4 Sure-Fire Tips for Parents to Survive the Summer

family summer sanity connection

It’s summer again, and you know what that means: a totally different rhythm to schedules and family time, with lots of time for connection… and conflict.

There are long, glorious days ahead: sunshine, free time and the slower pace of summer means that you can create lasting family memories. It also means more time for tempers to flare–yours and your kids’!–when our expectations for a great memory-worthy summer don’t happen the way we imagined. We don’t want you to feel like you are just biding your time until school returns. You can make the most of your family time this summer, and make it the best summer yet with grace and connection.

We thought we’d help you kick off your summer by re-sharing one of our favorite summer posts — 4 tips to help you retain your parenting sanity this summer.

Final tagline vote! We need your help!

cf tagline demo

Dear Friends,

Recently, we sent an email with seven options for our new tagline. There was a clear winner out of those seven, but we also received some other fantastic suggestions. Using your input, we’ve refined and narrowed it down to four excellent options. We are seeking your help once more in selecting the final tagline.

We asked you to imagine yourself googling “how to be a good parent” or “how to discipline my kid” or “Christian parenting strategies” and seeing a tagline jump out at you. Which one is it?

  • Practical, Purposeful and Peaceful Parenting
  • Purposeful, Peaceful Parenting
  • Restoring Peace and Connection at Home
  • Your Guide to Confident, Peaceful Parenting

Click here to vote!

We’ll keep the survey open until Thursday morning and then announce the new tagline that day on Facebook.

Thanks for your input and continued encouragement!

Blessings as you grow a connected family,
Jim Jackson
President and Co-Founder

The Power of Defiance

defiant jesusJesus was defiant.

He defied Satan’s temptation. He defied the religious structures of the day. He defied legalism. He even defied death.

One of our problems as parents is that we treat our kids’ defiance as if it is entirely bad. We then seek to make it go away – sometimes at all costs.

What if instead of a thinking of defiance as a problem we saw it as evidence of a gift God put in our children, coming out in unrefined, selfish,  or sinful ways?

After all, it takes boldness, conviction, strength of will, and a plan to be defiant.

What if our job was not to make defiance go away, but to affirm and re-purpose those talents after the pattern of Jesus’ defiance?

Apply It Now

A Simple but Powerful Way to Unite Your Family

bible family bible verse purposeWhat’s your family all about? What’s your family’s purpose? What kind of family do you want to be? How do you want to treat each other?

At Connected Families, we often talk and write about these kinds of questions because having a vision of what kind of family you want to be can change everything.

One great way to work together to have a shared vision for your family is to choose a family Bible verse!

We need your help! Vote for our new tagline.

Dear friends,

There are many parents out there that could benefit from the Connected Families ministry. We’d love your help reaching these parents!

You see, in a world of constant images and sound bites, it’s not enough to have great resources. First impressions are a really big deal in the internet world and this is where your help comes in.

We need a new tagline that speaks to the hearts and minds of parents. It should capture parents’ best hopes while speaking well into their current reality. And it should powerfully describes what Connected Families offers.

cf tagline demo

So imagine yourself on one of those days. You’ve got a handful of parenting challenges and you feel stuck. You’re tired, overwhelmed, and looking for encouragement AND for practical help. You go online and type “Christian parenting” in the search bar. You get several hundred thousand results. You see a bunch of familiar sites, many whose ideas you’ve tried before and other sites you’ve never seen. You scroll through, looking for something new and fresh that speaks to the heart of what you’re feeling and wanting.

Then you see a tagline–it jumps off the page at you. A tagline that feels both understanding and hopeful. You almost can’t help but click because in a few short words this tagline captures what you’re looking for.

And that tagline is… perhaps one of these options below!

We want to hear your voice! Of the options below, which one most compels you to click and learn more about Connected Families?

