Connected Families https://connectedfamilies.org Parent with confidence. Lead with grace. Thu, 01 Dec 2022 13:06:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Parent with confidence. Lead with grace. Connected Families clean episodic Connected Families info@connectedfamilies.org info@connectedfamilies.org (Connected Families) © 2022 Connected Families Parent with grace. Lead with confidence. Connected Families https://connectedfamilies.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/podcast-icon-1.png https://connectedfamilies.org/listen/ TV-G The Gospel in Our Parenting, Part 2 | Ep. 117 https://connectedfamilies.org/the-gospel-in-our-parenting-part-2-ep-117/ Mon, 28 Nov 2022 00:01:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=46322 Gospel Parenting2 Ep 117

Today’s podcast is part two of a series on how the gospel informs the Connected Families Framework.  Part one explored the gospel in the first three layers of the Framework. Today’s conversation will unpack how the gospel is woven into the final level of the Framework: Correct: “You are RESPONSIBLE for your actions.” 

Stacy Bellward (podcast host) is joined by Connected Families Co-Founders Jim and Lynne Jackson for a conversation that is rich with scripture and reflection. Together, they dig into the true goal of discipline as you seek to correct your children when they misbehave.

In this podcast you’ll discover:

  • how your approach to correction can have a powerful impact in-the-moment, and a lasting impact on your child’s openness to the Holy Spirit and discipleship to Christ
  • ideas for modeling restoration and reconciliation in your home
  • how the fruit of the Spirit can guide you to gently restore your child
  • ways you can set the example of humility for your family
  • that correction is ultimately about you becoming more like Jesus in a way that attracts your child to a life with Jesus

We hope that you have been encouraged by today’s podcast, and we look forward to getting to know you. Please check out our website, and don’t forget to reach out if you need help. It is a joy to walk with you as you parent your kids in God’s grace and truth!

The Gospel in Our Parenting, Part 1 | Ep. 107

Check out the first part of this podcast where we dig into how The Gospel informs the first three levels of the Framework.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

Mentioned in this podcast:


Learn more about the Framework

Want to dig deeper into Connected Families’ Parenting Framework?
Get our FREE ebook, 4 Messages Every Child Longs to Hear.

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Today’s podcast is part two of a series on how the gospel informs the Connected Families Framework.  Part one explored the gospel in the first three layers of the Framework. Today’s conversation will unpack how the gospel is woven into the final level ...



Today’s podcast is part two of a series on how the gospel informs the Connected Families Framework.  Part one explored the gospel in the first three layers of the Framework. Today’s conversation will unpack how the gospel is woven into the final level of the Framework: Correct: “You are RESPONSIBLE for your actions.” 



Stacy Bellward (podcast host) is joined by Connected Families Co-Founders Jim and Lynne Jackson for a conversation that is rich with scripture and reflection. Together, they dig into the true goal of discipline as you seek to correct your children when they misbehave.







In this podcast you’ll discover:




* how your approach to correction can have a powerful impact in-the-moment, and a lasting impact on your child’s openness to the Holy Spirit and discipleship to Christ



* ideas for modeling restoration and reconciliation in your home



* how the fruit of the Spirit can guide you to gently restore your child



* ways you can set the example of humility for your family



* that correction is ultimately about you becoming more like Jesus in a way that attracts your child to a life with Jesus




We hope that you have been encouraged by today’s podcast, and we look forward to getting to know you. Please check out our website, and don’t forget to reach out if you need help. It is a joy to walk with you as you parent your kids in God’s grace and truth!




The Gospel in Our Parenting, Part 1 | Ep. 107



Check out the first part of this podcast where we dig into how The Gospel informs the first three levels of the Framework.




.stk-219f4cc,.stk-219f4cc .stk-button{width:100% !important}.stk-219f4cc{flex:1 1 0 !important}CLICK HERE TO LISTEN





Mentioned in this podcast:




* The Gospel In Our Parenting, Part 1 – Episode 107



* Sensitive & Intense Kids online course (Coming Soon!)



* Donate to Connected Families



* Request a meeting with CF Executive Director



* Romans 6:23



* 2 Corinthians 5:17-18



* Galatians 6:1



* Galatians 5:22-23 (Fruit of the Spirit)



* Hebrews 12:11


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Connected Families 117 Gospel in Parenting Part 2 clean 33:09
A Heart Full of Gratitude https://connectedfamilies.org/a-heart-full-of-gratitude/ Wed, 23 Nov 2022 13:53:42 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=46220 Heart Full of Gratitude

In the messes and stresses of family life (especially during the holiday season), gratitude is sometimes hard to come by. Knowing that joy and gratitude are closely related, how can we learn the important spiritual principle of giving thanks in all circumstances because this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus? 

The apostle Paul teaches powerful lessons about the role of gratitude and joy on the way to contentment in all circumstances. A key example is found in each of his writings, where he consistently included a heartfelt statement of gratitude for the recipients, even if he had never met them! (The exceptions were 1 Timothy and Titus when he started with a very personal, affectionate greeting instead.) 

Paul’s heart of gratitude overflowed to the people he loved with a unique description of precisely what he was grateful for, based on how he saw God’s Spirit manifested in them. Some of Paul’s specific expressions of gratitude to those he was encouraging were:

*See complete scriptural examples at the end of the article.

This year we feel that kind of rich gratitude as we have connected with so many of you who have encouraged us deeply. You’ve encouraged us with faithful prayer. Many of you have given generously to help us reach more parents.

You’ve shared your wisdom on critical decisions. Some have volunteered long hours. We’re deeply grateful for the vibrant and authentic relationships we have with staff and CF-certified parent coaches. Parents of sensitive, intense kids have zoom recorded with Lynne their precious experiences and insights. Others have zoom recorded with Jim the impact of Connected Families in their lives. 

Your stories of parenting with faith, hope, and love are rich gems to encourage us and share with other parents. We want you to know how much we appreciate you on the journey together to bring God’s healing, life-giving grace, and truth to more and more families. 

Like Paul, you can show a heart of gratitude in a tangible way

In this spirit of encouraging and being grateful for others, perhaps this is the Thanksgiving that you look into the eyes of a family member (or more than one family member!) and express gratitude for how you see the image of God in them. Or maybe write them a note or letter. Be specific about what you appreciate about them, whether it is big or small. When we express heartfelt gratitude towards others, it builds connection in a very unique and personal way. 

…look into the eyes of a family member (or more than one family member!) and express gratitude for how you see the image of God in them. Or maybe write them a note or letter. Be specific about what you appreciate about them, whether it is big or small.

We thank God for you and pray for you with joy!  May you experience God’s rich blessings in your family this Thanksgiving.  

The Brain Impact of Gratitude | Ep. 116

Do you know what goes on inside your body and brain when you experience gratitude? This podcast can tell you the answer!

LISTEN TO PODCAST

Paul’s expressions of gratitude in detail

  • “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you because your faith is being reported all over the world.” Romans 1:8
  • “I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 1:4  (Paul saw they openly received God’s wonderful grace and mercy for their very messy version of faith in Christ.)  
  • “…even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God as if I were Christ Jesus himself.” Galatians 4:14 (After Paul deals strongly with their recent departure from freedom and grace to legalism, he circles back to gratitude-filled memories of them.) 
  • “…ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” Ephesians 1:15,16
  • “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” Philippians 1:3-5 (and more specifically, gratitude for their generosity in Philippians 4)
  • “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ when we pray for you because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you…” Colossians 1:3-5a 
  • “We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Thessalonians 1:2,3 (perseverance in suffering)
  • “I thank God, whom I serve… as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.” 2 Timothy 1:3,4 (I am so thankful for our relationship and long to see you!)

Join us in celebrating God’s faithfulness

Learn the impact YOU are having on families, and be part of what God is doing in 2023.

DONATE
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The Brain Impact of Gratitude | Ep. 116 https://connectedfamilies.org/impact-of-gratitude-on-the-brain-ep-116/ Mon, 21 Nov 2022 00:01:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=46094 impact of gratitude on the brain

As 2022 winds down and we head into the holiday season, we have so much to be grateful for.  

You’ve probably heard about the benefits of practicing gratitude, but do you know what goes on inside of your body when you experience gratitude?  The brain science and physiological impacts are fascinating.  So what exactly IS the impact of gratitude on the brain?

In today’s episode, Dr. Troy Spurrill, DC (Founder & CEO, Synapse Center for Health & Healing) joins Stacy Bellward (podcast host) to discuss the positive impact that practicing gratitude can have on families. Dr. Troy draws on his experiences as a scientist, father, and follower of Jesus to explain how gratitude impacts your heart and health.   

In this podcast you’ll discover:

  • how giving and receiving gratitude build your brain
  • the chemical difference between intentional gratitude and quick, robotic expressions
  • the powerful connection between receiving God’s grace and gratitude
  • aspects of daily life that block our ability to express and receive gratitude
  • practical solutions to support kids (or adults) experiencing anxiety or despair 

We hope that you have been encouraged by today’s podcast, and we look forward to getting to know you. Please check out our website, and don’t forget to reach out if you need help. It is a joy to be able to walk with you as you parent your kids in God’s grace and truth!

Mentioned in this podcast:

Guest Bio: 

Dr. Troy Spurrill is the founder and CEO of Synapse Center for Health and Healing. He started Synapse over 26 years ago with a vision to bring an integrative approach to healthcare through functional medicine, making Synapse an internationally known center for true health.

He received a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology from the University of Manitoba, and a Doctorate of Chiropractic from Northwestern Health Sciences University. He has extensive training in Functional Neurology, Nutrition, and Applied Kinesiology. Dr. Troy is an author and international lecturer on wellness and brain-based healing.

Dr. Troy and his wife Christine have 10 children together. When he’s not at the clinic, Dr. Troy enjoys spending time with his family, golfing, and attending sporting events.


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with Dr. Troy Spurrill



As 2022 winds down and we head into the holiday season, we have so much to be grateful for.  



You’ve probably heard about the benefits of practicing gratitude, but do you know what goes on inside of your body when you experience gratitude?  The brain science and physiological impacts are fascinating.  So what exactly IS the impact of gratitude on the brain?







In today’s episode, Dr. Troy Spurrill, DC (Founder & CEO, Synapse Center for Health & Healing) joins Stacy Bellward (podcast host) to discuss the positive impact that practicing gratitude can have on families. Dr. Troy draws on his experiences as a scientist, father, and follower of Jesus to explain how gratitude impacts your heart and health.   



In this podcast you’ll discover:




* how giving and receiving gratitude build your brain



* the chemical difference between intentional gratitude and quick, robotic expressions



* the powerful connection between receiving God’s grace and gratitude



* aspects of daily life that block our ability to express and receive gratitude



* practical solutions to support kids (or adults) experiencing anxiety or despair 




We hope that you have been encouraged by today’s podcast, and we look forward to getting to know you. Please check out our website, and don’t forget to reach out if you need help. It is a joy to be able to walk with you as you parent your kids in God’s grace and truth!



Mentioned in this podcast:




* Connected Families 20th Anniversary Celebration Video



* Sensitive & Intense Kids: Navigating Challenges with Purpose & Hope (coming soon!)



* Synapse Center for Health & Healing



* 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 



* Join the Connected Families Donor Team 




Guest Bio: 



Dr. Troy Spurrill is the founder and CEO of Synapse Center for Health and Healing. He started Synapse over 26 years ago with a vision to bring an integrative approach to healthcare through functional medicine, making Synapse an internationally known center for true health.



He received a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology from the University of Manitoba, and a Doctorate of Chiropractic from Northwestern Health Sciences University. He has extensive training in Functional Neurology, Nutrition, and Applied Kinesiology. Dr. Troy is an author and international lecturer on wellness and brain-based healing.



Dr. Troy and his wife Christine have 10 children together. When he’s not at the clinic, Dr. Troy enjoys spending time with his family, golfing, and attending sporting events.







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Connected Families 116 The Brain Impact of Gratitude clean 42:09
Why Safety Is Crucial for Adoptive Families https://connectedfamilies.org/safety-crucial-adoptive-families/ Tue, 15 Nov 2022 09:33:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=26346

In recognition of Adoption Awareness month, we’ve asked Anna Braasch, our Executive Director and adoptive momma to two, to share practical ways to have safe and connected relationships with your kids – regardless of how they joined your family.

Safety is crucial

The foundational principles of Connected Families breathe life into families formed through adoption. I’ve seen it in my own family. But the thing is….creating an environment of safety is vital for any family who has experienced stress. Isn’t that all of us?

As we teach the Connected Families Framework,  the crucial message, “You are SAFE with me” is the starting place for our relationship with our kids. The other framework messages “You are LOVED no matter what”, “You are CALLED and CAPABLE”, and “You are RESPONSIBLE for your actions” are all built on this foundation of safety.

CF Framework 4Actions4Messages 1

Kids who were adopted must receive the message from their parents, “You are safe with me.”  They must experience this safety in their families.  Safety builds the confidence and security to trust and attach to their adoptive parents.

At some level, trauma is a part of the history of all kids who were adopted, whether those children joined their families at 14, 4, or even as an infant. 

(Sidenote: children adopted at birth – even with loving and thoughtful adoption plans –  experience trauma when they no longer hear the familiar voices they heard while in the womb. This is very disruptive and can create a perception that the world is not safe.)

Kids who have experienced trauma aren’t broken. They are not to be pitied. However, they might view the world differently from their securely-attached peers and need extra safety reinforcement and reminders in order to actually feel safe. Their developing, and sometimes tenuous attachment requires consistent reassurance to believe that their parents (and, therefore, their world) are safe.

Every parent benefits from understanding the truth so powerfully evident in adoption: before children are able to hear and accept they are loved, capable, and responsible – they must first believe they are SAFE.

First believe they are safe

True enough, but what does this look like when I’m trying to get my kids fed and out the door?

Recovering from one particularly difficult and tension-filled encounter with my then 9-year-old son, I collapsed into prayer, asking God to reveal to me what my son needed. I scratched a list during my personal prayer time. Later, as I lay next to him in bed, I read it aloud to him. This list remains. It is a reminder. A reference. A centering-point. A promise.

Like a marriage vow, it is my covenant with him to be safe.

  • Child*, if my emotions escalate, your emotions will escalate, and no one will “win.” Therefore, I will stay calm and peaceful for you.
  • Child, I will daily seek self-control to not discipline you with a knee-jerk emotional reaction.
  • Child, I will not talk with you about your misbehavior until I have calmed my heart, prayed, and asked God for wisdom – “God, what do you want us to learn through this situation?” Only then will I gently bring up tough subjects.
  • Child, my relationship with Christ gives me the security to handle your anger, rejections, and proclamations of “I hate you.”
  • Child, it is not my job to “fix” you. You are not my “project.” My sense of worth is not determined by whether or not you “turn out okay.” It is my job to be safe and help you find and nurture your gifts and talents to serve God and others.
  • Child, I believe 1 John 4:18 that “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” I know that my love will never be perfect enough. But God’s love is. So I rest in God’s love. And I pray that someday you will be able to fully grasp and accept God’s love for you.
  • Child, when I mess up, I will humbly apologize and ask for forgiveness with complete sincerity. I will take ownership of my own messes.
  • Child, I love you forever.

*replace “Child” with your child’s name

Safety Covenant PDF

Download and print this FREE PDF of the Safety Covenant today!

Our family wrestled through a season of high emotional conflict. The list was a tangible reminder of my commitment to strive to be a safe parent. My daughter received a personalized copy, too. The concepts have now become integrated into our family culture and are the guiding principles behind how my husband and I choose to parent.

I get tired. And frustrated. And angry. I still lose my patience and react harshly. (And when I do, I’m quick to ask for forgiveness and to forgive myself.) But this covenant anchors me, my husband, and our children as we make safety a top priority in our family.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Whether you have children who joined your family through birth, adoption, foster care, or marriage, how can you communicate that you are committed to helping your kids feel safe in their relationship with you?
  • How might you adapt the covenant above to your child’s unique needs, age, or love language?

Our coaches are experienced in working with many families who have adopted. If you’ve adopted and feel like you keep running into the same struggles over and over again, consider coaching. My husband and I have benefited from parent coaching through Connected Families, and I know you will too.

Join us in celebrating God’s faithfulness

Learn the impact YOU are having on families, and be part of what God is doing in 2023.

DONATE

Related Posts

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When Parenting Is Harder Than You Thought It Would Be | Ep. 115 https://connectedfamilies.org/parenting-is-harder-than-you-thought/ Mon, 14 Nov 2022 00:04:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=45926 parenting is harder than you thought

Before you had children you may have held idealistic visions of what family life and parenting would be like someday.  For some parents, as their hopes and expectations meet the realities of daily life, they begin to feel disillusioned. Insecurities and anxiety around parenting may surface, and they may ask, “Am I enough? Am I the right parent for this child?”

In today’s podcast, Stacy Bellward (podcast host) is joined by Taylor Irby (Connected Families Certified Parent Coach) for a conversation exploring how to move past our own expectations and into the security God has for us as parents.  Both Stacy and Taylor have children through birth as well as adoption. 

In this podcast you’ll discover:

  • messages you can use to challenge insecurities you experience in parenting
  • ways control can show up in your behavior toward yourself and your children
  • steps to help you move from anxiety and control to Truth in the moment
  • what happens in our minds, hearts, and behavior when we trust that God is taking care of us

We hope that you have been encouraged by today’s podcast, and we look forward to getting to know you. Please check out our website, and don’t forget to reach out if you need help. It is a joy to walk with you as you parent your kids in God’s grace and truth!

Mentioned in this podcast:

Guest Bio: 

Taylor Irby is a mother to 5 kids, and she understands the struggles parents face. Every day she faces ADHD, autism, anxiety, developmental delays, and adoption trauma. She too has sat in the trenches and searched the world for answers. Taylor read book after book and got excited over methods that were short-lived. That is when she hit the wall of desperation and sought parent coaching through Connected Families. Taylor ultimately became a coach through their training program to help others like her. She has seen transformation in her home through working with a framework that not only has changed her children’s behavior but their hearts as well. You are not alone on this parenting journey. There is hope and you can enjoy your children, build that relationship you have wanted and see behavior change. You can learn more about Taylor at taylorirbycoaching.com, and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/taylor.irby.5 and Instagram @taylorirbycoaching 

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Before you had children you may have held idealistic visions of what family life and parenting would be like someday.  For some parents, as their hopes and expectations meet the realities of daily life, they begin to feel disillusioned.



Before you had children you may have held idealistic visions of what family life and parenting would be like someday.  For some parents, as their hopes and expectations meet the realities of daily life, they begin to feel disillusioned. Insecurities and anxiety around parenting may surface, and they may ask, “Am I enough? Am I the right parent for this child?”







In today’s podcast, Stacy Bellward (podcast host) is joined by Taylor Irby (Connected Families Certified Parent Coach) for a conversation exploring how to move past our own expectations and into the security God has for us as parents.  Both Stacy and Taylor have children through birth as well as adoption. 



In this podcast you’ll discover:




* messages you can use to challenge insecurities you experience in parenting



* ways control can show up in your behavior toward yourself and your children



* steps to help you move from anxiety and control to Truth in the moment



* what happens in our minds, hearts, and behavior when we trust that God is taking care of us




We hope that you have been encouraged by today’s podcast, and we look forward to getting to know you. Please check out our website, and don’t forget to reach out if you need help. It is a joy to walk with you as you parent your kids in God’s grace and truth!



Mentioned in this podcast:




* Episode 98 – Can you parent well when you’re anxious – Guest Taylor Irby 



* Connected Families Certified Parent Coach



* Connected Families Framework



* Sensitive & Intense Kids online course (Coming soon!)



* Slow, low, and listen 



* Romans 5:8




Guest Bio: 



Taylor Irby is a mother to 5 kids, and she understands the struggles parents face. Every day she faces ADHD, autism, anxiety, developmental delays, and adoption trauma. She too has sat in the trenches and searched the world for answers. Taylor read book after book and got excited over methods that were short-lived. That is when she hit the wall of desperation and sought parent coaching through Connected Families. Taylor ultimately became a coach through their training program to help others like her. She has seen transformation in her home through working with a framework that not only has changed her children’s behavior but their hearts as well. You are not alone on this parenting journey. There is hope and you can enjoy your children, build that relationship you have wanted and see behavior change. You can learn more about Taylor at taylorirbycoaching.com, and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/taylor.irby.]]>
Connected Families 37:50
Not Sure How To Get Kids To Do Chores? https://connectedfamilies.org/how-to-get-kids-to-do-chores/ Wed, 09 Nov 2022 09:14:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=23800 How to get kids to do chores

The activities that distract kids from chores get more exciting all the time! Between the lure of screens and the frenetic pace of life, mundane tasks can fall between the cracks. It’s no wonder parents come to us wanting to know how to get kids to do chores. 

In our role as parent coaches and educators, we often hear that one child in the home struggles a lot more than the other kids, and trying to get that child to do chores can even set off an enormous outburst of anger. And these resistant kids can become increasingly aware of the comparison between themselves and (what they perceive to be) their favored siblings, and discouragement can settle in. 

Our decades of helping parents have made it clear – getting unstuck from unhelpful patterns like this starts with an honest look at: “What’s going on in me?” and “What’s going on in my child? What’s it like to be them?” 

You may notice your anxiety rising as you work harder to get kids to do chores. “Chores weren’t such a problem when I was a kid. We just did what we were supposed to. Why can’t I make this happen?” Or “What’s wrong with my child?” You may even begin to believe you’re an inept parent or your child is lazy, selfish, or entitled. But if you engage with anxiety, shame, or judgments, it’s a surefire way to keep everyone stuck. 

Even the phrase, “Get my kids to do chores,” can be an unhelpful way of framing this challenge. When was the last time you felt encouraged or empowered by someone trying to “get you to do something” you didn’t want to do?

What about if you ditched the pressure of that phrase and reminded yourself of the grace-filled truth that “God understands how hard this is and will partner with you as you grow valuable responsibility in your kids.” Phew. You’re not alone. There’s so much grace in this messy journey! God’s “come-alongside help” is with you every step of the way.  

Recent brain science is helping us understand more clearly that the kids who struggle the most with chores are often not determined to be rebellious, defiant, or disobedient. Instead, they naturally have lower levels of the neurotransmitter chemical called dopamine. This predisposes them to chase pleasurable distractions of all kinds more intensely. Their need for this chemical is what’s often behind their distraction, and when you call them back to routine chores, they cry, “I don’t wanna do it!”. (Read more about dopamine’s role in ADHD)

What’s the answer?

It’s tempting to get more demanding and firm about rules and consequences. But we’ve found that this isn’t helpful with kids lacking dopamine. This actually tends to stress kids more, and as we discussed in our post, “Are We Dealing Drugs to Our Children,” stress depletes dopamine. Stressed kids may do any number of things to get their chemical “fix.”

It also isn’t helpful to simply brush off expectations and go easier on kids with low dopamine. Your inclination to set clear parameters and high expectations is likely just what they need. But it helps them to see your compassion and understanding and that you’re being intentional about making these tasks less stressful for them. 

God designed us to work hard every day and feel good about it. But, it is normal and natural to seek what we consider pleasurable and avoid what we perceive as pain. 

Given that truth, how in the world can you motivate kids to do hard work?

Christopher Bergland is an endurance athlete, coach, and author. He states that the secret is to “view struggle and perseverance as a doorway to pleasure” by feeling good about accomplishing something every day. 

If we don’t accomplish something every day, it drains our dopamine levels. Bergland offers hope for parents and kids, “Learning and conditioning yourself to self-administer this [dopamine] ‘reward molecule’ every day can turn anyone into a go-getter.” He’s essentially saying that a child must consciously acknowledge (celebrate!) the success of achieving a goal in order to release the dopamine that strengthens perseverance. If you skip that celebration step, there will be no brain change.

