Improving Parent Child Relationships

21
Apr
2014

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There are those days were it can feel like all the communication we have with our kids is to give instruction, deal with discipline and shuffling them on to the next task.  It can be exhausting and leave you feeling a bit empty, as well as your child.

Creating relationships with our kids is extremely important – it is necessary to be intentional, focused and be curious about who they are and what they think.

One of the biggest take aways I got when I went to the Hearts at Home Conference a few weeks ago was this revelation to me given by Dr. Kathy Koch – who by the way is an extremely talented author, speaker and plain full of incredible wisdom for parents.  She co-authored Jill Savage’s new book, “No More Perfect Kids,” and has several of her own on my reading list!

“We need to learn to raise the kids we were given, not the ones we wish we were given.”

This really struck a cord for me and the relationship and struggle I’ve been having in my own mind with my youngest.  I just have not been the type of mommy that he needs and I am determined to change.  Actually when I think about it, I have had the same struggle at different times in my life with different kids.  Why does it seem we often desire something other than what God felt was right for us?

I am great at coming up with routine, setting expectations and getting things crossed off the list, but when it comes to really getting inside his little mind……not a strength for me.  I think there was a time where I was much better at this with my older kids than I am now.

Perhaps I am not alone?

The Importance of Communicating with Kids

Often, as parents, we talk to our kids but it is frequently a one-sided conversation.  We talk at them….but are we really having a back and forth conversation?  Rarely.

There are those days were it can feel like all the communication we have with our kids is to give instruction, deal with discipline and shuffling them on to the next task.  It can be exhausting and leave you feeling a bit empty, and I am sure your child feels the same.

Creating relationships with our kids is extremely important – it is necessary to be intentional, focused and be curious to know who they are and what they think.  Two-way communication is much better because you will have:

  • Less chance of risky behavior
  • You know what your child is thinking
  • You know what your child is doing
  • You can influence your child
  • You teach them healthy emotional behavior

There is that saying – we as parents don’t ever want to be “friends” with our kids, rather we want to be their parent.  I agree with that phrase, but I know for myself…..I do need to be their friend in a certain sense of the word.  I need to learn to connect with them on their level, to show interest and engage. 

I can easily become wrapped up in my day and what I need to accomplish and completely forget or neglect  {Hangs head} the relationship with my kids.  Ugh, that is ugly to admit, but I do.  I find myself just a little too busy to stop and listen or sit down and play that game of Candyland.

So what can you do?  Maybe a few of the ideas I am working in will help you?

1.  Set aside 10 minutes intentionally to do whatever THEY want.  This can be so very hard for a task orientated driven mom.

2.  Read together, regardless of their age – maybe it is a book, perhaps a newspaper or article on the internet.  But sit next to them and connect and converse about a topic, depending on their age.

3.  Linger at the table – don’t always be in a rush to move onto the next thing.  Some of the best conversations we have as a family are around the dinner table.  It is true…. we just are more relaxed and everyone feels included.

4.  One on one time.  This is not a new idea, “dates with your kids” is something that has been around for awhile.  But when you have more than a couple kids, it can seem a bit daunting, especially when you factor in scheduling.  But it is important and I am trying to rebuild this into my schedule.

Kids are people too and when we treat them as such, they gain a positive sense of who they are and also respect for what we have to teach them.  The relationship we can create while they are living inside our four walls will truly blossom once they leave our protection too….one thing I am learning by having one already flown the coop and another one on his way very quickly.  🙂

No More Perfect Moms Week FIVE

24
Feb
2014

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 Last week there really wasn’t a lot of conversation, so I am thinking either the topic was not a big one for most, or everyone was really busy and didn’t read!  It’s okay….I totally understand and won’t get my feelings hurt.

This week we are talking about our marriages.  Even if you are not married, I suggest you read the chapter – you just never know what insight and wisdom you may gain to help another friend who might be experiencing a hard time.  Isn’t it great we can be used in so many ways by God?

“You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly.”      Sam Keen

Here is the agenda for this week:

{If you are viewing this post via email, you will need to click through to the website to view the video}

 

Week 5:  February 24 – 28, 2014

Monday – watch the video, download the discussion questions for WEEK FIVE  {I wanted a slice of that cake they were eating, it looked really good, especially with a cup of coffee!}

Tuesday – come prepared by having read Chapter Five, join the conversation

Wednesday – check in over at Facebook for a few questions – I will try to post a few through the day, but will be on a flight  {YIPPEEEEEE, can’t even hardly stand it excitement here – to Hawaii…..ahhhhhh, but will do my best – and yes, I will share photos!!}

Thursday – read the blog post on applying what we’ve learned this week; get started reading Chapter 6

Was there something that spoke to you in the video?  

