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.

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?

Old vs. New, Don’t vs. Do

How the birth of Jesus breathes new life into parenting

Do you have a bunch of rules for your kids? No hitting. No whining. No screens before homework is done. No messes in the living room. Having rules provides structure, and some basic ones are essential.

When your kids struggle with obeying the rules, do you ever try to regain control by making more rules or making the penalties for breaking them harsher? And even though your intentions may be good, do your kids get more resentful and rebellious? We’ve often heard parents say things like, “It doesn’t matter what I take away; this kid is just defiant!”

Family Gatherings

Who's in Charge?

Large family holiday gatherings can be tough for lots of reasons. Over-stimulated, over-sugared,  over-excited and under-slept kids are simply going to struggle. But there may also be some relational dynamics that complicate things when you all get together. See if you relate to this pattern:

  1. You feel anxious around the watchful, possibly critical eye of parents or other relatives.
  2. You work harder to keep kids in line and are tougher on them than usual.
  3. Your kids (who are already extra stressed) sense your angst and act up more.
  4. Gramma or Grampa (or others) intervene to keep youngsters in line, with good intentions but unhelpful strategies.
  5. You feel embarrassed, undermined, and maybe frustrated or resentful.
  6. Kids watch the power struggle between the adults and are left feeling more stressed and insecure than ever.
  7. Repeat.

Is the holiday stew smelling rotten yet? If so, this post is for you.

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.

Why “Stop it!” Doesn’t Work

How to gain perspective and a plan

I’d HAD it! I was sick of this aggravating behavior, day after day. I stopped in my tracks, glared at the little one who was driving me crazy, and yelled at the top of my lungs, STOP IT!!

Do you relate to this? Has this happened in your home? It happened in ours.

But this wasn’t an incident from my early parenting of three crazy kids, it was this spring, and the little offender was a red winged black bird.

Seriously. I screamed at… a BIRD.

How to become a more peaceful, confident parent

Parenting is tough these days. And parents seem to be trying harder than ever to get it right.

You read books as time allows. You stay up, sometimes for hours, researching articles on the internet. You give it everything you’ve got. You see glimpses of progress, but you continue seeing the same issues, the same misbehavior, the same fights repeat themselves over and over again — maybe even growing slowly more troublesome. And you know your family is capable of so much more.

You just can’t seem to get there.

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

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.

How to Break the Cycle of Crabbiness and Negativity

“I’m bored. No one wants to play with me. I hate my classes and that teacher. I’m no good at anything! Everything is just dumb!”

Sound familiar?

Kids can be pretty good at complaining and crabbing their way to get parents’ attention. And to make matters worse (if you’re anything like I was as a young parent), parents’ well-intended responses often upset kids more, and the snowball of negativity keeps on growing. Like this: