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Dr. Scott Turansky

Saying no to a child’s request can be one of the most difficult of all parenting responsibilities. You may wonder if you’re being too strict, or you may second-guess your decision because your child seems so upset. The process of saying no is complicated by a child’s ability to use a host of manipulative techniques to get you to change your mind.

Children may not even realize that they’re being manipulative. They view themselves as pursuing a goal. In fact, many parents mistake demandingness in their child for the good quality of perseverance. One mom told us, “I like it that my son keeps coming back to me. He’s persistent.”

Crossing the Line

Unfortunately, many children don’t know when they’ve crossed the line from persistence to demandingness. That line is crossed when children value their issue as more important than the relationship. When a child yells at a parent or says unkind things because he doesn’t get what he wants, he’s crossed the line.

Parents who use simple behavior modification in their approach to demandingness often use distraction to help children change their minds. As a discipline strategy, distraction offers something equally or more attractive to the child to motivate the release of the original request. This approach often works and can even be a good part of a parenting routine, but if it’s the only response then children start evaluating options based on their personal value instead of learning how to accept no as an answer.

Sometimes parents who overuse distraction as a parenting strategy end up with children who continually want to play “Let’s make a Deal” or the whole experience feels like negotiating with a terrorist. The reality is that sometimes children need to accept no as an answer because the answer is no. It’s the ability to live within limits. Contentment is a godly quality and it’s taught at home.

What Demandingness Looks Like

A child’s demandingness has many forms. Badgering, arguing, whining, dramatics, the silent treatment, and passive resistance can all be ways to change a parent’s mind using unfair tactics.

Sometimes badgering is simply an attempt to gain attention and lots of it: question after question after question. Some children seem to have the strategy down to a science. But parents can be just as determined. One mom tried so hard to resist her son’s badgering that he finally threw his hands up in frustration and said, “Mom, you can be so stubborn.”

Any parent who has a child who badgers feels the unending tension in the relationship. Parents may want to hide, or even look for ways to avoid their son or daughter. Some parents say that they cringe when they see the child coming into the room with those eyes of determination. The tension in the relationship has become a real irritation.

Raise the Awareness Level

If you have a child who doesn’t know when to quit, you’ll first need to point it out so that your child becomes more aware of the problem. You might say, “Son, we’re back in the badgering routine here. I want you to stop now and not ask me for anything else for the next hour. We can continue to talk or be together but no more permission questions for awhile.”

Sometimes older children will ask questions or make statements to try to convince you to bend rules. One favorite questions is, “What’s wrong with it?” A young person may come to Dad and ask to go hang out at the mall, or at a friend’s house after school, or attend a party on Friday night. What’s wrong with those things? Nothing necessarily. The wise parent knows, however, that it’s often in those situations that bad things begin, but the child just can’t see it. It doesn’t seem reasonable.

It takes a pretty committed parent to stick to a no answer in a questionable situation and many fail. “Well, I guess you could go to that party, and hang out after school at your boyfriend’s house” and… pretty soon things happen which change the course of the child’s life.

“What’s wrong with it?” is a question that misses the point. It’s like creating a soup. We’re not just throwing things into a bowl. We don’t say, “Well, there’s nothing wrong with this dirt. It’s actually clean dirt so we’ll throw it into the soup.” Rather, we hand pick the ingredients to make the soup nutritious.

Manipulation Damages Relationship

Don’t allow your children to convince you to make changes you know aren’t in their best interest. Furthermore, don’t let them use manipulation to get what they want. Patterns of manipulation over time damage relationships. Many adults are manipulative. It’s time to address this dangerous area now in children before it develops into life-long patterns.

Being able to accept no as an answer is a spiritual skill all people need to learn. A lot of temptation is out there and children need to learn to say no to themselves in order to stay within appropriate boundaries. Salvation provides a framework for us to know what to say no to. Titus 2:11-12 shares these helpful words, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”

Sometimes as a parent you have to take the difficult road of saying ‘no’ because you know what damage a ‘yes’ might do. Furthermore, your hard work now will provide your children with needed character as they get older.

The post Badgering, Whining, and Arguing: Just Say No appeared first on Thriving Kids Connection.

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The most-often-asked parenting question is, “What do I do when my kids act out in the grocery store?” It’s frustrating when children throw tantrums, run away, whine, complain, or disobey in the store. It would be nice to have a little booklet entitled, “How to Parent in Public,” that you could not only use for yourself but also pass on to others who need it.

The answer is that you don’t practice your discipline strategies in the grocery store. That’s the final exam! You practice in the kitchen, bedroom, laundry room, and backyard. Children need to learn how to handle disappointment at home so they can accept a no answer in the checkout line. Kids who haven’t learned how to accept correction at home without a bad attitude will miserably fail the test when they have an audience.

Training is the Key

Children develop patterns of relating. It’s predictable. You know that if you say no to your four-year-old, she’s likely to have a temper tantrum, or when you give an instruction to your eight-year-old she’ll argue with you, or when you correct your thirteen-year-old, he blames the problem on others, including you.

At times parents feel like they’re caught in a dance and they don’t know how to turn off the music. They know that things shouldn’t happen this way but it’s hard to make changes. These patterns are called relational routines and they become more ingrained over time.

Negative relational routines are most embarrassing when you’re in public. While at the grocery store, your son begins to argue just like he does at home. At church, your daughter reacts to you with the same disrespect you’ve been seeing for weeks. These public arenas aren’t the place to practice changing relational routines, at least not until you’ve done significant homework.

Changing the Dance

The tendency of children to relate in a particular way develops over time and often requires concerted effort to change. Once you identify the specific problem, then practice doing the right thing over and over again. For example, Tyler, age 4, ignores his mom when she gives him an instruction. She has to say the same thing several times, often with increasing intensity, before he responds.

Mom decides to work on her instruction routine between her and Tyler. Mom realizes that part of the problem in their pattern is that she gives Tyler instructions while he’s still involved in his task. Mom decides to change the pattern and determines not to give instructions to her son until he’s broken concentration from his activity. In fact, Mom explains to Tyler that from now on she’s going to just call his name and expect him to come when called. Tyler won’t know why Mom is calling him. It may be because it’s time to go out the door, or time to have a snack, or just because she wants to say “I love you.”

