How to Break the Cycle of Crabbiness and Negativity

crabby child negativity cycle

goodynewshoes |


Kids get crabby. Grown-ups do, too. Especially when their best efforts to help crabby kids just leads to more crabbiness.

“This is just a stupid day. It’s raining and our baseball game got cancelled. But I’m not any good and I’d just sit on the bench anyway. So now there’s nobody to play with, and you won’t let me play computer now. Everything is just dumb!”

Stay Home, Build Your Connected Family, Make a Difference


Dear Friends,

Over the past twelve years Connected Families has grown from reaching hundreds of local parents to reaching thousands of parents throughout the country (and world) with quality posts, events, and resources. We want to keep expanding and reach thousands more parents around the world, because connected families are a reflection of God’s grace and truth.

So we are initiating a unique fundraising event: Build Connection 2015! By making the decision to financially support Connected Families through monthly giving or a one time gift, two things will happen: (1) you will be given purposeful materials that will build connection in your home for the upcoming year, and (2) you will be allowing us to expand our reach to more parents around the world!

Register for Build Connection 2015!

Don’t Get Busted by Your Kids: Watch, Ask, and Listen!

attention child interests connection grandpa

Shonna1968 | Flickr


A mother of five told us that her older children once “busted” her and her husband with an insightful observation: “We know you’re not listening when you say, ‘Wow, that’s great!’” The children were able to discern that the parents were really not listening or observing very closely. Fortunately, they could state their disappointment aloud and the parents could respond. Many kids in this pattern just grow up believing that perhaps they are not so important.

When we seek to communicate to our kids that they’re loved no matter what, one great way is to enter their world: watch, ask, listen! In other words, take an active interest in — and pay real attention to — learning from them about things they enjoy.

Should My Kid Get a Participation Trophy Just for Showing Up?

trophies for participation

terren in Virginia | Flickr


This week a former NFL player, James Harrison, sent out an Instagram message regarding his two sons receiving “participation trophies” even though they didn’t win anything.

Harrison, the youngest of 14 kids and a two-time Super Bowl winner himself, struck a chord with many who believe that trophies should be given to those who “earned” them and not simply to those who “tried their best”.

Connected Families Events: Around the Midwest, the USA, and the world!

workshop vid still

As a new school year is upon us, take some time for a parenting refresher!

Below you’ll find our events for this coming fall (September – December) but we’ll continue to add to our calendar! Each month we’ll send an updated events calendar with additional information. Most of our workshops are in the upper midwest, but the ones that pertain to a national and international audience are starred so you can easily find them.

Want Kids to Value Your Advice? Try This.

advice child values parent

Multiart |


Caroline was thoughtful as I described how our young adult kids call from time to time and ask us to help them think through a situation.

“After they describe their dilemma, we usually ask them thoughtful questions to guide their thinking,” I explained.

“Hmm.” Caroline thought for a moment. “Neither my husband or I ever call our parents asking for input with a challenge. When we talk to our parents we don’t feel listened to, we feel lectured. They were very authoritarian when we were young, and they really haven’t changed.”

That insight about her own parents guided a great discussion about the kind of relationship she wanted to have with her children as they grow.

How to Connect with Your Kids — Even When You’re Opposites!

connecting parent child opposites

US Dept of Education | Flickr


Let’s be honest: sometimes relating to our kids is hard.

Yes, some of the time connecting with kiddos is easy — especially with the ones that seem like little versions of ourselves, where we can easily spot similarities and shared interest.

But what do we do when connecting with our kids doesn’t come so easily? How do we find ways to genuinely connect with even the most oppositely-wired kiddos?

Connected Families on the God-Centered Mom Podcast

Connected Families - God Centered Mom Podcast

Recently we (Jim and Lynne) headed over to chat with Heather at the God Centered Mom Podcast.

Heather is the mom of four boys, and we had a wonderful and lively conversation about everything parenting — from our four core messages of safety, love, capability, and responsibility to how to break the cycle of shame and parent from God’s grace and truth.

You can listen to our conversation in two parts on her blog:

Have a listen and then let us know — what ideas resonate with you the most? Share in the comments!

Do you know any other bloggers or podcasters we should connect with? Send us a note and let us know!