What do you appreciate about your husband?

What have you learned over the years during your marriage?

 

Please share in the comments and hop over to the Facebook page.   

Chapter Three – Unconscious Expectations

11
Feb
2014

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Chapter three is all about our expectations for our kids.   Do you have unrealistic expectations of thinking your kids will be perfect, well mannered all the time and make all the right decisions?  Well, if you are still living within that little bubble world of yours, it is time for a reality check – Kids Make Mistakes!

Our kids make poor choices every single day, just like you and I do.  I know I get frustrated very easily when my kids make the same mistakes over and over and over again – but when I truly sit and think, I am sure this is how God must feel when He looks at me and my choices.  I make the same mistake over and over and over again.  You would think I would learn!

“Your kids are not perfect.  Their imperfections are not a reflection of you.  You can’t “control” them into perfection.  Allowing your children to fail – without getting your anger as a consequence – is a gift to them.”

I have gotten a lot better over the years dealing with my kids mistakes and poor choices.  I have been able to step back and let them fail – being there to help them pick the pieces up.  I am not perfect, by any means –  with my older kids I can keep my cool so much easier – they are older, I can communicate with them on an adult level and most all situations come out in the end to be really good learning experiences.  But when it comes to mistakes with younger ones, that is where I sin most and struggle the greatest.

I really expect more than what they are capable of or I do not want to have  breakdown in the midst of all the other things I manage.   I am learning some great techniques in another book I am currently reading along with this study, Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst.  My bible study group is going through this book and it is very helpful for anyone who struggles with emotional issues – whether it is outbursts or stuffing emotions.  Truly a help for me and no coincidence I am doing both studies at the same time.

Frustration gets the best of me and I am slowly learning how to deal with it and taking steps to work on those emotions that are buried deep inside.  It is because of the expectations I set on myself and my child that stress risesfor everyone, and that is not a good thing.

Sometimes our expectations are unconscious ones, I like how Jill puts that right out there and I would say it is likely an area I struggle with – unconscious expectations.  I do get frustrated quite often when I have to deal with behavior issues.

Curious, of the questions Jill shares asking you to determine a True or False answer, which question answer was the most surprising for you?

Did you answer false to five or more of the questions?  What did you learn about yourself?

“Unrealistic expectations discourage.  Realistic expectations inspire.”

The line right after this one that really spoke to me and that I need to write down was perfect, “Cut yourself some slack, give your child some grace, and watch the dynamics in your family change before your very eyes!”  AHHH, I pray it can be that easy!

Did you download the discussion questions yet for this week?  You can do that here.  If you are looking for the First Corinthians download from the discussion questions, you can find that here.

Can you identify one way you’ve had an unrealistic expectation for your child?

The Need for Consistency in Parenting – 5 Tips

17
Dec
2013

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Consistency: how many parents sigh or roll their eyes when they hear that word?  I know, I get it a lot.  That’s because consistency is tough, and most parents don’t feel like they are nearly consistent enough.  This is probably the most critical topic that I cover when I begin coaching a mom and we work out a plan to get things back on track in the home.

I thought that it might be a good time to cover a few basic guidelines when it comes to parenting our kiddos, especially with us embarking on Christmas break soon, having the possibility of traveling, visiting family and getting things out of ‘whack’!  We all know what no routine does to everyone’s behavior!

No one is consistent 100% of the time. But aiming for consistency the majority of the time is not unreasonable or impossible.  As Hal Runkel says in ScreamFree Parenting and what I share in my online coaching program, we need to be ridiculously consistent!  It is hard, but it is worth it!

Here are some tips on how to be more consistent as a parent and understanding why it is important.

Why Be Consistent?

What’s the big deal about consistency anyway? The point of all this consistency talk is simply this: if kids know the consequences of a behavior, and there’s no area of doubt, then they’re probably more likely to modify their behavior. BINGO!  That is what you are trying to help them learn, to make better choices!

Consistency puts action behind your words; it shows your kids that you do mean what you say. It gives your words power, and prevents you from having to take action every single time (often a different action every single time, which gets exhausting). So it pays to deliver!

“It comes down to integrity: meaning what you say, saying what you mean, and following through with what you promise.”   –  Hal Runkel

The Role of Planning

Planning ahead is important for consistency. Determine what your expectations for your kids are, from the broad (doing well in school) to the specific (behaving in the grocery store). Armed with your knowledge of your kids’ idiosyncrasies – you know what sets them off and you know the “problem areas” – come up with a plan of action based on their behavior and the behavior you expect. Then calmly implement your plan…consistently.