Mom then begins the homework by practicing this new “come when you’re called” rule with Tyler. Most of the time he comes but sometimes he doesn’t, resulting in immediate correction. Mom affirms Tyler for his responsiveness when he comes and once she has him close and gives an instruction, she sees marked improvement in his responsiveness. Mom continues to practice the new routine with Tyler several times a day. Then she practices at the park and around the neighborhood. When she feels confident that Tyler has changed the relating pattern significantly, Mom tries the new routine at the store or at church with encouraging results.

Disrespect is an Unhealthy Pattern

Rudy realized that his teenage daughter was disrespectful to him in front of her friends. He’d seen the same sarcasm and unkindness when they were alone but it was particularly disturbing in front of others. Rudy realized that although the “public” routine matched the “private” routine, the embarrassment was greater with an audience. Rudy didn’t want to just look good in public, however, so he began to change the way he and his daughter related in private.

When Rudy sensed that his daughter was being rude, sarcastic, or unkind in their discussions, he’d stop the dialogue with some kind of statement like “That wasn’t kind” or “You don’t have to treat me unkindly because you disagree.” In some situations the comment was enough for his daughter to snap back into more healthy dialogue. On a couple of occasions, though, his daughter was particularly angry and refused to back down. Dad required a break from the dialogue to settle down and even told his daughter that she needed to stay off the computer and even out of her bedroom until she was willing to talk to him about the problem in a mature way.

After working on the relating pattern for a few weeks, Rudy found himself in the same situation receiving disrespect in front of his daughter’s friends, but this time he was ready. Rudy called his daughter out of the group into the other room and confronted her. She received the correction in part because of the homework that he’d done the preceding weeks and she knew that he was serious about the change.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Patterns take time to adjust and often require that parents focus on relational routines. The next time you’re frustrated with the interaction you see with your child, stop and consider whether it’s a pattern. If so, try to figure out what the triggers are that get it started. Next, identify some new ways of relating and then practice them over and over again until they become the new habit.

The English word “instruction” comes from the words “in” and “structure” and basically means “to put structure into.” When someone comes on the scene and gives instructions, that person brings structure to the situation and helps people know what to do. Mom sees the negative relating pattern and gives guidelines on how to interact in a more positive way. She adds the structure needed at the moment to make family life work. Unfortunately, because of the well-worn relationship between parent and child, kids may react with resistance. That’s because the habits are built over time and need concerted effort to change.

Hang in there. Remember that you’re not giving instructions about how to relate simply to make life easier. You’re helping children develop strong relating patterns for the future. Without clear guidelines about structure in relational routines, family life falls apart. Instruction doesn’t just mean telling kids what to do, though. It means practicing the right way to relate over and over again.

So, what is the best strategy for disciplining in public? Practice at home. Identify patterns, practice right responses and then test those responses at the neighbors, at the park, and then at the store.

Ephesians 6:1 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Parents don’t require obedience because it’s convenient. It’s the right thing to do. Practicing the right thing over and over again helps children develop patterns that will help them forever.

The post Discipline in Public – The Best Strategy of All appeared first on Thriving Kids Connection.

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BP Coach, Lisa Brown

This article comes from Biblical Parenting Coach Lisa Brown.

Waiting is hard. Whether it’s a new attitude or an annoying behavior that needs to stop. It takes time for a child’s heart to change. Waiting for God to change the heart requires patience, hope, and clear vision.

My name is Lisa Brown and I’m a Biblical Parenting Coach. I work with parents who have kids who struggle with anger issues, anxiety, impulsivity, hard time self-regulating emotions, dishonesty and are defiant. Their family life is intense, rocky, stressful and so often the parents are at the end of their ropes. I get it. I’ve been at the end of my rope too.

A verse from the Bible that helps me while I’m waiting for my struggling child to change comes from Isaiah 40:31. May you also be encouraged by this scripture!

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

God wants to comfort you while you faithfully work through a parenting plan to help the heart of your child. He desires for you to put your hope and trust in Him. God will do a new thing in your child’s heart. He has plans for you and your son or daughter. Rest in this truth, let go of your worries, let God renew your strength today.

You may be tired of your child’s arguing with you about everything. Or you may be worried sick because your child doesn’t control his anger and you’re anxious about another episode of him loosing it. You may be growing weary and faint, but God wants you to put your hope in Him and He will renew your strength.

You been suffering long oh tired one, but praise him anyway, because He will not leave you to raise your beloved child on your own. He will direct your paths. You must remember He loves your child more than you could ever possibly love His child.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Psalm 42:11 

Put your hope in Him and He will save you and your children. He is working in every heart that cries out to him. He hears you and sees you. Praise God for this night and day. In the midst of exhaustion, frustration, anxiety, God calls you His own and He is with you through your long nights when you suffer with heartache. Your suffering is only for a little while and you will soar like an eagle in due time.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.   Romans 5:3-4

You are changing during this challenging season. God is doing something new in you and developing your character. You will be so much stronger and have so much more understanding in the near future. This is only a season and even though it may seem like a very long season, this too shall pass.

You love your child and you carry such a heavy burden. It’s time to surrender and look to the Holy One who knows your future.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

God will not fail you. This season of parental challenges is all part of the plan. You’ll want to pay attention to every moment your child responds with kindness, or repents after settling down, or does a kind deed, and whether you see it or not, your child is changing minute by minute. His or her heart is rocking with all kinds of emotions, temptations, and strongholds. God is pulling weeds and He is teaching you to care for your child’s heart, the garden. Keep planting, watering, pulling weeds, and showering your garden, your child and your home, with praise.

Dear parent you will always feel the extra pain of your child’s growing up moments, but remember God has already suffered for us on the cross, and God didn’t intend for you to be your child’s savior. God’s son has come to save your child. Your job is to keep your eyes on the cross and your child will do the same when he or she sees you. You are your child’s inspiration, a role model, and you are the one who can show him or her the way to go. You don’t have time to be weary, instead rest and be renewed, for tomorrow is another day filled with learning opportunities.

Lisa Brown is a parenting coach who specializes in working with parents of children ages 3 to 12 who are struggling with learning disabilities and emotional and behavior problems such as ADHD, ADD, Anxiety, and ODD. She works on the phone with people all over the US. Learn more here.

The post When Positive Change is Slow in Coming appeared first on Thriving Kids Connection.

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Dr. Scott Turansky

We all want to be in the habit of regularly praying for our kids. We know it’s important and that we should do it more. But what do you pray for? The list is long but one of the big things we want for our children is that they connect with God for themselves. That’s what will bring maximum spiritual power to your child’s daily life.

