Sometimes family life can seem like a crazy collision of everyone’s challenges and weaknesses. In our family Jim could get impatient and snippy, Lynne tended to nag, Daniel liked to dominate and demand fairness, Bethany was over-sensitive and cried easily, and Noah sometimes told fibs to avoid conflict. On a bad day it was mayhem! It was easy to get stuck in a negative pattern, making life pretty miserable. But fortunately as we gained insight into what makes for strong, caring families, we learned not to get stuck focusing on our weaknesses.
In this journey there were three important principles we learned.
1.) Each person’s challenge area has a corresponding strength.
Our strengths that corresponded to these weaknesses were:
- Jim was passionate and expressive
- Lynne had good attention to detail and follow-through
- Daniel had a gift of leadership and justice
- Bethany was compassionate
- Noah was easy going
Your little darling comes to you with face lit up, a picture and product details in hand, their logic detailed into a lawyer-like brief, and begs with passion for that one special thing for Christmas. “Ok, I know exactly what I want for Christmas. I’m so excited about it! Taylor is getting one, too.”
This can be a frustrating scenario if you believe the request is either beyond your budget, or not an item you feel will benefit your child. Have you ever found yourself giving in to gift requests when your gut tells you it’s not a good idea – because at the time you can’t think of a really good reason to say no? Or just to avoid the relentless badgering? Or because in the moment your child’s delight is more important to you than what is truly best in the long run?
I recently watched a tween with passion, intensity, and a clear “marketing plan,” try to sell his mom on why he should get a particular, very expensive item – the newest, name-brand “everyone has” shoes. His mom was calm but firm, and responded wisely.
Holidays and other gatherings can be a lot of fun — but they can also be chaotic and overstimulating for kids! Rather than punish your children for misbehavior, be thoughtful ahead of time about how to prepare them for success.
Whether your child loudly proclaims Gramma’s sweet potatoes are YUCKY!, gets out of control when opening presents, or shuts down and withdraws when talking with adults, make a thoughtful plan and weave in plenty of encouragement.
[To ease holiday mealtime stress, read 7 Practical Tips for Picky Eaters.]
With the three simple steps below, you can set your child up for success and create a truly enjoyable holiday gathering!
It’s tempting when kids experience rejection, to want to protect them and be a buffer to keep their feelings from being hurt. Our blood boils, our God-given Mama or Papa Bear instincts kick in, and we may well go after the offending teacher or student. Sometimes this is a wise course of action, especially if a child is experiencing abuse or extreme rejection. But many times the best strategy is to be thoughtful about strengthening the child instead of protecting them. This prepares them for other inevitable situations in life when rejection threatens to redefine their sense of identity.
Cara’s kids had different classes with the same teacher. Mr. Benson may have been a well-intentioned guy, but the methods he used in his class were laden with shaming, critical messages.
In Jaden’s class, Mr. Benson decided to prepare the kids for the teasing they were sure to get next year in middle school. He projected each student’s picture from school photo day, one at a time, for the class to laugh at. Jaden’s anxious, deer-in-the-headlights mugshot brought a chorus of laughter and comments from his classmates. He ran off the bus sobbing that day, traumatized by the humiliation.
Connected Families provides coaching for parents all over the world. Meet Chad Hayenga, one of the Parent Coaches and our director of Coaching who makes a difference in the lives of the people he serves.
When did you become a Parenting Coach for Connected Families?
I began coaching with Connected Families in 2012. Previously, I had worked as a marriage and family therapist for Connected Families. After a number of years providing therapy, often times to teenagers, I became frustrated that I was mostly teaching coping skills to teens rather than changing the family dynamic. It was at that point, I shifted to working almost exclusively with parents. Parents have such an enormous impact on their kids and when parents change, kids usually change as well.
Can you tell us a little about your background?
I’ve been married 23 years and have three daughters (22, 19, 15). I have a masters degree in counseling psychology and a certification in life coaching. I spent 10 years working with a ministry to at-risk teens before coming to CF.
What is your role as a coach for Connected Families?
