When My Child Asked for an iPod, Here’s What I Said…

ipod touch 2Last week I wrote about how my junior high daughter creatively and proactively asked for an iPod by preparing a well-thought-out list of answers to concerns she thought I might have. Here’s the rest of the story!

My daughter’s proactive list was a breath of fresh air and showed me a growing capacity in her to think more broadly about the impact of purchasing the iPod. Her pleasant, non-demanding tone was another sign of her maturity and thoughtful processing of the situation.

Some parents may believe that asking for the iPod in such an impressive manner should gain her access to it immediately. She deserves it, right? Others may view it as a form of my daughter manipulating me to get what she really wanted and saying yes will only mean more of this new “tactic”.

But here’s what happened in our situation:

“If My Kid’s a Slob Now, How Will He Hold a Job Later?”

messy room responsibility job

woodleywonderworks | Flickr

When I look at my son’s messy room, it puts a knot in my stomach.”

Joe was insightful and honest as he described his emotions about his son’s room. “Just the sight of his dresser drawers hanging out with stuff all over and I’m thinking pessimistic thoughts: If he can’t even push his drawers shut, how is he going to be responsible to hold anything but a low end job? It even makes me feel like I’ve failed as a parent to help my son learn to be responsible.”

Why Won’t My Kid Do the Dishes?

stubborn boy fingers in ears

Recently we got an email from a mom asking what to do when her 10-year-old son refused to help with the dishes after dinner, even when punished with spanking or loss of electronics. Conflicts around chores are something that many parents and kids struggle with, so we thought we’d share our response.

When kids say “No,” parents’ first instinct is often to go right to threats or punishment to gain obedience. Spanking or yelling usually happens from a place of demanding obedience as a first goal. But if a parent’s first goal is to tap into God’s holiness and the fruit of the Spirit on the way to helping the child learn to value obedience, the scene usually goes much differently.

How Family Meetings Can Un-Spoil Kids

Chad-Hayenga-Connected-FamiliesOur team member Chad Hayenga has contributed much to our mission to inspire and equip parents to live out God’s grace in their homes. The story below is one indicator.

One day, my wife and I looked at each other and noticed ourselves doing many things for our kids that they were fully capable of doing for themselves. We also noticed that our kids, to varying degrees, would plead ignorance or inadequacy in an effort to keep us in our enabling roles. We took a step back and asked, “Whose responsibility is this, anyway?” This started our journey toward achieving a more cooperative family.

One of Our Biggest Parenting Mistakes…

nagging mother & daughterOne of our biggest parenting mistakes is to try to get kids to behave right for the wrong reasons.

Now, it’s a good thing to want our kids to behave responsibly, and to internalize the value of responsibility. But parents tend to turn this desire into a goal for a child’s behavior.

Here’s how it works: When kids fail to take responsibility the way parents want, these parents tend to engage. We nag. We remind. We may even yell, all with the goal of getting our kids to behave responsibly. The problem is, the most important goal of parenting is not to get our kids to behave right, but to believe right. And all this effort towards behavior communicates to our child the very opposite message we’d like them to believe.

5 Ways to T.E.A.C.H. Your Kids Values

There are lots of things we want our kids to learn, from how to ride a bike to how to be a faith-filled, responsible adult.

Some, like getting dressed, are easy to teach. But how do we teach our children the values they’ll need to walk with God and fulfill their calling? We’ve found the T.E.A.C.H. principles are a helpful tool for passing faith and values:

Building the Family Team: A Solution to Chore Wars

7-year-old Bryce was a master “chore evader.” When asked to help with chores, this distractable drama king would slump over and whine, “But I wanted to play!” His parents, Sandy and Jeff, had run out of ideas and came to me (Lynne) for help.

When kids begin chore wars, often the most effective response is not declaring war but shifting perspective and discipling children through the process. In this case, I helped Sandy and Jeff develop the following practical plan as they shifted their efforts from focusing on “How do we stop the complaining and get some help?” to “How can we use this opportunity to build character and even faith?”

The Joy of Family Chores: A Tale of Two Moms

A family works together to wash dishes.

In a family, we all need each other. We are a team, and we share in the responsibility of the household. “God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be” (1 Cor. 12:18). Each child has a special contribution to make to the body of Christ, and to whatever group she is in, including her family. When everyone contributes, everyone benefits. One child’s service to the family blesses other family members.

In addition, children need to serve in order to grow into healthy, contributing adults. When parents do everything for their children, they can create a sense of entitlement that leaves kids unprepared to care for themselves and others. However, when kids use their talents in ways that bless others, they begin to find their way into the purposes for which God created them.

So what can I do to help my family learn to serve together?

Your kids: Responsible or Spoiled?

The Key to Avoiding Entitlement:

Stop doing stuff for your kids that they can do for themselves - red

Are you unknowingly too child-centered?

We wrote recently about the problem of entitlement among children — about how many well-meaning parents, without thinking about it much, have become too child-centered. The article struck a nerve. Some felt offended or were defensive, while most strongly agreed but asked for more ideas about how to keep their kids from feeling entitled.