposite may not have been revealed until after we were married. Some call this Godâ€™s sense of humor but in reality itâ€™s His brilliance. We get to spend a life time working to better understand the one He has given us. The relationship will only get stale and old if we give up the attempt to better understand and serve [â€¦]
Choosing To Be Your Spouses Best Friend In order to become best friends, we need to make this relationship a top priority. Itâ€™s easy when life happens, children enter the picture and stress creeps in to allow marriage to get place on the back burner. If we are not careful then years may go by and we may look at our spouse and realize that we are married to a stranger. We need to take the time to input into our marriage through all the stress and chaos so that we are able to grow together. This enables to to become one flesh. Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus replied: â€œâ€˜Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.â€™ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: â€˜Love your neighbor as yourself.â€™ As many times as I hear this verse itâ€™s such a great reminder that our closest neighbor is our spouse. If we are not choosing to love them then how can we expect the love to appropriately trickle down to our children then those around us. Check back the rest of this week as we discuss tips for pursuing a best friend relationship with your spouse. Â
Why Is Lying Important to Deal With? Lying is a very deep rooted issue.Â It is an extremely self-centered act.Â It is done at the expense of others for personal gain. Lying must be dealt with as part of the training of the child. If you canâ€™t trust a child to tell you the truth, how can you let them out of your sight? How can you let them move on the next steps of training. Lying is an effort to avoid taking responsibility for my humanity. Itâ€™s a natural response â€¦ if I can get away with it.Â So if it a â€œnatural responseâ€ why must we take it so seriously, because lying is addictive.Â Lying can become so addictive that even the person doing it has a hard time deciphering the truth.Â Many times in residential program the children have been so conditioned to lie they have to be retrained to tell the truth. A child must be taught to work on thinking out his response.Â I heard once that we shouldnâ€™t as parents put our children in a position to lie.Â For example, a mom sees her young child throw a toy instead of asking â€œdid you just throw that?â€ She can rephrase the question and say â€œI just saw you throw that toyâ€ and proceed with the discussion.Â Help your child learn to discuss the whys of the situation. â€œmommy I threw the toy because I was pretending that [â€¦]
Your Teen and Lying Lying is a scary thing to deal with at any age, but especially in teenagers. Parents can feel so helpless because there are so many areas that a teen can make life altering decisions. We want to know our teen is trustworthy. So what do we do if we find out that our teen is lying? The behavior must be consequenced in a big way. Next, observe to find out if this is a consistent problem. Take some time to check up on your teen to see if they are doing what they say. If lying has become a pattern then a parent need to tighten up on the teens boundaries.This means we need to call a parental staff meeting to decide the areas which need to be tightened up on. A meeting with the teen then needs to take place to communicate that trust has been broken. Communicate to the teen the they will not be allowed as much freedom until trust is restored. One of the ways to build trust is to admit when you have done something wrong. When this is happening consistently and trust has been built, then the teens boundaries can slowly be restored. Remember lying needs to be taken seriously because of the impact it can have on your childâ€™s future. Â
The Reasons Children Lie When our children are lying consistently, we may need to take a step back and evaluate why it is happening. The first thing we need to examine is our exampleâ€‹.Â Are we telling our child the truth even in difficult situations?Â One way to do this is to admit when we are wrong and apologize to our child.Â Secondly, we need to examine our standards for our child. Are our expectations too high? Are we expecting them to reach a standard of perfection or getting irritated with their childish behavior?Â Thirdly, is it attention seeking behavior because I have been too busy or my focus else where? Lastly, have I allowed my child to get away with lying because I have been too busy or exhausted to deal with them consistently? Dealing with lying in and of itself can be exhausting but it is essential for us to help our children overcome, before it becomes habitual. A habit of lying can impact every area of their adult life. Take the time to evaluate the cause behind the lying. It may help to prevent it from happening. Â