I am the director of the coaching program at Connected Families. I am actively coaching a number of parents at any given time, but I’m also working to train other coaches who believe in our parenting model so they too, can become parent coaches using our life-changing framework.
What is your greatest passion when it comes to coaching families?
I absolutely love the time in a coaching session when a light bulb turns on for the parents. Often times it is the Holy Spirit showing them something about how God sees them as a parent or how God sees their children. When the parents’ perspective changes and they begin to focus on things they can control, amazing things happen.
What is the best part about coaching?
The best part about coaching is seeing parents develop a plan for becoming the parents they want to be and hearing how that plan has changed the direction of their family. It’s just awesome!
Learn more about Connected Families parent coaching.
Disciplining our kids is usually the most frustrating, confusing part of parenting. The stakes are high, because what kids learn when they are disciplined will last a lifetime. In our work with parents, we have seen that well-intentioned efforts often miss kids’ hearts as parents struggle to figure out, “What is ‘biblical discipline,’ and how do I do it?”
As parents tackle this issue, we have found it extremely valuable to shift our focus from a few controversial proof texts to consider a broader view of biblical instruction on this matter. We’ve found it helpful to ask two questions in particular:
How did God the Father discipline key Old Testament saints that clearly had a “father-child” relationship with him?
What do we learn from Jesus’s response to struggling sinners?
How do we begin to be set free from life-long patterns of rigidity and control that affect lots of areas in our parenting lives? I remember when the kids would make endless messes or bicker repeatedly – it would drive me nuts! I just wanted it to stop. So I would engage with angst and negativity, and wonder why it wasn’t helping. Jim would ask me the question, “What are you going to do to be ok if they don’t change?” I hated the question. It made me even madder. But it was a good question. As I learned to look first at myself and my let go of my need for control, I could let God’s peace begin to infuse our challenges. I was able to engage with much more wisdom, insight, and even creativity, and became more effective in my parenting. I had to change my perspective about what was happening to me spiritually as a parent. It changed the way I disciplined. I began working toward long-term lifechange in my kids by starting with change in my own heart.
David Mathis, executive editor at DesiringGod.org, an online Christian website, and pastor at Cities Church in Minneapolis, shared how he made a small change in the way he viewed his role as a parent after taking the online Discipline That Connects course, and he shares below about how a shift in his thinking led to some big changes in the way he thought of himself as a parent…as well as how he thought of his children.
On Tuesday evening, September 20, Lynne spoke to a packed house at the Discipline That Connects book launch party about the most important messages that parents convey to their children in discipline. This four-level framework is the foundation of intentional, grace-filled parenting. Follow the link below to get a 10 minute audio clip of the message that Lynne shared with the crowd that evening. Listen to learn about building identity and why it is so biblical, and so crucial to character development in your child.
What you’ll learn:
- how Jesus lived his own life out of his identity
- how Jesus built identity in his disciples
- how we can build the same identity in our kids
When a child becomes so focused on a favorite activity that they just can’t seem to pull away, it may become an exercise in frustration for parents. Suddenly, Mom or Dad may find themselves heading directly toward power struggles and conflict as they attempt to move their child onto the next activity.
A mom who had taken the Discipline That Connects online course recently shared some strategies for creating peace in the midst of what had become a repeatedly challenging situation. Her daughter, Karina, 5 years old, loves to read and sometimes getting her to transition to bedtime became a power struggle. Read to learn how Laura was able to calmly and wisely help her daughter transition to bedtime without conflict, while teaching her some important lessons in the process.
Most of us agree that respect is an important skill to build in children which will empower them for their entire life. Whether it is for future work or family relationships, having the ability to set aside frustrations and grievances out of respect for one another is a life skill that will serve our children well. But, teaching respect and teamwork is a “ground up” operation. When kids are young they struggle to find ways to compromise and get along. It can be frustrating as parents, to know how to guide our children in respectful interactions with us as well as with each other.
One couple I (Lynne) recently coached, Don and Layna, were discouraged about the disrespectful language between the children in their home. They worried that things were not trending well and, with four kids, they had a lot of challenges! Their intense daughter, Alicia, especially seemed to struggle with respect, and often fired hurtful verbal zingers at her siblings and parents.