Some simple ideas to turn a chore-avoider into a go-getter

Help your child value perseverance 

  • Share stories: Kids love to hear stories from their parents’ lives. So share examples of times when you’ve persevered and “harvested a good crop” and times when you didn’t! What did you learn? (You can also Google “stories that demonstrate perseverance”; there are many for all age levels!) 
  • Share scripture: “So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time, we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up or quit.” (Galatians 6:9 MSG) You can ask your kids, “What do you think that means? What is a ‘good crop?’”
  • Highlight their success: What are examples of times your child has persevered at something important to them (even if it wasn’t important to you  😉 ) and what was the result? 
  • Teach kids a “growth mindset”: a child’s brain grows the most when things are difficult*, just like how they build muscles by pedaling up a hill, not coasting down a hill! A book we recommend for ages 5 to 9 is Your Fantastic Elastic Brain.

*Growth mindset is a term that was initially coined by Child Psychologist Carol Dweck and popularized by numerous authors. Her work most closely informs our use of the term.


Set kids up for success

  • Make tasks shorter – to be a “just-right-challenge.” Help your child break overwhelming chores into more manageable tasks that can each provide a mini-dopamine burst from a sense of accomplishment. Or ask kids to help with small, more frequent tasks. Researchers studied indigenous families to discover how they raise such eager-to-help kids. They found that parents invited kids to help with small tasks on an average of three times an hour!
  • Insert a brief, fun break between small chunks of more extensive tasks. Sometimes our daughter would practice half her piano lesson, then take a five-minute play break on the swing we had hanging in our basement. That gave her the dopamine boost she needed to finish her task.  
  • Build a dopamine booster into the task, such as music, a snack, or figuring out a new, creative way to do the task. “How could you get the bathroom really clean but do it a little faster this time?” “Could you wipe down the counters while standing on one foot?” 
  • Encourage your child to be part of the team as your family works together. Whenever possible, try to have a time when your family does chores alongside each other. It’s often easier to get a job done when you know everyone else is doing theirs too!
  • Tap into the natural dopamine boost from food – (but not by using it as a reward!) Numerous families find it helpful to have everyone doing their chores right before a meal. Mom or Dad is working at meal prep while others help or work on a different chore. Then you all sit down at dinner or snack together. This increases the dopamine value of accomplishing the task – get it done, and get to the table! Other families, with kids who tend to get “hangry” easily, do much better doing chores after meals, when everyone is well-fed and hopefully in a good mood.  


Give kids ownership

  • Family meetings can help give kids ownership in figuring out chore rotations because unless a child loves a task, doing it week after week is a sure-fire “dopamine killer.” 
  • Help your child self-congratulate after each small chunk. This is really important. You can ask questions like, “Wow, what did you get done?” “How is that helpful?” or “How do you feel about that?”  Christopher Bergland says, “…when you succeed, get in the habit of saying, ‘Yes! I did it!’ silently or under your breath. Being self-congratulatory isn’t about ego or hubris; it is about harnessing your reward circuitry and tapping your dopamine pipeline.” So teach kids to be “happy of themselves” when they work hard or accomplish something. 

Low dopamine levels might explain why one child struggles while another is easily responsible. But it isn’t an excuse to let a child off the hook and cause them to miss learning the value and pleasure in hard work. Working with your child to help raise their dopamine levels might be just what they need to grow the responsibility and perseverance that will serve them well in life.

As you begin to shift away from, “How do I get my child to do chores?” to, “What does my child need to make it easier to enjoy responsibility?” a lot can change. And your child gets the important message, “I am loved and understood”. 


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]]> 12 Blog Posts and Podcasts To Inspire Your Parenting https://connectedfamilies.org/12-blog-posts-and-podcasts-to-inspire-your-parenting/ Tue, 01 Nov 2022 10:00:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=45607 12 blog posts and podcasts

Many in the Connected Families community have children through adoption, foster care, or kinship care.* Because we’re Christ-centered, research-based, attachment-focused, and trauma-informed, these parents come to us seeking encouragement in their unique parenting journey. We also have quite a few of our team members who have grown their families through adoption!

Over the years, we have developed quite a few blog posts and podcasts to meet the needs of these families (and those who love them). Even though adoption can add layers of complexity, many of the challenges adoptive families face are ones we can all relate to as parents. These blog posts and podcasts will benefit all parents who are seeking to better connect with their children and lead their families with grace.

*In the United States, November is Adoption Awareness Month.

Blog posts you may find helpful:

Podcasts you may find helpful:

If you have built your family through adoption, know that our team is here to support you and walk this road with you. We are so honored to be part of your parenting journey.

If you are a friend or family member of someone who has adopted, encourage them to check out our FREE resources! It might be just what they need to feel encouraged today.


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My Child Wants Nothing to Do With Me. Is There Hope? https://connectedfamilies.org/child-wants-nothing-to-do-with-you/ Wed, 26 Oct 2022 09:00:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=9830 Child wants nothing to do with me 1

“My daughter seems distant.” or “My son wants nothing to do with me. It seems like my efforts at connecting just push him further away!” 

Can you relate to these statements? 

We’ve heard statements like these from plenty of parents. Believe it or not, they are common sentiments. Some kids, for a whole host of reasons, struggle more with connection than others.

BUT… connecting is still possible. And your child desperately needs it! Read this article to learn how to gently invite a child that wants nothing to do with you into meaningful connection. Even if there is resistance.

Children can be like wild horses

Some children (whether toddlers or teens) respond to their parents’ affection in a way that says, “Private property. No trespassing in this heart of mine.” Your child may withdraw into a private world of toys, books, screens, or friends. Some children may even seem angry or defiant when they withdraw in this way.

When this happens, it’s easy to become disheartened and assume that your child doesn’t want a relationship with you. But it’s not true. More often than not, children desperately want to connect with their parents.

One stiff arm yells, “Stay out of my life.” Yet, the other hand beckons you tentatively, “I need your love!”

I remember when I (Lynne) had an opportunity to watch a horse trainer in action. I mused, “This mustang reminds me of a cranky teenager.”  I watched the horse trainer’s keen discernment and saint-like patience. She would take a small step toward the wary horse, carefully assessing his response. If he even flicked a muscle to hint at moving away from her, she took a step back to give him space. Only when the horse showed signs of comfort would she take another small step forward. If he seemed unsure, she stayed where she was until he became more comfortable. 

Her goal was to move toward him at his determined pace, always keeping him comfortable.

Forced connection drives kids even further away

Do your kids act like that wary horse, resisting your efforts to connect? Maybe you’ve said things like, “My daughter shuts down when I try to talk to her.” Or perhaps, “My son wants nothing to do with me.” It is natural to feel rejected, hurt, or even a bit angry. But often, a child’s seeming resistance stems from self-protection. It flows out of their own hurt or fear of rejection.

The more frustrated you feel by your child’s aloofness, the more likely you are to drive that child away by trying harder to connect. You may tend to move too fast, with anxiety as the driver of your failed attempts.

Kids perceive your frustration and anxiety, even if they can’t give it words. It feels burdensome and uncomfortable to them. This is why it’s so important to learn to connect and guide in ways that feel truly safe and don’t burden kids with your anxiety or your need to be accepted. 

A healthy connection is necessary if you want your kids to receive the vital lessons you hope to teach. Your efforts to connect will be most effective when thoughtfully matched to your child’s personality, interests, and developmental stage. 

7 connection ideas for younger kids

One of the key ways parents and small children can connect is through play. While playing, children are better able to relax and feel safe. This opens them up to receive your love. But if you’re tired or not into Legos and playing house, here are some ideas for connecting, especially with younger kids (scroll down for ideas for older kids).

  1. Body Tracing 
    • Have your child lie down on a large sheet of paper and then trace her body.
    • Color in the outline and point out unique physical features about your child, like, “Gracie has bright brown eyes that sparkle with joy.” 
    • Write notes on the tracing such as: 
      • “Gracie is wonderfully and uniquely made.” 
      • “Gracie is loved by God and Mommy and Daddy, no matter what.” 
      • “Gracie will always be a part of our family.” etc. 
    • You can say them out loud as you write them. When finished, read them together with your child. Hang the paper in your child’s bedroom as a reminder.
  2. Individual affirmations
    • Ask, “Can I tell you something special?”
    • With permission, whisper how much you love your child or certain characteristics they have that you love. 
  3. Mailbox
    • Send your child notes, reading them out loud as you write them. 
    • Put them through a slit that you’ve cut in a box. 
    • Let your child open the box and reread them after the envelope is opened.
  4. Love Sandwich
    • Squeeze your child between both parents (or for single parents – on the floor between two pillows, squishing from the top). 
    • Make up some silly chant such as, “Mommy loves Aidan; Daddy loves Aidan; Jesus loves Aidan; squish, squish, squish!”
  5. Knock, Knock!
    • Take a book and put it over your face. 
    • Invite your child to knock on it like it’s a door
    • Then peek around the side/top/bottom and tell her you love her, will never leave her, she’s your special girl, and so on.
  6. Give a play-by-play as your child plays
    • Watch your child and narrate what you see him doing. This communicates – “You are noticed. You matter. What’s important to you is important because you are important.”
    • “Wow, look at that ____ you’re making.  I can see ________ (add details)”  
    • Ask questions about whatever you notice. 
  7. “I remember when….” 
    • Most kids love to hear stories about their birth and early childhood, especially if it involves you talking about how much you love them.

9 connection ideas for the teen that wants nothing to do with you

As kids get older, they often feel patronized by even the best efforts to connect. As a parent, you may start to feel discouraged or resentful. Even worse, you may be tempted to give up. But to give up communicates messages like, “Loving you is just too hard.” And, “You’ll never change.”  This tends to cause even greater disconnection.

Be inspired by some practical ideas to start rebuilding connection with teens who seem distant:

  1. Acknowledge that connection can be challenging and ask the kids for their ideas. 
    • Even if the kids don’t have any ideas or don’t want to talk at first, they will get the message, “You’re worth learning from and connecting with.
  2. Use whatever technology your kids use to message them simple notes. 
    • A text message or email can go a long way toward building eventual bridges, as you communicate the basic message, “I love you and notice ________” (some positive thing your child did, or an example of growth or progress).
    • If your child is on a social media platform, invite them to teach you to use it and engage with their posts or use direct messaging to send encouraging messages.
  3. Sit next to them while they focus on a favorite activity
    • You might be working on your activity, but you can occasionally comment on what they are doing. 
  4. Ask occasional non-threatening questions. 
    • “What was the most memorable part of your day?” 
    • “What’s one thing you’re looking forward to this week?” 
    • If kids give short answers, be OK with that for now. Progress can be slow.
  5. Turn off the radio and make the car a phone-free zone for you and your kids. 
    • Even if your kids don’t appreciate it at first, they might eventually. It will allow the opportunity for a non-threatening question or two. 
  6. Attend favorite activities with the kids. 
    • Don’t just drop them off. Stay and watch the same game they watch, or wander the same halls at the mall. Even if there’s not much conversation, your child will probably notice. 
    • If they don‘t want to be with you, simply tell them you’re staying because you want to experience what they are experiencing.
  7. “Play-by-play”
    • For older kids, this will be different from smaller children, but the main idea is the same (see suggestions for younger children above for the main idea): Notice what your child is up to and mention it.
    • It might look like, “Hey, that looks like an interesting show. Could you tell me a little about it at dinner?”
  8. Go out of your comfort zone to connect. 
    • One dad attended a rock concert with his aloof daughter that rattled his bones and jarred his sensibilities, but he found a few things to affirm, and she noticed his effort. 
    • I (Lynne) overcame my fear of ziplining on a weekend away with our youngest son. 
    • Do things your teen loves, even if they’re not something you’d choose ordinarily.
    • Enlist your child to teach you a video game you could play together. 
  9. Be patient. 
    • The connection may take quite some time to build. If you do any of the above with a sour or impatient attitude, kids will notice, and the effort will likely be counter-productive. But if you share space while setting aside any judgments or efforts to shape your child’s behavior, they just might open up about a few things.  

God knows and loves your aloof child more than you do!

Many parents have shared how praying for guidance has given them insights into what kind of connection their child needs from them. So if you’re discouraged and feel like your daughter shuts down or your son doesn’t want anything to do with you, have confidence when you pray. 

Remember:

God understands what it is like to have His love rejected,
and He promises to give you
help and wisdom when you ask

May you experience connection with your child like this mom

Take a look at this story from Diane, a coaching client, about persevering with a daughter who had rejected her attempts to connect for years. May it encourage and equip you as you seek to build a connected relationship with your child:

Last week, when Greta (age 11) asked if she and I could go out for lunch for a special date, my mind raced back to one of my desperate attempts to connect with her just a few years ago. This happened when she was around 8.

It was incredibly discouraging that my daughter couldn’t handle verbal or physical affection in those days. There were no ‘I love you’s,’ no hugs and snuggles. I felt empty and hopeless about our relationship. ‘I just don’t think she cares.’

Being present and silent

I remembered the day I took her to a favorite quiet spot, made her a cup of hot chocolate, and brought some crayons and paper. Greta dove right into drawing and coloring but wouldn’t look up or engage in conversation. 

I commented on how pretty her picture was and how I loved her array of colors. She stopped coloring long enough to say, “Please don’t say those things to me.” Lost for ideas, I remained quiet, afraid of pushing her further away. She spent the rest of the time coloring, and I watched and silently wondered if this was accomplishing anything. 

The key to Greta’s heart: journal entries

Despite her resistance, I felt committed to seeking ways to connect with her. I eventually discovered that when I wrote caring notes in Greta’s journal, she privately savored each word! Over the months and years that we exchanged journal entries and notes, she gradually began to enjoy all the forms of affection that she had previously refused.

3 years later and a beautiful lunch date

After reflecting on that day from just a few short years ago, I couldn’t help but smile all the way through our lunch. During our conversation, Greta felt entirely at ease and shared with me about her friends at school, her thoughts about the future, and her favorite activities.

We laughed about things Daddy and her little brother did and discussed plans for the evening. She very openly told me how much she enjoyed spending time together, and I told her how glad I was that she requested this lunch date. As we walked out to the car, holding hands, the conversation still going strong, I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. Through many hours of prayer and perseverance, I had discovered how to unlock the treasures of my precious little girl’s heart!

Even if your child wants nothing to do with you, don’t give up

What a great story of how persistence pays off. We actually got the above letter from Diane almost ten years ago! So what’s happened since then? Did that sweet connection fade in the teen years? Not at all. Greta experienced some stress in high school, but she was deeply connected with her mom, which greatly helped her get through it all. She has graduated from college and thoroughly enjoys being with her family.

Diane stated, “Greta knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am always here for her. With us, she is loved, safe, and understood.” 🙂 

It can be hard not to take your child’s aloofness personally and to gracefully persevere at connection. But it’s well worth the effort – for both you and your child.

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從混亂到目的:尋找你家的超能力 https://connectedfamilies.org/%e5%ae%b6%e4%ba%ba%e8%b6%85%e8%83%bd%e5%8a%9b-tc/ Tue, 25 Oct 2022 23:49:01 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=45535

成為一家人像是經歷一場瘋狂的碰撞,不斷挑戰著家庭成員的極限和弱點。一方父母缺少耐心又要求過高,另一方則是嘮嘮叨叨、過度關心,孩子為了應付混亂的情況,常以頂嘴、抱怨、隱瞞、說謊,或以上行為的任意組合來回應。我們該如何從這一團混亂中找到目的?

當這些弱點全部加在一起,衝突宛如暴風雨降臨,人很自然而然地想“修正”它。但不幸的是,這樣做並不會讓情況好轉,只會讓人更灰心喪氣。看似無可救藥的混亂情況,讓人很容易陷入惡性循環,並非改善問題。

但問題是有辦法解決的!以下三個重要的原則,以及一些實際的建議,將會幫助你建立新的習慣,有智慧將混亂轉化為你家的超能力!

“平息混亂”的三個原則

1. 每個弱點的反面,都意味著某個優點

當某個家庭成員的弱點,成為日常生活中的混亂與壓力來源之時,其實反過來說,也正意味著上帝給予的某個恩賜,我稱它為“被誤用的恩賜”。以我們家為例:

  • 哲忻容易發脾氣、說話強勢,代表他對事情很有熱情,並善於表達。
  • 江琳的嘮叨,反過來說,意味著她的細心與堅持。
  • 丹尼爾好爭辯的性格,反映出他的領導恩賜以及正義感。
  • 貝絲妮敏感、容易受傷的表現,發自於她對人的敏銳觀察及同理心。
  • 諾亞低調、避開衝突的能力,反映他理性、善於分析的天性。
JacksonFamily scaled

了解每個人的恩賜,幫助我們在恩賜被誤用時,對彼此更有耐心。丹尼爾打了貝絲妮一巴掌,因為她不小心踩到諾亞的樂高創作,貝絲妮哭著告訴我們“丹尼爾只是想保護弟弟。”她運用她的同理心,指出丹尼爾“發揮正義感”的恩賜。這並不代表丹尼爾不需要跟她道歉,但她的洞察力,使他們的關係很快就能恢復。

當家庭成員以這樣的方式回應對方的弱點,也就傳遞出這樣的信息:“雖然你現在正面臨一些挑戰,但我仍然看到你的優點,你很寶貴,你是神美好的创造。”這對我們以及我們的孩子而言,都是何等重要的信息!

2. 上帝給每個人不同的優點來建造家庭

從更深的層次來看,一但我們找出這些恩賜,我們就能幫助對方善用恩賜、發揮貢獻。這源於我們的信念,相信每個人都是“有使命和能力的”,能成就上帝預備我們在家庭中所做的善工。

靠著彼此,我們開始了解這些優點的價值:

  • 江哲忻善於表達、充滿熱情,創造出許多有趣又能加深關係的互動。
  • 江琳的細心與堅持,使家庭生活運轉順暢,也幫助孩子培養責任感。
  • 丹尼爾常運用領袖的恩賜,領導弟弟妹妹一起創作,加深彼此的關係。
  • 貝絲妮很能同理、體貼他人的情緒。
  • 諾亞個性隨和,在我們這個容易起衝突的家庭中,扮演和平的使者。

時間快轉到2016年,我們帶著其中兩個孩子去其他國家旅行,旅程中風景優美、令人難忘,但最令人難忘的是我們旅行的方式。從第一天開始,我們自然而然地運用我們的優點,扮演好各自不同的角色,整個旅程因此更順暢愉快。

jacksons2016

江哲忻是我們的領隊—他計畫許多好玩又有意義的活動。我負責管理食物和物資,諾亞是我們的導航,為我們帶路。貝絲妮則扮演我們的攝影師,用鏡頭捕捉美好快樂的時光。

晚上進入夢鄉之時,我常讚嘆上帝創造家庭的美好。我們每個人都應當知道,“我屬於這裡,我能發揮獨特的貢獻!” 我們相信當父母把: “你屬於這裡!你能發揮獨特貢獻” 的信息傳達給孩子的時候,許多家庭的難題將迎刃而解。

3. 了解自己的優點和獨特角色,幫助孩子成長茁壯。

研究顯示:“……將注意力放在自己優點的人,對生命的滿意度比別人高出三倍。”我們相信當家庭將注意力放在彼此的優點時,我們對生命的滿意度也會一起提升。

但更重要的是,運用我們的恩賜來服事神並幫助別人,也幫助我們更了解上帝的心意—更深地經歷祂美好的創造,以及祂對每個人的愛。

 你們是……我所揀選的僕人。既是這樣,便可以知道,且信服我,又明白我就是耶和華。

以赛亚书43:10a

“ 心聯家齊”的社群中有很多家庭也經歷了這樣鼓舞人心的轉變: “我們屬於這裡,我們能發揮獨特的貢獻。” 通常成長都是源於他們所經歷的困難。

妮娜的孩子做事衝動又堅持己見,然而她成功引導他在家中發揮貢獻:

康納是個情緒強烈、“先行動後思考”的孩子。我很認同恩賜被誤用的這個觀點,所以我鼓勵他:“嘿寶貝,迅速採取行動是上帝給你恩賜,這表示你天生就很勇敢,也代表上帝會呼召你去做一些別人可能會裹足不前的事情。但在某些情況,例如當我們過馬路的時候,就要先想想再行動,我們一起加油好嗎?你的強烈情緒、你的堅持己見都是我很愛你的地方。有你來主導家庭活動,事情才能順利實現。

雖然六歲的康納是我們家年紀最小的,他卻是我們家的活動計畫者。幾個禮拜前,我問他:“今晚你可以幫我一起計畫家庭之夜嗎?”果不其然,他說到做到。事後我對他說:“寶貝,謝謝你幫忙,我常一到晚上就被其他事情分心,但因為你的堅持,計畫才能順利完成!”

如果家裡每個人都了解並善用自己的優點,將弱點轉變祝福,情況會變得如何呢?花點時間好好想想,和家人討論,將它變成你的家庭文化。

三個幫助你思考的討論問題:

1. 每個人不同的弱點是什麼?

讓家庭成員輪流分享自己的弱點,但讓孩子知道—不是讓你來說別人的弱點!帶領的時候,真誠地分享自己的弱點。

2. 這個弱點相對應的優點是什麼?

不論是否有指出弱點,鼓勵大家分享彼此的優點。

  • 我們是用什麼方式關心彼此?
  • 我們什麼時候曾發揮貢獻?
  • 我們是如何為這個家帶來歡笑?

3. 我們該如何運用恩賜,對家庭有所貢獻?

當孩子覺得自己能以實際的方式貢獻所長,他們就會把優點發揮在對的地方!試著列出你家人能夠服務彼此、並服務社區的方式。

對比較小的孩子來說,你可以把弱點和其相應的優點形容成:能做好事,也能做壞事的 “超能力”。(“超能力”一詞源自希瑟·麥克法登 (Heather McFadyen)與她先生的播客”角色、目标和超能力”)

別錯失了上帝的恩典!祂以獨特的方式,給予每個家庭成員不同的恩賜!

各人要照所得的恩賜彼此服事,作神百般恩賜的好管家。

彼得前书4:10

一起學習這節經文,幫助你的孩子在弱點中發掘上帝所賜的恩賜,並學習運用這些恩賜,成為家庭的祝福。這麼做將預備孩子更了解神的心意、找到自己在神國度的角色、並行在上帝的使命和呼召之中!

作者:江哲忻、江琳 翻譯: 沈奕伶

messages for kids in Chinese

四條信息。
一個框架。

獲取免費電子書,開始帶領您家邁向更好、更心相連的親子旅程。

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从混乱到目的:寻找你家的超能力 https://connectedfamilies.org/%e5%ae%b6%e4%ba%ba%e8%b6%85%e8%83%bd%e5%8a%9b-sc/ Tue, 25 Oct 2022 09:01:54 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=45521

成为一家人像是经历一场疯狂的碰撞,不断挑战着家庭成员的极限和弱点。父母缺少耐心又要求过高,又或是唠唠叨叨、过度关心,孩子为了应付混乱的情况,常以顶嘴、抱怨、隐瞒、说谎,或以上行为的任意组合来回应。我们该如何从这一团混乱中找到目的?

当这些弱点全部加在一起,冲突宛如暴风雨降临,人很自然而然地想“修正”它。但不幸的是,这样做并不会让情况好转,只会让人更灰心丧气。看似无可救药的混乱情况,让人很容易陷入恶性循环,并非改善问题。

然而,问题是有办法解决的!以下三个重要的原则,以及一些实际的建议,将会帮助你建立新的习惯,有智慧将混乱转化为你家的超能力!

