Does Your Family Pray BIG Prayers?

Building a culture of prayer in your home

Growing a Culture of Prayer (1)Do you ever feel like praying as a family is just “going through the motions”?  

As parents, and as Christians, many of us place great value on prayer. But sometimes figuring out how to grow a culture of prayer can be difficult — especially if our personal prayer life is consistently a challenge. If we do not value prayer it is unlikely that our children will. God wants us to pray. God calls us to pray.  Are we prepared to PRAY BIG as a family?  

We’ve gathered five practical ideas to make your family’s prayer life a team effort and shift it from self-focused to others-focused:

1. Pray BIG prayers.

Our kids get a sample of the size of God we worship by the size of prayers we pray. Do we believe in the God of the Bible, who the apostle Paul said in Ephesians 3:20 could do “immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine”? What if we spent more time praying for others than we do for ourselves?

NOTE: As you pray God-size prayers, are you willing to be part of the answer? Funny how God works that way, sometimes!

2. Ask kids about their perspective on prayer and why it is important:

Talking about prayer with our kids can sometimes be intimidating or create a sense of shame in us; especially since we don’t have it all figured out. It’s important to gain our kids perspective. Include them in the conversation! Some possible questions might be:

  • Do you think it is important to pray?
  • Why would God tell/want us to pray?
  • How could we incorporate prayer into our family?
  • What difference do you think it makes if we pray?
  • Who/what do you think we should be adding to our prayer list?

3. Allow prayer to be an ongoing conversation throughout your day, even allowing your kids to listen or join in.

Deuteronomy chapter 6 gives a good outline about how to pass faith along to our kids. In verses 5-9, God outlines the importance of making faith and discussing God’s commandments an everyday activity of life. In much the same way, praying out loud in the car for a friend or thanking God for a blessing you have received, sends a message that prayer is not a mealtime or bedtime ritual. It’s a part of our everyday life; just like eating, sleeping and breathing!

4. Engage kids on their level and with their preferences.

When creating a culture of prayer sometimes a child or two may be less interested than you hope. Generally, keep prayer times short. It’s not the time to pull out a laundry list of family issues while you have a captive audience! If kids don’t want to participate, that’s okay. No guilting. No shaming. Just good modeling and acceptance for where they are at this point in time. Kids that are too shy to pray can be the ones to suggest a person to pray for, and they could even draw a simple picture of that person while a parent prays. Imagine Gramma’s and the child’s delight when he/she helps you mail Gramma the picture with a note, “We prayed for you today!”

5. Keep a record of how God responded to your prayers.

If we are going to be honest, sometimes as parents we can wonder about why we pray as well. Is God really hearing us? Does He really care? Keeping a prayer journal can help remind us of how God has answered in the past which can spur us on to continue our praying ways.

Apply It Now:

  • What God-size prayers could you pray as a family?
  • Put a map on the wall in a prominent place to mark people/places that are in your prayers.
  • Put photos on your fridge to remind your family to pray for specific people.

At Connected Families we believe in the power of prayer and so we’re inviting you to both pray for us and to share your personal prayer requests with us.  Do you consider yourself to be a person of prayer?  We’d love to have you join our
Prayer Team where you will receive a monthly email from us with our updated prayer requests and praises.

When Kids Don’t Listen

Breaking into your Child’s Focus Bubble with Grace

When Kids Do Not Listen (1)

“How do I get my child to listen?!!”
Listening when you’re addressed by someone is a great life skill, but one that often our children don’t seem too eager to learn! Frustrated parents often say, “I hate it, but I just have to yell, and then they’ll
finally listen.” What we’ve learned through decades of coaching parents is that a little connection and creativity goes a long way in helping kids tune in when they hear, “Time for dinner!” or “Pick up your toys, please!”

Here’s a great example of how one of our coaching families overcame barriers to listening. Kristi and Steve had a very challenging 6-year-old daughter. (For older kids, see below.)  Sierra was intense about nearly everything. Her extremely bright brain was programmed to hone in on something interesting, and she was not to be deterred. Many times, it was like she was in a sound-proof focus bubble with whatever engaging activity was in front of her.

Kristi and Steve valued Sierra’s intensity because they saw that she was curious about many things and had a voracious desire to learn. But before they began coaching, they didn’t know how to help her, and she got timeouts, a scolding, or loss of privileges for not listening.

Libro Grátis: Disciplina que conecta: El manual

Spanish Translation DTC (1)La familia es importante para Ud. (sino fuera cierto, no estaría visitando esta página). En el día de hoy el criar hijos que sean respetuosos y responsables es más difícil que nunca y si los padres no están preparados, sus hijos a menudo pierden respeto y niegan los valores y la fé de sus padres.

Para ayudarle a ser el mejor padre que pueda ser, Connected Families ha creado su primer libro electrónico en español llamado Disciplina que Conecta. En el libro, Ud. aprenderá cuatro principios poderosos que le ayudarán a mantenerse estrechamente conectado a sus hijos cuando los disciplina con confianza y amor. Los padres que aprenden estos principios nos dicen que:

  • Las relaciones con sus hijos son más fuertes que nunca
  • Sus hijos son más respetuosos y responsable
  • La gracia y la verdad de Jesús son una parte más natural de la vida familiar.

Si esto le parece bien, entonces descargue y lea este libro grátis. Una vez, Ud. haya llenado este formulario corto, Ud. recibirá instantáneamente acceso a este manual. También Ud. será añadido a nuestro correo electrónico semanal en inglés que se puede traducir fácilmente al español usando “Google Translator”. ¡Dios los bendiga en la crianza de una familia conectada!

