Experience a live workshop this spring!

Want to grow in God’s grace and truth for parents? Come experience a live Connected Families workshop this spring!

workshop-skit-audience-Connected Families

Details about each workshop are on our website and, in most cases, on the church or organization’s website. Dig in to find more details and contact us at info@connectedfamilies.org if you still have unanswered questions.

Interested in learning more about hosting a Connected Families workshop at your church or organization? Find out everything you need to know here.

Special Event: On Tuesday evening, March 10, Jim and Lynne will speak in Edina, MN on the topic of Peaceful Parenting. This is a Connected Families event and is open to everyone interested. Learn more and register here.

3/6 & 3/7 – Set Apart for Women Conference – Roseville, MN
Hope and Freedom When The Heat is On

3/10 – Friendship Church MOPS – Shakopee, MN
Entitlement: A Biblical Response to the Cultural Epidemic

3/10 – Connected Families Sponsored Event – Edina, MN
Peaceful Parenting

3/13 – Oxboro MOPS – Bloomington, MN
Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart

3/14 – Grace Bible Church – Minooka, IL
Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart

3/14 – Quarry Community Church – Monticello, MN
Raise Kids with Respect, Responsibility and Real Faith

3/15 – Cornerstone Church – Crystal, MN
Entitlement: A Biblical Response to the Cultural Epidemic

3/18 – Maple Grove Evangelical Free Church – Maple Grove, MN
Discipline That Connects – Improv

3/22 – Westbrook Community Church – Chaska, MN
1 Thessalonians 2

3/25 – Cedar Valley Church – Bloomington, MN
Topic TBD

3/27 – Calvary Baptist Church – White Bear Township, MN
Clarity For the Chaos of Family Life

3/29 – Westbrook Community Church – Chaska, MN
Topic TBD

4/7 – Meadow Spring Church MOPS – Chaska, MN
Raise Kids With Respect, Responsibility and Real Faith

4/8 – Oak Hills Church – Eagan
Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart (Part 1 of 4)

4/10 – Winthrop Covenant MOPS

4/11 – Messiah Lutheran Church – Lakeville
Raise Kids With Respect, Responsibility and Real Faith

4/11 – Legacy Christian Academy

4/13 – Grace Fellowship MOPS – Brooklyn Park, MN
Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart

4/14 – Southwest Christian High School

4/15 – Oak Hills Church – Eagan
Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart (Part 1 of 4)

4/15 – Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

How Not to Take Sides When Siblings Fight

siblings argue dad takes side“Don’t jump to conclusions” and “believe the best in people” are two phrases I repeat often in my family — especially to my 10-year-old son.

But, if I’m honest, when my kids fight I am the one who jumps to conclusions and doesn’t believe the best in people.

As the youngest of four kids myself (poor, innocent me) I naturally see life from my daughter’s point of view (age 8). My husband, who grew up as the older brother of two, naturally sees life from our son’s point of view. When we get involved in our children’s fights it is almost impossible to act as neutral parties, since we’ve got our own baggage to deal with!

This is why, when I started immersing myself in Connected Families content a few years ago (before I was employed with them) parenting tips like “When Kids Fight” helped guide me through some really difficult times. Here’s one of my favorite lines:

If fighting children are constructively managed, they will learn to work through conflict constructively. They’ll learn that resolving conflict well is a win for both parties.

I want to prepare my children well for life… to “launch” them well into adulthood. This means that they know about practical life things, like using money wisely and the dangers of credit card debt. This also means knowing how to load and unload a dishwasher and clean a bathroom. But one of the most important things I can teach them — something they can use their entire life with a spouse, co-worker, or boss — is how to resolve conflict well – on their own, without my interference!

siblings fight take sides pin
Photo Credit: McIninch iStockphoto.com

So now, rather than instinctively barging in and taking my daughter’s side, I calmly use the following types of questions:

  • “Woah! Sounds pretty tense in here. Does anyone need a breather?”
  • “Do you two need help working this out, or can you do this on your own?”

And then, once my kids have resolved their conflict, I give them loads of praise and tell them what a fantastic skill they are learning that will help them forever.

