“Spread Yourselves THICK!”

Are you giving your kids the best opportunity?

“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!”

Wow! Out of the mouths of babes… (Well, not exactly a babe at fourteen, but wise beyond his years.) We made a decision to “spread ourselves thick” and prayerfully simplified our lives over the next few months.

Words that hurt

Parenting both the name-caller and name-called

In this Q & A, Jim and Lynne take 4 minutes to respond to a question from a mom and dad regarding their son’s hurtful words to his siblings.

“Our son constantly criticizes and teases our daughters – and anyone else that he sees as weaker than himself. It hurts them. While we want to lovingly correct our son, we also want to show our daughters that we are for them and want to protect them. We find it hard to do both. What should we do?”

Raising Kids Who Say “Thank You” and Actually Mean It

We talk to many parents who tell us their kids are not grateful. Not only do their children expect to be fed and clothed, but they expect to eat whatever they want and be clothed with the latest brands. They also expect to be given computers and phones, and signed up for (and “taxi-ed” to!) all the extra-curriculars they want to participate in.  In the midst of all this there appears to be no sense of gratitude!

WHAT-EVER!! Ideas for responding to sass with class

What-EVER! (with an eye roll)

You’ve seen it a hundred, maybe even a thousand times. Your child doesn’t like what you’ve said and responds with a head tilt, and eye roll, and the grand pronouncement, “What-EVER!!!!”

What do you do when this happens? The tendency is to shut it down, NOW!  But your angry response communicates to your child that she is in control of your emotions. This gives her the “powerjolt” she needs to pull this behavior out again the next time she’s frustrated with you.

In this Q & A, Jim and Lynne take 7 minutes to respond to this question from a mom who is tired of her 8-year-old daughter’s sass. You’ll hear some quick pointers for how to respond with grace while keeping a child accountable for better behavior.

LISTEN HERE

As you respond, you’ll learn to communicate:

  1. You’re SAFE with me: Stay calm as you take a deep breath. Your kids are not your report card.
  2. You are LOVED even if you sass: Express empathy. “This is really hard, isn’t it? If it’s hard for me, I’m sure it’s hard for you.”
  3. You are CAPABLE: Ask a question. “You don’t like how this is going. What would be a better way?”

We hope as you listen to this audio you are encouraged in your parenting!  As you learn to follow these three steps to decrease the “sass-level” in your house, take joy in the small victories.  We are here to help you in any way we can as you seek to grow your connected family.


Frustrated by constant discipline challenges? Take 15 minutes to read our free ebook 4 Messages All Children Long to Hear: A Discipline That Connects Overview.

After you disconnect, it’s time to really connect!

Fun campfire questions you can use anytime.

Summer is here!  While it may seem like you are constantly battling the screens at your house… it doesn’t have to be that way.  Sitting around a campfire, going on a long road trip, or heading out on a challenging hike are just a few of the opportunities you have to connect better with those you love.  So sit back, shut down the screens, and watch the stories, laughs, and jokes roll when you bust out these fun (and thoughtful, and serious) questions Connected Families has compiled just for you!

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 things (like getting dressed) are easy to teach. But as a follower of Christ, how do you teach your 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. Consider a value you’d love for your children to embrace, and apply these principles as you make a plan to proactively nurture what matters to your family.

Talk with your children

The Four Strengths of Every Great Family

D6 Podcast

Jeremy Lee, from D6 Family Podcast, interviews the co-founders of Connected Families, Jim & Lynne Jackson.

During this 20 minute podcast, Jim and Lynne share the Connected Families parenting framework, which focuses on building a strong parent-child relationship.

If you want to be encouraged and challenged in your parenting journey, listen in! We are SO EXCITED to partner with you as you lead your family with grace.

When to Intervene in Sibling Squabbles

They’re at it again. You can hear them in the next room and you want it to stop. Now. Your children are having a heated debate that seems to be escalating by the minute. Should you intervene or should you let them fight it out?

As parents we all long for our kids to get along and be friends, but their fighting can seem to be a constant negative and never-ending cycle. In our decades of coaching and teaching parents (and raising our own squabbling crew!), we have found a few guiding principles to help you as you steer your kids towards peace and connection at home.   

Only intervene when it is obviously necessary.

The temptation for many parents, when they hear their children in conflict, is to intervene quickly and make it stop. You want quiet. You want peace. You have things to do and you don’t have time for this! However – when we intervene too soon or too often we are cheating our children out of a great opportunity to learn lifelong negotiation and peacemaking skills. These clashes when they are young help equip our kids with the necessary skills they will need to use in the future when they disagree with a co-worker or friend or are engaged in what seems like the hundredth “debate” they are having with a spouse.

WHEN, then, is it “obviously necessary”?

How Expecting Your Kids to Fight Can be a Good Thing

Don’t miss a great opportunity to prepare kids for life.

“He hit me!!!” “She took my marker!”

Have you ever thought – “I am just refereeing 24/7, and I certainly have better things to do with my day. This is not okay! The fighting needs to stop.”

Unfortunately, the more we have an expectation that our children shouldn’t fight, the harder it is to be prepared for the challenge of conflict.

The reality is that kids fight all the time! University of Illinois professor and family researcher Laurie Kramer, Ph.D., has found that siblings between 3 and 7 years old engage in some kind of conflict an average of 3.5 times an hour. The youngest kids (those in the 2 to 4 age group) are the most conflict-prone at 6.3 conflicts per hour–or more than one clash every 10 minutes.*

Turn Name-Calling into Connection

“You’re dumb!”
“No, YOU’RE dumb!”
“Well, you’re a loser!”
“I know you are, but what am I?”
“You’re a butthead!”

“MOMMMMMMMMM!!!!”

Name-calling between children is a challenge for many families. Once kids get on a roll of slinging names back and forth it can seem like an express train to a sibling meltdown. But it doesn’t have to be that way! You can help your kids turn their angry words into an opportunity to connect and build even stronger relationships.