Planning a vacation this year? Read this first.

How to be intentional as you plan a trip.

Your kids are watching you. Constantly. All the subtle messages from the way you live life are being absorbed by their active little minds, even if neither you nor your child are aware of it. During the summer months, there are more chances for together time, as well as opportunities for you to show your kids the kinds of values you hope they will embrace. How you do vacations is no exception. Family vacations can be memorable and deepen relationships with one another. They can also be a wonderful opportunity to teach principles that will help your kids grow in wisdom.  Before you plan your summer trip consider being thoughtful about the messages you are sending your child regarding how you vacation.

What is the purpose of your vacation?

In our hectic society, it is easy to either skip vacations because we can’t carve out the time, or collapse in an over-priced luxurious spot just to have rest and ready-made entertainment. But…

Fighting For Love – Even What It’s Hard

Valentine’s Day and anniversaries are often viewed as a barometer for our romantic relationship. But it’s NOT roses and romance a couple days a year that define a relationship — it’s the deep commitment to fight for connection no matter what.

— ROUND 1 —

Jim’s and my 25th anniversary evening was an adventure to say the least. Jim planned a boat outing on a nearby lake, and packed sumptuous hors’ d’oeuvres. I had composed a song about the joy of our journey and would surprise him when the mood was right. As we hit the lake the wind kicked up and was soon blowing 40 MPH! This hampered our ability to freely cruise the shoreline, so we headed for the protected side of an island and made a wonderful campfire.

Break the Yelling Habit

7 Practical Ways to Bring Lasting Change

Almost every parent yells. Some more than others. Regrettably, I (Jim) was probably on the side of more than average yelling. It went something like this:

My child did or said something I didn’t like and I felt irritated. In my irritation I said in a firm voice, “Stop it!” It wasn’t technically yelling, but may as well have been. My child felt my negative energy and matched or maybe exceeded my volume. Repeat. Then, as the volume increased, since I was the biggest, scariest yeller, I usually ended up defeating my child. I eventually got what I wanted and figured I’d won.

Until it kept happening and the kids grew colder toward me.

As a parent coach for the last decade, I (Lynne) have never met one parent that feels good about habitually yelling at their kids. One client named Dave* summarized what I often hear: “I came from a long line of yellers, and I’m doing the same thing. I’d really like to stop, but it’s harder than I thought.” Like so many parents, Dave’s good intentions weren’t enough. The triggers kept triggering and Dave kept yelling, until he learned a few new ideas to help break the cycle.  

Are Guilt and Shame the Same Thing?

How we can teach our kids the difference

You know you shouldn’t have lost your temper in a recent conflict with a loved one. But you did. To resolve the aftermath, you prayed for forgiveness and reconciled thoroughly with the one you wronged. Then why do you feel like your soul is weighed down under a heap of rocks as you replay the interaction over and over?

What you might be feeling is shame, which is vastly different than guilt. Read about the differences below and how you might talk about this with your kids.

Our top 5 posts of 2017

Every day, the staff of Connected Families goes to work, seeking the wisdom of God, and shaping our resources to fit what we think our readers, parents like you, need most. We spend hours writing, editing, and discussing our content, making sure we do our best to communicate God’s grace and truth for families. At the end of the day, we hear from you through comments on our social media feeds, or through email responses, but we don’t know for sure what lands most until the end of the year when we take a look at our stats.

What did parents of 2017 find most relevant for their family? What parenting resources were they frequently seeking out on the internet? The algorithms have been crunched, and below are the top five blog posts clicked most often in 2017 in descending order. Which one resonates most for you? We’d love to hear!

And then, share your favorite article with your friends or parenting groups you are part of! Our marketing dollars are limited, and word of mouth is simply the best!

