[Part 1] Standing Strong in the Authority My Kids Need

A Kind but Firm Approach to Parenting

 

Standing Strong in the Authority My Kids Need (1)

Knowing when to stand firm as a parent and when to extend mercy can be a difficult challenge, and can leave your kids feeling confused about your authority.

Have you heard yourself say these things?
…That is not ok, do you understand me? How many times do I have to tell you?
…If you finish your chores, I’ll get you a bowl of ice cream.
…Ok, I’ll let this go this time, but next time there will be a big consequence.
…My child never listens to me!  

If you often find yourself backing down or offering bribes when you feel you should stand firm, you’re not alone! Taking charge of this dynamic requires more than just a, “Be the parent – don’t give in so easily” mindset. If it was that simple, you wouldn’t still be questioning yourself.

Consider a couple strategies to help you develop the loving authority your kids need:

A “kind but firm” approach: empathize and give clear choices
Use a calm and respectful tone when you address your kids, and let them know you understand what it’s like to be them. Then offer two “you can…” choices with a clear boundary. This combination might look like this:

“I know you are tired after school and love to relax and play, I often feel that way after work. So you can choose to get your chore out of the way and then play, or you can play now and do your chore before dinner. But it must be done when you come to dinner.”

If they give more pushback, give more empathy, but don’t change the request. No deals.

[If you would like more details about consequences, check out the in-depth appendix of our book Discipline that Connects with Your Child’s Heart.]

If this sort of approach is new to your kids, they may fight it before they understand that you won’t change your mind. Stay calm and just let them know repeatedly that you understand but you won’t be hooked by their emotional drama, and your boundaries are firm. Once kids sense your confidence, they are far more likely to respect your authority.

When “kind and firm” doesn’t work, or your child doesn’t respond, it could be worth a look beneath the surface.

Check back next week for PART TWO for more introspection and thoughtfulness about how to stand in strong authority when your kids need it.

This post is part of a series giving an overview of our Discipline That Connects with Your Child’s Heart principles.


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Parenting Strengths Social Media (2) (1)


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!


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?

Transitions: It’s Time To Go

And Your Child Wants to Stay

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Does this sound familiar?  Picture yourself standing, hands on hips at the front door saying (maybe loudly, even): “C’mon, kids. It’s time to go. Kids…. Kids…. It’s time to go!!! You need to listen to me! Get moving – NOW!” Does this pattern repeat itself every time your kids need to make a transition?

It can be tough for some kids to simply come to a meal or come in from playing outside, let alone get organized to get into the car. The busier your schedule, the more times you have to get your kids away from what they are doing and on to the next thing. Since these transitions become the “bookends” of each activity in your day, they tend to create repeated patterns of either teamwork or power struggles.

How to Get Kids to Care about School & Grades

Without Nagging

Over the years, Lynne and I have worked with many families who struggle with the same issues. Time and again, we see how a change in perspective can transform a parent-child relationship from one of tension to one filled with grace. When it comes to school, grades and performance, there is often a minefield of conflict over expectations. Parents often believe that they need to create change in their child to see improvement in work ethic and performance when it comes to grades. The truth is, change best starts with the parent.

How to get kids to care about school and grades

Read on to learn how one mother and daughter set aside conflict and embraced grace for homework success without nagging:

Misty anxiously told me about her seventh grade daughter, Greta.

“Her grades are tanking! She’s sassy and defiant most of the time! I know she is capable of so much more, but she won’t dig in and live up to her potential. I check her grades every day. I’ve withheld privileges, created charts, offered rewards, and constantly reminded her. But it keeps getting worse. Our fights get louder by the day!”

When you’re constantly fighting with kids who don’t live up to their potential, we suggest a new approach, a new fight: the fight of faith to walk in the “fruit of the spirit.”

A Better Way to Respond to Tantrums

Excerpt from Discipline That Connects, 2nd ed.

Whether you call them tantrums, meltdowns, or “big feelings” – we all know that most kids (and therefore most parents) struggle at times when emotions overtake the ability to think and reason well. When it comes to dealing with kids’ tantrums, parents get pretty desperate. Unfortunately, even when equipped with the best tips and online advice, they often find themselves stuck in a familiar pattern of explosive interactions with their kids that goes something like this: The child gets upset and throws a tantrum, then the parent gets upset and angry. Suddenly, everyone is throwing their own version of a tantrum! Can you identify with this struggle?

A Better Way to Respond to Tantrums

Teach Kids Responsibility

Without Nagging

Teach Kids Responsibility (1)

Kids make messes. Parents ask and ask (and it really sounds like nagging) their kids to take responsibility for their things and it seems like it is hard to come up with a strategy that works. At Connected Families, we believe that there is a gift behind every misbehavior. It’s true! It might be hard to see how your kids’ messiness could be a gift, but with intentionality, and a change in perspective, both parent and child can often come to a solution that eliminates the nagging and encourages the child in her gifts.