The Process of Dealing With The Lie The process of dealing with a lie can leave a parent scratching their head and wondering what to do.Â If I confront it will it only lead to more lying? Often times a parent can make the decision to just ignore the behavior.Â This is extremely detrimental as we discussed earlier this week because lying is such addictive behavior.Â First thing we need to do is confront the lie.Â Make sure your child knows that you are aware a lie has taken place.Â At that point â€œthe world needs to stop.â€Â A big deal needs to be made and an additional, and more significant, consequence needs to happen.Â They also need to be given the opportunity to tell the truth.Â When a child chooses to tell the truth we need to praise that decision. Like we have mentioned before if a child makes the choice to tell the truth when caught doing something or in the place when they could lie, we need to go crazy with praise.Â We must be intentional with â€œcatchingâ€ them doing the right thing and telling the truth, especially when they could have lied.Â Check out Teaching Your Child The Ability to Trust Part 4, for an example by clicking here. Â Â
Why Does My Child Tell Lies? To deal with this difficult topic in parenting we must start by asking the question, what is lying? International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Electronic Database defines a lie in this way; â€œIn its very essence, a lie is something said with intent to deceive. It is not always a spoken word that is a lie, for a life lived under false pretenses, a hypocritical life, may be a lie equally with a false word.â€ So why do lies happen? For children it may simply be to get out of trouble or an over active imagination.Â For teens it may also add for appearances sake, they want to please their peers or not want to feel bad about themselves. Thirdly, we can ask where do lies come from? John 8:44 says this, â€œFor you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.â€ Meaning, we all have a sin nature so it is natural for us to immediately resort to lying when we are caught at something.Â We must be trained to be truth tellers. Now that we have answered these three important questions check back the rest of this week [â€¦]
Itâ€™s A Parentâ€™s Responsibility It is a parentâ€™s job to put the cyber world in its proper place in the family.Â This is one of those important areas to sit and have a parental staff meeting about.Â It must be decided the where, how, when and what for the internet will be used.Â Like we have stated there are some beneficial uses, such as schoolwork.Â Â Researching for things is much easier when the internet can be properly utilized.Â Teachers have even been know to set up web-pages for big projects so kids can work as groups or use it as a resource.Â There are even online tutors and countless supplemental learning resources can be found.Â We have to be careful not to through the baby out with the bath water but that baby does have to be monitored.Â Start with the question of where is internet use acceptable.Â In a childâ€™s bedroom is not the best place. It needs to be a family computer out in the open set up for accountability.Â Secondly, how can your kids access the internet? Is it ok for them to use the internet on smart phones, game systems and tablets, or will it only be on the computer? Â Next will be the when.Â Set up boundaries and specific times especially with your teens, for whom internet usage will have a social aspect.Â Phones should not be allowed in the room at night or at the dinner table, [â€¦]
Things Parents Can Do We have talked all week about some things that parents can do to help with the cyber invasion of the home.Â Setting up boundaries such as how much time is spent, where the devices and computer can be used, and modeling the behavior we expect. For the â€œhow toâ€™sâ€ of monitoring the internet usage, check out our series on Privacy vs. Protection by clicking here. There are other things that parents can do such as making sure to stay up on current cyber trends.Â Â If you donâ€™t attempt to be current it will be difficult to monitor what your child is doing online, as well as make informed decisions if they are asking to do things.Â Make sure to interrupt sedentary periods with periods of activity.Â If your child has been online chatting or gaming for a period, send them outside for some exercise.Â Better yet go out with them for a walk. Introduce activities that challenge or force your child to think.Â Family game nights are great for this.Â When purchasing a toy or activity for your child, think through what it does for their development.Â Even simple things can be helpful like encouraging your child to help you in the kitchen, rather then getting them out of your hair and occupied by devices. Â Â