Not only does prayer work and change your child, but it also helps you as a parent align yourself with God and his plan. With his strength you’ll be less likely to blow up in anger and you’ll have more wisdom for dealing with life’s challenges.

First, Pray for Yourself

Each day, pray that God will give you the strength to maintain your personal control as you work with your children. It’s tempting to blow up in anger or give in to constant nagging. Parenting requires continual perseverance and strength. God provides spiritual resources when emotional resources seem scarce. Learning to trust in him and pray every day for strength will go a long way to provide you with the ability to face the challenges of parenting. And, you’ll have greater talking points because you can model for your child what spiritual connection looks like.

Also, pray that God will change your child’s heart. It’s important to note that nowhere in the Bible does it say that parents change children’s hearts. We do read that people can change their own hearts. God calls that repentance. We also see that God changes people’s hearts directly. Ezekiel 36:26 reveals this promise, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” That’s the prayer we want to have for our children every day.

Of course, God does use parents to be the instruments to motivate kids to change their hearts, so your prayer will be one that allows you to partner directly with God in the changing of your child’s heart.

Pray for Your Connection With Your Child

You’ll also want to pray for relational connection opportunities in the course of your day. After all, much of the business of family life requires that you be firm with your children. That toughness often wears at the relationship and so times of connection are important. Remember that children can only take as much pressure as the relationship allows.

Ask the Lord to provide some fun times in your day or a meaningful conversation or a moment where you and your child are able to connect in a deeper way than usual. Those moments are precious. They often come at bedtime or when a child needs comfort, or even in the midst of correction. Pray that God would give you those moments in your day to strengthen the relational bonds.

Also take time to pray that God would provide you with teaching opportunities. Often it’s a thoughtful comment or a creative idea that connects with a child’s heart. Those can come spontaneously as gifts directly from the Lord. So, take time to pray for insight. God may use your own walk with him to give you an idea, or you may discover a truth in a book you’re reading or some advice or encouragement you heard on the radio.

Be on the lookout for tools to teach. Just like any good teacher, you want to always be looking for ideas of ways to bring about the lightbulb moments in the hearts of your children. God provides those and we can ask him for them.

The reality is that parenting is the toughest job in the world. We need all the help we can get. God promises us that we can ask him for wisdom and he’ll give it to us. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

Parenting so often brings us to our knees. Sometimes we think we know what we’re doing as parents but that feeling of confidence doesn’t usually last too long. In fact, our weaknesses as parents can give us a greater appreciation of our Heavenly Father who wisely provides guidance, discipline, and strength in just the right measure for us.

During your prayer time take a moment and thank God for his faithfulness to you. One of the greatest gifts we have is to become part of God’s family. We are his children if we have trusted Christ as savior. That’s an awesome privilege that we enjoy. In fact, you’ll want to pray regularly for opportunities to help your children understand God’s grace in that same way. As you express to your children the appreciation you have for God’s love and mercy in your life, your prayer is that they’ll see the need to seek God for themselves and develop a personal relationship with him.

When family life gets difficult and you feel stressed by the challenges of the day, remember to go to the Lord for strength. You might even want to check out the “911 Psalm” in the Bible. Psalm 91:1-2 says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ ” We all need rest and a fortress sometimes. God is our strength. Prayer is the vehicle God designed to transport your heart into his presence. Use it often and you’ll be a better parent for it.

Connecting Your Child Directly to God

Helping children develop a personal faith often requires that parents be intentional. Too many parents back off because of fears of legislating faith, or appearing legalistic, or they have concerns that the child’s heart isn’t in it. Those are reasonable concerns but you have to move forward in faith as a parent that the structures you create will be used by God to breathe life into your child’s faith.

Here are some things to consider that can help you pass on the experiential side of the faith, not just the academics.

1. Prayer

Look for ways to help children access God’s strength for personal challenges. Pray with and for kids, but encourage them to pray on their own. Talk about prayer and encourage it. The best prayers aren’t “Lord give me something,” although they aren’t wrong. The best prayers are, “Lord how can I fit into your plans today?”

2. The Bible

Talk about God’s Word, sharing verses and stories. Discuss its relevance to everyday life. Ask children what God is saying to them through God’s Word. After all, sometimes God speaks to parents through their children.

3. Spiritual Awareness

Ask your child, “How have you seen God work today?” Many children know that God works on Sundays but what about the other days? How does he work and how does he reveal himself to us?

4. Holy Spirit

Discuss with children how the Holy Spirit is working in their hearts. He guides, convicts, empowers, and reveals God in life. He’s the coach who walks along side our lives.

5. Character

Identify specific qualities that God is developing in your child. As children see growth they can attribute it to God’s work in them.

6. Process

God is concerned about how (process) things get done, not just what (task). This means that cheerfulness and initiative and cooperation are commendable before God.

7. God’s Church

When attending church many things can happen. “What did God teach you today?” is an appropriate question that brings Jesus home. “How did you contribute to the lives of others today?” We don’t just go to church to receive. We also give.

Engaging children spiritually can happen in a lot of ways. Much of it can happen in and around life itself. Start back at the top of this article to get your own heart in a position to be used by God to influence your kids spiritually.

The post Ways to Connect Your Kids to God’s Spiritual Strength appeared first on Thriving Kids Connection.

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Many parents find themselves frustrated with emotional outbursts in their children but don’t know how to correct without getting emotionally involved themselves. One of the key indicators of maturity in kids is the ability to manage and communicate emotions in a healthy manner. But when they handle emotions poorly, it’s important how you respond. For example, the child who doesn’t like an instruction or limitation may reveal frustration outwardly, sometimes in a small way and other times with downright abuse.

Threats, drama, and escalating actions on the part of the parent often distract the child from the real heart issues that need to be addressed. One mom said, “My son communicates his unhappiness with disrespect and meanness. His roughness sends a message that says, ‘I’m not happy with you.’” She also realized that her own emotion tended to escalate the situation. Here are some things to remember when helping children who allow their emotions to get out of control.

1. Emotions themselves aren’t bad.

But poor emotional management is destructive. At non-discipline times, empathize with the feelings without condoning the actions. Teach about emotions, what they are and the difference between emotion and reaction.

2. A heightened sense of emotion is a gift.

Emotional sensitivity needs to be developed instead of viewed as a curse to be tolerated. The person who is emotionally sensitive has the ability to pick up on cues in the environment faster than others.

Often we find that emotionally sensitive people can walk into a room and sense that something’s wrong before others can. God gives an extra scoop of emotions to some. Pastors, counselors, and even sales people benefit from this quality but they need to manage their emotional strength or it will become a perpetual weakness. Look for ways to help children recognize their feelings earlier in the process.