“平息混乱”的三个原则

1) 每个弱点的反面,都意味着某个优点

当某个家庭成员的弱点,成为日常生活中的混乱与压力来源之时,其实反过来说,也正意味着上帝给予的某个天赋,我称它为“扭曲的天赋”。以我们家为例:

  • 哲忻容易发脾气、说话强势,代表他对事情很有热情,并善于表达。
  • 江琳的唠叨,反过来说,意味着她的细心与坚持。
  • 丹尼尔好争辩的性格,反映出他的领导天赋以及正义感。
  • 贝丝妮敏感、容易受伤的表现,发自于她对人的敏锐观察及同理心。
  • 诺亚低调、避开冲突的能力,反映他理性、善于分析的天性。
JacksonFamily scaled

了解每个人的天赋,帮助我们在天赋被扭曲时,对彼此更有耐心。丹尼尔打了贝丝妮一巴掌,因为她不小心踩到诺亚的乐高创作,贝丝妮哭着告诉我们“丹尼尔只是想保护弟弟。”她运用她的同理心,指出丹尼尔“发挥正义感”的天赋。这并不代表丹尼尔不需要跟她道歉,但她的洞察力,使他们的关系很快就能恢复。

当家庭成员以这样的方式回应对方的弱点,也就传递出这样的信息:“虽然你现在正面临一些挑战,但我仍然看到你的优点,你很宝贵,你是神美好的创造。”这对我们以及我们的孩子而言,都是何等重要的信息!

2) 上帝给每个人不同的优点来建造家庭

从更深的层次来看,一但我们找出这些天赋,我们就能帮助对方善用天赋并作出贡献。这源于我们的信念,相信每个人都是“有使命和能力的”,能成就上帝预备我们在家庭中所做的善工。

靠着彼此,我们开始了解这些优点的价值:

  • 江哲忻善于表达、充满热情,创造出许多有趣又能加深关系的互动。
  • 江琳的细心与坚持,使家庭生活运转顺畅,也帮助孩子培养责任感。
  • 丹尼尔常运用领袖的天赋,领导弟弟妹妹一起创作,加深彼此的关系。
  • 贝丝妮很能同理、体贴他人的情绪。
  • 诺亚个性随和,在我们这个容易起冲突的家庭中,扮演和平的使者。

时间快转到2016年,我们带着其中两个孩子去其他国家旅行,旅程中风景优美、令人难忘,但最令人难忘的是我们旅行的方式。从第一天开始,我们自然而然地运用我们的优点,扮演好各自不同的角色,整个旅程因此更顺畅愉快。

jacksons2016

江哲忻是我们的领队——他计画许多好玩又有意义的活动。我负责管理食物和物资,诺亚是我们的导航,为我们带路。贝丝妮则扮演我们的摄影师,用镜头捕捉美好快乐的时光。

晚上进入梦乡之时,我常赞叹上帝创造家庭的美好。我们每个人都应当知道,“我属于这里,我能发挥独特的贡献!” 我们相信当父母向孩子传递这样的信息: “你属于这里!你能发挥独特贡献!”,许多家庭的难题将迎刃而解。

3) 了解自己的优点和独特角色,帮助孩子成长茁壮。

研究显示:“……将注意力放在自己优点的人,对生命的满意度比别人高出三倍。”我们相信当家庭将注意力放在彼此的优点时,我们对生命的满意度也会一起提升。

但更重要的是,运用我们的天赋来服事神并帮助别人,也帮助我们更了解上帝的心意——更深地经历祂美好的创造,以及祂对每个人的爱。

你们是……我所拣选的仆人。既是这样,便可以知道,且信服我,又明白我就是耶和华。

以赛亚书43:10a

“心联家齐” 的社群中有很多家庭也经历了这样鼓舞人心的转变: “我们属于这里,我们能发挥独特的贡献。” 通常成长都是源于他们所经历的困难。

妮娜的孩子做事冲动又坚持己见,然而她成功引导他在家中发挥贡献:

康纳是个情绪强烈、“先行动后思考”的孩子。我很认同天赋扭曲的这个观点,所以我鼓励他:“嘿,宝贝,迅速采取行动是上帝给你天赋,这表示你天生就很勇敢,也代表上帝会呼召你去做一些别人可能会裹足不前的事情。但在某些情况,例如,当我们过马路的时候,就要先想想再行动,我们一起加油好吗?你的强烈情绪、你的坚持己见都是我很爱你的地方。有你来主导家庭活动,事情才能顺利实现。

虽然六岁的康纳是我们家年纪最小的,他却是我们家的活动计画者。几个礼拜前,我问他:“今晚你可以帮我一起计画家庭之夜吗?”果不其然,他说到做到。事后我对他说:“宝贝,谢谢你帮忙,我常一到晚上就被其他事情分心,但因为你的坚持,计画才能顺利完成!”

如果家里每个人都了解并善用自己的优点,将弱点转变祝福,情况会变得如何呢?花点时间好好想想,和家人一起讨论,将它变成你的家庭文化。

三个帮助你思考的讨论问题:

每个人不同的弱点是什么?

让家庭成员轮流分享自己的弱点,但让孩子知道——不是让你来说别人的弱点!带领的时候,请真诚地分享自己的弱点。

这个弱点相对应的优点是什么?

不论是否有指出弱点,鼓励大家分享彼此的优点。

我们是用什么方式关心彼此?
我们什么时候曾发挥贡献?
我们是如何为这个家带来欢笑?

我们该如何运用天赋,对家庭有所贡献?

当孩子觉得自己能以实际的方式贡献所长,他们就会把优点发挥在对的地方!试着列出你家人能够服务彼此,并服务社区的方式。

对比较小的孩子来说,你可以把弱点和其相应的优点形容成:能做好事,也能做坏事的 “超能力”。 (“超能力”一词源自希瑟·麦克法登 (Heather McFadyen)与她先生的播客“角色、目标和超能力”)

别错失了上帝的恩典!祂以独特的方式,给予每个家庭成员不同的天赋!

各人要照所得的恩赐彼此服事,作神百般恩赐的好管家。

彼得前书4:10

一起学习这节经文,帮助你的孩子在弱点中发掘上帝所赐的天赋,并学习运用这些天赋,成为家庭的祝福。这么做将预备孩子更了解神的心意、找到自己在神国度的角色,并行在上帝的使命和呼召之中!

作者:江哲忻、江琳 翻译: 沈奕伶

messages for kids in Chinese

四条信息。
一个框架。

获取免费电子书,开始带领您家迈向更好、更心相连的亲子旅程。

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Pursuing Kids Who Push Away | Ep. 114 https://connectedfamilies.org/pursuing-kids-who-push-away-ep-114/ Mon, 24 Oct 2022 00:01:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=45481 kids who push away

If you’re here, your parenting goal is likely to have a connected family. But what do you do when you have a child who is pulling away from you? A child who does not seem to want connection?  Feelings of disconnection from a child can be painful and challenging for a parent. Even in the most “connected” families, this can happen. You are not alone. 

In today’s podcast, Chad Hayenga (Connected Families Director of Education & Equipping), and Jim Jackson (Connected Families Co-Founder) have a conversation about pursuing kids who push away. They share stories from their own parenting journey as they explore practical ideas to pursue a child when connection feels out of reach.  

In this podcast you’ll discover:

  • possible reasons why a child may push away
  • how a parent’s beliefs and thoughts may influence what’s going on 
  • simple questions that can create opportunities for connection
  • how to become a student of your child and let them guide you towards connection

We hope that you have been encouraged by today’s podcast, and we look forward to getting to know you. Please check out our website, and don’t forget to reach out if you need help. It is a joy to be able to walk with you as you parent your kids in God’s grace and truth!

Mentioned in this podcast:


Less arguing. More wisdom.

That’s what you get with the Power of Questions online course.

TELL ME HOW
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If you’re here, your parenting goal is likely to have a connected family. But what do you do when you have a child who is pulling away from you? A child who does not seem to want connection?  Feelings of disconnection from a child can be painful and ch...



If you’re here, your parenting goal is likely to have a connected family. But what do you do when you have a child who is pulling away from you? A child who does not seem to want connection?  Feelings of disconnection from a child can be painful and challenging for a parent. Even in the most “connected” families, this can happen. You are not alone. 







In today’s podcast, Chad Hayenga (Connected Families Director of Education & Equipping), and Jim Jackson (Connected Families Co-Founder) have a conversation about pursuing kids who push away. They share stories from their own parenting journey as they explore practical ideas to pursue a child when connection feels out of reach.  



In this podcast you’ll discover:



* possible reasons why a child may push away* how a parent’s beliefs and thoughts may influence what’s going on * simple questions that can create opportunities for connection* how to become a student of your child and let them guide you towards connection



We hope that you have been encouraged by today’s podcast, and we look forward to getting to know you. Please check out our website, and don’t forget to reach out if you need help. It is a joy to be able to walk with you as you parent your kids in God’s grace and truth!



Mentioned in this podcast:



* My Child Wants Nothing To Do With Me. Is There Hope?* Matthew 12:34* 2 Corinthians 10:5* Ephesians 1* Ephesians 2* Colossians 3* Donate to Connected Families* Connected Families Parent Coaching







.stk-aa48b45{background-image:url(https://connectedfamilies.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/BW-father-and-daughter-questions-scaled.jpg) !important}.stk-aa48b45{padding-top:64px !important;padding-right:64px !important;padding-bottom:64px !important;padding-left:64px !important}.stk-aa48b45-container{background-color:rgba(0,0,0,0.5) !important}.stk-aa48b45-container:before{background-color:#000000 !important}.stk-aa48b45 .stk-block-hero__content{min-height:500px !important;max-width:80% !important;min-width:auto !important;margin-right:auto !important;margin-left:auto !important;display:flex !important}@media screen and (max-width:767px){.stk-aa48b45 .stk-block-hero__content{max-width:100% !important;min-width:auto !important}}.stk-aa48b45 .stk-block-hero__content{align-items:center !important}
.stk-6f6b9fa .stk-block-heading__text{color:#FFFFFF !important}Less arguing. More wisdom.



.stk-edba61d .stk-block-text__text{color:#FFFFFF !important}That’s what you get with the Power of Questions online course.




.stk-66f8236 .stk-button{background:var(--paletteColor1,#ee6c4d) !important}.stk-66f8236 .stk-button:hover:after{background:var(--paletteColor2,#98c1d9) !important;opacity:1 !important}.stk-66f8236 .]]>
Connected Families 114 Pursuing Kids Who Push Away clean 32:11
The Most Effective Way To Teach Kids To Pray https://connectedfamilies.org/the-most-effective-way-to-teach-kids-to-pray/ Tue, 18 Oct 2022 09:12:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=15964 teach kids to pray

As parents, we want what’s best for our children, including a life of solid faith, values, and prayer. How do you teach faith to your children? How do you help them understand things that sometimes even you don’t understand? How do you teach kids to pray?

Sometimes it can seem like a daunting task. 

You may search for the “right words” to say, the “right book” to recommend, or the “right youth group” to send your kids to, and these things are not unimportant. But the most powerful way for you to teach your kids faith, values, and prayer is to live them.

When you bring faith and prayer home from church with you, and when kids see you praying and living your faith in the “small stuff” as well as the big stuff, they notice. And they especially notice when your faith reaches out to them, too. The most effective discipleship begins when your spiritual life intersects with your everyday interactions with your children.

Although Jesus often slipped away to pray privately, He also taught his disciples to pray. As you reach out to teach prayer to your children, you can invite them to join you, or at least contribute, to your times of prayer.

If your child feels uncomfortable praying out loud, you can encourage them to pray silently or give them paper and ask them to write or draw their prayer. Most children would be glad to pray aloud or silently for a friend about whom they are concerned. You can talk about things you’re each thankful for and pray accordingly. Meals and bedtimes are great times for your family to grow beyond “Thanks for the food” and “Now I lay me down to sleep.” (Raising Prayerful Kids by Stephanie Thurling is an excellent resource for more ideas.)

Prayer is not so much about asking God for things as it is about acknowledging God’s work and presence in the daily circumstances of life.

Teach kids to pray: It’s not about asking God for stuff

As your family becomes more comfortable with various kinds of prayer, you can grow to see that prayer is not so much about asking God for things as it is about acknowledging God’s work and presence in the daily circumstances of life. This truth compels you to actively seek to pray anytime and invite your children to observe or join you.

This invitation to pray takes many forms. Sometimes it comes in the form of a spontaneous outburst of praise with gratitude to God for His love or singing a familiar worship song together. Sometimes it’s expressing an observation of God’s creative genius in nature.

In the difficult circumstances of your life or the lives of others, you can pray for God’s peace, for hearts to be open to His love and comfort, and for God’s will to be done. You can pray for God’s intervention so that God will be glorified. Sometimes you may not know how to pray; don’t be afraid to tell your kids that. Then confess it to God in their presence. Occasionally, ask your children to pray for you when you’re struggling; this models a natural dependence on God with your emotions and circumstances.

Want to learn more?

Take 30 minutes and listen to Episode 113 of our podcast titled, “How to Pray With Your Child

LISTEN TO PODCAST

It’s okay not to “have it all together”

You likely don’t have it all figured out, and that’s okay! Continue to work at being more open to bringing your prayer to life in visible ways. It’s good for you, and it’s good for your family.

As you think back on the significant events and emotions of your week (for your children and you), what are some little, but natural ways to discuss faith or incorporate prayer into your interactions with your children?

This post is adapted from an excerpt from our book, How to Grow a Connected Family.


What are your parenting strengths?

You’ve got them. Knowing your strengths will help you become the best parent you can be. Knowing your parenting challenges is useful information too. Take our FREE ASSESSMENT.

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UPDATED: How To Pray With Your Child | Ep. 113 https://connectedfamilies.org/pray-with-your-child-ep-113/ Mon, 17 Oct 2022 16:41:01 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=45318 pray with your child

Prayer is a meaningful faith practice that you probably want to pass on to your kids, but teaching your kids to pray may feel overwhelming. You may feel unsure how to answer your kid’s questions about prayer or how to incorporate regular prayer times with them into your daily life.

In today’s podcast, Stephanie Thurling (author and co-founder of Raising Prayerful Kids) joins Stacy Bellward (podcast host) to talk about teaching children to pray in meaningful ways.  Stephanie’s experience working with youth and families inspired her to start her ministry equipping parents to pray with their children.  

In this podcast you’ll discover:

  • practical tools you can use for how to pray with your child 
  • how to create moments of connection through blessing prayers
  • ways to use the Bible to guide prayer with your kids
  • common pitfalls parents experience when they try to teach their kids to pray (and what to do about them!)

We hope that you have been encouraged by today’s podcast, and we look forward to getting to know you. Please check out our website, and don’t forget to reach out if you need help. It is a joy to be able to walk with you as you parent your kids in God’s grace and truth!

Mentioned in this podcast:

Guest Bio: 

Steph Thurling is co-founder of Raising Prayerful Kids, a ministry that equips parents to pray with their kids in meaningful ways. She has her master’s degree in youth, family, and culture from Fuller Theological Seminary and worked in youth ministry for several years before deciding to stay home with her kids.


Does your child need help calming down?

Would a free course presenting you 7 sensory strategies to calm your child be useful?

If yes, take our FREE online course 7 Practical Calming Strategies for Kids.

TELL ME MORE
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Prayer is a meaningful faith practice that you probably want to pass on to your kids, but teaching your kids to pray may feel overwhelming. You may feel unsure how to answer your kid’s questions about prayer or how to incorporate regular prayer times w...



Prayer is a meaningful faith practice that you probably want to pass on to your kids, but teaching your kids to pray may feel overwhelming. You may feel unsure how to answer your kid’s questions about prayer or how to incorporate regular prayer times with them into your daily life.



In today’s podcast, Stephanie Thurling (author and co-founder of Raising Prayerful Kids) joins Stacy Bellward (podcast host) to talk about teaching children to pray in meaningful ways.  Stephanie’s experience working with youth and families inspired her to start her ministry equipping parents to pray with their children.  







In this podcast you’ll discover:



* practical tools you can use for how to pray with your child * how to create moments of connection through blessing prayers* ways to use the Bible to guide prayer with your kids* common pitfalls parents experience when they try to teach their kids to pray (and what to do about them!)



We hope that you have been encouraged by today’s podcast, and we look forward to getting to know you. Please check out our website, and don’t forget to reach out if you need help. It is a joy to be able to walk with you as you parent your kids in God’s grace and truth!



Mentioned in this podcast:



* Connected Families Parenting Strengths Assessment* Lectio Divina* Raising Prayerful Kids Book* Raising Prayerful Kids Ministry



Guest Bio: 



Steph Thurling is co-founder of Raising Prayerful Kids, a ministry that equips parents to pray with their kids in meaningful ways. She has her master’s degree in youth, family, and culture from Fuller Theological Seminary and worked in youth ministry for several years before deciding to stay home with her kids.







.stk-02534a6-container{box-shadow:0px 5px 30px -10px rgba(30,63,82,0.3) !important}


.stk-bb2f47f .stk-block-heading__text{font-size:50px !important}@media screen and (max-width:1023px){.stk-bb2f47f .stk-block-heading__text{font-size:50px !important}}Does your child need help calming down?





Would a free course presenting you 7 sensory strategies to calm your child be useful?



If yes, take our FREE online course 7 Practical Calming Strategies for Kids.




.stk-9295f85 .stk-button__inner-text{font-size:21px !important;font-weight:600 !important}@media screen and (max-width:1023px){.stk-9295f85 .stk-button__inner-text{font-size:21px !important}}TELL ME MORE




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Connected Families 113 How To Pray With Your Child clean 38:05
親愛的爸爸,你累了嗎? 我想告訴年輕時的自己…… https://connectedfamilies.org/%e7%88%b8%e7%88%b8%e7%b4%af%e4%ba%86-ts/ Thu, 13 Oct 2022 23:50:16 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=45306

親愛的爸爸,你累了嗎?

爸爸,我看到你了,你看起來既疲憊又沮喪,但……你還是來了。從你看我的眼神和點頭的動作,我知道你很在乎。

當江琳和我在演說的時候,你目不轉睛地看著我們。你勤做筆記,每堂課結束後,還花時間寫下理想中父母的樣子,我感受到你的求好心切。

你想成為一個好爸爸

當我們描述教養常遇到的衝突,我看到你有點緊張地和太太互相對望,兩人心照不宣,彷彿被我說中了一樣。依照我數十年幫助父母的經驗,我猜你的情況,和那些我曾一對一輔導的父母有許多雷同之處。

我猜你和你太太本來想聯手教養子女,然而你的教養方式卻和她很不一樣,你們時常產生衝突,雙方都很沮喪。

但現在你們一起來到這裡──想鼓勵對方。雖然不清楚我是怎麼知道,但從你和太太對望的神情,以及你看我(以及看太太)的眼神,我能感受你們倆都渴望以上帝的恩慈彼此相待,為了對方,也為了孩子。

從你聽江琳和我分享過去遭遇困難時的反應,我猜你也正遭遇困難,或許困難遠大過你所能承受的。我不禁猜想,現在的你,是否感覺疲憊不堪又不知所措?相信我,我能體會你的感覺,我也曾經想成為一個好爸爸,卻把自己弄得很累。坐在第一排的爸爸,我也走過一樣的路

如果我可以把時間快轉回25年前,我想這樣告訴年輕時的自己,我相信對你來說也或許有點幫助:

你的錯誤不會影響你是父母,以及你是基督徒的身份

不要讓你所遇到的困難,定義你是誰。不論你犯下什麼樣的錯誤,不論你說出多麼不理性、讓你後悔的話,這些都不影響你真實的身份。

沒錯,罪很容易成為我們的纏累,我們都很容易犯罪,也無法馬上停止犯罪。然而,罪不能定義你是怎樣的一個人。或許你仍帶著殘餘的“老我”與過去的包袱,然而真正的你,卻因著基督稱義。保羅講得很清楚:當你成為基督徒之後,你就有了新的身份。

「 若有人在基督裡,他就是新造的人,舊事已過,都變成新的了……神使那無罪的,替我們成為罪,好叫我們在祂裡面成為神的義。」哥林多後書5: 17, 21

準備飯食、忙於接送、看孩子的作業和整理家務,我們很容易在日復一日的生活之中忘了這點。

養育孩子的混亂讓你覺得 快受不了

我也經常忘記。當我們還是新手父母的時候,第一次的“家庭度假旅遊”就遇上了這種情況。生病又亂發脾氣的小孩、易怒的配偶、惡劣的天氣、擁擠的公寓,混合產生令人沮喪不已的化學反應。現在的我看得很清楚,但那時,我就只能看見自己有多麼悲慘。

我的內心宛如野獸怒吼,為了保護自己,也保護家人,我走了出去,試著讓自己平靜下來。我走著走著就跑了起來,我想要,也需要離這場混亂越遠越好。

我跑到石子路的盡頭,看到一個房屋待售的廣告招牌,在又濕又冷的風中搖晃著。我停下來喘口氣,一呼一吸宛如招牌搖晃的節奏。當我的呼吸慢下來時,招牌卻沒有跟著停下來。晃動的招牌提醒我公寓裡的混亂還在持續進行中,我看著招牌,突然一肚子火,不是真的氣那個牌子,而是氣牌子所代表的事實──我讓事情完全失控了。

我把怒火發洩在招牌上,我撿起路邊的一塊石頭砸向招牌,石頭擊中金屬的瞬間讓人感到莫名地暢快,我又砸了一次,又一次,再一次,扔石頭扔到手臂發疼,招牌也被打得坑坑疤疤。接著,我的眼淚潰堤了,淚水刺激著我被風吹得發冷的眼睛,我向天吶喊“上帝,祢在那裡?!?!?”

在你的困難掙扎之中,上帝與你同在

那時的我沒有意識到,但當我之後回想起來,我能很清晰地看到──在那團混亂之中,上帝與我同在。

那天的我,沒有完全做“對”,之後的我,更經歷了無數次的失敗。但在我的困難和掙扎之中,我從來就不是獨自一人。意識到這點的我,不禁微笑,不是那種做對事情的高興,而是就算在困難中上帝還是與我同在的喜樂。

親愛的朋友,我不清楚你正面臨什麼樣的混亂。或許你感覺快被淹沒了,或許你不知道如何跟你叛逆的孩子相處,又或許你正在跟配偶吵架。我不知道你想改善或逃避的問題是什麼。

但我很清楚知道:想逃避混亂的欲望反映了你深切的渴望──渴望平安、喜樂、渴望關係恢復、渴望卸去生活的重擔和煩亂。這是一種對天堂的渴望,反映了上帝的同在,即便你置身混亂之中。

為了在這個混亂的世界更真切地感受上帝的同在,你可以開口做這個簡單的禱告:“上帝,你不會離開我,也不會離棄我。”可能花上幾星期、幾個月,或甚至幾年,但如果你持續把這樣的意念和禱告帶到你的困難當中,你也會微笑。

另外,不要稱它為度假,度假讓人聯想到安靜和休息,稱它為探險吧,這樣一來,如果你真的能好好安靜休息,你就能更微笑以對。如果你比出發之前更累,那就認了,因為回憶往往是這樣產生的。

疲憊的爸爸……沒關係,你不會永遠都這麼累的。

翻譯: 沈奕伶

messages for kids in Chinese

四條信息。
一個框架。

獲取免費電子書,開始帶領您家邁向更好、更心相連的親子旅程。

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亲爱的爸爸,你累了吗?我想告诉年轻时的自己…… https://connectedfamilies.org/%e7%88%b8%e7%88%b8%e7%b4%af%e4%ba%86-sc/ Thu, 13 Oct 2022 23:30:40 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=45299

亲爱的爸爸,你累了吗?