The Myth of Multitasking Todayâ€™s technology has given us the opportunity to do more and all at the same time.Â The problem is it was originally thought that technology would give us more free time.Â That by being able to accomplish more it would give us more time to think, time to be with family etc.Â Instead, it has caused society as a whole to cram more in.Â This lifestyle of â€œmultitaskingâ€ has caused us to be more distracted and allows us to not think, just do.Â A great example of this is because I can now check my email on my phone, I will catch myself reading an email while my child is asking me a question.Â It is easy to half pay attention to both.Â Then I miss what my child what truly asking me as well as some times having to reread the email.Â Sadly, I can even be frustrated with my child for interrupting me.Â When if I wasnâ€™t attempting to â€œmultitaskâ€ and paid attention to the task at hand, then there would be no feeling of frustration towards my child. Â I would truly be able to listen to what they were saying.Â If we arenâ€™t careful we can do this in a lot of areas. Isaac Newton said, â€œthere is a need for each of us to mature by transitioningÂ from youthful distraction to the discipline of mature long term attention.â€ Â Dr Archibald Hart applies it to our digital [â€¦]
Setting The Example In putting boundaries around the cyber influence of our family, we as parents must lead the way in what this should look like.Â This may be a difficult thing for some of us.Â There has even been a new term created â€œNomophobiaâ€, no mobile phone phobia.Â How many of us would turn around if we left our phone on the counter, probably most? Our smart phones have become such a part of us; a study has shown that some people experience phantom vibration when their phone isnâ€™t even in their pocket. There have been several videos and stories circulating on social media showing how much we truly miss because of our smart phone obsessions.Â We must set the boundaries for several reasons. First, for the example to our children of where the boundaries should be.Â Second, we would never want to miss a moment of our childâ€™s life because of distraction.Â Third, we would never want to communicate that there is something out there that is more important then God and our family. So what do the boundaries look like?Â There must be a time set where there are no interruptions, for example car time, dinner time and family time.Â There can be a place where every oneâ€™s devices are put up to charge at night, parents included.Â We have all been somewhere and observed a family out to dinner, all sitting on their devices and not really together.Â Donâ€™t [â€¦]
The Research Is In Why should parents take charge of the cyber input that is invading the life of theirÂ children?Â First, the cyber world is here to stay.Â Secondly, it is so dominant in our culture that it needs to be looked at.Â Third, research is now coming out in volumes stating that while there is the good impact, there is also damaging impact and a potentially devastating impact.Â This digital invasion came so fast in every area of our lives, we embraced it without thinking.Â It was almost forced on us; it led us rather than us leading and controlling it There has been a societal shift that has affected the day to day of our children.Â Â First, it was television that drew kids indoors, then gaming, now it is the draw of the social aspect of the internet.Â This impacts the way kids interact with each other.Â Instead of going outside to play with friends they can now meet up in the virtual gaming world via the internet.Â This has an impact on everything from the social skills of our children to their physical health.Â We will spend the rest of this week looking into these dynamics and how they impact our families and children, be sure to check back! Â As always listen to todayâ€™s podcast for more insight on this topic. Â
Training Them To Make Decisions Having difficulty making decisions can be a pitfall of the pleaser child.Â Â Some can be almost immobilized by the thought of making the wrong choice, so they shy away from making any choice. Make sure to allow your child to make decisions, as pain staking as that is at times, rather then jumping in and doing it for them. Click here to see our week-long series on raising a wise decision maker. Â
Itâ€™s Never Too Late This should be one of our parenting mantras. It is never too late for our child, it is never too late to do the right thing, and it is never to late to start to make different choices as parents. Almost all parents, especially moms, deal with guilt of some kind. When we fail at parenting we deal with a lot of guilt. There is no such thing as a perfect parent here on earth, on some level knowing that fact helps in the day to day. I will mess up as a parent, I just need to make sure that I set the example to apologize and alter my behavior. One of the areas that it is easy to feel like you failed at, is discipline. It is so easy to get emotionally involved, yell at your child, and become the consequence. What happens if this has been the pattern of discipline for years? For all children but especially the pleaser child, you must work to restore and pursue relationship. Itâ€™s worth repeating, that a child must know that while we may be disappointed in their choices, we are not disappointed in who they are. We communicate this by pursuing them relationally. Make sure to prioritize one on one time with your children. Take the time to sit with them on their beds at night. Unplug when you are home to give them undivided attention. And make time [â€¦]