No, I don’t get this right all the time. Sometimes when I am annoyed or tired or frustrated or stressed (or even just hungry) I charge in like a bull in a china shop and start making accusations and demands. And then I humbly pick up the pieces and apologize with the hopes that even my big mess-ups can be used to teach humility, grace, and the importance of resolution.

A Prescription for Connection [video]

A pediatrician friend of ours once had parents bring in their child and request a diagnosis of Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) so they could get a prescription. But our wise friend took a look beneath the surface to what was really going on. Hear the rest of the story in this short video clip.

Apply It Now:

  • Whether it’s 5 minutes or 5 hours, make a plan right now to spend some focused time with each child.
  • If you’re not sure how to connect with your kids, considering making your first parent-child “date” a discussion of ways you could connect!

How do I talk to my kids about sin?

Connected Families Q&AParents ask us questions nearly every day. In this ongoing series, we’ll answer some. Have a question? Ask it here.

Recently we received a question from a parent who, after reading this this [previous] blog post, was confused about how to use scripture to talk with her kids about sin.

Q: How did I talk to my kids about sin?
I think the word sin is lost in our culture, since most people generally don’t like that word, other than some adults may use the phrase, “I was living in sin.” My children don’t really have an idea of when they ever sin. This [previous] blog post is a little confusing as I feel I use scripture for reproof so that my children can see when they are grieving the heart of God. And, that leads to confession as it’s hard to confess when you don’t feel you have done anything wrong in your life.

How to Parent Together When You’re Total Opposites

parents opposites conflict

When I married Jim, I was very attracted to his fun-loving playfulness. He frequently made me laugh with his gregarious joy. (Even as I write this he is singing and chatting while making our coffee!) He loved how responsible and focused I was and how I thought deeply about things. Opposites attract, right? We were smitten.

Ten years and 3 kids later, our opposite personalities caused more struggle than attraction. My vigilance about schedules to keep, messes to clean and laundry to do were a mismatch for Jim’s tendency to avoid responsibility in the name of fun. While we had a deep and abiding commitment to each other and a shared vision for the kind of family we wanted to be, the surface issues rooted in our differences were gaining power. We found ourselves sliding into polarized “Fun-meister vs. Task-master” roles that often had us feeling like we were pitted against each other instead of two members of the same team.

Why Conflicts are Sometimes Just the Tip of the Iceberg…

iceberg emotions under the surface

© 2009 Natalie Lucier, Flickr

Sometimes conflict with our kids can seem to arise out of nowhere. Or, a conversation that seemed to be over something relatively minor can explode with little warning into a full-fledged battle.

Why does this happen?

A lot of the time, it’s because of emotions under the surface.

Watch the video below to hear about the time I discovered an iceberg of emotions in the middle of a conflict with my daughter, Bethany.

The Real Reason for a Lot of Misbehavior

discouraged child real reason misbehavior pin
Photo Credit: 3dv1n iStockphoto.com

Have you ever noticed that kids rarely misbehave when they feel truly happy and deeply secure? There’s a reason for this.

When our children misbehave, there is almost always underlying discouragement or anxiety that drives the misbehavior. Rushing to address the misbehavior without understanding the discouragement often backfires, in one of two ways:

  1. It fuels the power struggle flames and misbehavior escalates.
  2. The intensity of effort to make it stop “works” to curb misbehavior in the short run, but feeds the discouragement, which feeds further misbehavior in the long run.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Who Has the Time for This??

At a recent workshop, I talked about the importance of family meetings and gave some tips for when and how to have them.

Over the course of the workshop, I could see that a particular gentleman was completely engaged in the topic and that we had built some rapport based on his attentiveness, head nods (yeses, not sleeping!), and questions he asked.

At the end, he asked me a question in complete sincerity: “Family meetings sound great, but where could we possibly find the time to do them?”

Mirror Cells 101: Lynne’s Favorite Idea from the Online Course

Lynne here. Jim and I are thrilled to share our upcoming online course with you all in just a few days!

One of the things I really enjoyed as we planned and filmed this course was getting to put on my “occupational therapist” hat and dig into the neurology behind parenting interactions. Today I’d love to share with you about mirror neurons. Take a look!

To learn more about “your brain on discipline”, click below to be notified as soon as registration for our online course opens.

Notify me when registration opens!

We hope to see you there!