爸爸,我看到你了,你看起来既疲惫又沮丧,但……你还是来了。从你看我的眼神和点头的动作,我知道你很在乎。

当江琳和我在演说的时候,你目不转睛地看着我们。你勤做笔记,每堂课结束后,还花时间写下理想中父母的样子,我感受到你孜孜以求的心。

你想成为一个好爸爸

当我们描述教养常遇到的冲突,我看到你有点紧张地和太太互相对望,两人心照不宣,仿佛被我说中了一样。依照我数十年帮助父母的经验,我猜你的情况,和那些我曾一对一辅导过的父母有许多相似之处。

我猜你和你太太本来想联手教养子女,然而你的教养方式却与她如此不同,你们时常产生冲突,双方都很沮丧。

但现在你们一起来到这里,为了想鼓励对方。尽管我不清楚自己是怎么知道的,但从你和太太对望的神情,还有你看我(以及看太太)的眼神,我能感受你们俩都渴望以上帝的恩慈彼此相待,为了对方,也为了孩子。

从你听江琳和我分享过去遭遇困难时的反应,我猜你也正遭遇困难,或许困难远大过你所能承受的。我不禁猜想,现在的你,是否感觉疲惫不堪又不知所措?请相信我能体会你的感受,我也曾经想成为一个好爸爸,然而,却把自己弄得很累。坐在第一排的爸爸,我也走过一样的路!

如果我可以把时间快转回25年前,我想这样告诉年轻时的自己,我相信对你来说也或许有点帮助:

你的错误不会影响你是父母,以及你是基督徒的身份

不要让你所遇到的困难,定义你是谁。不论你犯下什么样的错误,不论你说出多么不理性、让你后悔的话,这些都不影响你真实的身份

没错,罪很容易成为我们的缠累,我们都很容易犯罪,也无法马上停止犯罪。然而,罪不能定义你是怎样的一个人。或许你仍带着残余的“老我”与过去的包袱,然而真正的你,却因着基督称义。保罗讲得很清楚:当你成为基督徒之后,你就有了新的身份。

“ 若有人在基督里,他就是新造的人,旧事已过,都变成新的了……神使那无罪的,替我们成为罪,好叫我们在祂里面成为神的义。”

哥林多后书5: 17, 21

准备饭食、忙于接送、检查孩子的作业和料理家务,我们很容易在日复一日的生活之中忘了这点。

养育孩子的混乱让你觉得快受不了

我也经常忘记。当我们还是新手父母的时候,第一次的“家庭度假旅游”就遇上了这种情况。生病又乱发脾气的小孩、易怒的配偶、恶劣的天气、拥挤的公寓,混合产生令人沮丧不已的化学反应。现在的我看得很清楚,但那时,我就只能看见自己有多么悲惨。

我的内心仿佛有一头怒吼的野兽,为了保护自己,也保护家人,我走了出去,试着让自己平静下来。我走着走着就跑了起来,我想要,也需要离这场混乱越远越好。

我跑到石子路的尽头,看到一个房屋待售的广告招牌,在又湿又冷的风中摇晃着。我停下来喘口气,一呼一吸宛如招牌摇晃的节奏。当我的呼吸慢下来时,招牌却没有跟着停下来。晃动的招牌提醒我公寓里的混乱还在持续进行中,我看着招牌,突然一肚子火,不是真的气那个牌子,而是气牌子所代表的事实——我让事情完全失控了。

我把怒火发泄在招牌上,我捡起路边的一块石头砸向招牌,石头击中金属的瞬间让人感到莫名地畅快,我又砸了一次,又一次,再一次,扔石头扔到手臂发疼,招牌也被打得坑坑疤疤。接着,我的眼泪溃堤了,泪水刺激着我被风吹得发冷的眼睛,我向天呐喊 “上帝,祢在那里?! ”

在你的困难挣扎之中,上帝与你同在

那时的我没有意识到,但当我之后回想起来,我能很清晰地看到——在那团混乱之中,上帝与我同在。

那天的我,没有完全做“对”,之后的我,更经历了无数次的失败。但在我的困难和挣扎之中,我从来就不是独自一人。意识到这点的我,不禁微笑,不是那种做对事情的高兴,而是就算在困难中上帝还是与我同在的喜乐。

亲爱的朋友,我不清楚你正面临什么样的混乱。或许你感觉快被淹没了,或许你不知道如何跟你叛逆的孩子相处,又或许你正在跟配偶吵架。我不知道你想改善或逃避的问题是什么。

但我很清楚知道:想逃避混乱的欲望反映了你深切的渴望——渴望平安、喜乐、渴望关系恢复、渴望卸去生活的重担和烦乱。这是一种对天堂的渴望,反映了上帝的同在,即便你置身混乱之中。

为了在这个混乱的世界更真切地感受上帝的同在,你可以开口做这个简单的祷告:“上帝,你不会离开我,也不会离弃我。”可能花上几星期、几个月,或甚至几年的时间,但如果你持续把这样的意念和祷告带到你的困难当中,你也会开始微笑。

另外,不要称它为度假,度假让人联想到安静和休息,称它为探险吧,这样一来,如果你真的能好好安静休息,你就能更微笑以对。如果你比出发之前更累,那就接受它吧,因为回忆往往就是这样产生的。

疲惫的爸爸……没关系,你不会永远都那么累。

翻译: 沉奕伶 编辑: 王吟春

messages for kids in Chinese

四条信息。
一个框架。

获取免费电子书,开始带领您家迈向更好、更心相连的亲子旅程。

]]>
Solve That After-School Crabbiness https://connectedfamilies.org/solve-school-crabbiness/ Wed, 12 Oct 2022 09:43:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=24656 after-school crabbiness

The bus pulls up, and you brace yourself.  She comes flying off the bus, backpack bouncing and arms flailing.  You can already tell there is going to be an issue as soon as she walks in the door. Sure enough, she barges in the door, yelling and eyes flashing, ready to lash out. 

Sounds like your child might have a case of “after-school crabbiness” syndrome. 😉

You might try to quickly manage the behavior by telling her, “Calm down, or I’m going to have to put you in a time-out until you can pull it together!” She escalates more, and you send her to her room. It can be a predictable dance; you know each others’ steps and cues.  But this is a dance you don’t want to be part of through another school year.

Why does after-school crabbiness happen?

  • When kids are in school all day, they receive a constant barrage of distracting or annoying sensory input all around them (the loud cafeteria, echoing in the gym, pencils scratching, fans whirring, and let’s not forget computers).  This environment is very stressful for many kids, even those who don’t struggle with processing sensory input. For kids that do have sensory processing challenges, this can be truly aversive and distressing.
  • Add to that, limited movement because kids need to sit still most of the day and are under constant pressure to focus. “Motion changes emotion,” because movement is the body’s most reliable arousal regulator/stress off-loader. But for hours at a time, usually during activities with higher cognitive challenges, the coping strategy of movement is mostly unavailable to kids.
  • Kids may feel performance anxiety if things come more easily for other children.
  • They may also receive rejection from unkind peers or teachers at school.

This combination is exhausting, and kids often arrive home feeling discouraged and overwhelmed. Their stress can pour out in anger at parents and siblings, demanding behavior, or being overly silly and physical.

So, if your child frequently returns from school acting like a mini-Godzilla waiting to trash something or someone, it doesn’t mean you have a “problem child,” or you are deficient as a parent! There’s a good reason for this seemingly inappropriate behavior. Your child has been working hard all day to hold it together, and they may be tapped out. 

Research indicates that self-control is a limited resource, and your child has probably drained their self-control tank down to the last fumes.

“For years, ‘ego depletion’ has been a dominant theory in the study of self-control. This is the intuitive idea that self-control or willpower is a limited resource, such that the more you use up in one situation [like school, for example], the less you have left over to deploy in another.”  [like home] 😉

When parents address challenging after-school behavior by trying to manage or “fix the problem child,” they usually add stress and shame to a child who is already struggling. Stressed children don’t need another adult voice telling them they don’t measure up. Instead, focus on trying to reverse the stressful experiences your child has had all day at school. 

Hangry after school 2

In the moment, offer kids calming activities

Here are some ideas to keep in mind as you work to reverse your child’s stress when she arrives home from school:

  • Affection – When your child walks in the door*, greet her with warm acceptance and no demands or expectations.  Remember, she is coming home loaded with needs.  Focus on how to meet those needs. “I love that you are home right now! What can I get you?  How can I help you?” Your affectionate facial expression and tone can be powerful. If your child likes hugs, this is an excellent time for one of those!
  • Snack – Being “hangry” can be one root cause of challenging after-school behaviors because kids often arrive home with low blood sugar and need a healthy snack as soon as possible.  Beware: they may want to “regulate” and recharge with a sugary snack, which will be counterproductive. Once they have had a healthy snack and drink, you will probably notice they become significantly calmer.
  • Sensory activity – Every child is different, even within the same family! Some children need a peaceful, quiet activity to rebalance their nervous system. (But be aware: oftentimes screens can be even more dysregulating.) Others might love a firm massage or “squish.” Most children will enjoy lots of big muscle activities to help them feel more regulated. Generally speaking, rhythmic, predictable, and moderately intense things are most helpful. One mom found that their evening went so much better if she took her kids straight from school to the playground for even 15 minutes. Check out our Sensory Activities List and discover what works best for each of your kids!

How can you tell if what you’re doing is beneficial for your child?  If an activity is helpful, you will generally notice your child is more focused, happier, and able to follow directions better afterward. Does your child have glazed eyes and appear to be on another planet? Or perhaps they are irritable? Or wild and giddy? If this happens then you’ll know an activity was disorganizing to their nervous system.

* To our homeschooling friends: you don’t need to wait until the end of the day! You have the beautiful flexibility to incorporate these ideas throughout the day.

Daily Sensory Rhythms To Bring Peace to Your Home | Episode 112

Check out this podcast for more practical ideas on how daily sensory rhythms can bring down the chaos and cultivate more peace in your home

LISTEN HERE

When things are calmer, help kids learn about their bodies

Our bodies were made to need not only a nutritious food diet but also a healthy sensory diet. This means we take in many “nutritious” sensory experiences in regular doses. These are enjoyable activities that can help us either calm down (like a massage or playing with play-doh) or energize and focus (like bike riding or pumping a swing).  

In the same way we avoid unhealthy foods, we can reduce aversive or over-stimulating experiences (like shopping at peak times or having music and TV blaring together). As we begin to look at ourselves and what our own body needs, it is important that we teach our children what their bodies need as well.

As you lead kids in sensory activities, you can say something like:

“This is so great! God created our bodies in wonderful ways to help our brains and hearts. Our bodies need different sensations like big muscle fun, hugs, music, and cool things to focus on and touch. It’s just like how our bodies need different kinds of healthy food. When we feel stressed, we can do what God has provided for us to feel better.”

Talking with kids about their bodies and yours shows, “I’m in this with you.” It also weaves together the miraculous way God empowered humans to self-regulate. After talking about it, model it! Take a walk when you’re stressed, come back in, and say, “That was just what my body and soul needed! I feel so much better.” As you continue to model this, your kids probably won’t feel controlled or judged when you ask them after school, “What would feel good to your body right now so you can feel better after a long day?”

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Psalm 139:13-14

What about after-school activities?

You know it well.  Mondays are soccer, Tuesdays you go swimming, Wednesdays mean music lessons and church, and the list goes on.  How do you incorporate calming activities and a sensory diet while rushing from one activity to the next? It can be done with just a little bit of forethought and planning.  What you do in the first five minutes after your child gets home from school and before your activities can set the tone for the whole evening.

  • Affection – Greet them with calm and safe words. This relaxed start is essential. If you are stressed and rushing, it downloads your anxiety into your kids, “C’mon, c’mon, we gotta hustle!” No wonder kids resist, are cranky, or even explode – your anxiety combined with their exhaustion and stress is combustible.
  • Snack – Have a healthy snack ready for kids to eat in the car. If your child is looking forward to a snack, it will make the transition out to the car easier.
  • Sensory activity – If you are going to an activity right when kids get home, they can have big muscle fun getting to the car.
    • Jump like a kangaroo, hop on one foot, race around the perimeter of the house on the way to the car.
    • If you are going to an older sibling’s activity, you can work in a trip to a nearby park for 15 minutes while the sibling is at practice or the game. Consider this: your family may function better if your world doesn’t revolve around one child’s extra-curricular activity!  😉

Every person in your family has a unique body, unique nervous system wiring, and unique needs. Be intentional about learning what your child needs for a “sensory diet” when they come home from school, and you will likely find the rest of your day goes a lot more smoothly!

And while “a lot more smoothly” sounds terrific, remember….it’s not about you! The point is to communicate these important messages to your child:

  • I want to meet your needs because you are safe and loved in this home.
  • You are capable and responsible for learning what your body needs to help you have connected, respect-filled relationships with the people you love.

If you want more ideas for sensory activities, check out our short, FREE, online course, 7 Practical Calming Strategies for Kids. You’ll receive even more practical ideas and be better equipped to navigate your child’s nervous system.


Raising an intense child?

We get it. We’ve been there. Sometimes prioritizing your child’s sensory system can jumpstart your family’s journey to peace. That’s why we offer our FREE online course, 7 Practical Calming Strategies for Kids.

Take our FREE online course, 7 Practical Calming Strategies for Kids.

LEARN MORE

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小孩與小狗 https://connectedfamilies.org/%e5%b0%8f%e5%ad%a9%e8%88%87%e5%b0%8f%e7%8b%97/ Wed, 12 Oct 2022 00:01:27 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=45074

年幼的孩子和小狗有點像。他們無條件地愛著爸媽,不論爸媽犯了什麼錯誤,他們還是會原諒他們。孩子抱怨媽媽太嘮叨,但事情一過,他們很快就恢復正常。孩子被爸爸的大聲斥責嚇哭,但一旦爸爸冷靜下來,他們馬上和好如初。雖然教養中有很多矛盾,但幸好,小孩的包容性很大!

孩子通常不會記得日常生活中的小衝突(除非爸媽做得太過火,犯下無法彌補的錯誤),這些瑣事似乎會隨著時間的流逝而消失。正因為如此,父母很容易濫用孩子對自己的包容,認為他們的管教方式是“有效”的,只因為小孩照單全收。

儘管小孩會原諒並忘記爸媽平日在管教中所產生的錯誤,身為爸媽的我們,可不要因此錯失良機。趁孩子還小的時候,就要學習以恩典和尊重引導孩子。在未來孩子成為青少年時,才能與他們建立良好的關係。

然而,如果父母習慣以怒罵和嘮叨來達到目的,隨著時間的累積,孩子勢必會對這樣的模式越來越反感。我不禁問自己:

traditional Chiense kids are puppies

假如孩子在年幼時的包容性沒那麼大,或許會迫使父母從一開始就學習更體貼和寬容地對待孩子。

我曾在超市看到一位媽媽,她帶著兩個大約五歲和七歲的男孩,他們正在逛肉品區,看上去一切太平,直到老大衝動地把手伸進冷凍櫃,拿出一大塊肋眼牛排,媽媽爆發了:“我要跟你說多少次?如果你還想吃飯的話,立刻把它放回去!” 他趕緊把牛排放了回去。可是媽媽還是繼續辱罵他,彷彿是在向旁人炫耀她發號施令的功力。

小兒子走開了,很顯然不想捲入這場風波。老大盯著地板忍受著媽媽的咆哮。

等媽媽罵完了,他們繼續逛超市,兩個男孩打打鬧鬧(還跟媽媽一起開玩笑!)。一切回歸正常,就好像剛才什麼事都沒有發生!媽媽認為事情已經過去,她的方法“奏效”了。很顯然,她和孩子們都對她“嚴厲管教”的手法很習以為常。

青少年不像小狗

假如時間快轉到幾年以後,她這套方法對於青春期的男孩還會有效嗎?很可能不會。對狗的研究表明,在接受怒罵和恐嚇訓練下的幼犬,長大後會開始出現負面的徵兆(焦慮、抑鬱、充滿攻擊性)。在孩子身上也可以看到類似的結果。如果孩子多年以來,習慣性地接受這種教養方式,等他們到了青春期也會出現叛逆和挑釁的行為。父母常會感到很困惑:“為什麼突然產生這樣的改變?!”

真正的答案是:孩子不是一夕間學會這些行為,也不是“突然”產生改變。隨著年齡的增長,他們逐漸意識到父母對待他們的方式是錯的,也越來越不能包容父母的行為。沒有人教他們如何以尊重的態度與爸媽溝通這些問題,所以他們以惡劣的態度反抗。我們不僅只是看到一個“有問題的青少年”,也看到有問題的父母,而引領改變是父母責任。

如果你想有所改變(或不變),你不僅要檢視孩子的行為,同時還要省察自己的行為。別忘了,在管教的表象之下,你正不斷地向孩子傳遞著某種訊息,這些訊息將影響孩子對自己的認知。

或許此刻你正在閱讀本文,並且心想:“我也有這些問題!現在我該怎麼辦?”

  • 在禱告中省察自己的內心和動機。這會幫助你向孩子傳遞出正確的訊息——你希望孩子在這一生中有什麼樣的自我認知。
  • 問問自己,“假如我是孩子,假如我被這樣對待,我會有什麼感受?我會覺得被信任和尊重嗎?還是感到不被信任和尊重?
  • 做15分鐘的教養評估,看看你在教養孩子上的優勢和缺點是什麼。

你並不孤單——許多父母都想培養出順服又尊重別人的孩子,卻沒有花時間反思自己的教養方式對孩子產生了什麼影響,也沒有嘗試更好的方法來幫助孩子學會負責。假如你認為自己已經準備好,要學習一個新的教養孩子的模式,我們很樂意為你提供方法!看到家庭在上帝的恩典和真理裡重新連結和成長,是我們最大的喜樂!

翻譯: 不詳 編輯: 沈奕伶

messages for kids in Chinese

四條信息。
一個框架。

獲取免費電子書,開始帶領您家邁向更好、更心相連的親子旅程。

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Daily Sensory Rhythms To Bring Peace to Your Home | Ep 112 https://connectedfamilies.org/daily-sensory-rhythms-peace-home-ep-112/ Mon, 10 Oct 2022 00:01:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=44848 sensory rhythms

Your child is done with school (or preschool) for the day and instead of relaxing, you’re now navigating meltdown after meltdown.  Why do the strategies that worked with one child fall flat with another?  Do you find yourself wondering, “Will it always be this way?”

In today’s podcast, Lynne Jackson (Occupational Therapist and Connected Families Co-Founder), and Amy Nyvall (seasoned mom and past coaching client) join Stacy Bellward (podcast host) to share ideas on how daily sensory rhythms can bring down the chaos and cultivate more peace in your home.  Through Amy’s story, you’ll learn how daily rhythms that incorporate sensory activities will often help your child avoid meltdowns and reestablish calm in moments of chaos.

In this podcast you’ll discover:

  • how to find calm and clarity as a parent to guide your family to take the next step
  • ideas to schedule your day to create a culture of peace in your home
  • ideas to help equip your family through the challenges of mornings, dinner time, and quiet time
  • activities to try when everybody feels off (one even includes chocolate!)

We hope that you have been encouraged by today’s podcast, and we look forward to getting to know you. Please check out our website, and don’t forget to reach out if you need help. It is a joy to be able to walk with you as you parent your kids in God’s grace and truth!

Mentioned in this podcast:

Sensitive & Intense Kids online course – Coming Early 2023!

7 Practical Calming Strategies for Kids-FREE online course (this includes the video of Amy’s husband doing the burrito roll with kids)

Guest Bio: 

Amy and her husband Andrew have been married for 16 years and live among the fir trees outside Portland, Oregon. They enjoy outdoor adventures as much as possible and have a blast homeschooling their three intensely creative, adventurous, and active children. In her spare time, you’ll find Amy encouraging moms and homeschoolers, learning alongside the kids, or slipping away to read from a stack of her own books. Amy is passionate about creating a family culture that equips our children to be prepared to serve the Lord in the days ahead.


Raising an intense child?

We get it. We’ve been there. Sometimes prioritizing your child’s sensory system can jumpstart your family’s journey to peace. That’s why we offer our FREE online course, 7 Practical Calming Strategies for Kids.

Take our FREE online course, 7 Practical Calming Strategies for Kids.

LEARN MORE
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Your child is done with school (or preschool) for the day and instead of relaxing, you’re now navigating meltdown after meltdown.  Why do the strategies that worked with one child fall flat with another?  Do you find yourself wondering,



Your child is done with school (or preschool) for the day and instead of relaxing, you’re now navigating meltdown after meltdown.  Why do the strategies that worked with one child fall flat with another?  Do you find yourself wondering, “Will it always be this way?”



In today’s podcast, Lynne Jackson (Occupational Therapist and Connected Families Co-Founder), and Amy Nyvall (seasoned mom and past coaching client) join Stacy Bellward (podcast host) to share ideas on how daily sensory rhythms can bring down the chaos and cultivate more peace in your home.  Through Amy’s story, you’ll learn how daily rhythms that incorporate sensory activities will often help your child avoid meltdowns and reestablish calm in moments of chaos.







In this podcast you’ll discover:



* how to find calm and clarity as a parent to guide your family to take the next step* ideas to schedule your day to create a culture of peace in your home* ideas to help equip your family through the challenges of mornings, dinner time, and quiet time* activities to try when everybody feels off (one even includes chocolate!)



We hope that you have been encouraged by today’s podcast, and we look forward to getting to know you. Please check out our website, and don’t forget to reach out if you need help. It is a joy to be able to walk with you as you parent your kids in God’s grace and truth!



Mentioned in this podcast:



Sensitive & Intense Kids online course – Coming Early 2023!



7 Practical Calming Strategies for Kids-FREE online course (this includes the video of Amy’s husband doing the burrito roll with kids)



Guest Bio: 



Amy and her husband Andrew have been married for 16 years and live among the fir trees outside Portland, Oregon. They enjoy outdoor adventures as much as possible and have a blast homeschooling their three intensely creative, adventurous, and active children. In her spare time, you’ll find Amy encouraging moms and homeschoolers, learning alongside the kids, or slipping away to read from a stack of her own books. Amy is passionate about creating a family culture that equips our children to be prepared to serve the Lord in the days ahead.







.stk-8858963-container{background-image:url(https://connectedfamilies.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/free-calming-image-min.jpg) !important}.stk-8858963-container:before{background-color:#000000 !important;opacity:0.2 !important}
.stk-ac877b6 .stk-block-heading__text{color:var(--paletteColor8,#ffffff) !important}Raising an intense child?



.stk-4d2b93b .stk-block-text__text{color:var(--paletteColor8,#ffffff) !important}We get it. We’ve been there. Sometimes prioritizing your child’s sensory system can jumpstart your family’s journey to peace. That’s why we offer our FREE online course, 7 Practical Calming Strategies for Kids.



.stk-333fc5f .stk-block-text__text{color:var(--paletteColor8,#ffffff) !important}Take our FREE online course, 7 Practical Calming Strategies for Kids.




.stk-1ca5b61 .stk-button{background:var(--paletteColor1,#ee6c4d) !important}.stk-1ca5b61 .stk-button:hover:after{background:var(--paletteColor2,#98c1d9) !important;opacity:1 !important}.stk-1ca5b61 .stk-button__inner-text{font-size:21px !]]>
Connected Families 112 Daily Sensory Rhythms to Bring Peace to Your Home clean 47:10
When It Comes to Expressing Love…Timing Matters! https://connectedfamilies.org/when-it-comes-to-expressing-love-timing-matters/ Wed, 05 Oct 2022 08:30:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=15614 unconditional love

If you ask most parents, they would say it’s important to love children unconditionally. But in practice, sometimes that’s harder than it sounds!

What exactly is unconditional love? What does it look like?

One thing’s for sure: unconditional love is not praise for positive behavior. When you express love in any context where children can possibly interpret your affection as conditional (based on their behavior), it loses its power as an expression of unconditional love.