I worked with a family recently that came up with a very practical suggestion for helping kids manage their messes, and it seemed to work. Read the following to spur your own ideas for helping your children through a particularly challenging behavior. Whether it is a messy bedroom, messy entryway, missed or lost homework, forgotten chores– consider how you might adapt this family’s solution to your own special circumstances.

The Challenge:

Emma is one of those sunny, lively kids that spreads joy and laughter wherever she goes, along with  a trail of mess–a testimony to her creativity (the gift she has). Since Emma has a sister who shares the art supplies, it was difficult to enforce consequences like putting the mess/supplies into a timeout for a few days.  Each of the girls were perpetually waiting for the other one to clean up after the supplies had been used. The old adage, “If everyone’s responsible, no one’s responsible” applied well to this situation.

Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart

2nd Edition - Book Release on September 20!

In the winter of 2012, I was desperate for help. My kids at that time were five and seven. We formed our family through adoption, and I wasn’t prepared for the struggles we were having with our then seven year old. Since he had turned three we had been throwing “fixes” at him – hoping that something would stick. (can anyone relate?).

On a particularly difficult day, I was sharing some really hard moments with our adoption group during one of our regular gatherings. One of the moms, who was familiar with Connected Families, encouraged me to check out their resources. I went home, ordered Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart (which had just been released!) and How to Grow a Connected Family – both from Connected Families.

I remember they day they arrived. I carved out a big chunk of time and devoured Discipline That Connects. It was exactly the hope that I so desperately needed.

I was so profoundly impacted by the content that a few months later during a job transition, I contacted Connected Families to see if a position was available. At that time there wasn’t, but I met Jim and Lynne – instantly felt camaraderie with them – and then, the fall of 2013 I was hired by Connected Families.

One of my very first convictions was that Discipline That Connects NEEDS a larger audience! There are so many parents desperate – just like me! Moms and dads crying out for help. Knowing that what “worked” for them as a child, isn’t “working” as they raise their children.

And so I encouraged Jim and Lynne to seek out a publisher for Discipline That Connects rather than self-publish. Fast forward to today…..on September 20, 2016 (two months from today!) Bethany House Publishers is going to release the 2nd edition of Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Hearts!

Online Gaming Addiction

The Long Road of Recovery from an Addiction to Minecraft

Problem of Online Gaming Addiction (1)Online gaming addiction is real.  If you read the post about creative ways to nurture healthy boundaries around screen time for younger children, you may be shaking your head saying, “My kid is beyond that point…he is addicted.”  Perhaps anytime you attempt to corral efforts at managing online gaming, you run up against a wall.  Maybe your child or teenager is moody, sneaking time online or is lying about her online use.  These and other symptoms are typical of an unhealthy online gaming obsession, according to WebMD. You need help with the battle to help your child break a habit that may have started out innocently enough, but now has turned into a full blown craving by which they seem to be enslaved.

You are not alone.  
Signs of video game addiction:

Here’s how one family started to help their son break his online gaming addiction as it had spiraled out of control:

Some kids can regulate their computer use with fairly minimal guidance. Dillon was not one of those kids. At fourteen, he was extremely intense, and obsessed with online interactive video games, especially Minecraft. He also played an empire building game that wasn’t as time-consuming but needed frequent daily attention.

Respond to Sibling Conflict with Wisdom and Confidence (Video link)

Connected Families' Four-Level Framework

Kids fight. Sibling conflict is a reality in just about every family. It is hard to know how to parent with wisdom and confidence in the middle of a battle over who has the most space in the backseat or who got the bigger piece of cake.  These kinds of fights seem to happen every day and wear parents out the most because they seem to ramp up so quickly.  Suddenly, the fight is no longer about the seat space or the cake but about bigger issues–like selfishness or your child’s character.  Things can get out of hand pretty quickly and it is hard to know how to respond to conflict in a way that promotes growth and peace instead of hurt and anger.  Many parents feel stuck in defeating patterns when their kids are fighting.  Perhaps it is time to think about new ways to help with sibling conflict.  

Connected Families developed this 4-level framework to help parents rethink about sibling conflict from a place of wisdom and confidence.

Take a look at this 5-minute video which teaches about a helpful approach to look at the ways that conflict can be an opportunity to build wisdom.

Some highlights from the video:

  • Attempts at solving sibling conflict by implementing a formula of “Apologize, go to your room, and don’t come out until you are ready to be nice,” often are counterproductive.
  • We learned to change our perspective about misbehavior and began to think of things like conflict as an opportunity to build long-term skills and wisdom in our kids.
  • We began to realize that our homes and our families needed to have connection in order to thrive.
  • In order successfully create peace and connection at home we needed to spend some time thinking about how we could build skills and wisdom in our own lives as the parents.

Sibling Conflict Online Course is now in session. Register today! (Registration closes August 22, 2016)