This strategy has helped me immensely over the years.  Different children, personalities and unique issues are prone to wear us down as moms, but we can use our minds and think ahead to trouble areas and try to avoid them.

Involve the Other Parent

Whether you are in a traditional marriage or not, if Mom and Dad are both in the home, it’s important for them to be on the same page regarding discipline and expectations. So a good idea is to sit down with the other parent and discuss your plans of action. Having both parents on board with the plan of action, expectations, and consequences just adds to the consistency.  If you do not have this, do not think things are doomed.  You will just be doing what you decide to do and cannot worry about the actions of the other parent.   Allowing them to dictate what you do is not a good idea.

Involve the Kids

Really? Yes, involving the kids is a healthy idea. Let them have a voice in the consequences, and make sure they understand the expectations. It’s not really fair to spring the consequences and expectations on them unexpectedly; it makes more sense for kids to follow rules if they know the rules (and the consequences of breaking them) ahead of time!  Having a family meeting to set up expectations is a great way to get everyone on board.  Allowing discussion on family rules and expectations as well as consequences for not following them is a great way to share in the process of working together for the whole good.

Consistency Is Not the Same as Inflexibility

There’s really no need to be rigid and inflexible for fear of appearing inconsistent. Sometimes, flexibility is required, and that should not undermine your consistency if you go about it the right way. For example, explain the change to your child – if it’s an exception to the usual rule, let them know why and that this is not going to be a habit. Or maybe one of the consequences does need to be adjusted; talk it over as a family and agree to make the change together.

This is not being inconsistent; it’s being flexible and willing to make changes where necessary, which is likely as good a model for your children as being consistent!  Learning to be open and allowing for different circumstance to enter into your thought process is one way you show your children that you can be realistic and reliable as well.

“Consistent enforcement of consequences is the single most effective application of authority in the parent-child relationship.”  Hal Runkel

Do you have trouble with consistency?

The God Puzzle – Review

16
Dec
2013

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I was given a free copy of The God Puzzle for my honest review, which you will find below.

I don’t know about you, but I often feel I am lacking with providing enough biblical teaching at home.  It seems the days are short and I have trouble fitting it in.  I can display character and teach by my actions, but when it comes to truly teaching and answering questions I come up blank – often.

The God Puzzle:  How the Bible fits together to reveal God as Your Greatest Treasure by Valerie Ackermann is just what this busy mom needs.  It is a built in lesson plan for a mom who does not homeschool and is as far away from that as is possible!

The God Puzzle is a colorful, easy to use resource that easily helps communicate to your child the rich truths about God, His ways, His will and His love.  I cannot wait until my 4 year old is a bit older and I can begin using these worksheets and lessons to fill him up.  The book is focused for kids ages 7-12, so this will be staying right on my shelf and hopefully we will check it out along the way, it’s too good to just leave it there for 3 more years!

When I looked through it I loved what I saw – the book enables you to give your kids simple, clear answers to their endless questions – and the ones I often do not have answers for!  I was impressed by the presentation of the lessons as well as the  way they are presented.

The God Puzzle will help you address doctrinal themes of the Christian faith in a kid friendly way, present Bible lessons in an interactive way that will hold the child’s attention and deliver quality teaching with no preparation needed. 75% of children leave the church when they leave home, that hurts my heart.  Something isn’t working. Sunday School isn’t doing it all. Kids need answers, good ones. And they need them from you, the parent.  So true, if we can’t communication God to our children, how can we think someone else will be effective?  This book enables you to give them simple, clear answers.

Take a look at the table of contents

Table of Contents

What makes The God Puzzle unique?

  • ready made discussion questions for parent to ask their child in each lesson
  • can be done at any pace that works with your 
  • family . . . every night, once a week, 10 minutes here, 30 minutes there . . . it fits into realistic family life
  • puts the pieces together for a child to understand God, the Bible, and the Christian faith
  • in each lesson the responds to the truth so they understand their relationship to God is personal and life transforming
  • any parent, whether they know nothing, or a lot about God can start teaching their child today with no prep
  • deep theology put into language a child can understand
  • deeply Biblical, each lesson points to Christ
  • put in an order that starts with creation, and teaches the Bible as one story that all points to Christ
  • child stays engaged by filling in blanks, crosswords, drawing, matching and using their Bibles as they learn

{the above was taken directly from their website, and I agree 100%}

Want to do a quick run through with a sample chapter?  Here is a link so you can check it out.

For more information on this author and the book you can check it out here.

Purchase your own copy today and get started!

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