3. There’s a difference between emotional sensitivity and emotional reaction.

Kids can learn that anger is good for identifying problems but not good for solving them. After all, Jesus got angry but he knew how to use that anger in a productive way. Mark 3:5 says, “He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.”

Jesus didn’t react out of his anger. Instead he turned it around and did something productive. Children can be like Jesus in this same way but it takes some training. Unfortunately, many children simply react to emotion, resulting in hurtful words and actions. Sometimes children don’t recognize that they’re upset until after they’ve hurt someone or said something inappropriate. There’s a better way and the home is a great place to learn it.

4. Don’t be afraid of your child’s emotions.

Sometimes children use outbursts as a form of self-protection to prevent parents from challenging them. View the display of emotion as a smoke screen and look past it to the heart of the issue. That doesn’t mean that you engage in escalating actions, but it does mean that you don’t allow a child to control family life with emotional outbursts.

You may choose to not confront in the heat of emotion, but don’t let your child’s anger prevent you from correction. Parents too often see the emotion as a personal attack and react to it, losing any real benefit that could come from the interaction.

Emotions are often indicators of areas of the heart that need to be addressed. Angry outbursts often reveal unrealistic expectations, a demanding attitude, or lack of character.

5. Anger is often the result of misbeliefs.

Children tend to believe strange things about life. Identifying those misbeliefs can help a child move in the right direction.

“I’ve been thinking about the way you responded to me earlier when I told you to do your homework. I’d like to share an observation that might be helpful for you. It seems that you believe you ought to be able to wait and do your homework just before bed or in the morning before you go to school. Is that what you’re saying? One of the values I’m trying to teach you is that self-discipline often means we work first and play later. That’s one of the reasons I require you to do your homework early every day. I’m trying to teach you an important value. I know that you may not agree with me, but I want you to know why I’m having you do your homework before dinner.”

6. Most children need to develop some greater emotional awareness.

Some kids don’t realize that they’re angry until they’ve broken something or yelled some mean words. These children would benefit from seeing their anger coming on before the reaction hits. One of the ways to help children become more aware of their own emotions is to teach them to observe emotions in others.

One dad helped his seven-year-old daughter who seemed oblivious to her own emotions and those of others. He asked her to identify examples of a friend or family member who was sad, glad, or mad that day. Then he asked the question, “How could you tell what that person was feeling?” and “How might you respond to that person in a helpful way?”

They continued this exercise every evening for two weeks. After a while it helped his daughter develop more empathy, get outside of herself, look at the needs and feelings of others, and then talk about ways to respond appropriately. When her brother is mad, it might be best to leave him alone or to just ask a helpful question. With her friend who is sad, she could offer to help and then listen empathetically. When Mom is glad, she could enter into that gladness by listening to the story and enjoying the situation too.

7. Knowing how to communicate emotions is important.

Some kids are internal processors, churning away, but don’t allow others to easily see their struggle. Other kids are external processors, revealing everything they’re thinking to anyone who will listen. Kids benefit when parents talk more about emotions and the various types of feelings experienced.

Whether they’re embarrassed, sad, afraid, or disappointed, kids often respond with anger, not recognizing the other emotions that are present. Parents can do significant teaching by reflecting the emotion that they see. “It looks like you’re sad that you can’t go to the soccer game. I’d be disappointed too that it got rained out. But that doesn’t mean that you can treat others unkindly.”

8. Don’t get sucked into the drama.

Angry kids often provoke their parents into escalating drama. Don’t use your own anger to overpower your child’s anger. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath.” When you begin to lose your own emotional control, take a break. Come back later and work on it some more.

Allowing emotions to settle down first can bring opportunities for dialogue later instead of turning the present issue into a battleground. Realize that kids will go away thinking about what you’ve said, even if their initial response looks as if they haven’t heard you. Prepare what you’re going to say and choose your timing carefully without getting caught up in the emotion of the moment and you’ll help your child learn to deal with emotions more appropriately.

9. Separate the issue from the process.

When kids are angry they often want to debate the issue. Parents sometimes have a hard time not taking the bait. “It’s my money. I can do what I want.” “You’re so unfair!” “You let my brother get away with all kinds of things.” Those kinds of comments raise the hair on the back of our necks and we’re ready with an answer. But dialogue at that moment rarely contributes to emotional de-escalation.

When children are upset they are off track. The parenting strategies must switch to refusing to engage. Parents who allow children to be abusive while talking about issues actually validate the mistreatment as if it were acceptable behavior. It’s better to say, “I can’t talk about this until you settle down.” The process is the way the child is treating you and you can’t talk about issues when the process is unhealthy.

10. Require and help the child develop a plan.

Most kids who lose control of their emotions need a multi-faceted plan to get back on track. That plan must include both things to say to one’s self and things to do when the anger intensifies. Children may not work their plan in the moment, but each time they settle down you can go back to the plan to include more tools, or debrief about the ideas that could have been implemented.

Children who struggle with their emotions need heart work. The way you typically respond might be good for other children, but may not be best for this particular child. Look for new ways to respond. Don’t allow continued tension in your home without getting help. There are many tools to help children with their anger. You might need some help finding the ones that are best suited for your child.

The Biblical Parenting Coaching Program is designed to walk alongside parents for 8 weeks to bring about major change in a child’s life. You can learn more at biblicalparenting.coach

The post 10 Truths About a Child’s Anger Parents Must Understand appeared first on Thriving Kids Connection.

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Dr. Scott Turansky

There are two kinds of people in the world, whiners and solvers. Whiners complain about life, feel like victims, and believe that others cause their problems. If others would just change then they’d be happy. Until then, they’ll just whine about life.

Solvers look for solutions, recognize that they can impact others, and feel empowered to change life. If they can’t solve the problem themselves, they know where to go to get solutions.

It Starts with the Words

Helping children move from whiners to solvers starts in the way they talk about problems or bring them to their parents. The very words that they use are important. When Johnny comes into the kitchen and says, “I’m hungry,” you might say, “Johnny, that’s focusing on the problem. Tell me the solution.” In this way you’re transferring the responsibility to the child.

Johnny’s response can be, “Mom could I please have a snack.” That’s using words to focus on the solution. Don’t wait for the whiny voice to indicate a complaining heart. Look for word cues and you’ll be able to bring about change more quickly and effectively.