The Powerful Role of Empathy in Discipline

The Powerful Role of Empathy in DisciplineCould it be that one of the main reasons Jesus is so appealing to us, a reason we want to follow him, is that we see throughout scripture that he “gets” people?

He knows us. He understands us. He meets us where we are. Hebrews 4:15 essentially tells us that we have a high priest (Jesus) who empathizes with our every weakness. Following in Jesus’ example, we represent his character to our kids when we empathize with them in their weaknesses.

Practical Help for Families Struggling with Separation Anxiety

Practical Help for Families Struggling with Separation Anxiety

“Nooooo, Mommy, Noooooo! Don’t GO!” screams the little fighting octopus fastened to your legs. It can be heart wrenching and embarrassing to pry your child away from you, and inconvenient when you’ve got a time constraint. (Why is my child the only one who gets hysterical every time we try to leave childcare to go to the church service?)

I have coached numerous parents of kids with separation anxiety, and there seems to be patterns of common underlying issues that feed this challenge:

  • A child’s sensory sensitivities can make busy or less familiar environments over-stimulating, or just generally increase a child’s anxiety.
  • Family stress – A chaotic family schedule or outside source of stress creates insecurity and hinders quality, joy-filled attention from a parent.
  • Parents’ anxiety or guilt about their child’s distress during separation inadvertently sends a message expressed through non-verbals that, “You should be upset. I’m doing a terrible thing by leaving you!”

Top 10 Most Viewed Posts in 2016!

Top 10 of 2016

We are so honored to serve you and equip you in your parenting journey. Thank you for trusting us! We always welcome your feedback and stories from how you are integrating our resources into your family. We pray there is a little something for all of you to challenge and encourage you every time you read our content.

Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Most Viewed Posts of 2016!*

10. Don’t Punish Your Child’s Nervous System – Understand It!

9. Can Family Meetings Really Work?

8. 12 Misbehaviors and the God-Given Gifts Behind Them

7. An Open Letter to the Cincinnati Zoo Mom

6. How I Got My Kids to Obey Immediately…and Why I Stopped

5. When Kids Want it NOW!

4. The New Problem of Entitlement

3. Restitution Consequences

2. Your Kids: Responsible or Spoiled?

1. How a Pipecleaner Can Stop Your Child’s Meltdowns!

*In descending order, based on number of page views on our website.

How to prevent misbehavior – in 30 seconds or less!

Three Secret Ingredients (1)

“My child is determined to push my buttons.”
“She just acts out to get attention.”
“I get so tired of his misbehavior, I just don’t enjoy my son any more.”

Misbehaving kids are often discouraged and looking for a strong emotional response from their parents. They want to know they matter to their parents!  But in the blur of family life, they often get that energized response when… they misbehave. “Carson James Smith! Stop that right now!” delivered with intense eye contact and furrowed brow.

Ah, zing. Reward. Connection made. Cycle reinforced.

Carson just got lots of attention for misbehavior, strengthened his identity as a pain-in-the-neck, and is even more likely to repeat the behavior. Soon. Parents often resent this repeated misbehavior and connect even less with their child.

Changing this pattern starts with realizing: My kids have a God-given need for my intense attention! It’s an important part of bonding. This is especially true of more challenging kids. They are looking for an “intensity match” to their big emotions.

Anxiety and Control: Partners in Parenting Crime

Will my kids choose good friends? Will they do well academically? Will they make wise choices when I’m not around to guide them? It’s normal to consider questions like these. However, if the answer is “no” to any of those reflective questions, anxiety can begin to rise and often a parent’s effort to control their child rises right along with it. It’s the brain’s natural coping response – when feeling internally out of control, we try to take charge of the situation to feel less anxious. This kind of reaction can become problematic, because we are not wise or helpful parents when we’re anxious and controlling. (Imagine how it would feel to have a boss at work engaging with a dip in your performance by anxiously reading your emails and checking every report!)

Anxiety and Control
The Anxiety and Control Cycle

Anxiety and Control are partners in crime. They rob us of joy, contentment and peace. They rob our kids of encouragement and independence. In my parenting, and as I’ve coached parents over the years, I’ve noticed the spiraling impact of anxiety and control:

The more anxious I am about my child, the more likely I am to project a negative future for them, and the more likely they are to begin living out that projection. This makes it easy it is for me to rationalize doing things for them that they ought to be responsible for themselves, which builds their resentment and resistance towards me, which feeds my anxiety… and the beat goes on.

Creatively Teaching Grace to Misbehaving Kids

How One Dad Used Technology To Teach Important Truths

Big picture thinking is important when it comes to parenting.  It is so easy to get caught up in the moment with your child’s misbehavior, responding in knee-jerk fashion to attempt to get a certain behavior to STOP.  Sometimes, our swift discipline does make the misbehavior stop. But, does it teach grace and result in a child’s changed heart or in a deeper understanding about the way actions affect others and his/her relationship with God?

As parents who hope our children will walk in love and truth, we would do well to consider: How do I want my child to view God when she messes up?

Turning Morning Meltdowns into Happy Starts

For Your Highly Sensitive Child

Turning Morning Meltdowns into Happy Starts

Your child might be one of the kids who struggle to wake up on the “happy side of the bed.” One day your little darlin’ is sweet as can be, but the next day you sense it will be Meltdown Morning. Other days your child might be sluggish and difficult to rouse. Some kids often start the day in meltdown mode until they get a decent breakfast. But the challenge of getting them to the table to eat can be overwhelming. When our days start off rocky, sometimes it is difficult to regain our sense of balance, but it is possible.