———————-> VOTE HERE <———————-

  • Biblical tools for today’s parents
  • Equipping parents to bring God’s compelling grace and truth to life
  • Equipping parents to lead with confidence and grace
  • Practical, Purposeful and Peaceful Parenting
  • Simple grace for the complex parenting journey
  • Uncommon Grace and Truth for Parenting
  • Your Guide to Confident, Peaceful Parenting

———————-> VOTE HERE <———————-

Do any of these options draw you in? Do you have a recommendation for us to consider? We are excited to partner with you in this process and appreciate your insight.


Jim Jackson
Connected Families

How to Develop Empathy in Kids (Part 2)

empathy kids hold hands part 2When kids feel safe with us and truly understood, they usually will open their hearts. This allows us to walk alongside them in the vulnerable journey of learning about emotions and empathy for others.

As we embark on this journey with them, the more creative and non-judgmental we are, the more they can learn.

Today we’ll look at how to approach teaching kids empathy from the last two principles in our Framework: Coach and Correct.

Connected Families Framework - 4 actions, 4 messages

How to Develop Empathy in Kids (Part 1)

empathy kids hold hands part 1Developing empathy for others is one of the greatest gifts we can give our kids. It’s a “must have” if we want to equip them for healthy intimate relationships in life.

Every child is capable of learning empathy, but it can be quite difficult to learn (especially if your child is experiencing a lot of anxiety and stress in life).

In fact, often we expect our kids to just “know” how to be empathetic, even when things are stressful. In the heat of conflict, I may ask, “Do you know how [your sibling] feels right now!?” and expect my child to be able to give an insightful answer.

If our kids really could respond insightfully at that point, they might say something like this: “Regretfully, I don’t know how my sibling feels. My brain is in a fight/flight state, and my amygdala has shut down what little there is of my still quite immature frontal lobe, including the section* where I can process empathy. So my sister might as well be speaking Wookie.”

Clearly, the starting point for teaching kids empathy is not in the heat of the moment.

We learned this pretty quickly with our kids. Our oldest son, Daniel, was dealing with the stress of an extremely gifted brain and intense emotions. He didn’t easily “step into another person’s shoes” or perspective, especially when upset. Bethany generally understood others’ feelings but had difficulty verbalizing her own during conflict resolution. Our youngest, Noah, was a happy-go-lucky guy who simply didn’t think about feelings a lot. We had our work cut out for us.

We learned some practical ways to help all our kids develop the rich emotional insight that has equipped them for wonderful relationships in life – with each other and others. The framework that guided us in our early years was particularly helpful in this challenge of developing empathy.

Connected Families Framework - 4 actions, 4 messages

Let’s take a look at how each level of the Framework informs our approach to developing empathy in our kids.

The Big Do Over

Joel & Amy and fam

Amy, Joel, and their two sons

Recently we received this story from Joel and Amy Nelson, parents of two sons, who have previously shared their story here. Enjoy!

Parenting may not come with a manual, but I sure have read a lot of the parenting books out there! One common message that I encountered in my reading was, in all that you do, “be consistent”.

This logic was all well and good, except when I was not in a good place to address the situation calmly because of what was going on inside of me – exasperation, frustration, or just plain being tired and worn out from a day. If one of my sons challenged me during these times, it was “game on”.

It typically would start with me giving a consequence just because I was mad. “If you do that one more time, you will lose (insert favorite item here) for one day.” Then, if there was any whining, it was, “OK, that’s two days!” Then after the pouty huffing, “OK, one week, do you want more?” Then after the slammed door, “OK, A MONTH!!!” And then, there I was — stuck in the consequences I had given, having to “be consistent” and follow through.

Give us four hours of your time, and we’ll give you a new outlook on parenting.

coaching couple - sidebar banner 2Parenting is tough work.

You’ve read all the books. You’ve scoured helpful (and not-so-helpful) information online. You’ve talked and shared “war stories” with friends.

But you’re still feeling stuck. And, what’s worse, it’s eroding your confidence as a parent.

If you continue to parent out of frustration, anger, and angst, the issues you’re experiencing won’t go away. In fact, they’ll likely get worse.

The good news is, we know how to help.