When Mackenzie yells, “I can’t find my boots!” that’s focusing on the problem. It would be better for her to say, “Dad, would you please help me find my boots.”

Maybe you think this is only semantics. But the words children use to bring problems to their parents can mean all the difference in the way they view themselves and the world. Whining is often the sign of a victim mentality. Children who believe that they’re victims are often angry and resentful because everyone else is the cause of their problems. They don’t believe they can change anything so they may as well just complain about it.

Expressing misery to others might bring sympathy but it rarely brings change. Furthermore, if the whining works and others change, it further cements the wrong thinking in the mind of the child. “If I whine enough, other people will change the situation and then I’ll feel better.”

Don’t Get Rid of Whining By Solving The Child’s Problem

Be careful that you don’t solve a whining child’s problem too quickly. Rather, encourage the child to take initiative to solve it. The solution may involve you but it requires that the child take action toward the solution as well.

Elizabeth is twelve years old. She often complains that she doesn’t have the clothes that she wants to wear. Mom is in the habit of helping her find something but most of the time Elizabeth is still unhappy about the choice. Mom realized that her daughter had developed an attitude that the clothes problem was Mom’s to solve, so she decided to make some changes.

Mom took Elizabeth out clothes shopping and they bought a couple new outfits. Then she helped Elizabeth organize her closet and drawers, removing many of the clothes she’d outgrown or didn’t like. Next, Mom showed Elizabeth how to run the washing machine and helped her with the first few loads. Mom explained to Elizabeth that now she was twelve years old and could manage her own clothes by herself. Mom also took a stand against Elizabeth’s complaining.

With these steps Mom empowered her daughter to be a solver when it came to her clothes. Now Elizabeth couldn’t blame anyone else for a lack of clean clothes. When she did, Mom told her that she couldn’t play on the computer or go out with her friends until she washed her clothes. It worked. Elizabeth was still unhappy sometimes with her options for clothes, but she knew that she was the one who could fix it.

Often the key to making a plan work is to transfer responsibility to the child. If you give a plan to a child, you’re likely to experience resistance. If you help the child develop the plan, ownership increases the likelihood of success. It’s true that some children don’t want to develop a plan, but this isn’t optional.

Your Child Needs a Plan

A child who is mean to his brother needs a plan for addressing the temptation to be unkind. Firmness requires working on the plan before the child goes back to playing. Parents will likely have the child look at the plan after each offense to add to it or adjust it. The combination of firmness, visioning, and teaching empowers children to change by clarifying the target, communicating why change is important, and providing a plan to get there.

Some parents have a low tolerance for frustration especially when they see that frustration in their children. Then the parent, in an attempt to ease the pain, steps in and rescues the child. Remember that frustration can be a great teacher and provides internal motivation to find a solution. When parents solve too many problems children come to rely on parental solutions because it’s the easy way out. When parents require kids to do the hard work to solve their own problems then kids develop a greater confidence to handle the challenges of life.

Brian’s son Tim often wanted a drink of juice from the refrigerator. With Tim being only four years old, Brian didn’t feel like his son could solve that problem by himself. Unfortunately, Tim whined often for a drink. Brian got an idea. He bought a small pitcher with a lid that held a couple of cups of juice. He then taught Tim how to use the dishwasher door as a table and pour his own juice into his plastic cup. Any spills weren’t a problem because when Tim was done he just shut the dishwasher and put the pitcher back in the refrigerator. Brian had empowered his son to be a solver instead of a whiner.

The scriptures talk about having a good attitude with tasks when in Philippians 2:14 it says, “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” That’s great advice for the family. The fun thing about children who are problem solvers is that they look for ways to help others who have problems too. Rick at age nine used to do a lot of complaining, but after significant work in this area his parents saw major changes. The real reward for them was when he had a friend over who was whining. Rick looked at him and said, “Why are you whining so much. Why don’t you do something about it?”

The Seven Parenting Tools

There are seven tools in the Biblical Parenting Coaching Program used to bring about major changes in children. Each parent needs to tweak the recipe and use different combinations of the seven tools in order to reach a child’s heart. Seasoned and trained coaches are standing by to help you develop that recipe and implement it with your unique child. The seventh tool is TRANSFERRING RESPONSIBILITY. The others are RELATIONSHIP, FIRMNESS, VISIONING, COACHING, PRAYER, and TEACHING. Learn more about the Biblical Parenting Coaching Program here. 

Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN teach live parenting seminars around the country. They have written 15 books on parenting and have created five video training programs for parents. You may learn more at http://www.biblicalparenting.org. or www.thrivingkidsconnection.com

The post Whiners Need to Become Problem Solvers appeared first on Thriving Kids Connection.

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Dr. Scott Turansky

How do your children handle problems or decisions? Some children whine, complain, or have bad attitudes. Problems and decisions make great opportunities to teach children to face life’s challenges. Or, we can find ourselves managing our kids so much that we feel like a traffic cop trapped in the intersections of life with no end in sight.

Wanting to spare their children frustration in life, parents sometimes step in unnecessarily, but by rescuing kids they may be robbing them of an excellent way to learn. Frustration often provides motivation to children, and a parent’s patient coaching can help them experience the success of accomplishing a goal or overcoming a roadblock. In order for this to take place, however, parents must sometimes give up the role of problem solver and take on the role of coach or counselor as life teaches a valuable lesson.

Identify a Trigger for Your Child to Work the Plan

Developing good decision-making skills gives children the ability to define a problem, look at consequences of various alternatives, and then choose the best solution among the options. Allowing children to solve some problems for themselves communicates an important message to them. It says, “I believe in you. You have what it takes.” It’s a great confidence builder.

Often children need a plan or a structure and a trigger that indicates that it’s time to work the plan. Does that plan have to be the parent or does Mom or Dad have to be the trigger? No, but it means parenting differently. We can’t just walk away. We have to set up the system and then coach children to be successful to implement it.

Don’t be too quick to solve a problem or make a decision for your kids. When possible, involve them in the process, not just in the final product. Much of the day-to-day problem solving and decision-making in family life can demonstrate cooperation and teamwork as parents and children work together. Cooperative decision-making teaches children valuable skills of negotiation, compromise, communication, and creating alternatives.