How To Discipline a Pleaser Children make mistakes, lots of them, because they are in training. Really, we all make mistakes because we are human. It is our job as parents to ride that balance of love and discipline.Â Â In fact many have stated that to love is to discipline. We always have to make sure that we donâ€™t become the consequence. This is especially devastating for the pleaser child. They will really feel their mistake emotionally, so for them to feel a detachment of relationship on top of everything is very hard. It is also imperative for the pleaser, that parentâ€™s focus on repairing the relationship after handing out the consequence. We want to communicate that while we may be disappointed in the choice that they made, we are not disappointed in who they are. There is a big difference between the two that we have to be sure to communicate. Click here for our series on separating the relationship and the discipline. Â Â
The Pleaser and the Barbarian We have mentioned many times that when it comes to discipline children fall into two main categories, the pleaser and the barbarian. There will be differences from child to child because no two are identical. The barbarian child is also known as the strong willed child. They are the ones who if given an instruction may do the opposite just to see what happens or to see what mom and dad will do. The pleaser child is the one who doesnâ€™t put up as much of a fight and seemingly falls under authority more easily. There are benefits and difficulties with both. The barbarian may seem obvious that they tend to keep their parents on their toes especially in those early years. They are the ones who will definitely test to see if that â€œnoâ€ means â€œnoâ€ to see if there are inconsistencies. The pleaser child because they are seemingly falling right in line, are the ones who can overlooked especially when a parent has another child who is consistently testing the waters. If that happens a pleaser could then fall into a pattern of being manipulative or following the rules but only when someone is watching. This pleaser child is the one we are going to look at this week and discuss how we can bring out the best in this personality. Â Â
The Difference Between Determined And Rebellious Both types of child can seem similar but the difference may be in the root of what they want.Â A determined child is passionate for what they want.Â The strong willed child may fight to get their way.Â This is pride coming out, they will battle for their way regardless.Â They donâ€™t like being told no.Â Another type of child is the angry child; they battle authority because they are angry.Â When dealing with toddlers there may be some overlap of these three just from the natural push back of that age.Â As children get older and training kicks in the determined childâ€™s passion can be seen for what it is.Â Passion for things they believe in.Â Like we said yesterday, we need to help our child learn to channel that good quality and not get discouraged. The trained, determined child will be the child/teen who wonâ€™t easily quit or give up, can endure failures and come back, and isnâ€™t afraid to risk failure. Determination at its best is doing your part, staying with it, never quitting and then trusting God for the results. This is what we want to instill in our children. Â Â
Finding Ways To Use That Determination For Good Things People who are stubborn or determined, sometimes are the type of people who can get something in their head and cannot be swayed from it.Â Another pitfall of this personality type is impulse control.Â We can help train our children to put their determination to good use.Â Determined people are the ones who run marathons, conquer Everest and bring about change in the world around them.Â We have to help our children channel this gift.Â Help them with impulse control.Â A couple good areas to work on are time and money management.Â For more on these three topics click here, here and here. We can help by steering them into activities that take time and patience to help them hone their determination.Â Help find what they are passionate about and show them how to use their determination to do something with this passion.Â This can be especially true for our kids in their teen years.Â Instead of getting frustrated with our childâ€™s stubbornness look for creative ways to help them put it to good use. Â For more, listen to todayâ€™s podcast.