5. Six Practical Tips to Tame Your Temper

4. Intense Kids: The Essential First Step in Responding to Big Emotions

3. Helping Kids with their Anger: A creative activity to reduce outbursts and prepare kids for healthy relationships

2. Should We Demand Immediate Obedience?

1.  Are You An Emotionally Safe Parent?

Christmas greetings from Connected Families

Messes. You’re likely surrounded by a bunch of them. Piles of dishes in the kitchen. Wrapping paper on the floor. Tired and over-sugared children. Stressed relationships. Just like parenting, Christmas is both messy, and beautiful.

Today we celebrate Jesus coming into our messy, beautiful world. To meet us exactly where we are and to draw us into a relationship with God, our heavenly Father.

At Connected Families, we strive every day to meet parents exactly where they are in their parenting journey. To meet them in the mess. To encourage, to challenge. To celebrate and see the beauty in even the smallest parenting successes.

Our deepest heart’s desire is for parents to embrace God’s grace so they can pass that grace onto their children in the messiest of messes. And then, prayerfully, kids will be attracted to a relationship with Christ as they see their parents living out their faith in the messes and the beauty of daily life.

Whether you’ve been following Connected Families for years or are new to our mailing list (welcome!) we are honored to join you in your parenting journey. We wish you and your loved ones a beautiful Christmas celebration.

Jim and Lynne Jackson
Co-founders
Connected Families

 

What do I do when my child just says no?

Recently we received this question from Michelle:

I am struggling with a tween who often says no to my requests. She is a good girl most of the time, but she will be disrespectful to me, and I have no idea what appropriate/related consequences to give her when she tells me “no,” and then in essence dismisses me by looking back down at her book, ipod, etc.

I try to remain calm, but when I tell her this is a warning, and that she will have a consequence for not obeying, she will look at me and ask what it is. And normally say, “Oh well, no big deal,” and still not obey me. I also realize that hormones are playing a part in her behavior, but she cannot say no to me when I ask her to do something. HELP!!! Normally she will apologize later that night when we are praying together, but she still didn’t do whatever I asked.

Jim’s response:
It’s so great that after an encounter like that your daughter will apologize and pray with you. It shows that she respects you and feels remorse for what she’s done. This is actually rather uncommon, and you can feel grateful for this – even affirm it in your daughter.

Struggling with a disobedient child? We can help.

You’ve been hearing us talk about the Discipline That Connects Online Course for a few weeks. But do you still have questions? We’ve got answers!

What is the structure of the course?
There are six sessions that are pre-recorded and available to you on your schedule! You can start taking the course as soon as you register. This means that you can take it day or night and go through the course as fast as you want. The six sessions are streaming videos with reflection questions interspersed. We highly encourage course participants to leave comments throughout the course, but don’t require comments to move to the next session.

How long does each session take?
Each session takes between 45 and 75 minutes to complete. There are approximately 45 minutes of video for each session. The balance of the time is used for reflection and to answer questions. You can break it up to fit your schedule because it is always there for you!

Read our full list of FAQs here.

Read below from parents who have been challenged and encouraged in their parenting journey.

Did you ever imagine discipline would be so hard? We can help


W
hen 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’ve got.

You see glimpses of progress with your kids. But you know your family is capable of so much more.

You just can’t seem to get there. We get it – we’ve been there ourselves and with thousands of parents over the past two decades.

6 Survival Tips for Parents of Teens

In our work coaching hundreds of parents of tweens and teens over the years, we’ve uncovered six common themes that leave teens feeling a little more encouraged and willing to respect their parents. (And, if you’re a parent of a tween or teen, we’ll be featured Saturday, Sep 23 on the FREE online Parenting Teens Summit!)

1. When your teen challenges you, don’t fight them. LISTEN!

This is NOT about giving in or being a doormat. It is more about incorporating listening and affirming as part of your process in guiding them. To do this requires stopping, taking a breath, maybe even uttering a short prayer when challenged: “Lord, help me reflect your grace and truth here.” You’ll gain far more respect and authority in your child’s eyes by this approach than by forcing your agenda on them. Kids that really feel listened to gradually learn to listen to others.