Involve Kids In the Solution

You might even take a problem-solving approach to a relational problem such as an angry response when asked to leave the video game to come to dinner. “Son, we have a problem. I’ve noticed that you have a tendency to be angry and grunt at me when I ask you to leave the video game and do something else. That’s a problem. I’ll know if you’re mature enough to play video games if you have a good response when interrupted. Before you start playing the video game today, I’d like you to develop a plan for when I interrupt you that’s more gracious. I’d like to know what you’re going to say to yourself and then what you’re going to say to me.” By getting the child involved in the solution, children are more apt to process the issues on a heart level.

It’s a challenge sometimes to know when to solve problems for children and when to let them struggle. When undue frustration builds or a situation becomes dangerous, you must step in to help. But parents sometimes step in too quickly because they don’t like to see their children suffering with even a small bit of frustration. Or, parents know that if this gets out of hand a major eruption may take place. Don’t tiptoe around your child’s anger or let kids use intensity and emotion to get their way. Your job isn’t just to keep the peace. You’re teaching children skills for the future. Problem solving is an important one to learn now.

It can be painful to wait for a five-year-old to try to decide which snack to eat, or torture to hear an eight-year-old talk about how she can’t find her favorite CD. One mom said, “I can’t stand to watch my four-year-old tie his shoe. I just want to grab it and say, ‘Here, let me do it.’ ”

When Life Teaches, You can Coach

Before you step in and solve the problem and be the hero, you may want to ask yourself, “Is this is one of those times when I might allow life to be the teacher and I become the counselor or coach?” Allowing children to struggle through a problem to a solution often results in more powerful learning than you can produce otherwise. Relieving the frustration might not be the best solution, and your willingness to encourage a child to solve the problem independently may accomplish more in the long run.

Jesus allowed life to be the teacher as he worked with his disciples. He allowed Peter to walk on the water and fail but was close by to pick him up again (Matthew 14:28-31). When the disciples told Jesus to send the crowd home so that they could eat, Jesus threw the problem back to them, “You give them something to eat.” Then he allowed them to be part of the solution, feeding 5,000 people (Mark 6:37-44).

Some of the most valuable lessons come from experience. If parents can make the switch from rescuer to coach, children will learn more and develop wisdom. So the next time you see your child struggling, put on the coach’s hat and watch learning take place.

How might you respond to this question: “Mom, will you take me to the store right now?” Would you say, “No, I’m busy” or “Okay, let’s go”? Those might be simple answers to the request, but why not turn this into a cooperative learning experience about how we make such decisions.

You might say, “Why don’t you tell me more. I’m working on something right now. Let’s work this out together.” Sometimes parents make the error of emphasizing parental authority and other times simply try to please their children. Neither is wrong but you might miss a valuable teaching opportunity.

Problem solving and decision-making become the garden where independence and responsibility grow as children learn that the process is just as important as the end result. You can help children consider the ramifications of a particular decision. You might ask, “How will your brother feel if you do that?” Or, “I’m wondering how your friend feels when you eat a cookie in front of him.”

One of the cues that reveals teaching opportunities is complaining. Keep in mind that sometimes children complain about the problem and other times they complain because they don’t like any of the available solutions. Complaining focuses on a problem without taking responsibility for the solution. When children feel hopeless about problems, your words of encouragement often provide the fuel to continue on or the energy to persevere.

The Seven Parenting Tools

There are seven tools in the Biblical Parenting Coaching Program used to bring about major changes in children. Each parent needs to adjust the recipe using the seven tools in order to reach a child’s heart. Seasoned and trained coaches are standing by to help you develop that recipe and implement it with your unique child. The Sixth tool is COACHING. The others are RELATIONSHIP, FIRMNESS, VISIONING, TEACHING, PRAYER, and TRANSFERRING RESPONSIBILITY. Learn more about the Biblical Parenting Coaching Program here.

Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN teach live parenting seminars around the country. They have written 15 books on parenting and have created five video training programs for parents. You may learn more at http://www.biblicalparenting.org. or www.thrivingkidsconnection.com

The post How to Avoid “Traffic Cop” Parenting appeared first on Thriving Kids Connection.

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Dr. Scott Turansky

Children often need more than firmness in order to change the tendencies of their hearts. They also need a vision for something better, in addition, a plan will help them do it. The most effective strategy for change is to work on the heart, not just the behavior. This involves more than pointing out a weakness. A good plan often requires a multi-faceted approach. Teaching is another key component.

Some children act out, not because of a decision, but because of habit. Those kids aren’t intending to be malicious. They need some work in the heart to develop character. They need to practice a new pattern of thinking and acting when faced with impulses.

When a habit develops, it bypasses the decision making center of the brain and often requires a strategy to form better habits in place of unhelpful ones. A practical, “how to” solution can bring the actions back into the decision making center of the brain so the child can become aware of impulses and choose a different response. That process requires teaching.

Some Kids Resist Change

Some kids don’t want to change, or the process of thinking differently requires too much work. In that case, firmness makes their current patterns of living more uncomfortable or increases structure and accountability to encourage character development. Vision provides hope for a better way, and teaching gives specific steps needed to move forward. Sometimes it’s necessary to provide the very words or actions for the child to use.

It’s one thing to tell your child to be more kind, do his chores without being reminded, or to be honest, but most children need more than that. They need to know how to relate to an obnoxious brother, clean up a messy room, and have courage to face the temptation to lie. This is where the word “training” has its most important application.

The conscience provides children with promptings, but knowing what to do with the prompt can be a challenge. As you sympathize with your child’s weakness you’ll be able to provide ideas, suggestions, and plans to overcome temptation. Whereas vision answers the question “why,” teaching answers the question “how.” Kids need concrete plans to manage their struggles. They need to know what to say to themselves and what to do differently when faced with the challenge. Teaching is an important part of heart work.

Teaching Propels Growth

The teaching component adds feet to your strategy and provides the traction necessary for progress to take place. In fact, it’s fascinating to watch kids change when they have specific strategies for moving forward. The four-year-old who continually interrupts needs to know how to handle his desires when others are in conversation. Mom may teach him that he needs to put his hand on her arm while she’s talking to a friend. She, in turn, will put her hand on his hand, acknowledging with a silent signal, as she continues the dialogue with her friend. After a few moments she stops and addresses her son. This technique provides a simple introductory approach for a child to learn sensitivity and an appropriate way to interrupt. The child responds well because he has a plan, not just words that say, “Stop interrupting.”

In order to develop the teaching part of your strategy, you’ll need to study your child a bit. Take some time to analyze patterns. What is the general problem you’d like to see changed? (I.e.: angry outbursts, leaving messes around the house or in the bedroom, or not turning assignments in at school) And, in what area would you like to work on this problem? (during homework, with siblings, during chores, etc.)

