When kids melt down, we often advise parents to respond with empathy, by saying out loud what the kiddo might be feeling. But sometimes we can communicate everything we need to — without words.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13)
I remember the sign on the men’s dorm wall during my freshman year at a Christian college.
A spiritual disciplines checklist was posted for us to keep track of our “progress” (monitored by a well-meaning resident assistant). I am wired for variety, not daily routines, and I felt ashamed every time I missed checking off the boxes in the “Jim J.” section: daily devotional time, prayer, fellowship, witnessing, tithing. (At least I got tithing – 10% of 0 income.)
I felt ashamed that I wasn’t measuring up, even to the point of checking boxes just so no one would know that I wasn’t making very good Christian progress. Good thing there was no check-box about honesty.
Today we’d like to share with you a story from the blog of Bo, a dad who with his wife Jen took our online course and shared with us this beautiful story of their journey to become safer parents. We hope you are as blessed by it as we were!
A safe place. What do you think of when I use that phrase?
The picture I think of is changing. Let me explain.
Our youngest, Isley, is finally asleep in the bed. Eilam, Kale and Fallon are at the grandparents’ house for a sleepover. It is 10:30 at night and Jen and I sit on the bedroom floor, open the computer, and prepare to listen to our second class in a course titled “Discipline that Connects.” Tonight’s topic – “You are safe with me.” Little did I know I was fixin’ to learn a valuable and practical lesson in that very topic.
Parents often think about how to connect with their children — but what we don’t always realize is that parents can connect even when children are misbehaving!
(In fact, sometimes the middle of misbehavior is the most powerful time to connect.)
If you haven’t already, check out our piece about the importance and power of empathy when kids misbehave. Then, add to your list of practical ways to connect with this short video that gives more examples of how to make sure kids know, “You are loved no matter what!” even when they misbehave.
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Pretty much every parent agrees that it’s important to connect well with our children.
But whether you struggle with a particular age or have personality clashes with your child, sometimes connecting is easier said than done!
So just in time for Valentine’s Day, we’ve collected a few practical examples of ideas to connect with your children and communicate in all sorts of ways, “Child, you are LOVED no matter what!” (P.S. You can use them when it’s not Valentine’s Day, too!)
Can you believe it? Christmas is just one week from today! Whether you’re feeling totally frazzled or totally prepared, here are some of our favorite parenting tips to help you and your family not only survive but find connection, faith, and the peace of Christ through this Christmas season.
Parents, are you struggling with how to address the recent racial tension that has exploded across the United States? At Connected Families we are on the side of Justice, Grace and Peace, without any judgment about how to legislate those values. We know that getting there requires humility and true curiosity. The following is a process for entering volatile topics that we’ve found extremely helpful for those wishing to increase in wisdom for seeking solutions. We invite you to consider the conversations you’ve had or could have regarding events related to the recent unrest in Ferguson.
Charles was almost sure his pre-teen daughter Sara knew she was loved even when she misbehaved. But he wanted his “almost” to be an “absolutely,” so he asked her: “Honey, do you know that you are loved, even when you misbehave?”
Sara answered quickly. “No.” She didn’t justify her answer.
Charles was shocked. After all, he is a loving and thoughtful dad who has worked hard to communicate his love. Yet Sara not only didn’t know it, she was quick in her answer. She decisively declared that she often didn’t feel loved when misbehaving.
The fact that Sara — parented by thoughtful, loving parents — did not always feel loved when she misbehaved is an indication that there are probably lots of kids like her. Unfortunately, even though parents almost unanimously say that they love their kids unconditionally, many of their kids doubt that they are loved unconditionally.
When God decided which of his children would be key leaders he avoided the step-in-line, shiny-looking ones. In fact, when we look in scripture at some well-known “Bible heroes,” we see that God chose some serious screwups to guide his precious people:
- Moses – Impulsively murdered an Egyptian man. Went on the lam for 40 years.
- Saul/Paul – Determined to destroy the church at all costs. Orchestrated the arrest, persecution, and even murder of Christians.
- Peter – A short-fused poster child for impulsivity. Biggest disciple screw-up. Told Jesus five times that he was wrong.
Two murderers and an ADHD poster child. Not exactly a crew that we would expect to give spiritual leadership seminars or impress the religious elite.
Why did God choose them? Because all the intensity and passion behind their “misbehavior” could be re-directed for Kingdom purposes.
School is in session. Some of you have sent your kids back to school. Others have started your homeschool routines. Regardless of which paradigm you have for the best way to educate your kids, you most likely have an important underlying goal in your parenting: to connect well with your children and pass on your faith and values. So whether you’re spending all day teaching your kids or greeting them as you all return from work or school, if you want kids to stay connected to you, your faith and your values, you must be present.