When this happens over time, children may begin to believe that love is earned. For example, I once worked with a teen who reported that her father only expressed affection for her in her early years when she got dressed up. She grew up believing that she was lovable only when she looked pretty. She was very self-conscious about her appearance and struggled with self-esteem and an eating disorder as a teen. 

Unconditional love is not praise for positive behavior.

Another young man related how his dad would show up at his football games and beam with pride. Unfortunately,  this was the only time this young man received affirmation or affection from his dad. When an injury forced him to quit football, his resulting despair led to depression and thoughts of suicide. In his mind, there was nothing about him to love anymore.

Intentionally communicate love messages

Unconditional love is devotion and affection for someone, regardless of their behavior, appearance, performance, or ability to meet your needs. Sometimes even in spite of those things. This means you affirm your children simply for who they are, not for what they do. 

When my first child was born, I was overcome by emotion as I whispered to him, “I love you; you are a miracle, a gift; you are infinitely valuable.” Learning to communicate these messages throughout my children’s lives (even yet today) is the essence of unconditional love.

The messages you communicate are important. But what is just as important is the timing of your communication. Hugs, smiles, and “I love you’s” consistently given only in response to positive behavior can breed insecurity and a performance-based sense of self-worth in children.

So if you really want your love to land on your child’s heart, be thoughtful about communicating your love during regular routines, such as bedtime or returning from work. And intentionally communicate love messages when the children are not doing anything particularly noteworthy. The child lounging on the couch gets the message, “I don’t have to do anything special for Mom or Dad to love and enjoy me!” 

But the times when kids have “messed up” are uniquely powerful opportunities to communicate a message of unconditional love. The less children feel they deserve love, the more significant the impact of lavishing it on them anyway.

The less children feel they deserve love, the more significant the impact of lavishing it on them anyway.

A fun idea to celebrate your kids

One year in the Jackson household, a considerable variation in the grade point average of our children’s report cards left one of them quite discouraged. This child’s dejection made it evident that this was an excellent opportunity for encouragement. We wanted to make sure we communicated to all three children that our love for them is unrelated to their success. 

We decided to have a “Report Card Party” to celebrate our children regardless of their grades. Problem-solving about raising the low grades could wait till later. We had a special dinner and then ran around the house like loonies, whooping, hollering, and firing Nerf guns at each other. We all had a blast, but the child with the lowest grades seemed to have the most fun!

A father’s unconditional love

Jesus’ parable of the father’s response to his prodigal son depicts powerful love for a child who had sunk to the depths of failure (Luke 15:11-32). The watchful father longs for the return of his lost son. When he finally sees him, he leaps into unmistakably loving action. He ran to his child, which was a wildly undignified thing for an older man to do in that culture! After greeting him with a joyous embrace, he threw a grand welcome home party to honor his returned lost son. He then also extended the same extravagant grace to his rude, sour-attitude older son. 

This story challenges us to look at the times when our children blow it the worst and ask ourselves if we have a heart of unconditional love for them. This love is unwavering – ever providing, defending, nurturing, comforting, and forgiving. It says, “I’m here for you, no matter what” (2 Timothy 2:13). “I want the best for you” (Jeremiah 29:11). “Nothing can separate you from my love” (Romans 8:38-39).

Consider these questions:

  • When do I most often express love to my children? How does it relate to my mood and behavior? What messages might they conclude from the timing of my affection?
  • What is a typical difficult struggle for each of my children that could be an excellent opportunity to express unconditional love to that child? How can I express love more like the father did toward his sons in Jesus’ parable?

This post is an adapted excerpt from our book, How to Grow a Connected Family


Four Messages Every Child Longs To Hear

4 simple messages.
1 simple framework.

Get the FREE ebook and start your journey toward better, more connective discipline in your home.

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Consequences vs Punishment: What’s the Difference? https://connectedfamilies.org/do-your-consequences-build-up-or-tear-down/ Tue, 27 Sep 2022 09:56:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=8558 consequences vs punishment

If you’ve been parenting any time at all, you likely have made a significant discovery: Despite your most graceful efforts to stay calm, connect well, and guide them with grace, your kids still misbehave. 

So what do you do in those moments? 

Most parents, even thoughtful parents, try to put in place some consequences for misbehavior. But without a clear understanding of the difference between consequences and punishment, those efforts can easily be counter-productive. So if you’ve been frustrated by your attempts to discipline your child’s misbehavior effectively, it’s time to understand both terms clearly. 

The difference between consequences and punishment

So, is there really a difference between a “consequence” and a “punishment”? It might sound like semantics, but we see a significant difference, and it has a lot to do with the goal involved.

Consequences

Merriam-Webster defines a consequence as “something produced by a cause or necessarily following from a set of conditions.”  

In simpler words, a consequence is “the result of an action or event.” The key is that these are results that follow an event automatically. You punch a brick wall, and your hand hurts (or worse). You drive too fast around a wet curve; the car spins out. The consequences of overeating might include an upset stomach, heartburn, and over time other health challenges such as heart disease. The consequences of hitting your brother are hurt feelings and bruises, the loss of closeness, and the desire to stay away. Understanding and helping kids understand the automatic results of their actions is a key to growing in God’s wisdom.

At Connected Families, we refer to “natural impacts” and “imposed consequences” so that the common misunderstandings about “natural consequences” and “logical consequences” don’t confuse the teaching. 

Punishment

Merriam-Webster defines punishment as:

  • “a: suffering, pain, or loss that serves as retribution”
  • “b: a penalty inflicted on an offender through judicial procedure.”

The key words here are “retribution” and “inflicted on an offender.” There is a goal to inflict some type of “pain” so that justice is served. Our penal system (for better or worse) is generally designed to look like this. You do something wrong, you get caught, and you will be made to suffer for it. The hope is that the inflicted pain will motivate better behavior. 

For example: Fear of the punishment of increased fines or even loss of driving privileges compels most people to drive according to the law. When the fear of being caught diminishes, lawless driving increases unless drivers are motivated by an understanding of natural consequences.   

More about all that in a minute. Let’s look more closely at the differences between consequences and punishment as it relates to parenting. 

iStock 172325677

The difference between punishment and consequences in parenting

In the short term, punishment as a parenting strategy can work if by working we mean immediate behavior change. This is why parents often make a particular punishment their “go-to” discipline method. Spanking, time-out, and immediate loss of a favorite privilege or object- all tend to curb unwanted behavior. So they become the default approach. Quick, easy, and efficient. As long as kids fear punishment enough, the threat of it sometimes “works” to shape behavior. 

But over time, when parents use punishment as their go-to disciplinary measure (inflicting a painful experience to achieve justice or to modify behavior), it almost always builds resentment and resistance in a child. Why? Because punishment is more about controlling others than it is about nurturing and empowering them. 

Consider this: When was the last time you were eager to honor or cooperate with someone you knew was trying to control your behavior with punitive approaches? 

You know a child is growing in resentment if either A) they tend to misbehave when their punishers aren’t around, or B) their misbehavior and reactions to punishment become more volatile. Somewhere around the pre-teen or early teen years, kids who have lived in fear-based compliance tend to either “go underground” with their misbehavior or simply lash out more when punished. 

This resentment and lashing out is why we often get emails from parents requesting help who say something like, “Everything was fine until our child turned 10 or 11. Then everything changed all of a sudden! It feels like a different kid!” The truth is that nothing changed all of a sudden. Instead, at about age 10, children discover that they have the power to fight back. Combine their pent-up resentment with the early chemistry of adolescence, mix in the sinful nature of both parent and child, and it can get messy and volatile fast and often!

We don’t want to minimize the fact that the pre-teen and early teen brain can be a confusing mix of irrational thoughts and emotions. And we don’t want to discount the power of sin in all of us that compels us to “not do what I want to do, and hate what I do” (Romans 7:15).  

But when parents learn early to use insightful, respectful consequences – only when necessary and with Godly wisdom, we find their reports about pre-teen and teen behavior to be much less emotionally charged and more filled with God’s grace. 

To avoid confusion about a common misunderstanding of the term “natural consequences” we have coined the term natural impacts to make it easier to identify and teach our kids the automatic cause-effect impact of any behavior. This impact happens without intervention.

Why “natural impacts” are an effective disciplinary approach

While punishment may sometimes “work” to temporarily modify behavior, the natural impacts of your child’s behavior will be their best life-long teacher if you teach them to pay attention.

Kids are “beloved sinners” of course (just like us) and need corrective guidance (just like we do). But instead of a goal of pain that modifies behavior or metes out justice, you can shift to a goal of communicating to your child the powerful message, “You are responsible for your life, your relationships, and your decisions.”

Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” This verse is a planting metaphor. If you plant apple seeds, you can’t grow cucumbers, only apples. If you plant bad seeds, bad stuff naturally grows. But if you plant good things, you will reap a good harvest. Natural impacts are the built-in “harvest” that comes based on the actions we choose. 

Parents often tell us they give their kids “natural consequences,” like doing extra chores or giving timeouts so kids can settle down. And kids begin to think of “natural consequences” as:  “When I misbehave, I naturally get in trouble with Mom or Dad.” But these are not natural consequences. Instead, they are a sort of punishment implemented by parents. 

To avoid confusion about a common misunderstanding of the term “natural consequences” we have coined the term natural impacts to make it easier to identify and teach our kids the automatic cause-effect impact of any behavior. This impact happens without intervention. 

For example, when one child hits another, he feels “icky” inside, and the other child gets hurt and feels upset. When a child lies, her friends may not trust her anymore.  

You can build wisdom as you help kids notice the natural impact. But, if instead you swiftly impose consequences, you draw attention away from what has naturally happened as a result of your child’s actions. Immediate imposed consequences can block the learning opportunity.

For example, most of the time, when a child (or grown-up) sins, we feel bad – guilty. And we should because we have sinned. It’s the feeling God intends to help compel us to reconcile that sin. 

But if someone immediately and forcefully puts a consequence in place, we will focus on the punishment or the one who doled it out. The God-given natural impact (feeling bad about what we did) is erased by resentment about the punishment. Instead of doing the work to reconcile our guilty feeling (confessing and repenting), the punishment might motivate us to not misbehave like that again. (Or to just not get caught!)    

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Photo by Ksenia Makagonova on Unsplash

To help kids learn from natural impacts, step out of the way!

To help children learn, sometimes you have to get out of the way and let the mess unfold without imposing extra punishment. 

Then, when things simmer down, talk gently with your child. Use lots of relaxed questions to help them understand the cause-and-effect relationship between their behavior and its impacts on everyone involved. (We’ll talk soon about how to impose effective consequences that help kids learn and grow from their actions.)

When our son Noah went through a phase of struggling with lying, we initially dealt with it by firm confrontation or imposed consequences, which felt like punishment to him. We got nowhere. It was almost like “Game On” to see if he could sneak one by us. Then we changed our approach and did three things that encouraged him toward honesty.

  1. When he told the truth, even for little things, we focused on the value of his honesty for protecting our trust and connection (the natural impact of honesty).
  2. We taught him to pay attention to that little feeling in his stomach that would come with a lie (one of the natural impacts of dishonesty). It was God’s gift to him so he could confess his sin and protect the trust and connection between us.
  3. We helped him understand more natural impacts of lying: the mistrust, the broken relationships, the hardened heart that comes from ignoring that icky feeling in your stomach.

Soon he was coming back to us to confess if he had lied. It was not that long until he was pretty much done lying. Largely because of this experience, Noah has been firmly committed to honesty through his teen years and as a young adult.

Sometimes kids are not responsive to the natural impacts of their behavior. The impact might be too abstract (i.e., what does trust in a relationship mean to a 5-year-old?) or so delayed that it doesn’t have value (i.e., cavities from too much candy). So how can you use helpful, respectful, imposed consequences in a way that doesn’t pit you against your child but guides them toward making wiser choices in the future?

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.

Galatians 6:1

Imposing consequences: When your kids need a little more help

When your child is not interested or willing to learn from the natural impacts of their behavior, you can impose a constructive, helpful consequence to guide your child to restore or make right the natural impact of their actions. The ultimate discipline goal should be heart change, not instant “justice” or feeling back in control.  

Here are some examples of unique, “imposed consequences” in scripture with a corresponding parenting example. 

1. Loss of privilege 

When Adam and Eve disobeyed, they lost the privilege of living in the garden. God’s love and care for them continued, starting with covering their shame with clothing. 

When children misuse a privilege, it is fitting to remove that privilege so they learn to value it. (This is not the same as taking away their favorite item whenever they misbehave.) Whether it’s a Matchbox car or the family car, it is reasonable to take away the car if it’s not used according to clearly stated expectations. When restitution is made, or a child shows they are ready for the responsibility related to that privilege, the privilege can be reinstated.

2. “Do Overs” / Practicing a right response 

In the Bible, when Jonah refused to go to Ninevah, he got a little transportation help and a second chance to do what he was called to do—a “do-over,” if you will. It was a solution, not a punishment, that helped Jonah get back on the intended track. 

A whiny child may be asked to practice asking respectfully two or three times before requests are considered, to help them remember to ask respectfully in the future.

3. Restitution consequences and reconciliation

Matthew 18 commands direct reconciliation between an offended person and the offender, with gradually increasing assistance if needed. 

Practically speaking, when kids offend or hurt others, they can be held accountable to reconcile when they’re ready to truly apologize. If a consequence is needed, they can make restitution, like doing something kind for a sibling after physical aggression. Reconciliation is an essential and oft-overlooked alternative to punitive discipline, but it takes grace and wisdom to guide kids

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Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

Logical consequences: restoring a child gently

These three examples are about getting back on track when we’ve gone astray, and they reflect the grace for sinners found in Galatians 6:1, “…if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.” 

Restore. Not punish. The word’s meaning is rooted in “mending a broken bone.”  Bring back into right alignment. 

Not only is restoration the goal, but it’s also clear that we are to lean into the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23) to do the restoring! 

What a difference between a loving consequence and a punishment!

And if we want a loving relationship with our child that helps them understand the love of God, this is vital. Scripture tells us that punishment causes fear and hinders love. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”  I John 4:18

One dad stated, “I’m so grateful for the Connected Families Framework that helps me discipline my child the way God disciplines me.”

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

I John 4:18

A couple of insightful stories

To make this all come to life, we’ll close with some encouraging stories from parents like you!

Grant was nonchalant about striking a boy in the back with a billiard ball, so his mom had him call an acquaintance in the medical profession to find out what injury might have happened if it had struck him on his spine or head. When he understood what harm he might have caused, Grant wanted to write a letter of apology for his carelessness. They also found out the cost of X-rays that his friend received, and he helped pay those charges. 

David was bullying his sister and randomly hitting her or shoving her out of his way. His mom discussed the natural impact: He was practicing aggressive behavior, and Katie was learning victim-like submission to it. The imposed “make-it-right” consequence to offset these patterns was for him to follow her directions while playing “Katie Says” (like Simon Says). When David understood this would help his sister not get bullied at school, he participated willingly. When her instructions were timid, both her mom and brother said, “No, Katie, say it strong!” The result? She was more confident, and he was less aggressive toward her.  

As you shift your goal to guiding kids toward restoration, it becomes easier to communicate identity-strengthening messages from the Connected Families Framework as you discipline. These messages are: 

  • “You are SAFE with me”
  • “You are LOVED no matter what”
  • “You are CALLED and CAPABLE” 
  • “You are RESPONSIBLE for your actions” 

When you are better able to communicate these messages, even as your kids misbehave, they will likely be well on their way to valuing God’s grace and truth in their lives!


If this shift is a challenge for you, keep coming back to these ideas. Register for our Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart online course, to help you cement new habits for graceful parenting. Above all, keep praying and looking to God for eyes of discernment about what is reaching your child’s heart.

You need consequences that work.

You need consequences that work.

Because your kids aren’t perfect. Neither are you. That’s why you need a plan for discipling your kids in the hard moments.

Read the FREE ebook, Consequences That Actually Work.

Consequences That Actually Work

Related Posts

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Coaching Your Kids to Make It Right | Ep. 111 https://connectedfamilies.org/coaching-kids-make-it-right-ep-111/ Mon, 26 Sep 2022 00:01:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=44507 make it right

Do you sometimes struggle to think of an appropriate consequence for your child’s misbehavior?  Or dole out punishment only to have your child refuse to accept the punishment? Sigh. 

Offering consistent and effective discipline can feel like an ongoing and overwhelming challenge. 

In today’s episode, Chad Hayenga (Connected Families Director of Education & Equipping), and Katie Wetsell (Connected Families Certified Parent Coach) join Stacy Bellward (podcast host) to discuss what effective discipline can look like. (It IS possible!) The conversation explores the messages we send through discipline and how to coach children to be responsible for their actions.

In this podcast you’ll discover:

  • 3 key questions to ask in any discipline situation
  • how to work with your child as a team for more effective discipline
  • the opportunity in discipline to offer and receive God’s grace and forgiveness
  • how to help your child see the natural impacts of their behavior
  • how to guide your child to “make it right” 
  • how “paused privileges” can help motivate a child 

We hope that you have been encouraged by today’s podcast, and we look forward to getting to know you. Please check out our website, and don’t forget to reach out if you need help. It is a joy to be able to walk with you as you parent your kids in God’s grace and truth!

Mentioned in this podcast:

Guest Bio: 

Katie Wetsell is our Discipline That Connects online course moderator. She is also a Connected Families Certified Parent Coach, pediatric nurse, and mom of four through birth and adoption. She is passionate about encouraging and empowering parents to love their families with confidence and connection. Building on her bedside experience, she has also been trained in SPACE treatment (Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions) to help parents support their children in overcoming anxiety. Her website is www.parentwithhope.org.

You can help your child with their anger.

Learn how to break the addictive anger cycle. Get the FREE ebook, Helping Kids With Anger.

angry child ebook
]]>
Do you sometimes struggle to think of an appropriate consequence for your child’s misbehavior?  Or dole out punishment only to have your child refuse to accept the punishment? Sigh.  Offering consistent and effective discipline can feel like an ongoing...



Do you sometimes struggle to think of an appropriate consequence for your child’s misbehavior?  Or dole out punishment only to have your child refuse to accept the punishment? Sigh. 



Offering consistent and effective discipline can feel like an ongoing and overwhelming challenge. 







In today’s episode, Chad Hayenga (Connected Families Director of Education & Equipping), and Katie Wetsell (Connected Families Certified Parent Coach) join Stacy Bellward (podcast host) to discuss what effective discipline can look like. (It IS possible!) The conversation explores the messages we send through discipline and how to coach children to be responsible for their actions.



In this podcast you’ll discover:



* 3 key questions to ask in any discipline situation* how to work with your child as a team for more effective discipline* the opportunity in discipline to offer and receive God’s grace and forgiveness* how to help your child see the natural impacts of their behavior* how to guide your child to “make it right” * how “paused privileges” can help motivate a child 



We hope that you have been encouraged by today’s podcast, and we look forward to getting to know you. Please check out our website, and don’t forget to reach out if you need help. It is a joy to be able to walk with you as you parent your kids in God’s grace and truth!



Mentioned in this podcast:



* Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart online course registration * Connected Families Parent Coach Certification* Connected Families Parent Coaching* Connected Families Podcast* Galatians 6:7 



Guest Bio: 



Katie Wetsell is our Discipline That Connects online course moderator. She is also a Connected Families Certified Parent Coach, pediatric nurse, and mom of four through birth and adoption. She is passionate about encouraging and empowering parents to love their families with confidence and connection. Building on her bedside experience, she has also been trained in SPACE treatment (Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions) to help parents support their children in overcoming anxiety. Her website is www.parentwithhope.org.



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Connected Families 111 Coaching Your Kids to “Make It Right” clean 49:44
Why Punching a Pillow When Angry Doesn’t Really Help Your Child https://connectedfamilies.org/punching-object-youre-angry-actually-help/ Tue, 20 Sep 2022 11:04:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=9942 punching a pillow

Have you ever directed an angry child to punch a pillow? Hoping that would provide some cathartic release for their frustration? Or maybe just selfishly wanting them to be done with an annoying outburst?

Some parents have been encouraged to buy their angry kids punching bags, hoping it will help. But telling a child to punch something when angry can communicate, “I don’t care what you’re upset about,” and it usually backfires.

There’s a good reason why. 

Punching a pillow or yelling to let off steam does nothing to resolve the original problem. It gets a child all worked up, adrenaline flowing, with no actual resolution to their anger. After the punching and yelling are done, the problem is still there.

What punching a pillow (or punching bag) when angry actually teaches

I (Lynne) recall the time during some intense parenting frustration when I went out into the garage and screamed. I even kicked the tires of the car. I was hoping to subdue my intense anger at my kids. It did NOT release my tension. Instead, a sore throat, stubbed toe, and feelings of foolishness only added to my angst.

Aimlessly hitting a pillow, punching bag, or some other inanimate object teaches your child to vent his anger at something neutral.  Doing this does nothing to validate his feelings or solve the problem. It does not build wisdom. Instead, this usually teaches kids to be passive-aggressive with their anger.

What does research show about aimlessly hitting things when angry?

Research shows that punching something when angry reinforces the link between being angry and acting aggressively. It communicates the message, “Harming something will help you feel more in control.”

There is a better message to convey:  “Figure out what you’re feeling, and take responsibility for that. You’ll feel more in control and can constructively resolve your anger.” 

Keep reading for specific suggestions on how to teach this.

What the Bible says about anger

This idea dovetails nicely with Ephesians 4:25-27:

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger, do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

This verse has some key principles: 

  • Anger is not a sin. 
  • It should be dealt with as soon as your heart and mind are rational.
  • Truth is vital. This builds a sense of connection and respect for the person you are angry with (verse 25) and does not allow the devil to gain a foothold (verse 27)

With all that in mind, let’s consider how to help angry kids! 

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger, do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

Ephesians 4:25-27

Help kids figure out how to release big anger constructively

Want to better equip your kids to express their anger? Help them learn new skills for constructively expressing that anger.

Here are four ideas to help kids express anger without aimlessly pummeling something:

  • Model identifying and problem-solving complicated feelings yourself. “I’m so mad! I don’t know how to solve this problem, so I’m going to take some time to think about it.” Model taking a deep breath and counting to 10. 
  • Suggest physical movement that has a constructive end goal. “Let’s play a little catch, and then we can talk about this issue.”
    • Go for a run with your child.
    • Ride bikes.
    • Jump on the trampoline, or bounce on an exercise ball.
    • Practice kickboxing or a martial art. (Note: It’s purposeful movement, not aggression, as long as your child practices when they’re not angry too.)
    • And here’s where a pillow might come in handy (if your child is frustrated, but not in a full-blown rage). A silly, connective physical activity can be tossing a pillow at your child to try to punch in mid-air.  “You’ve got some big energy! Let’s see if you can launch this to the moon!” Because the pillow is in mid-air, it often flies off in a random (sometimes humorous) direction and does not get an angry pummeling. Repeat a few times as needed. Kids usually love it. This activity has helped numerous parents we have coached pave the way for a conversation about a child’s real frustrations.
punching a pillow
  • Ask kids questions that help them identify feelings. “You seem upset. Tell me more about that.”
  • If they can’t figure it out, offer some choices:
    • “Do you feel more angry, or hurt by what just happened?”
    • “What would you like to do about how you’re feeling?”
    • “How could we handle this in a way everyone feels good about?”
  • If kids are really struggling with figuring out how to speak the truth in love, this blog post can help

Physical movement with a purpose (other than aggression) helps calm a nervous system that is in a “fight-or-flight” response.

If you’ve got an intense, sensitive child

Some kids can’t process their feelings until their body calms down. Physical movement with a purpose (other than aggression) helps calm a nervous system that is in a “fight-or-flight” response.

Or, as they say, “Motion changes emotion.”

