Today we’d like to share with you a story from the blog of Bo, a dad who with his wife Jen took our online course and shared with us this beautiful story of their journey to become safer parents. We hope you are as blessed by it as we were!
A safe place. What do you think of when I use that phrase?
The picture I think of is changing. Let me explain.
Our youngest, Isley, is finally asleep in the bed. Eilam, Kale and Fallon are at the grandparents’ house for a sleepover. It is 10:30 at night and Jen and I sit on the bedroom floor, open the computer, and prepare to listen to our second class in a course titled “Discipline that Connects.” Tonight’s topic – “You are safe with me.” Little did I know I was fixin’ to learn a valuable and practical lesson in that very topic.
Have you ever felt like your parenting just needs a breath of fresh air? So did these parents — and they found it in our Discipline that Connects online course! Watch and see what four real parents had to say about their experience.
Amazing stories of heart-change from real parents! And Christine even said that “The parenting model that the Jacksons teach and model in this class is so life-giving and wonderful that there were many times I personally felt healing in my own heart over the negative parenting I was raised with.” What a blessing!
Sometimes when parents make constructive parenting changes, things appear to get worse before they get better. This is because changes, even positive ones, throw kids off-balance. They live by a well-learned set of unwritten rules and it sometimes takes a while to grow comfortable with new “rules” of engagement. So they will often push even harder to test their parents resolve.
One of my coaching clients experienced this with her 9-year-old son, and gave permission to share it in hopes that it would help other parents.
When it comes to raising your kids, we know how frustrating it can be to put your whole heart into it over the years and continue seeing the same issues, the same misbehavior, the same fights, repeat themselves over and over again.
You read as many parenting books as you can get your hands on. You stay up sometimes for hours researching articles on the internet. You give it everything you have. And yet, the same issues keep popping up. And sometimes all you can do is snap:
“Stop that right now — or you’re grounded!”
“You can’t talk to me that way — go to your room!”
“Give me that toy — you won’t see it again till next week!”
We get it. We all want our kids to behave wisely… but in trying to help them toward that goal, sometimes we instead get caught in a spiral of angry behavior management.
Over the years, we’ve learned a different way to approach misbehavior and parenting — an approach that is full of God’s grace and truth for parents and kids.
When you became a mother, you likely pictured images of you and your children frolicking, playing, creating and bonding. You probably didn’t have visions of yourself with your face beet red, eyes bulging and words that you thought you’d never say spilling from your lips.
But here you are, ready to pull your hair out! You’re not sure how you even got to this point or how to find your way out of the rut. So you make promises to yourself to keep your cool, to be more patient, to practice deep breathing techniques. Only to pick up the pieces after you’ve blown it… one more time. You know you are capable of so much more than just “holding it together,” but you just can’t seem to get there.
As a child (and even as a young adult), I really struggled with having grace for people who either didn’t or couldn’t follow the rules. Kids who did poorly or misbehaved in school, my younger sister who was less “shiny” than I was, non-believers, or even people who just didn’t have it as “together” as I thought they should — I was outwardly humble, but inside I looked down on them with condescension and self-righteousness. Why couldn’t they just follow these simple rules?
If you want your kids to respect and value your “no’s!” work harder on your “yeses!”
It’s good to teach kids the various “No’s!” in life. The best foundation for doing this is to help them habitually experience the resounding joy of the “Yes!”
If you want your children to say “no” to mistreating each other, create experiences — lots of them — in which they are on the same “team” having fun together. Celebrate the fun with them. Verbally affirm it: “You guys seem so happy when you’re having fun together.”
Or, if you want your children to say “no” to too much screen time, help them find ways to experience the joy of real-world experiences. If they like adventures, go on a hike or a camping trip. If they like movies, help them make one.
Or, if you want your kids to value saying “no” to too much unhealthy food, do lots of things to enjoy finding and preparing healthy food together.
The older they get the harder it is, so start early and often!