Then ask yourself, “What are some solutions that you, as a parent, use in your own life to handle a similar situation? (I.e.: Ways you keep your anger under control. How do you keep things neat? Or how you turn things in on time?)

Children at any age benefit from more teaching about the heart and it’s role in change. You don’t have to use words like sin, repentance, and forgiveness; your plan will embody these very things in practice. As you develop a plan for the specific challenge your child is facing, you’ll be equipping that child with solutions that will be used even into adulthood.

Charlie had a Habit of Lying

Doreen and Charles knew they had a problem with Charlie. He lied often. He would lie to get out of trouble, lie to get something he wanted, and he lied when retelling a story of something that happened, even when there seemed to be no benefit to the fabrication. They developed a multi-faceted plan to help their son build integrity. As in many of the difficult patterns children have, it’s not just one part of the plan that works. Rather, it’s a combination of approaches that bring about lasting change.

Their plan involved firmness by stopping him when he started to spin a story instead of arguing with him about the facts. It seemed that the arguing tended to generate more lies. So they simply said, “Stop talking. Either be quiet or start over.” They used visioning to point out the benefits of integrity that include trustworthiness, the privilege of privacy, and a clear conscience. They spent quite a bit of time on the teaching component, to help their son recognize what pressure was prompting the lie, how internal character could offset the temptation, and alternatives to lying that would build the inner connection necessary.

One of the things they did in the teaching component was to talk about how honesty always occurs under pressure. It takes a person with strength on the inside to bear up under that pressure. They created an award and put it on the wall, looking for times that truth won because their son was able to be strong on the inside even when tempted to lie.

Dishonesty is a very difficult problem to address in any child. The most effective strategies for change use heart work instead of behavior modification. Doreen and Charles saw signs of improvement in Charlie but it took a lot of work, much dialogue, and regular doses of prayer for both wisdom and for change for their son.

Consider these things when you work on the teaching component with your child. How does your child learn best? How much can you accomplish in one setting? How are you doing in your relationship together? Are you experiencing closeness? Some parents overdo the lecture approach or try to teach during correction times. Those approaches are often weaker than the ones that consider the child’s needs.

Proverbs 1:8-9 talks about the importance of children paying attention to the teaching of parents. So we can do our part to give those insights. “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.”

Teaching is an essential component of a good strategy. Spend some significant time here, study your child, plan to share helpful information, and equip your child to develop a plan for change and you’ll see progress take place.

The Seven Parenting Tools

There are seven tools in the Biblical Parenting Coaching Program used to bring about major changes in children. Each parent needs to adjust the recipe using the seven tools in order to reach a child’s heart. Seasoned and trained coaches are standing by to help you develop that recipe and implement it with your unique child. The fifth tool is TEACHING. The others are RELATIONSHIP, FIRMNESS, VISIONING, COACHING, PRAYER, and TRANSFERRING RESPONSIBILITY. Learn more about the Biblical Parenting Coaching Program here. 

Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN teach live parenting seminars around the country. They have written 15 books on parenting and have created five video training programs for parents. You may learn more at http://www.biblicalparenting.org. or www.thrivingkidsconnection.com

The post Teach Kids HOW, Not Just WHAT appeared first on Thriving Kids Connection.

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Dr. Scott Turansky

No matter how long (or short) you’ve been a believer, you can teach your children tremendous spiritual lessons. The key is first to be growing spiritually yourself and then start passing truths on to your kids.

Deuteronomy 6:7-9 gives the instructions, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”

Start with Yourself

Notice that the first job of any parent is to nurture your own relationship with God and to cherish the principles of God’s Word in your own heart. Parenting has a way of forcing you to prayer and the study of the Bible. It’s not too long before any parent realizes that help is needed for raising a child. God is the one who changes a child’s heart, and parents are just the vehicles that God uses in the process. Parents partner with the God of the universe to bring about heart change.

Some parents make the mistake of delegating the spiritual training of children to the church, believing that they’re doing their spiritual duty by taking their kids to Sunday School and youth group. The church is a great support but it can’t take the place of the home when it comes to passing on a spiritual heritage. Even if you’ve chosen to send your children to a Christian school, you’ll want to retain the role of primary spiritual trainer of your children.

Your spiritual transparency at home will do a lot to help open spiritual windows for your child. Take time to pray with your kids about the challenges they face, and thank the Lord for his answered prayers. You might say, “Son, I’m not feeling well today. Would you please pray for me before I go to work?” Or, “I’ll be praying for you and your test today. I’ll be eager to hear how it goes.” Some parents only pray before meals or at bedtime but you want your kids to know that God is available all the time. Praying throughout the day helps to make that truth come alive.

Be creative in teaching kids the value of their spiritual growth. You might keep a growth chart on the back of a door to measure a child’s physical growth. Right next to it jot down milestones of spiritual growth and development like a child’s salvation, baptism, and when they took opportunity to share their faith or enjoy an answer to prayer.

The Language of Children is Activity

Informal discussions about God provide children with in-life opportunities to see how faith applies to experience. As children see you talking about the Lord during daily activity they’ll recognize the relevance of their spiritual lives. Also take time to set up some kind of formal spiritual training, but be sure to make it fun. The best devotions in family life don’t usually happen around a table. With young children you might tell a Bible story in the closet with a flashlight. With an older child you might use a science experiment or cooking exercise to illustrate a spiritual truth.

One dad said, “We boiled three objects, a carrot, an egg, and coffee beans, and talked about the heat in our own lives and what it does to us. Some people are like the carrot and become more limp and weak with pressure. Some are like the egg and become more hardened to life. And some are like the coffee beans that use the heat to influence their world with a pleasant smell and a nice drink.” They laughed together as they talked around the stove and Dad gave several examples of people he knew that acted like carrots or eggs.

Dad used the story of Joseph in Genesis to talk about the benefits of trials and suffering. Joseph was mistreated by his brothers, sold into slavery, mistreated by Potiphar’s wife, thrown into prison, but he kept coming back. He was able to respond well in the midst of difficult problems.

Dad reported that the activity was fun for their family but he continued, “A couple of days later my son came home from school and said, ‘I was like the coffee, Dad.’ I didn’t know what he meant but he went on to tell me that there was a problem at school that he handled well and remembered the coffee beans we’d boiled.”

Going it Solo?