One mom found a solution for her intense daughter, who was beginning to show aggressive tendencies when angry.  She would invite her daughter to go on a run. While running, they would talk about the problem. First, they would identify feelings. Then it was easier to problem solve them.

Much better problem-solving and thinking occurred than if she’d just told her daughter to punch a pillow! Like this mom, look for purposeful movement for your child that will help put your child in a calmer state of mind. This equips them to be more ready for problem-solving.

As you and your child better learn how to navigate anger constructively, you are equipping them with skills to last a lifetime! 


You can help your child with their anger.

Learn how to break the addictive anger cycle. Get the FREE ebook, Helping Kids With Anger.

angry child ebook

Related Posts

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Why “Calm Down!” Doesn’t Work | Ep. 110 https://connectedfamilies.org/why-calm-down-doesnt-work-ep-110/ Mon, 19 Sep 2022 00:01:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=44143 calm down doesnt work Ep 110

In today’s episode, Corrie and Alan Thetford (founders of Building Wise Families and Connected Families Certified Parent Coaches) join Stacy Bellward (podcast host) to discuss how to help our children want to calm down when they are experiencing big emotions. The conversation explores what’s going on in us as parents when we try to make our child calm down, the role of empathy in supporting our child’s big emotions, and what’s going on beneath the surface of our child’s big outburst.  

In this podcast, you’ll discover:

  • what’s happening in your child’s brain and body that makes them not want to calm down
  • how your good intentions to make your child stop or take a break during a meltdown can actually escalate emotions
  • empathy’s role in helping your child feel understood and able to move through big emotions so they want to calm
  • why something small is often the trigger for your child’s cascade of emotion

We hope that you have been encouraged by today’s podcast, and we look forward to getting to know you. Please check out our website, and don’t forget to reach out if you need help. It is a joy to be able to walk with you as you parent your kids in God’s grace and truth!

Mentioned in this podcast:

Guest Bio: 

Alan and Corrie have four children and are Connected Families Certified Parent Coaches as well as instructors for CF coaches-in-training. They are passionate about multiplying the gospel by helping families transform power struggles and conflicts into opportunities for gospel messages.  


You can help your child with their anger.

Learn how to break the addictive anger cycle. Get the FREE ebook, Helping Kids With Anger.

angry child ebook
]]>
In today’s episode, Corrie and Alan Thetford (founders of Building Wise Families and Connected Families Certified Parent Coaches) join Stacy Bellward (podcast host) to discuss how to help our children want to calm down when they are experiencing big em...



In today’s episode, Corrie and Alan Thetford (founders of Building Wise Families and Connected Families Certified Parent Coaches) join Stacy Bellward (podcast host) to discuss how to help our children want to calm down when they are experiencing big emotions. The conversation explores what’s going on in us as parents when we try to make our child calm down, the role of empathy in supporting our child’s big emotions, and what’s going on beneath the surface of our child’s big outburst.  







In this podcast, you’ll discover:



* what’s happening in your child’s brain and body that makes them not want to calm down* how your good intentions to make your child stop or take a break during a meltdown can actually escalate emotions* empathy’s role in helping your child feel understood and able to move through big emotions so they want to calm* why something small is often the trigger for your child’s cascade of emotion



We hope that you have been encouraged by today’s podcast, and we look forward to getting to know you. Please check out our website, and don’t forget to reach out if you need help. It is a joy to be able to walk with you as you parent your kids in God’s grace and truth!



Mentioned in this podcast:



* Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart online course  * Connected Families Parent Coaching* Connected Families Coaching Certification program* Corrie & Alan Thetford’s Podcast – Building Wise Families



Guest Bio: 



Alan and Corrie have four children and are Connected Families Certified Parent Coaches as well as instructors for CF coaches-in-training. They are passionate about multiplying the gospel by helping families transform power struggles and conflicts into opportunities for gospel messages.  







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.stk-57d8075 .stk-block-text__text{color:var(--paletteColor3,#293241) !important;font-weight:600 !important}Learn how to break the addictive anger cycle. Get the FREE ebook, Helping Kids With Anger.








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Connected Families 110 Why "Calm Down!" Doesn't Work clean 32:46
You Really Want To Show Loving Discipline? Start With Your Face. https://connectedfamilies.org/loving-discipline-face/ Wed, 14 Sep 2022 08:45:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=44085 You Really Want To Show Loving Discipline? Start With Your Face.

If you’re reading this right now, you likely want to show love to your kids, even in discipline. You probably already believe unconditional love means loving your kids during misbehavior. You don’t need to be convinced of the benefits of loving discipline.

But your face? That’s a little tougher. Your face says a lot to your kids. Before the first words roll off your tongue, you’ve already begun communicating.

Studies show that 60% – 90% of all communication is nonverbal, with 55% related to the face alone.

But does your face communicate loving discipline?

Take a common scenario like your child leaving a trail of food, wrappers, or toys. What might go through your mind at a time like that? “I’ve talked to him about this for weeks, numerous times a day, and nothing has changed! This place is constantly a mess!”

With all those negative thoughts going on inside, it’s sure to show up on your face. Your facial expressions may be sending messages like,

  • “Child, you are a disappointment.”
  • “Child, you are hopeless.”
  • “Child, you are a walking mess!”
  • “Child, you are a problem.”

Want to know if your face is communicating love during your child’s misbehavior?

Take a look at your child’s face. Their face often shows us what messages they’re receiving. Perhaps some fear. Maybe anger. Or the one that gets many parents’ blood boiling: defiance!

If your child regularly sees these negative messages on your face, they begin to own them as their identity. “I am a walking mess. I am hopeless. I am a disappointment to my parents.”  This cycle can keep you and your child stuck in hurtful patterns.

Prefer to listen?

In the podcast “Calming Yourself BEFORE Going Into Discipline” Jim and Lynne Jackson dive deep into this topic. Listen in! You’ll be glad you did!

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

It’s not hopeless: You can teach your face to show loving discipline

What steps can you take to change your patterns of facial expression and communication? How can you send messages of God’s grace and truth to your kids and communicate your love for them, even in the midst of the struggle?

Transform the source of your expressions

I am not suggesting you grit your teeth and fake a smile when you’re angry at your child. But if you want to engage more peacefully with your child:

  • Start by considering God’s gracious face for YOU when parenting is stressful.
  • Then, identify grace-filled truths about your child. What we believe and think will determine how we feel, look, and act.

Sometimes when I’m struggling, I’ll pray a simple prayer like, “God, how do you see my child? What is true about her?” When I ask these questions to God, I get a different perspective than the one I’m holding. Then I repeat things to myself that I know are true about my kids. Things like:

  • “This is a season of growth and learning for my child.”
  • “I can help build wisdom in my child when I’m calm.”
  • “This moment doesn’t define me or my child.”

Practice “loving discipline” in your face when the heat ISN’T on

If you are going to change some well-worn patterns, you’ll need to practice. So try the following unconventional experiment…in a little privacy.  😉

  • Identify a typical, frustrating misbehavior.
  • Stand in front of a mirror with your eyes closed, and out loud address the misbehavior as you usually would. Open your eyes as soon as you near the end of your sentence and note your facial expression. What does it communicate?
  • Now watch your face as you respectfully address the misbehavior, and make the face you want your child to see when they are struggling. What do you see? Pay particular attention to your eyes and eyebrows, where most facial emotion is communicated. 

Step back and relax your face before addressing misbehavior

When the heat is on, and it’s “go time”, – take a slow breath as you repeat a helpful, grace-filled truth; lift your eyebrows and relax your face. Doing this will help change your brain chemistry and prepare you to communicate God’s extraordinary grace and mercy to your child. 

As I raised my daughters, who are now young adults, I became more aware of these dynamics in my own parenting.  Although I could be frustrated, I would pause to calm my heart and ensure my face was relaxed and non-judging. My daughter’s faces would often match mine—pleasant and calm—and we could have a brief, productive conversation. (My furrowed brow and steely-eyed gaze did NOT tend to elicit a positive response!)

May your face demonstrate God’s unconditional love, especially during misbehavior

So consider how you would like your face to reflect God’s grace and truth when interacting with a misbehaving child. God calls us to seek His face when we are in our “day of trouble:”

You have said, “Seek my face.”

My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

May your face represent the safety, love, and wisdom of God as you guide your children!


Four Messages Every Child Longs To Hear

4 simple messages.
1 simple framework.

Get the FREE ebook and start your journey toward better, more connective discipline in your home.

Related Posts

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Calming Yourself Before Going Into Discipline | Ep.109 https://connectedfamilies.org/calming-yourself-before-discipline-ep-109/ Mon, 12 Sep 2022 00:09:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=44033 calm yourself ep 109

“Why are you so mad all the time?” Do you ever hear this from your child? You probably don’t intend to look mad. You may not even be aware of your furrowed brow or irritated expression. And it’s especially hard to keep your cool in the heat of the moment when your child pushes your buttons.

But what message does your expression send to your child? Sure, you could try to put on a happy face and force a polite smile, but it’s not the most effective or long-term solution. So what can you do to keep things truly calm?

In today’s podcast, Jim and Lynne Jackson (Co-Founders of Connected Families) join Stacy Bellward (podcast host) to dig deep into an important principle of the Connected Families Framework. At the foundation level of the framework, you learn to move from “fast, large, and loud” to “slow, low, and listen.” This helps kids feel safe during discipline.

Often, parents leverage fear and intensity to “change” kids’ behavior. But kids read facial expressions more than anything else. Have you ever noticed your child looking at your face and listening to the tone of your voice to discern if they are truly safe?

So how do you show up safe for your kids?

At Connected Families, we start with the question, “What’s going on in me?” and “What does my child see on my face in times of discipline?” When you are able to do this inner work, your calm demeanor toward your kids can be a true reflection of a peaceful heart, not just a contrived calm. Then you can have the emotional capacity to help your struggling child. This will help guide them toward wisdom, connection, and grace, with true compassion. 

In this podcast, you’ll learn:

  • how to work toward becoming truly calm on the inside, not just on the outside
  • practical tools for the heat of the moment to help you regulate your nervous system (and then help your child regulate too!)
  • the science of creating brain pathways that can help you respond better in future discipline situations
  • the transforming power of the principles in the Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart online course, and the beautiful testimony of one mom’s parenting journey through the course

We hope that you have been helped by today’s podcast, and we look forward to getting to know you. Please check out our website, and don’t forget to reach out if you need help. It is a joy to be able to walk with you as you parent your kids in God’s grace and truth! 

Mentioned in this podcast:


In the Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart online course, you’ll learn 4 key messages that all kids long to hear. You’ll be equipped to move into frustrating moments of misbehavior to lead with grace, not fear or anger. Register today! The course begins on October 4th.

Four Messages Every Child Longs To Hear

4 simple messages.
1 simple framework.

Get the FREE ebook and start your journey toward better, more connective discipline in your home.

Related Posts

]]>
“Why are you so mad all the time?” Do you ever hear this from your child? You probably don’t intend to look mad. You may not even be aware of your furrowed brow or irritated expression. And it’s especially hard to keep your cool in the heat of the mome...



“Why are you so mad all the time?” Do you ever hear this from your child? You probably don’t intend to look mad. You may not even be aware of your furrowed brow or irritated expression. And it’s especially hard to keep your cool in the heat of the moment when your child pushes your buttons.



But what message does your expression send to your child? Sure, you could try to put on a happy face and force a polite smile, but it’s not the most effective or long-term solution. So what can you do to keep things truly calm?







In today’s podcast, Jim and Lynne Jackson (Co-Founders of Connected Families) join Stacy Bellward (podcast host) to dig deep into an important principle of the Connected Families Framework. At the foundation level of the framework, you learn to move from “fast, large, and loud” to “slow, low, and listen.” This helps kids feel safe during discipline.



Often, parents leverage fear and intensity to “change” kids’ behavior. But kids read facial expressions more than anything else. Have you ever noticed your child looking at your face and listening to the tone of your voice to discern if they are truly safe?



So how do you show up safe for your kids?



At Connected Families, we start with the question, “What’s going on in me?” and “What does my child see on my face in times of discipline?” When you are able to do this inner work, your calm demeanor toward your kids can be a true reflection of a peaceful heart, not just a contrived calm. Then you can have the emotional capacity to help your struggling child. This will help guide them toward wisdom, connection, and grace, with true compassion. 



In this podcast, you’ll learn:



* how to work toward becoming truly calm on the inside, not just on the outside* practical tools for the heat of the moment to help you regulate your nervous system (and then help your child regulate too!)* the science of creating brain pathways that can help you respond better in future discipline situations* the transforming power of the principles in the Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart online course, and the beautiful testimony of one mom’s parenting journey through the course



We hope that you have been helped by today’s podcast, and we look forward to getting to know you. Please check out our website, and don’t forget to reach out if you need help. It is a joy to be able to walk with you as you parent your kids in God’s grace and truth! 



Mentioned in this podcast:



* Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart online course* Framework magnet* Connected Families Framework* Michael McKnight* Do-overs* Bible verses: 2 Corinthians 10:5, 109 Calming Yourself Before Going Into Discipline clean 42:51
What To Do When You Think Your Child Is Doomed https://connectedfamilies.org/what-to-do-when-you-think-your-child-is-doomed/ Tue, 06 Sep 2022 09:00:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=16788 Feel like children are doomed by your parenting failures?

Imagine you have endured one of those days when everything goes wrong. The challenges of parenting drain every last ounce of energy and hope from your soul. You feel in your bones that your children are doomed by every parenting failure. Or by being an only child. Or a divorce in the family. Or because you work outside the home. Or don’t work outside the home. Or whatever anxiety-inducing situation has got you worried.

Good news! Your kids are not doomed.

Does the following doomsday pattern of thinking sound familiar? “Life is so hard. These kids are doomed. I’m a failure as a parent.” This pattern — though common — can actually be the start of an unhelpful spiral. Your belief that your children are doomed may even push them toward the endpoint you’re afraid of.

Your emotional reactions can become predictions

These types of statements (like “My children are doomed!”) are examples of a tendency known as extreme thinking. Extreme thinking forms black-and-white, all-or-nothing judgments about the moment (which is only one part of the picture), and uses those judgments to define the whole picture.

This tendency is fueled by how our brains work. The brain wants to keep things simple and efficient. For example: When you’re sad or frustrated, it’s hard to access the good memories of better times. Instead, all you can think about is more sad or frustrating things — including sad or frustrating futures for you and your children. It doesn’t easily access memories and feelings from a different emotional state. A scene from the classic movie Parenthood contains an extreme example of this.

When extreme thinking predicts a picture-perfect future

In Parenthood, Steve Martin plays the worried father of an insecure son. During one scene he is coaching his son’s Little League team. Despite the protests of the parents and players, he sends his son to play second base with the game hanging in the balance. As his son runs onto the field, the dad gets lost in a daydream in which his son becomes the game’s hero. His dream then jumps into the future to his son’s speech as Harvard’s valedictorian, “I’d like to thank the greatest guy in the world, my Dad, for making this all possible. His belief in me during a Little League game turned my life around. Thanks, Dad!”

When extreme thinking leads to a vision of “doomed” children

Crowd noise snaps Martin back to reality as his son drops a pop fly and his team loses the game. Martin now envisions a different daydream – one in which his son makes a series of horrendous choices, “It’s all your fault, Dad!” he screams. “If you hadn’t made me play second base that day, none of this would have ever happened!”

This clip is a little extreme, but it illustrates something most parents can relate to: what happens when our “extreme thinking” causes us to view specific, temporary behaviors as pervasive and permanent

Examples of projecting a doomed future onto our children

Extreme thinking may lead parents to lose hope. Maybe you can relate to some of these dooming statements about your own children:

  •  “He’s always done this and always will.” 
  • “She’s gonna be just like ____ when she grows up.” 
  • “The teenage years will be horrible!” 
  • “This kid will never make it in life.”

What’s the result of this doomsday thinking?

Parents caught in these kinds of negative thoughts then subtly or overtly communicate these negative expectations to their children. The subtle evidence of these thoughts may be found in a parent’s exasperated sigh that precedes a corrective interaction with a child or in the simple tendency always to assume the worst when entering corrective situations. 

It might be a thought of, “Oh, she’s at it again…” or, “Will this ever stop?!” A more overt clue might be the words parents use: “What’s wrong with you now?” or “I’m so sick of your behavior!”

How to stop extreme thinking and recognize behavior as temporary

The way out of extreme thinking is to learn to keep negative situations in a proper perspective and do some heart work to examine and be thoughtful about your core beliefs. When you view tough situations as temporary and full of opportunities, you can help your kids learn from them rather than be defined by them. It also helps you to enjoy them more in the process!

Examples of truths to replace “children are doomed”

Lie: Our house is always such a disaster! My children are doomed to be messy and irresponsible in life.   
Truth: We are in a tough phase, and the kids haven’t learned to be very responsible with their stuff yet. But I can take small steps to coach them in better habits.

Lie: My child is so emotional and unreasonable! He’s going to be a mess as a teenager.
Truth: My intense child has really big feelings, but God has made him this way for good purposes. I’ve got time to help him learn to navigate those feelings in healthy ways. 

Transform your thinking about your children

Here are a few questions to guide you toward healthier, hope-filled beliefs:

  • What subtle anxieties do I feel about my child’s struggles?
  • How does that anxiety affect my responses to my child?
  • What are some true statements about these struggles?
  • How can I remind myself about these truths when I need them?

FREE Downloadable/Printable PDF

Want regular encouragement during the messes of daily life in parenting? Download our “100 Truth Phrases to Keep You Going” today!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

We have so much reason to hope! “If God is for us, who can be against us!” God is for your family, and you can have confidence in that. “…blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.” Jeremiah 17:7

So “dump the doom!” Send it packing with God’s hope-filled truth about your family. It’s powerful when, over time, your mind is transformed with God’s truth!

Research shows, “Even in the toughest times, when a person can think positively about the future, they are capable of reducing the stress felt by their family members by as much as 60 percent.”  In other words, when you have hope for the future, it can spread encouragement and reduce stress for your child and anyone else in your family. When you are overflowing with God’s hope, this has a life-giving impact on those around you!


Four Messages Every Child Longs To Hear

4 simple messages.
1 simple framework.

Get the FREE ebook and start your journey toward better, more connective discipline in your home.

Related Posts

]]> Feel Empowered and Equipped for a Great School Year https://connectedfamilies.org/empowered-equipped-great-school-year/ Wed, 31 Aug 2022 15:48:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=43601 1200x628 Blog post images 21

Depending on where you are in the world, you may be experiencing the back-to-school blues. No matter the type of school – preschool, public, private, home-school, or alternative school – the transition from summer activities to educational studies generally has a few bumps in the road for both parents and kids. Because of feedback from parents just like you, we know the following articles and podcasts are worth your time to equip your family for a great school year!

From all of us at Connected Families, we wish you a school year full of growth, joy, and connection!


On Thursday, September 29th, Connected Families will celebrate 20 years in ministry.

  • Do you live in the Twin Cities metro area? Join us! We’d love to see you! Registration closes on September 19 and space is limited. Register today!
  • Live outside the Twin Cities? We’ll be streaming parts of the evening. Stay tuned for details!
20th anniversary celebraion 1
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Kids and Misbehavior: Is It Sin? Or Something Else? | Ep. 108 https://connectedfamilies.org/kids-and-misbehavior-ep-108/ Mon, 29 Aug 2022 00:01:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=43554 kids and misbehavior

Is it sin when my child misbehaves? Or is there something else going on under the surface? What is gentle parenting? What is biblical parenting? This topic is definitely making the rounds right now on social media, in churches, and in our homes. It can be overwhelming and confusing. What is true? What does the Bible really say about all of this? If you are struggling with all the controversy around this topic, you are in good company with so many other parents, and you will not want to miss this episode!

In today’s podcast, Stacy Bellward is joined by Lynne Jackson (Occupational Therapist and Connected Families Co-Founder) and Amanda Erickson (Co-Founder of Flourishing Homes and Families) to sift through and decipher the many messages we get as parents about the topic of sin and misbehavior. They discuss the importance of understanding underlying issues, being able to connect with your child, and seeing the opportunity to set your child up for success in the moment and for the future.           

Our best parenting leaves our kids eager to receive the guidance and conviction of the Holy Spirit, as we model the grace and reconciliation we all receive from Jesus. When you prioritize this kind of connection, you equip your child to grow in wisdom and in their God-given purpose.

In this podcast, you’ll learn about:

  • teaching the beauty of repentance without the shame, celebrating the growing process, and leaving the job of conviction to the Holy Spirit             
  • Ancient Hebrew culture, and how their understanding of childhood can bring context to the biblical wisdom that informs your parenting
  • how aspects of brain science align with biblical parenting, and how it can bring a tender perspective to your parenting as you disciple your growing child
  • practical and biblical ways you can respond with love in misbehavior to help calm and guide your child toward wisdom and connection

Has this podcast been helpful to you today? If so, would you mind taking a minute to share it with other parents who need some encouragement too? You can also subscribe to this podcast. We want to share God’s grace and truth with more parents just like you. Have questions? Please reach out, we are here to help!

Mentioned in this podcast:

Guest bio:

Amanda Erickson is passionate about helping moms be less stressed and angry so they can flourish in their motherhood. This passion is born out of her own experience with postpartum anxiety, rage, and anger. She delights in linking arms with other mamas so they know that gentle, peaceful, grace-based parenting isn’t only Scripturally sound—it’s actually possible! An artist and free spirit, she is most in her element when she is speaking or creating. Amanda holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from BMA Theological Seminary. Amanda and her husband David have been married for 17 years, have two boys, and currently reside in East Texas.


Learn more about the Framework

Want to dig deeper into Connected Families’ Parenting Framework?
Get our FREE ebook, 4 Messages Every Child Longs to Hear.

]]>
[powerpress]



Is it sin when my child misbehaves? Or is there something else going on under the surface? What is gentle parenting? What is biblical parenting? This topic is definitely making the rounds right now on social media, in churches, and in our homes. It can be overwhelming and confusing. What is true? What does the Bible really say about all of this? If you are struggling with all the controversy around this topic, you are in good company with so many other parents, and you will not want to miss this episode!







In today’s podcast, Stacy Bellward is joined by Lynne Jackson (Occupational Therapist and Connected Families Co-Founder) and Amanda Erickson (Co-Founder of Flourishing Homes and Families) to sift through and decipher the many messages we get as parents about the topic of sin and misbehavior. They discuss the importance of understanding underlying issues, being able to connect with your child, and seeing the opportunity to set your child up for success in the moment and for the future.           



Our best parenting leaves our kids eager to receive the guidance and conviction of the Holy Spirit, as we model the grace and reconciliation we all receive from Jesus. When you prioritize this kind of connection, you equip your child to grow in wisdom and in their God-given purpose.



In this podcast, you’ll learn about:



* teaching the beauty of repentance without the shame, celebrating the growing process, and leaving the job of conviction to the Holy Spirit             * Ancient Hebrew culture, and how their understanding of childhood can bring context to the biblical wisdom that informs your parenting* how aspects of brain science align with biblical parenting, and how it can bring a tender perspective to your parenting as you disciple your growing child* practical and biblical ways you can respond with love in misbehavior to help calm and guide your child toward wisdom and connection



Has this podcast been helpful to you today? If so, would you mind taking a minute to share it with other parents who need some encouragement too? You can also subscribe to this podcast. We want to share God’s grace and truth with more parents just like you. Have questions? Please reach out, we are here to help!



