“Are we there yet?” “I have to go to the bathroom!” “I want a Happy Meal NOW!” “No, I want Taco Bell!!”
Ahh, the bliss of car-trip vacations. Whether our children are toddlers or teens, the stress of riding in the car together for extended periods can taint the whole vacation. Wouldn’t it be great if we could time-warp ourselves to our destinations? It’s appealing, but obviously not reality. A helpful “truth phrase” for car rides or any other difficult parenting situation is:
Within every challenge is embedded a golden opportunity!
The challenge of car rides together is a great opportunity for connection and teamwork. Here are some practical, simple ideas:
Learning to receive God’s grace for ourselves, and then dispensing that grace to our kids, is the essence of becoming a safe parent. When we do this, we can focus more on caring for our children’s souls than on managing their misbehavior.
It starts with me. Kids provoke us. And when we’re provoked, we tend to reveal what’s really inside us – especially when the provocateurs are our very own little children. What’s revealed is often not a very pretty picture. Virtually every parent we’ve talked to in any depth admits, “I don’t like the me that comes out when I discipline my kids.” One said, “I am so competent at work and with friends. I’m on my game almost all the time. But when my kids act up it’s like I lose the ‘real me!’ I become someone I don’t know or like.”
The tough truth to swallow is that whatever comes out of us IS the “real me.” The goofy thing is, that as much as we tend to despise the “me” that emerges, by the beauty of God’s grace, we are accepted just as we are (but God doesn’t want to leave us unchanged!).
Does your child sometimes unexpectedly meltdown at the drop of a hat? Does unexpected change or inflexibility lead to frequent tantrums? If so, you’re not alone! As a parent helping kids sort out their frustrations can be a challenge, especially when they have a tantrum that ramps up quickly. Practical tools that help a child understand how their behavior affects others can be simple, like the following example from Jen and her son Jonah.
Despite Jen’s best efforts, her goal of trying to stop her son’s meltdowns just seemed to make them worse. After realizing that she needed to be more proactive instead of waiting for those inevitable outbursts, Jen worked with Lynne during a parent coaching session on a new plan. Here is her story:
It’s time for the after-Christmas let-down. Kids haven’t figured out “sharing patterns” yet for all their cool new stuff, everyone’s jazzed on sugar and tired from disrupted sleep patterns… It’s easy to lose patience.
Many parents bemoan their lack of patience for their kids’ sometimes exasperating behavior. But simply trying to be more patient can sometimes just feed an underlying attitude of “poor me, I endure so much because of this child.” Have you ever “patiently” stifled resentment until you lose it over a small infraction later in the day? The problem is that patience alone doesn’t inherently build understanding or give any insight toward solving the problem.
Today’s post is from our friends, Colleen & Dave Little. They are the parents of three grown men and two vivacious young-adult daughters who joined their family through adoption. Together, Dave & Colleen meet with and minister to parents whose adopted children struggle with the effects of significant pre-adoption trauma.
lolaira | iStockphoto.com
For many adopted children with a history of chronic neglect, pre-natal brain injury, or childhood abuse, the holidays can be extremely challenging times – for everyone! The following is a short list to help parents maintain some peace and sanity during this season.
The holiday materialism debate is not new: on one side, many families have incorporated Black Friday into their family gatherings. On the other side, many families join with Charlie Brown, who in 1965 first groaned about “Christmas going commercial”.
Don’t get us wrong — Christmas gifts can be a fun way to show love and appreciation for family and friends; in fact, one of the five “love languages” is gift-giving! But we need to be careful: if we feed into the messages of the marketers and give our kids everything they want for Christmas, gifts can become a detriment.
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“Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial.” ~I Corinthians 6:12
Our oldest child, Daniel, made a grand pronouncement one morning upon learning that we all had to go to church early and stay through three services because of our ministry commitments. “You are spread way too thin! You people are like good jelly that’s wasted by being spread too thin on a big piece of toast. Nobody can taste how good you are. Why don’t you work on spreading yourselves THICK!”
Q: How do I deal with my son’s often impulsive behavior?
First and most importantly, everything we’re about to say is most effective when it’s rooted in a strong commitment for your son to walk in all that God has laid out for him (Eph. 2:10). When he knows you are truly thinking of God’s best for him instead of dealing with your frustration, it will put the two of you on the same team.
A bit of research to set the stage: the organizing, planning and reasoning part of the brain (the frontal lobe of the cortex) is generally undeveloped in young children, stressed in adolescence, and doesn’t finish maturing until age 24 at the earliest! This knowledge can help parents and kids to be patient, diligent and hopeful in the process of working on these skills.
Keeping those two things in mind, here are some steps for how to deal with impulsive behavior:
Hint: It’s not flowers, trophies, chocolate, or a day at the spa!
Mother’s Day: the one day a year when we moms are officially recognized for working our fannies off to be “all things to all people.” The other 364 days a year we wear dozens of hats, from cook to maid to referee to vivacious romantic partner. But on Mother’s Day, we wear crowns, glowing at the cute homemade cards and graciously accepting the affection and gifts that are showered on us.
The problem is that by the end of the week the cute cards are crushed under an avalanche of junk mail and the flowers have wilted, but the stress of parenting is alive and well. One mom described her daily stress: “I feel like I’m a sponge, soaking up everyone’s tension.” How can we keep a peaceful heart and sense of worth on the days when we’re tempted to feel less like a queen and more like a kitchen maid?