Even if your spouse isn’t working with you on the spiritual training of your children, you do it faithfully and you’ll see great rewards. One mom said, “I used to be discouraged because my husband wouldn’t lead a devotion time in our family. I had to get over that because I knew that my kids needed spiritual training and I could give it to them. The amazing thing was that as I began teaching spiritual truths to my kids, my husband became more interested as well. It wasn’t long before he was also leading spiritually with the kids.”

Creativity can be a challenge sometimes. The most important thing is that you are transparent with your kids. If you are growing spiritually and sharing that with your children it’ll make an impact on their hearts. Don’t minimize the importance of spiritual training. Sometimes sports, academics, and extra activities crowd out the most important things in a child’s life. Remember that teaching spiritual truths to children isn’t optional. It’s part of our God-given responsibility. Many parents work hard to leave a financial inheritance for their kids. Don’t forget to also leave a spiritual heritage for them by training them spiritually.

The Seven Parenting Tools

There are seven tools in the Biblical Parenting Coaching Program used to bring about major changes in children. Each parent needs to tweak the recipe and use different combinations of the seven tools in order to reach a child’s heart. Seasoned and trained coaches are standing by to help you develop that recipe and implement it with your unique child. The fourth tool is PRAYER. The others are RELATIONSHIP, FIRMNESS, VISIONING, COACHING, TEACHING, and TRANSFERRING RESPONSIBILITY. Learn more about the Biblical Parenting Coaching Program here. 

Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN teach live parenting seminars around the country. They have written 15 books on parenting and have created five video training programs for parents. You may learn more at http://www.biblicalparenting.org. or www.thrivingkidsconnection.com

The post How to Teach Spirituality to Children appeared first on Thriving Kids Connection.

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Dr. Scott Turansky

Most kids spend their time thinking about the present, what they’ll do today or tomorrow. When they look at the future they may have some wishes, but imagining themselves as successful is quite a stretch for most. This is especially true of children who are a challenge to parent. They usually experience a lot of correction, causing doubt as to whether they’ll ever be successful in life.

As a parent, one of the things you can do to help your children now is to envision a positive future for them. Take a few minutes and imagine what your children will be like as adults. Some parents have immediate thoughts of gloom and doom, but instead, look at the good qualities your children have now and imagine how those qualities will benefit them later in life. Then share those observations with your children.

The Look Ahead

Envisioning a positive future looks beyond the day-to-day discipline and says, “I see qualities in you that are going to make you successful.” Statements like, “With that kind of thoughtfulness you’re going to make a great husband.” Or “Your thoroughness is going to make you a valuable employee someday.” When parents learn to view their children this way, they look past the daily grind of parenting to what their children are becoming. What is my child good at? What do I see now that will bring success as my child grows?

Children believe what their parents say about them. If a parent tells a child he’ll never amount to anything, he’s likely to incorporate that into his belief about himself and it may end up becoming true. You can take that same principle and teach your children to see the growth in themselves and the specific ways that God has blessed them.

Some children are magnets for correction. Every time you turn around you’re correcting that child for one thing or another. Those kids often begin to develop a rather negative view of themselves. They have a hard time envisioning a positive future because the present is full of things that they do wrong. Children live with the present and believing that change is possible can be elusive.

Inspire Hope

Children don’t have enough life experience to help them see that things change and improve over time. They sometimes get caught in a dismal view of their lives stuck in the present.

Spend time helping your child see the growth they’ve already experienced and the benefits of the work they’re currently doing to curb negative habits, develop more self-control, and become responsible. Interestingly enough, giving your children a positive vision for the future encourages them to live up to it now. The qualities you focus on end up being the ones they see in themselves and develop.

Matt said it this way, “I feel like my son Robert has several weaknesses and we’re working on them but he also has some strengths. He’s sympathetic and sensitive to others’ pain, for example. We had a fun conversation over dinner the other day. I told Robert that his sensitivity is rare and a good thing, and that it’ll help him a lot when he gets older. He gave me that puzzled look so I gave him some ideas about how sensitivity is a good adult quality. Maybe he’d want to help people who are hurt by working in a hospital or by becoming a counselor. Or the quality will just be helpful in making him a good husband and father someday. It was fun to watch the wheels turning in his head. He’d obviously not thought about that before and was encouraged.”

This Character Quality Will Empower You

Even when you correct your kids for their weaknesses, take time to explain why. It’s not just because they’ve inconvenienced you or made you angry. It’s because you see they’re lacking a quality that will make them successful in life someday. You don’t want to overemphasize deficiencies in children so that they feel like they don’t measure up, but you do want to give them a vision for developing positive qualities for the future.

Each time you discipline your child, you’re doing so because you want that child to grow up to be responsible and healthy. Instead of focusing on what the child did wrong, take time to emphasize the positive quality you’re trying to develop. Kids may resist and it may look as if they aren’t listening to what you’re saying, but don’t get discouraged. You’ll be surprised at how much they pick up from your correction and teaching.

Emphasizing a child’s strengths, or even potential strengths, nurtures a child’s heart. A healthy balance must be maintained in parenting between pointing out the negative and revealing the positive aspects of a child. It’s true that a sin nature corrupts all human hearts and that the solution is a relationship with Jesus Christ. As children grow, they need to incorporate the Lord into more and more areas of their lives.

Even if children don’t love the Lord as you do, you can give them a vision for it by treating them as part of God’s family. In this way you don’t stop sharing about the need for repentance, but you talk a lot about the benefits of knowing Jesus.

Envisioning a positive future gives your children hope and direction. It says, “You’re going to make it.” “I believe in you.” It’s a way to honor your kids. When you help your children see a positive future, you’re giving them a gift that will last a lifetime, a hopeful way of looking at themselves and their lives.

After all, God does this for us on a regular basis. Verses like Jeremiah 29:11 give us hope to live now to the fullest. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

The Seven Parenting Tools

There are seven tools in the Biblical Parenting Coaching Program used to bring about major changes in children. Each parent needs to tweak the recipe and use the seven tools in order to reach a child’s heart. Seasoned and trained coaches are standing by to help you develop that recipe and implement it with your unique child. The third tool is VISIONING. The others are RELATIONSHIP, FIRMNESS, PRAYER, COACHING, TEACHING, and TRANSFERRING RESPONSIBILITY. Learn more about the Biblical Parenting Coaching Program HERE.

Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN teach live parenting seminars around the country. They have written 15 books on parenting and have created five video training programs for parents. You may learn more at http://www.biblicalparenting.org. or www.thrivingkidsconnection.com

The post Kids With Challenges need VISION appeared first on Thriving Kids Connection.

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