Mentioned in this podcast:



* 7 Practical Calming Strategies for Kids: The FREE Online Course* Flourishing Homes and Families* Perspectives on Spanking FREE ebook * Doctrine of Grace in Parenting podcast Ep.96* Dr. John Taylor* Connected Families Framework* Connected Families FREE Resources* Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart Online Course* Scripture verses:
Connected Families 108 Kids and Misbehavior: Sin? Or Something Else? clean 41:11
Four Simple Ways to Teach Your Child About God https://connectedfamilies.org/teach-your-child-about-god/ Wed, 24 Aug 2022 07:57:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=29101 4 simple ways teach child about God 1

Do you want to teach your child about God but aren’t sure how to do it? If you’re reading this, you likely desire for your kids to grow up with strong character and a solid relationship with God. But how do you teach your children about God without encouraging religious moralism or implying God loves them more when they behave well?

Religious moralism is an emphasis on proper moral behavior to the exclusion of genuine faith… Christian moralists tend to reduce the Bible to a manual for moral behavior…”

Phil Vischer, the creator of VeggieTales, bemoaned how easy it is to fall into that trap: “I had spent 10 years trying to convince kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity. And that was a pretty serious conviction. You can say, ‘Hey kids, be more kind because the Bible says so!’ But that isn’t Christianity; it’s morality.” Phil then wrote this book for kids as a kind of “do-over” to teach them about God’s love and grace. 

Research shows that roughly 50% of students walk away from the church after they leave high school. Research also confirms that it’s never too early or too late to start developing a faith that continues to grow and lasts. 

If you are curious about simple ways to teach your child about God and have a faith that “sticks,” read on.

One mom’s struggle to teach her child about God

Laura was stuck. Though she was passionate about bringing her boys up “in the training and instruction of the Lord,” she could tell that her oldest son Connor, at only 4, was already getting “exasperated” by her reminders….“God wants us to: be kind, share, be respectful, be responsible, and blah blah blah.” 

Laura recognized she was infusing the process with her own anxiety about her son’s spiritual growth and probably also a selfish desire for the ease of nice behavior around the house. After all, who wouldn’t love to have children filled with “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control”?! (Not to mention how impressive that would be.) 

But, fortunately, when kids sense us parenting out of anxiety or selfishness, they usually resist and make it easier for us to realize what is going on in us under the surface. 

At best, Connor only tolerated dinner time prayer, and other times even seemed to enjoy interrupting it loudly. She was rightfully concerned about his growing lack of interest in her spiritual guidance. She didn’t know what to do. For Connor, God was becoming The Great Disapprover of all things childish and misguided.

Perhaps you want to bring scripture to life for your kids without making God out to be The Great Disapprover. Like Laura, this takes honest reflection about how anxiety over the need to raise “good Christian kids” might be getting in the way. 

Teaching kids about God takes insight, creativity, and humility, as you listen to God’s Spirit. Are you ready? It’s worth it.

Here are a few helpful tips to teach your child about God:

1. Share how the Bible brings you joy  

Psalm 19:9-11 declares, “The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb… In keeping them, there is great reward.”
How would your kids know this is true for you?
 

  • Do you joyfully share encouraging wisdom from the Bible? 
    • For example, quote a proverb about the wisdom of choosing friends wisely and share about a faith-filled friend that’s been a true encouragement to you. 
    • Share Ephesians 4:15 and talk about how learning to speak the truth in love has been helpful for you.  
  • Do you mention how the Bible helps you in your daily life?
    • Share something you’re anxious about and how Philippians 4:6-7 has helped you in past struggles. Invite your kids to join you in prayer as you bring a current concern to God with gratitude and expectation.  
    • When you’re discouraged because you’ve blown it, share your favorite verse about God’s forgiveness.
    • What’s been a challenge you’ve overcome? Tell your kids about it and share 1 John 5:4
    • When your unconditional love solidly lands on your child, share 1 John 4:7 and help them know that your love for them is the overflow of God’s love.  
  • Are you excited when you learn something new from the Bible that strengthens your faith?
  • Do you share some of the numerous promises of God in the Bible and how they are always true?

2. Share when God convicts you

It’s not your job to convict your kids of sin, it’s the job of the Holy Spirit. But you can model for your kids the process and value of being convicted by God. Your humility grows tremendous influence with them. 

Let’s imagine you lost patience with your kids and yelled in frustration, maybe even shaming them in the process. And then the Holy Spirit convicts you. Share that holy moment with your kids, and even celebrate the blessing of reconciliation. Our best parenting leaves our kids eager for the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

One mom was stuck in focusing on everything her son did wrong that morning. She apologized and said, “The Lord convicted me about how critical I’ve been this morning. I didn’t even notice the good stuff you’ve done. Philippians 4:8 says, ‘Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.’ I want to do that more.”  

Her son quickly replied, “I LOVE that verse!!!”  

Of course, kids learn about the love of God best in the context of a warm connection with you. But no worries, when that’s not happening, your confession can be a wonderful example of God’s grace and mercy. In your children’s eyes, God is looking pretty good when He cares enough to help you to be more kind to them. 🙂

Gods word precious gift

3. Notice when your child exemplifies a spiritual quality

These might be the very things your child struggles with: be kind, share, be respectful, and be responsible. Help your child see what joy those qualities or actions bring and how those qualities can bless others. 

One day, our son Noah joyfully fixed and served Jim breakfast. Lynne playfully paraphrased Luke 22:27 – “For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.” Noah grinned as Jim pretended to be upset that the guy getting the breakfast was less cool because the server was acting like Jesus.

4. To teach your child about God, spark their curiosity!

Curiosity is a powerful learning tool to teach your child about God. You can simply ask thought-provoking questions during your conversations and listen to the answers they give. And try not to give them the answers. Do this while gently guiding children toward sound thinking about God’s character. (How is God like the wind? Why do you think God made mosquitoes? etc.)  

Linda would often read from a book about kids’ questions for God while they had breakfast. She would encourage a lively discussion without simply “reading the right answers” so that her kids would be eager for the next morning’s conversation. 

Once you have frequently helped children view God’s word as inviting and encouraging, then you have a platform to begin to use it for gentle, loving reproof occasionally. But be very wary of any tendency to selfishly manage kids’ behavior with Bible verses or “Jesus is disappointed in you” kinds of messages. Use scripture to model, plant seeds, and set the stage for God to woo kids toward repentance with His great kindness. (Romans 2:4)

A change in heart: from perfectionism to grace

Laura wrote to me again several weeks after our conversation.  She was no longer using the Bible to try to get better behavior from her kids. Instead, she let the Bible change her own anxious perfectionism toward her children and replace it with growing grace. She was now having fun talking informally about all she was learning through different Bible verses and how she was growing in her relationship with God. 

“As I’ve lightened up and not put so much pressure on them to participate in Bible lesson time, there have been a lot of opportunities where they ask questions out of the blue about God and spiritual beliefs. Connor actually wanted to pray the other day at dinner!  I am remembering that God is able to do a work in their hearts apart from (and even in spite of!) my misguided efforts.”

God’s word is a precious gift. Be careful not to use it as a behavior management tool. Instead, teach your children about God by showing the joy that your faith brings you! This can spark your child’s curiosity about God and His great love.


Learn more about the Framework

Want to dig deeper into Connected Families’ Parenting Framework?
Get our FREE ebook, 4 Messages Every Child Longs to Hear.

Related Posts

]]>
The Gospel in Our Parenting, Part 1 | Ep. 107 https://connectedfamilies.org/the-gospel-in-our-parenting-ep-107/ Mon, 22 Aug 2022 00:01:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=43254 gospel in our parenting

What difference does the gospel make in our lives? In our parenting? 

The message of God’s love communicates the unconditional truth that each of us has been made in the image of God. Our connection with Jesus brings hope and transformation to every area of our lives. 

The love and grace of God is the source of everything we do at Connected Families. One of the things that sets us apart is that we work to make scripture practical for parents. The Bible is our sure foundation and the first resource we consider in our teaching.

Today’s podcast is the first of two podcasts about how the gospel informs the Connected Families Framework. Stacy Bellward (podcast host) is joined by Connected Families Co-Founders Jim and Lynne Jackson to discuss how being a new creation in Christ can bring change into every part of our lives–including the everyday trials of parenting! 

We can live rooted and grounded in Jesus and put our trust in Him instead of the outcomes we’re looking for with our children. We can build our identity as redeemed children of God, bestowed with every spiritual blessing and created for God’s purpose and design. This abundant life in Christ then pours out and blesses those around us, especially our children!    

In this podcast:

In today’s podcast, you will discover how the gospel is infused into the first three levels of our Framework:

  • “You are SAFE with me.” Jesus is there to help you when you feel anxious or overwhelmed. He can help you explore, “What’s going on in me?” In Christ, you have the ability to be ok, even when your kids are not ok, because your identity is in Jesus. 
  • “You are LOVED no matter what.” Neither you nor your child has to do something or change before Jesus loves you. Misbehavior is the golden opportunity to show unconditional love to your kids.
  • “You are CALLED and CAPABLE.” The deeper you are able to receive God’s grace and truth for yourself, the more peace and confidence you can embrace as you coach your kids. God will partner with you as you help them grow in His purpose for their life. 

Stay tuned for the second part of this podcast, “Kids and Misbehavior: Is it sin? Or something else?” as we continue the conversation about the gospel and the Connected Families Framework. You won’t want to miss the eye-opening discussion about the last level of the Framework, “You are RESPONSIBLE for your actions.” In the meantime check out our FREE resources!

Helpful resources mentioned in this podcast:


What are your parenting strengths?

You’ve got them. Knowing your strengths will help you become the best parent you can be. Knowing your parenting challenges is useful information too. Take our FREE ASSESSMENT.

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What difference does the gospel make in our lives? In our parenting?  The message of God’s love communicates the unconditional truth that each of us has been made in the image of God. Our connection with Jesus brings hope and transformation to every ar...



What difference does the gospel make in our lives? In our parenting? 



The message of God’s love communicates the unconditional truth that each of us has been made in the image of God. Our connection with Jesus brings hope and transformation to every area of our lives. 



The love and grace of God is the source of everything we do at Connected Families. One of the things that sets us apart is that we work to make scripture practical for parents. The Bible is our sure foundation and the first resource we consider in our teaching.







Today’s podcast is the first of two podcasts about how the gospel informs the Connected Families Framework. Stacy Bellward (podcast host) is joined by Connected Families Co-Founders Jim and Lynne Jackson to discuss how being a new creation in Christ can bring change into every part of our lives–including the everyday trials of parenting! 



We can live rooted and grounded in Jesus and put our trust in Him instead of the outcomes we’re looking for with our children. We can build our identity as redeemed children of God, bestowed with every spiritual blessing and created for God’s purpose and design. This abundant life in Christ then pours out and blesses those around us, especially our children!    



In this podcast:



In today’s podcast, you will discover how the gospel is infused into the first three levels of our Framework:




* “You are SAFE with me.” Jesus is there to help you when you feel anxious or overwhelmed. He can help you explore, “What’s going on in me?” In Christ, you have the ability to be ok, even when your kids are not ok, because your identity is in Jesus. 



* “You are LOVED no matter what.” Neither you nor your child has to do something or change before Jesus loves you. Misbehavior is the golden opportunity to show unconditional love to your kids.



* “You are CALLED and CAPABLE.” The deeper you are able to receive God’s grace and truth for yourself, the more peace and confidence you can embrace as you coach your kids. God will partner with you as you help them grow in His purpose for their life. 




Stay tuned for the second part of this podcast, “Kids and Misbehavior: Is it sin? Or something else?” as we continue the conversation about the gospel and the Connected Families Framework. You won’t want to miss the eye-opening discussion about the last level of the Framework, “You are RESPONSIBLE for your actions.” In the meantime check out our FREE resources!



Helpful resources mentioned in this podcast:




* 7 Practical Calming Strategies for Kids: The FREE Online Course



* Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart Online Course



* Connected Families Framework



* Scripture verses: 107 The Gospel in Our Parenting clean 40:59
7 Activities to Teach Patience to the Child Who Wants It NOW https://connectedfamilies.org/teaching-children-wait-well/ Wed, 17 Aug 2022 11:13:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=24586 teaching patience

You want to teach your child patience, but it probably feels like an uphill battle. See if this sounds familiar. Your child asks for something. Maybe you’re not opposed to their idea, but it’s something they’re going to have to wait a minute for. Unfortunately, waiting isn’t their strong point. Next comes the tears, complaining, and maybe a total meltdown… It just escalates with every second of delayed gratification. That’s pretty normal behavior in a two-year-old, but when you have an older child (or teen) who wants everything now, it can feel pretty discouraging. So how do you teach patience to the child who wants something now?

There are lots of parents asking the same question. Many children struggle with patience. Many adults do too! You are definitely on the right path for wanting to teach your child patience. It is certainly a very important virtue to develop. While you are teaching your child patience, perhaps your ability to be patient will grow at the same time! 

Our instant gratification culture

Instant gratification has become a hallmark of our culture. A lot of it is just the natural result of fast-moving technology. Waiting isn’t built into technological advances. If you just consider screens for entertainment – no longer do kids need to wait for their favorite daily show. Their parents can pull it up on their phones anywhere and anytime.

“As our technology moves faster, our patience grows thinner. A huge study from UMass Amherst, which surveyed 6.7 million users, showed that viewers tend to abandon online videos if they take more than 2 seconds to load.”

And answers to questions about science and the world? No need for a trip to the library. A few clicks and a visit to Wikipedia are all you need. This isn’t all bad, but it’s not teaching patience to our kids.

Many parents we coach believe they have failed to teach their kids self-control and self-discipline. Dr. David Walsh, a national expert on media and cultural influences, has coined a term for what he believes is a widespread problem among young people today – not ADD/Attention Deficit Disorder, but DDD – Discipline Deficit Disorder. (Maybe more like “self-discipline” deficit disorder.) Walsh blames our culture of “more, easy, fast, and fun.”  

What is the point of teaching your kids to be patient when they have answers and enjoyment at the tip of their fingers? (Literally!) How do you teach your kids that there is joy and strength in learning to wait well?

Start by looking inward! The difficult job of looking inward is critical when teaching self-control and delayed gratification. It can be hard for us to wait and model patience well, especially in our parenting! (Are you often impatient with your impatient child?) 

Before teaching your kids the fine art of patience, consider the following questions: What example am I setting? What are my thoughts and feelings when my children make impatient demands? Do I value patience as a virtue?

As you become more self-aware you’ll probably be more patient with your child’s struggle to wait well, and have more examples to share from your own life. 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Colossians 3:12

7 activities to teach patience to kids

1) Share your story

At whatever level your child can understand, share your own successes and failures in learning to delay gratification and work toward important things. (Our children have often heard the woes of an impulsive BIG purchase that we instantly regretted.) Kids are greatly encouraged when parents are open about their own mistakes. You could also talk about a time when God blessed you and grew your character while you waited patiently.

2) Build the value of “patient waiting”

It’s pretty futile to try to force your kids to do something when they have the opposite value – I want it now!! You can talk about Proverbs 16:32: “​​Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.” Ask your kids, Why do you think scripture says that? What’s so good about being patient? What happens when people are impatient a lot?

As a family, write down, talk about, or even draw pictures of all the benefits of learning patience. Some ideas to start your list (from Greater Good magazine):

  • Patient people enjoy better mental health.
  • Patient people are better friends and neighbors.
  • Patience helps us achieve our goals.
  • Patience is linked to good physical health.

3) Model patience out loud

When you practice patience (both short and long-term), share the experience with your child. 

  • Short-term example: “Sometimes I start to get frustrated when we have to stand in a grocery line like this, so I choose to spend the time praying for others, or noticing interesting things around me.”
  • Long-term example: “I’m really excited to take our family on a trip to ____, and I’m thankful we are able to put money away each month for this trip.” You could even put a “Trip Money” thermometer on the refrigerator to record the gains and let your kids fill it in. 

4) Create lots of small opportunities

When the phone rings, or when fixing dinner, or in that long line at the store, set your child up for success. Smile and ask, “This is a chance to practice patient waiting. How do you think you’ll do?” Kids will often predict their own success, which greatly increases the likelihood that they’ll actually succeed

Set a timer for simple waiting opportunities to give kids something visual to focus on while they wait. “I’m setting the timer so I can finish this, and in two minutes I’ll get out the food for a snack!” If you see your child getting antsy give some winks or thumbs up to help them feel seen and cared for while they wait. Also, you can time your trips to the bathroom to be when they’ve made a request, so they have to wait a little longer for their request to be addressed. 😉 

5) Waiting games 

  • Hide and Seek – quiet waiting
  • Captain May I? – respectful asking and waiting
  • Freeze/Statue game to music – listening and waiting (Gradually increase the waiting by pausing the music for longer times when it stops.) 
  • If your child struggles to wait for their turn, play a turn-taking game but provide a “eat one piece at a time” bowl of popcorn. This will help your child stay regulated while waiting for their turn and it gives you an opportunity to affirm their growing patience. 

6) Work toward a goal 

Create opportunities for your child to use patience while working toward a goal, such as a special purchase or activity.

For younger children, you can draw a picture of an object or activity they want, or print one taken with your phone at the store. Cut the picture into pieces like a puzzle, and give them one piece each time they complete a special responsibility. Help them feel proud about their hard work and good waiting! 

For older children, you might set up a chart, or with teens help them open a bank account to deposit their money.

7) Notice and affirm

When your child waits patiently even for a short period, notice and affirm that they waited patiently, and identify what strategy they used, for example, “You were singing to yourself while you waited.” Also state the benefit, “That helped you not be frustrated when it wasn’t your turn.”

In a scenario where you have to wait with your child, consider it an opportunity to teach patience. Slip in a compliment at (or before) the very first sign of restlessness. “I can see you’re working hard at waiting patiently!”

For older kids, make an effort to look for, and affirm, small-scale successes like doing homework before hanging out with friends, or coming home from the mall empty-handed. 

It’s never too late to build new habits. So be patient with yourself and your child as you learn together!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9


Learn more in our Entitlement Fix Online Course! Four sessions were designed with busy parents in mind. Join us today!

Teachable Entitlement OC 2019 1

Related Posts

]]> My Child Freaks Out Easily | Ep. 106 https://connectedfamilies.org/my-child-freaks-out-easily-ep-106/ Mon, 15 Aug 2022 00:01:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=43089 child "freaks out"

“These clothes are itchy!” “I can’t eat this, it’s mushy!” Meltdowns at bedtime. High energy at mealtime. Lots of big feelings about everything! There is usually at least one child like this in every family! If your child freaks out easily and you can relate, it is very possible that you are parenting a sensitive and intense child.

What do we mean by sensitive and intense? It’s not an official medical term or a diagnosis. It’s simply a descriptive way to guide how we look at the kiddos that become easily overwhelmed with everyday life. These kids are more sensitive to the world around them and struggle to become calm and regulated. They often think more deeply, react more loudly, and probably consume a lot of your energy as a parent!

On today’s podcast, Stacy Bellward is joined by Lynne Jackson (Co-Founder of Connected Families and Occupational Therapist) and Lydia Rex (RN and Connected Families Parent Coach) to bring you compelling information that will transform how you see your sensitive and intense kids. You will feel equipped to care for your child by approaching their challenges through the lens of their nervous system, and not just from a behavioral standpoint. 

When you meet the sensory needs of your child, it enables you to focus on forming deep bonds of connection instead of just striving for conflict management. Parenting a sensitive and intense child is actually an amazing gift when we see their potential and build their identity around God’s grace and truth in their lives.

In this podcast, you’ll discover:

  • what sensory challenges may look like in your child, and how to look beneath the surface of their misbehavior
  • the brain science: What is happening in your child’s brain and body when they struggle with sensory overload?
  • how to cultivate a mindset of connection as you meet your child’s sensory needs
  • practical strategies (from years of experience!) to help your child regulate their nervous system and feel more calm

Do you have a sensitive and intense child? You are not alone and God’s grace abounds for you and your family. If you need further help we offer Parent Coaching and would love to work with you as you seek to parent in God’s grace and truth.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Guest bio:

Lydia Rex is a registered nurse, wife, and mother of two and has worked with families in many capacities throughout her career and personal life. She’s been a student of Connected Families since 2014 and continues to find it incredibly life-giving for her own family. Areas of her experience/special interest include foster care and adoption, attachment difficulties, developmental and learning disabilities including FASD. She brings a trauma-informed perspective to the Connected Families framework, and the desire to see families find peace and healing even in the midst of challenges! Use our “Contact Us” form to connect with Lydia. You can also follow Lydia on Instagram @lydia.cfcoach


Do you have one really intense child? Or a couple? Almost every family in the Connected Families community has at least one child who is more sensitive and more intense than most other kids. Often what “worked” for your other kids doesn’t seem to “work” for this intense child! It’s a game-changer when you learn some new skills and can truly understand and empathize with that sensitive and intense child. Check out our newest FREE online mini-course, “7 Practical Calming Strategies for Kids.” You’ll be equipped with skills to help your sensitive and intense child navigate life. Register today!

1200 x 628 7 Practical Calming Strategies for Kids

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And what can I do to make it stop?



“These clothes are itchy!” “I can’t eat this, it’s mushy!” Meltdowns at bedtime. High energy at mealtime. Lots of big feelings about everything! There is usually at least one child like this in every family! If your child freaks out easily and you can relate, it is very possible that you are parenting a sensitive and intense child.



What do we mean by sensitive and intense? It’s not an official medical term or a diagnosis. It’s simply a descriptive way to guide how we look at the kiddos that become easily overwhelmed with everyday life. These kids are more sensitive to the world around them and struggle to become calm and regulated. They often think more deeply, react more loudly, and probably consume a lot of your energy as a parent!







On today’s podcast, Stacy Bellward is joined by Lynne Jackson (Co-Founder of Connected Families and Occupational Therapist) and Lydia Rex (RN and Connected Families Parent Coach) to bring you compelling information that will transform how you see your sensitive and intense kids. You will feel equipped to care for your child by approaching their challenges through the lens of their nervous system, and not just from a behavioral standpoint. 



When you meet the sensory needs of your child, it enables you to focus on forming deep bonds of connection instead of just striving for conflict management. Parenting a sensitive and intense child is actually an amazing gift when we see their potential and build their identity around God’s grace and truth in their lives.



In this podcast, you’ll discover:



* what sensory challenges may look like in your child, and how to look beneath the surface of their misbehavior* the brain science: What is happening in your child’s brain and body when they struggle with sensory overload?* how to cultivate a mindset of connection as you meet your child’s sensory needs* practical strategies (from years of experience!) to help your child regulate their nervous system and feel more calm



Do you have a sensitive and intense child? You are not alone and God’s grace abounds for you and your family. If you need further help we offer Parent Coaching and would love to work with you as you seek to parent in God’s grace and truth.



Mentioned in this podcast:



* 7 Practical Calming Strategies for Kids: The Free Online Course* Episode 89: A Powerful New Perspective for Parenting* Episode 93: Help! Homeschooling is Overwhelming* Ephesians 2:10* Isaiah 40:11* Connected Families Framework



Guest bio:



Lydia Rex is a registered nurse, wife, and mother of two and has worked with families in many capacities throughout her career and personal life.]]>
Connected Families 33:13
Is Your Child Not Sharing? 4 Strategies to Help Your Child Learn to Share https://connectedfamilies.org/make-kids-share/ Wed, 10 Aug 2022 10:09:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=21673 not sharing

Your child might sing “sharing is caring” at the top of her lungs one minute and grab her brother’s toy the next. If your small child is not sharing well yet, take a deep breath. Not sharing toys does not mean that your child is doomed to a life dominated by selfishness and greed. Take a deep breath. Relax a bit if you can. You can set aside your anxiety and trust God to help you nurture a value of authentic sharing in your home. 

Remember that we all struggle with selfishness, and this is an opportunity for you to set an example of grace. Then consider that there’s some good news in the struggle. When children exhibit some strength of will in their protectiveness about their things, it is not all bad. The good news is your child is exhibiting the healthy ability to set firm boundaries… even if they’ve not yet learned to respect others’ boundaries. With this in mind, let’s dive into how we can help our kids (who are still learning to share) share more authentically!

