It’s Not Defiance — It’s Science!

Not Defiance- SciencePretty much every kid loves to experiment with chaos: dropping food, smearing things, investigating cupboards or containers, throwing toys — you name it, a toddler has probably gotten into it.

It can be easy to get aggravated when your child gets into yet another mess. But if we expect kids to just stop when we say “stop,” we’re probably not going to get very far.

Why? Because we’re fighting their brains.

Danger, Obedience, and Teaching Kids Traffic Safety

“What does Connected Families teach about obedience?” Hannah, who was exasperated with her defiant preschooler’s flighty behavior in a parking lot, explained the context for her question:

When I was leaving Bible study I asked my 3-year-old to stay with me, or hold my hand, or I could carry him. He said he wanted to walk next to me, but then ran off several times, despite my request to “Stop now, and come to me please.” Each time I would pick him up, remind him to stay with me if he wasn’t going to hold my hand. He bucked his body and threw his hands in my face. When I got him to the car my anxiety escalated into an angry lecture – which he ignored, while his big brother giggled at the whole fiasco. Help! What could I have done differently?

Connected Families believes that learning obedience is a long process rooted in love, trust and a parent’s wise guidance. This follows the biblical model of how we learn obedience to God — not out of fear but out of understanding how much God loves us, combined with experiencing the natural result when we disobey his wise commands (Galatians 6:7). The more we learn, the more we trust that God has really good reasons for what he tells us to do.

So let’s put that theology to the test with a feisty 3-year-old going A.W.O.L.

Feeling Stuck? Move Toward the Struggling Child.

 

Parents often find themselves at a loss when kids are particularly discouraged or struggling.

It can begin to feel hopeless when everything you’ve tried to motivate them past the challenge has failed. You may start to feel more and more disconnected from the child as you know less and less what to do when they struggle.

This is when we get particularly strong about a principle that almost always helps parents find new hope.

12 Misbehaviors and the God-Given Gifts Behind Them

Seeing Strengths Even in Struggles

12 Misbehaviors

Did you know that one of the most critical times for a parent to affirm a child’s talents is when they misbehave? It’s true. We are all born with giftedness–but even good gifts can get twisted by sin (Romans 7:21 reminds us, “When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.”). The challenge for parents is identifying the “gifts” within the misbehavior; what we call “Gifts Gone Awry.”

Gifts That Have Gone Awry

All talents or gifts can be used for God’s purposes, but they can also be distorted by selfishness and sin and used to serve misbehavior. When this happens, the gift is still present, but it’s gone awry. To punish the misbehavior without affirming the talent behind it may both reinforce the child’s identification with the sin (I’m bad!) and stifle or weaken the talent’s use in honorable ways. It is therefore critical when correcting a child’s misbehavior to also affirm and find a positive use of the gift that fueled it.

Need help identifying the gift behind your child’s stubborness or stealing?  It can be tough, but here are some examples of common misbehaviors and some gifts/talents that tend to drive them.

The Five Powerful Results of Empathy

There is no more important time for kids to know they are loved than when they misbehave. If the love message misses them then, they will grow to believe that love is conditional or earned. People who believe that love is earned tend to rise and fall with their performance, and compromise themselves for approval. Not what we want for our kids.

One way children know they’re loved is if you simply say so, not in a condescending way, but from your heart, right there while your kids are misbehaving. (Sound crazy? Just try it!) But another powerful, perhaps less-well-known way to express love is by expressing understanding, or empathy.

Sore Losers: Why They Melt Down and What You Can Do [Video]

Playing games with our kids can be a fun way to connect. But what happens when one or more of the children struggles with losing gracefully?

Enjoyable playtime can quickly morph into a frustrating outburst.

Kids are upset, other players are uncomfortable, and everyone may begin to tiptoe around the “sore loser” — or even be tempted to let them win all the time to avoid a meltdown! Parents may even begin to worry about their child’s future life as a “sore loser”. If he can’t lose a simple game of checkers, what will happen when he doesn’t make the basketball team? Or when he doesn’t get the promotion he wants?

It can be scary to watch your child spiral out of control — but there’s a better way, a way that can help you reclaim the fun of family game time while also helping your child learn to lose gracefully.

How to Deal with an Attention Addict

 

Recently, on a weekend when all our kids were home, we dug out the family videos for a trip down memory lane (or, in the case of our daughter-in-law, a crash-course in Jackson family history).

Our kids’ childhood antics were rather hilarious – particularly their clumsy attempts to steal the spotlight when a younger sibling was in the picture. In one scene, little Noah is being coaxed to try his first steps across the living room floor. When he hesitates, Daniel and Bethany literally plow him over in their attempts to prove to both parents and camera that “I can walk too!”

In hindsight, attention-grabbing toddlers can be amusing. But in the moment, it can be frustrating for parents to deal with the annoyance of a child who demands constant attention.

So how can parents respond lovingly to their attention-guzzling children without “giving in” or creating spoiled children?

Is There Harm in Convincing Kids Santa Is Real?

Note: For some of our readers this post may touch a nerve. Please know we write in a spirit of deeply wanting to see the story of Jesus magnified far above all other stories – fueled by recent days of hearing story after story of heartache from good parents whose teens are walking away from faith. We don’t blame Santa alone, but we can’t help but see the effect of popular culture as a primary lure away from faith.

For centuries societies have played out the Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, and tooth fairy stories. Now there’s even an Elf on the Shelf to add to the Santa story. For many families, these stories we tell our children are treated as an innocent but integral part of the holiday traditions in our families.

But is this telling of tall tales really good for our kids?

We live in a day and age where lying and manipulation is popularized and accepted in pop culture, where rapidly growing numbers of people are boldly professing faith in nothing at all, and kids growing up in church homes are leaving the church in unprecedented numbers.

Yes, there are people who have been raised to believe in Santa who now believe in Jesus. Yes, many people’s belief in Santa has been gently discarded and assimilated into a healthy worldview. But as researchers reveal that 60% or more of kids raised in church homes are growing up and leaving the faith they were raised in, we think it’s time to be more thoughtful and passionately accurate about how we tell the Christmas story.