What to do when kids swear or say OMG…

Swearing and OMG (1)

“S#*t,” “Oh My God.” …or “What the _____?” We’ve heard from numerous parents that this kind of language hurts their ears as well as their hearts. If this is a struggle in your family, here’s how you might respond through the Discipline that Connects framework.

“You are SAFE with me!”

To communicate emotional safety while addressing your kids’ word choices means coming alongside them as their understanding helper instead of their judge (can they ever tell the difference!). Are your kids worried they won’t fit in? Do they even know what the words mean?

In the same way, it’s helpful to understand what might be behind your angst when your kids say offensive words. Consider these questions:

One Way to Turn Bedtime Routines Around

From Challenging to Affirming

One Way to Turn Bedtime Routines Around

What happens at bedtime can set the tone for an entire evening and even impact the following morning. I often coach families that face struggles as their kids are getting to bed. Emotions can be high and even the anticipation of bedtime can create stress in a family. Does this sound familiar? Just as eight o’clock (or whatever time you have set) approaches, do you sense the tension rising? I coached one family through their bedtime routine and found a way together to improve the atmosphere around bedtime and end the day on a positive note.

Prep Your Kids for a Responsible School Year

Getting an education is a tremendous privilege. Most parents recognize that future opportunities are built on many layers of learning that happen during the school years. That’s why when kids make poor choices at school, either behavioral or academic, parents usually get pretty upset. If we are honest, it’s mostly because we think our kids’ bad judgment or irresponsibility reflects poorly on US! But really, their behavior is THEIR “report card” and not ours. As school approaches, take some time to prepare your children to be responsible for themselves this school year.

Prep Your Kids for a Responsible School Year

6 Ways to Combat Back-to-School Anxiety

Lessons for Parents and Kids

Heading back to school can be an anxious and stressful time for kids — and for parents, too! New schedules, new notebooks, new teachers and classmates add up to a lot of excitement and oftentimes, anxiety. All that change can get everyone in the family into a tizzy. One important element to consider is the way in which a parent or caregiver can intentionally help children face the upcoming school year, especially if they are feeling nervous about school. Here are a few proactive tips to help smooth the transition this fall:

6 Ways to Combat Back-to-School Anxiety

Is Your Child Lazy?

How to Find the Gift Behind What Seems Like a Challenge

Is Your Child Lazy-

Lazy Child, Lazy Adult?

As parents, we hope to raise children that turn into productive, helpful adults, but the path to getting there can seem rough. Getting kids to do daily chores; like making their beds, helping with meals, or doing yard work can feel like an exercise in futility–or for sure an exercise in nagging. How can parents inspire kids to get up off the couch, away from a screen and ready and willing to tackle their chores? Connected Families believes that taking a different view of unwanted behaviors in kids is one of the first steps in helping your children grow into responsible, capable adults.

We often receive letters asking for parenting advice.  Here’s one we just had to share about one family’s struggle with a “lazy” child.  Read on to gain a new perspective on laziness.

Is There a Gift in Laziness?

Hello Jim and Lynne,

What is God’s gift in laziness? I have a youngest daughter that only does exactly what is asked and nothing more, even if it’s obvious there’s something else that needs to be done to complete the job. She also seems to go to the bathroom at inopportune times and makes herself scarce when there is work to be done. Please help me see the gift in my child.


A Connected Family Story

The Bellward Family Goes on a Mission Trip


One of the many cool things about Connected Families is the staff. We all understand that parenting takes a lot of work, a lot of intentional planning and that it is worth it. We, too, have been in the trenches, trying to learn how to “do it right” and bring peace and connection at home. When you receive coaching, sign up for an ecourse, or read a Connected Families book, front and center are people just like you who have faced difficult parenting questions and have done our best to  grow a family that is stronger. We believe in a forgiving God who comes alongside us as parents just as we desire to come alongside our children nurturing what is best for them and in them.

Stacy Bellward is the Connected Families online course moderator. She is moderating the new Sibling Conflict Online Course and took the time to share how she implemented the things she has learned from the course while on a recent mission trip.

In her own words:

This summer was the first time I took my girls on a full fledged mission trip. I do not regret a second of it…but that does not mean it was all smooth. The thing was, I got to use SO MUCH of what Connected Families has taught me.  

I chose a mission trip to support an existing initiative and provide something wanted or needed. In our case, we supported a small church and provided a Vacation Bible School to all their kids – something they did not have the resources to do. Ultimately, I wanted a place for my tween girls (10 and 12 years old)  to have a place to serve and a reason for us to have deep preparatory conversations around mission and service and the vision and greater purpose for our lives.


The Bellward girls on the way to their mission trip!

This trip hit the mark.

Dad stayed home to work and fund the trip, so it was just us girls. We faced an obstacle right off the bat. We were camping and that meant that the three of us had to take on a new role of setting up the tent, something that typically dad had done.

With advice from the new Sibling Conflict course in my ears, I realized this would be an opportunity to get the girls to learn and accomplish a task together and gain confidence in their abilities. So, I asked my husband to teach the girls how to set the tent up. (I was pretty proud of myself for coming up with this great idea!)  

But, I quickly had to implement all the calming skills I learned when things started getting ugly.

Is Your Child Entitled to a Trophy?

A young mom queried me intently after our talk on Entitlement in kids. “What do you do about the culture around us that guarantees that every child is a “winner” at participating and receives a trophy, even for last place?”

We commiserated about how rampant this attitude is, that dispenses trophies and stickers and stars and ribbons ad nauseum to make sure no one feels bad, and puts caps and gowns on kindergarteners for conquering a rigorous academic year.

So practically, how can you respond to this widespread attitude of trophy entitlement? Here’s what I told Jill.

Tired of Sibling Fighting? We Can Help!


Tired of Sibling Fighting-

Parents of siblings… did you ever think it would be this hard?

You imagined your kiddos as best friends, being there for each other throughout life, always having each other’s backs. And yet, here they are, yo-yo-ing from best friends to bitter enemies several times a day. Sometimes it seems like the “best friend” moments are becoming increasingly fleeting as you just try to keep the next world war from launching in your living room.

We’ve been there. We feel your pain. And we’re working to develop an online course specifically to address this seemingly impossible challenge.

Don’t Force Sharing… Help Grow Generous Hearts!

siblings share generous

The “Toddler Rules of Sharing” linger well into childhood (and beyond)…

  1. If I like it, it’s mine.
  2. If it’s in my hand, it’s mine.
  3. If I can take it from you, it’s mine.
  4. If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
  5. If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.

Sometimes teaching kids to share may feel like pulling teeth. We humans are naturally selfish, and often young children express this selfishness most vocally with impressive bouts of whining. “But I don’t WANT to share!”