The Key: Consistency One of the house pops I had the privilege to work with in the residential homes at Sheridan House had a saying that he always used with the kids.Â It was â€œhard heads learn the hard way.â€Â This seems to apply to all stubborn children.Â Some seem to consistently test boundaries to make sure that they are always the same.Â If we are not consistent with our rules, rewards and consequences it can lead to confusion.Â Worse then that, it can be very detrimental to the training of our strong willed child.Â Our no must mean no, every single time.Â If we are not consistent it can teach them to look for the moments of weakness and exploit them, rather then learn the lesson we are trying to teach.Â For example, if we have said to our children before entering the grocery store â€œwe will not be buying ______ today,â€ we need to be prepared for our children to test this.Â A strong willed child may even attempt a tantrum to see if you will give in.Â If we do give in to save embarrassment in public then we have taught our child either the no doesnâ€™t mean no when we arenâ€™t at home, I can get what I want by pitching a fit, or both.Â Consistency is key to training. Â Â
Keep The End Result In Mind We all need to remember that parenting is all about the process.Â I have to remind myself that I am raising a child NOT a mini adult.Â This is all about teaching and training and I need to keep that in mind in the day to day to keep my expectations realistic.Â My goal is to raise a Godly, marriageable and employable adult.Â When I keep this goal out in front of me it is easier to enjoy my relationship with my child now.Â When I remember that it is all about the process of parenting and training for the future then I can enjoy my child as they are now in the stage they are now. This is key for the strong child.Â I donâ€™t want to â€œbreakâ€ the will of my child.Â I want them to have that amazing God giving quality.Â It is my job to help bend and focus that will so they can become the adult God has designed them to be. Â Â
Children thrive under consistent boundaries. When parents are not on the same page these boundaries cannot be consistent. It can ultimately make the child feel very insecure. Children will even test this to see if mom and dad are on the same page.
It can cause disagreements when a parent are being too lax or too hard on a child. During a parental staff meeting, always keep your goals in the forefront of the conversation. Some of the ultimate goals of parenting are raising a child to be a Godly adult and raising a child to be both marriageable and employable.
When the word conflict is brought up, it can bring with it many different emotions. Some will avoid conflict at all costs and others like to argue just for arguing sake. Disagreements can be healthy in a marriage if handled appropriately.
Most of the time we marry our opposite. This will cause us to see parenting from different points of view. When brought together and talked through these differing views can help to strengthen the parenting team. There has to be a time to discuss so that we are on the same page when addressing our children.
Preventing The Parent Shut Down It is very easy to give into the temptation of shutting down yourself as a parent. We have seen movies where a child goes into their room and slams the door, only to be followed by a parent retreating to their own room and slamming the door. A parent who has shut down can also be heard uttering phrases like, â€œfineâ€, â€œwhateverâ€, or â€œdo what you want.â€ We have to be so careful not sink to our childrenâ€™s level; even if you feel like giving up because you donâ€™t know what else to do. So what are some things we can do to prevent the parent shutdown? The first is to make sure to keep proper perspective. Remember that this is only a small battle to win the war for your childâ€™s heart. It is temporary. Second, make sure to stick to your parenting plan. Remind yourself, and your child, of the pre-established consequences. Third, STAY CALM, if you feel yourself beginning to loose it emotionally take a breath or a â€œtime outâ€ yourself. I have known many a mom to sit in the bathroom alone for a moment to regain composure. Finally, make sure that you are setting aside time to replenish yourself. Make sure that you are getting time to yourself, time with others for encouragement and setting aside time to grow spiritually. Â Â
The Middle/High School Years For a parent, the thought of a teenager shutting down may cause some anxiety. â€œWhat happens when they are bigger then I am and I canâ€™t physically make them follow my instructions?â€ â€œWhat do I do when they refuse to follow the rules?â€ There have been many times I have had to sit outside a bathroom door with one of our residential girls who had shut down and didnâ€™t want to come out. Or sat out side and talked with a boy who didnâ€™t want to work. It seems the key with preventing a shut down in the teen years is relationship. Always pursue relationship with your teen. Just like younger children there are warning signs that a shut down may come. We need to pay attention as parents to those warning signs and pursue our children relationally. In those instances with the teens in the residential homes the thing that brought them out of the shut down was relationship, sitting and talking. Most of the time the shut down started because they felt misunderstood or that no one cared. Even though the teen years are packed with busy schedules make sure to set aside time for your teen weekly. Always pursue relationship. Â Â