Left to their own devices, toddlers form “rules of possession” that can last a lifetime if not understood and addressed by parents. Does this list sound familiar?

  • If I like it, it’s mine.
  • If it’s in my hand, it’s mine.
  • If I can take it from you, it’s mine.
  • If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
  • If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.

Forcing kids to share reflects your power, not their character. Cultivating joy in sharing leads to true generosity. However, this road of nurturing generosity is a slow process of building a lifelong value. So be patient with your kids and yourself!

Equipped with the guiding insights and proactive strategies below, you’ll be able to help your children learn to value and even enjoy sharing!

First, why learning to share is tough!

1) We are all selfish!

Let’s face it, we grown-ups can be just as selfish as our kiddos. We just know how to shine it up better. Even we, as adults, can be guilty of not sharing. Do we readily share our cars, our boats, our mowers, or our prized possessions? When we do it’s often with an unspoken “you break it, you replace it” clause or an “I’ll scratch your back if you remember to scratch mine later” sort of attitude. We might even “keep track” to make sure the score stays even. Honesty about this helps us be more graceful with our struggling kids and inclined to be better examples of sharing.

2) Forced “sharing” grows resentment and selfishness, not generosity.

Our good intentions to teach sharing can cause us to say things like, “You share with your sister or I’m taking that toy away.” “If you don’t let your little brother play too, you can’t have friends over.” The messages underneath this approach are: “It’s no fun to share — you wouldn’t want to do it, so I have to make you share.” This reinforces the belief that sharing is a frustrating obligation. 

Even though it may make us feel in control for the moment, forcing kids to share usually grows resentment and selfishness, not generosity. This insight can help you let go of a need to control the outward behavior of not sharing.

Research from Cornell supports this. Each child in one group of kids was given a sticker and asked if they wanted to share it with a sad puppet. “Once children made a difficult decision to give up something for someone else, they were more generous, not less, later on.” Children shared fewer stickers in later opportunities if they were in groups either required to share the sticker or given an obvious (controlling) choice to share it or discard it. 

Also, the more valuable the item shared (i.e. a cool toy frog vs. shreds of paper), the more it set kids up to be generous in the future. “…children did not benefit from the mere act of sharing, but rather from willingly sacrificing something of value.”

3) Jesus always focused on the inner heart over outward behavior.

I’m guessing Jesus would have considered “forced sharing” an oxymoron and nothing more than intimidated compliance. If kids never see toys as their own, they can’t share them, they can only play together with something controlled by an adult. Generosity starts when I recognize something of value is truly mine and I want to share it with someone.

Clubhouse Insta Post 51

4) Sometimes not sharing is healthy.

Boundaries are a difficult concept for small children, but hopefully, as grownups, we’ve learned that sometimes we need to say, “No” to others, and sometimes it’s good when others say, “No” to us. Your child probably asks you to share things all the time that you have to say, “No” to, because it’s unsafe, inappropriate, or not the right timing. 

Child’s play is complicated, and your child’s instincts may not always be right. That said, sometimes your child’s reason for not sharing is as valid as the reasons you might say no to an untrustworthy acquaintance asking to borrow your car for a week. If you want your child to be able to give a healthy and strong, “No” later in life, then forced sharing can erode a child’s sense of boundaries and agency. Instead, let’s dig deeper into how you can cultivate a love for sharing and generosity.

4 ways to teach your child to share authentically

1) Be a joyful sharer!

In Acts 20:35 Jesus said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” If we really believe this, we’ll live it out by sharing generously. To say, “Our family is blessed!” but to keep those blessings to ourselves is the starting place for kids to learn selfishness. If we become models of sharing our blessings with the world around us, our kids will follow suit.

2) Build a value of sharing.

  • Talk excitedly about any sharing you’ve done and the charities you support, and why.
  • Ask kids sharing-oriented questions:
    • How do you feel when people share with you?
    • What’s good about playing with someone and sharing your toys?
    • What are your favorite toys to share? Why?
  • Affirm any sharing you notice among your kids, pointing out the fun that resulted.

3) Create opportunities for your child to choose to share.

  • Together with your kids decide what areas of the house are common spaces and what are private play zones for a special toy or project. They know they are choosing to share or take turns when playing in the common spaces.  For example, John, a coaching client, knew sharing was really tough for his anxious son struggling with autism. So he bought a few really cool toys that stayed on a shelf until Josh felt ready to play together with his sister. John would play with them to facilitate the fun and affirm any sharing. Gradually, over time, he became less involved as his son gained the skills and values needed to share with his little sister. 
  • Help your child choose a selection of toys to share before inviting a friend to come over, putting special or breakable toys out of sight.
  • When your kids outgrow bikes or toys, involve them in deciding whom to give them to, maybe a younger neighbor or young sibling of a friend.

4) When your child shares, celebrate! Having fun cements learning.

  • Help your child notice the joy on friends’ or siblings’ faces when sharing toys with them, or when giving toys away to younger kids.
  • Set your child up to tell others (a parent or a relative) about how sharing made them feel. Maybe even take a picture of them playing with a shared toy and having fun together, and send that to Gramma. 😉 
  • Teach kids that the joy they feel when they share is because they are made in God’s image, who so generously and joyfully shares good things with us (1 Timothy 6:17-18).

Watch your kids grow into cheerful givers

2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Of course, God loves us when we’re selfish, but He rejoices when our actions flow from a heart of love, not compulsion or self-righteousness. Let’s guide our kids to live out God’s image in them, as they generously and joyfully share with others!


Take 15 minutes to learn how to give consequences that teach, rather than simply punish, by downloading our free ebook Consequences That Actually Work.

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Are Too Many Extracurricular Activities Taking Over Life? Or Is It Entitlement? https://connectedfamilies.org/too-many-extracurricular-activities/ Wed, 03 Aug 2022 11:26:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=20840 too many extracurricular activities

Whether you are in the thick of it now or might be in the future, you may be wondering, how many are too many extracurricular activities? From sports to music, to theater, and more….our kids have an endless supply of excellent extracurricular activities at their fingertips. More than at any time in history! And this can be great. Research shows that extracurricular participation can lead to more character development, greater social skills, and higher community involvement. These are all things we can get on board with! So it may come as a surprise when access to these wonderful extracurriculars leads to entitlement in our kids.

Why, when we roll out the red carpet of extracurricular opportunities for our kids, can they become so quickly unappreciative and even demanding? Because, like every other privilege, boundaries are needed. It’s easy to unintentionally send a child the message that their extracurricular life is the family’s priority. They may even believe they have a right to pursue any extracurricular, regardless of cost, for as long as they want. And that you’ll ensure they have what they need, when they need it, each step of the way. If that’s the case, they’re not really investing themselves in their activities, they’re investing you in their activities.

Warding off the entitlement bug requires you to be thoughtful in your involvement in your child’s extracurriculars as you guide kids to feel more grateful and less entitled.

Why participate in extracurricular activities at all?

Ask your child, “Why do we participate in these activities?” The answer to this question is the basis for cultivating either a sense of entitlement or a sense of gratitude and grand purpose. 

Your child might answer something like,

  • “So I can have fun!” 
  • “So I can be with my friends.” 
  • “So I can get a college scholarship.” 
  • “So I can have better snacks than we have at home.” 😉

Each of these reasons is common, but you’ll notice that they are all self-focused.

This is why we invite you to reconsider your own reason for extracurricular involvement. Since God made us to be both recipients and dispensers of blessing, it is a great help to add another answer to why you encourage your child’s involvement: “So that we can be a blessing!” 

That’s right! In the grand scheme of things, you are blessed with the opportunity of these activities so that you can be part of God’s plan to bless all people. Any extracurricular activity is an opportunity to grow skills to bless the world and is an opportunity to be a blessing right now.  Once parents and kids alike embrace this idea, the underlying drive to participate is now a grander purpose than your own benefit. 

The first key: What is your attitude?

It can be easy to get carried away by your child’s extracurricular activities. One of our mentors taught us early that one of the most loving things a parent can do to support their kids’ growth in extracurriculars is to stay away sometimes. That’s right. When we choose to not  attend a game or performance, we send a message that communicates, “This is your thing, not ours.” This sets up an opportunity to connect as your child tells you all about it when they get home. The key is to let the kids participate and grow on their own terms. 

Releasing yourself from owning your children’s activities means divorcing yourself from the emotions of success or failure. It means to participate just like any other spectator at the event. It means becoming aware of ways that you might be over-invested in your child’s success and failure. 

If we had a nickel for every child we’ve heard of that burned out on sports or arts because of their over-zealous parents, we’d have a jar full by now. If this is a struggle for you, we invite you to stay away or sit in the back row. Remain silent. If you say anything at all, work toward having the words be about some positive aspect of your child’s participation. 

The following statements can go a long way toward encouraging rather than discouraging your child:

  • “I noticed how hard you concentrated!” 
  • “Your disappointment shows how important this is to you,” 
  • “I can see you’ve been working hard on that,”
  • “I love to watch you do something you’re passionate about.”

Too many extracurriculars? A different perspective may make it easier to set some limits. 

When it feels like life is being taken over by extracurricular activities and demands, take a step back and say something like, “Hmm, you know this activity no longer feels like a blessing to our family. In fact, I think it’s preventing us from connecting peacefully and serving others in some of the ways we usually care about.” 

When there seem to be too many extracurricular activities piling up on the calendar, prioritizing serving others will make it easier to draw boundaries and have healthy discussions with your child. Your kids are watching how you use wisdom in these everyday decisions. 

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise…

Ephesians 5:15

In our online course about the problem of Entitlement, we teach parents the importance of having the mindset to be a blessing wherever we go. After a presentation of this workshop for parents of teens, we opened up a time for Q&A. A mom eagerly raised her hand and asked, “What do I do about the guilt?” We asked her what the guilt was about. She responded, “I feel guilty that we have to miss so much church to be involved in extracurriculars!”

We addressed the guilt of missing church, suggesting that God’s purpose for guilty feelings is to help people know when they are out of alignment with God’s purposes. The mom quickly retorted, “Well, we’re not quitting the activities!”

Guided by God’s wisdom, we responded with hope, “Have you considered how you might take church to the activities?” “

Her face lit up. “You mean that thing about being a Blessing?”

“Yes! That’s it!”

“Well, how do we do that?”

That’s the question! Below are some ideas we shared with her.     

4 practical tips to help your kids be a blessing in their extracurriculars

Below are four categories, with a few ideas in each, for how to reverse patterns that lead to entitlement and cultivate a sense of purpose and ownership in your kids. Pick one or two and start changing the momentum with modeling, proactive teaching, and lots of encouragement for any small steps of progress!

1. Instill helpful beliefs

Look below the surface to help kids embrace some essential beliefs about life:

  • They are loved and valued, unrelated to their performance – even if they forget their lines, flub their song, or drop the ball and lose the game!
  • All the other kids that participate are also valuable and precious to God, unrelated to their performance.
  • Participation in any activity is a gift, not a right.
  • Every activity is an opportunity to serve others and develop the character that will benefit them greatly in life.

2. Give kids ownership and responsibility

  • Involve kids in the decision-making process and, if old enough, require them to contribute to costs.
  • Help kids understand the money by setting budgets and buying used equipment when practical.
  • Teach children to wash and care for their equipment. (Laundering uniforms, proper care of instruments, etc.)
  • Give kids the responsibility to enter the activity into the family calendar.
  • Put full responsibility on the kids to know what they need to do to be ready – and then leave on time with no nagging or repeated warnings. If kids aren’t ready on time, they miss their ride.

One mom’s story of her kids “owning” their sport

In downhill ski racing (which can be quite an expensive sport!), you might imagine that nearly every family is raising entitled kids. But that simply isn’t the case! Read this story from some long-time friends of Connected Families who raised three competitive skiers. By helping their kids “own” their sport, these parents helped equip them with the tools they will need to navigate life in the future. Here is their story:

When the boys started ski racing, we were aware of the life skills they could learn if we gave them some ownership and responsibility right from the beginning. First off, they couldn’t go to practice until their homework was done. (This taught discipline and time management.) 

We had a list on the wall in the mud room with everything they needed to bring to practice. The boys were responsible for not only packing their own bags but also loading their ski equipment and backpacks into the car. (This taught organization, responsibility, and independence.) They never complained about the responsibility even though they saw most other parents carrying their children’s skis and/or backpacks to and from the car to the ski rack, etc. 

When the kids were at the right age, they were eager to take on learning how to take care of their equipment (waxing/sharpening, etc.) On certain occasions, if someone was trying to get homework done or study for a test, we would step in to help them with their stuff. But they have truly “owned” their sport since they were young.

Over the years, we have seen the boys be a blessing to others in many ways. They are good to their peers and the younger ones, are helpful, and respect their coaches. They never snuck out of practice early (even when it was really cold) to avoid after-practice responsibilities like helping coaches carry gates off the hill, etc. The life skills of discipline and time management that they learned while participating in skiing have carried over into all areas of life!

3. Mentor helpfulness and gratitude

It’s important not to criticize or shame kids because it will probably make the issue worse, not better. Modeling and joining your child in serving are your most powerful tools!

  • When called on to be a parent volunteer, do so joyfully and involve your child if possible.
  • Guide your kids to leave the activity space better than you found it, and talk about how much better it will be for others.
  • Help set up and clean up for practices/rehearsals/lessons, and make it fun!
  • With your child, look for opportunities to help teammates with anything from skills, rides, snacks, and funding.
  • Make a habit (you and your kids) of writing thank you notes to the coach, instructor, or leader.

…whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

4. Cultivate respect

  • Teach kids to honor their coaches/teachers by looking them in the eye, listening carefully, and following through on instructions without complaint.  
  • Let kids know that participating means they work hard even when they don’t get the opportunities they want or think they deserve.
  • Have conversations with kids about how they might respond when they or another participant gets injured, feels sad about their performance, or even causes the team to lose.
  • Have conversations about how to respond to the winner, even if your child is deeply disappointed. Then when disappointment happens, “I know you’re really upset about how this went. I get it. We can talk about that in a little bit, but now is the time to go over and congratulate the winner!” 
  • Encourage and support kids when you see them show respect and compassion.

As you gradually weave these others-centered values into your participation, it will build eternal perspective and values in your kids! You also might stop thinking so much about whether or not your child participates in too many extracurricular activities. They might be. But as you root yourselves in an others-centered approach to extracurricular activities, that will become clearer, and your child’s involvement with what remains will be more beneficial for all. 


To learn more, register for our online course, The Entitlement Fix: Growing Hard Work and Gratitude In Your Kids. This fast-paced,4-session course is designed to give parents a solid strategy for stamping out entitled attitudes and move toward greater meaning in life. Join us today! At $23, we believe this is a fantastic value. If this is still out of your reach, request a scholarship.

Teachable Entitlement OC 2019 1

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Navigating Compassion Fatigue | Ep. 105 https://connectedfamilies.org/navigating-compassion-fatigue-ep-105/ Mon, 25 Jul 2022 00:01:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=42330 compassion fatigue

Not all families who have been formed through adoption have experienced what is discussed on this podcast. Regardless of how your family was formed, or the challenges you have in your home, there is a wide range of experiences when it comes to compassion fatigue.


If you’re struggling to feel joy and hope in your relationship with your child you might be feeling compassion fatigue. Especially if, for a variety of reasons, your child needs extra care and support. You love your child so much, but it can be hard to see the needs of your child when you feel emotionally overwhelmed and exhausted from trying to help them. Compassion fatigue is real, and it is more common than you might think.

In our decades of interacting with families, we have seen an increase in parents in need of hope and help in the midst of daily struggles. You can find hope today from a place of faith, instead of gritting, exhausting, self-effort. Whether your child is struggling with trauma, sensory issues, attachment, abuse, shame, or just the daily struggles of life, this episode is for you!

In today’s podcast, Stacy Bellward is joined by Lynne Jackson (Co-Founder of Connected Families) and special guests David and Colleen Little, TBRI practitioners and founders of Imago Hearts. David and Colleen have extensive experience, both in the US and internationally, helping parents who are raising children with histories of abandonment, abuse, and neglect. They dig deep with us today and talk about the importance of understanding attachment, and of doing our own inner work as parents. Then, the grace and mercy of Jesus in our lives can overflow into our relationship with our child in safety, connection, and compassion.

You can experience hope and healing in your own heart, and bring that same hope to your struggling child as well. With God’s grace and help, you can look within to understand how your own history, wounds, and attachment have shown up in your life and in your parenting. Healing those wounds can lead to insight about yourself, and that leads to a deeper capacity to offer mercy and compassion to your child.    

In today’s podcast, you’ll discover:

  • symptoms of compassion fatigue, and why you might be struggling with this
  • the vital role that attachment plays in the relational stress you’re experiencing with your child
  • practical steps to work through compassion fatigue and the importance of self-care
  • how to work through the first level of the Connected Families Framework  (“You are SAFE with me.”) to gain insight into your own needs, and then to better meet the needs of your child

Resources mentioned in this podcast:

Are you struggling with compassion fatigue? Perhaps feeling isolated? You were never meant to travel this path alone! Please reach out to us and let us know how we can help. We also have Certified Parent Coaches who are ready to help you one-on-one in your parenting journey. We look forward to connecting with you!

Guest Bio:

David and Colleen Little live in Prior Lake, Minnesota. They are qualified practitioner trainers of the Trust-Based Relational Intervention model taught by the Karyn Purvis Institute of Childhood Development at Texas Christian University. David and Colleen are also registered trainers of the Circle of Security Parenting intervention. Colleen has a master’s degree in Speech Therapy from Mankato State and David has a master’s degree in Early Childhood and Infant Mental Health from The University of Minnesota. Their ministry, imago hearts, focuses on helping parents who are raising children with histories of abandonment, abuse, and neglect. In addition to training and coaching parents in Minnesota, they have partnerships with NGOs in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, and Poland. You can find more information about David and Colleen on their website: imagohearts.org.


Do you have one really intense child? Or a couple? Almost every family in the Connected Families community has at least one child who is more sensitive and more intense than most other kids. Often what “worked” for your other kids doesn’t seem to “work” for this intense child! It’s a game-changer when you learn some new skills and can truly understand and empathize with that sensitive and intense child. Check out our newest FREE online mini-course, “7 Practical Calming Strategies for Kids”. You’ll be equipped with skills to help your sensitive and intense child navigate life. Register today!

1200 x 628 7 Practical Calming Strategies for Kids

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Not all families who have been formed through adoption have experienced what is discussed on this podcast. Regardless of how your family was formed, or the challenges you have in your home, there is a wide range of experiences when it comes to compassi...



Not all families who have been formed through adoption have experienced what is discussed on this podcast. Regardless of how your family was formed, or the challenges you have in your home, there is a wide range of experiences when it comes to compassion fatigue.







If you’re struggling to feel joy and hope in your relationship with your child you might be feeling compassion fatigue. Especially if, for a variety of reasons, your child needs extra care and support. You love your child so much, but it can be hard to see the needs of your child when you feel emotionally overwhelmed and exhausted from trying to help them. Compassion fatigue is real, and it is more common than you might think.



In our decades of interacting with families, we have seen an increase in parents in need of hope and help in the midst of daily struggles. You can find hope today from a place of faith, instead of gritting, exhausting, self-effort. Whether your child is struggling with trauma, sensory issues, attachment, abuse, shame, or just the daily struggles of life, this episode is for you!







In today’s podcast, Stacy Bellward is joined by Lynne Jackson (Co-Founder of Connected Families) and special guests David and Colleen Little, TBRI practitioners and founders of Imago Hearts. David and Colleen have extensive experience, both in the US and internationally, helping parents who are raising children with histories of abandonment, abuse, and neglect. They dig deep with us today and talk about the importance of understanding attachment, and of doing our own inner work as parents. Then, the grace and mercy of Jesus in our lives can overflow into our relationship with our child in safety, connection, and compassion.



You can experience hope and healing in your own heart, and bring that same hope to your struggling child as well. With God’s grace and help, you can look within to understand how your own history, wounds, and attachment have shown up in your life and in your parenting. Healing those wounds can lead to insight about yourself, and that leads to a deeper capacity to offer mercy and compassion to your child.    



In today’s podcast, you’ll discover:




* symptoms of compassion fatigue, and why you might be struggling with this



* the vital role that attachment plays in the relational stress you’re experiencing with your child



* practical steps to work through compassion fatigue and the importance of self-care



* how to work through the first level of the Connected Families Framework  (“You are SAFE with me.”) to gain insight into your own needs, and then to better meet the needs of your child




Resources mentioned in this podcast:




* 7 Practical Calming Strategies for Kids online mini-course (free!)



* Imago Hearts ministry 



* Does Attachmen...]]>
Connected Families 105 Navigating Compassion Fatigue clean 32:53
I Just Can’t Get My Kids Off the Screen! https://connectedfamilies.org/cant-get-my-kids-off-the-screen/ Wed, 20 Jul 2022 06:00:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=27322 get my kids off the screen

Tension and conflict around screens is one of the most common challenges we hear from parents. Parental outrage is high on this one and some parents have been known to say things like, “I’d love to take a hammer to all the screens!” Many parents report yelling, “Not in OUR house!” But the battle rages as kids find ways to defend their use of technology. If this sounds familiar, don’t lose hope. You CAN make progress. 

It’s with good reason that parents want to respond with an emphatic, “No!”. Here are four of the most powerful reasons parents have such strong reactions: 

  1. There’s research about what’s happening to kids’ brains on technology. A National Institute of Health report states, “Some of the investigators found a widespread reduction of cortical volume…” with heavy screen use (7 hours or more/day.)
  2. There’s the nature of the stuff they see.  (“The under 10 age group is now accounting for one in 10 visitors to porn video sites.”) 
  3. There’s the issue of who they connect with when they are online. (An estimated 500,000 online predators are active each day.
  4. There’s the powerful allure of “pay for more power” games. (“…adolescents hooked on [pay for power] microtransactions can be a predictor for broader problems gambling in adulthood.”) 

Statistics often give all kinds of detail about the ills of kids using too much technology. All of this gives good reason to “Just Say No!” We do encourage parents to keep firm limits on their kids’ technology use. But…

A funny thing happens when we just say, “No!”

We’ve learned from hundreds of coaching clients that when parents are forceful about just saying “No!!” it makes the denied privilege even more mysteriously desirable to their child. This is a key reason many families are stuck in angry power struggles over screens, as kids get the message, “I’m against you and what’s important to you.”

If you are forceful about just saying “No!!” it often makes the denied privilege even more mysteriously desirable to your child.

As much as parents are trying to say “No!” you’d think we’d have this problem under control by now. On the contrary – kids are spending more money than ever on technology. How can this be?

If you are forceful about just saying “No!!” it often makes the denied privilege even more mysteriously desirable to your child.

Several factors complicate the situation

The first is that technology is necessary. For kids to keep up in school they need (and in many cases are given) current technology. They are allowed access for school, but then we find ourselves fighting the lure of all the non-school-related uses that frequently distract them.

Secondly, tech companies are working hard to capture the attention of young minds. This might be one reason that there is a move among Silicon Valley executives to greatly limit or even ban their kids from technology at home. These parents are seeing firsthand how much time and effort goes into making digital technology irresistible. So they are making the conscious decision to keep their kids screen-free as much as possible.

Third, screens suck the joy out of other experiences. Dr. Jennifer F. Cross, attending pediatrician at New York-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital states, “If young children spend most of their time engaging with an iPad, smartphone, or the television, all of which are highly entertaining, it can be hard to get them engaged in non-electronic activities, such as playing with toys to foster imagination and creativity, exploring outdoors, and playing with other children to develop appropriate social skills.” Arlene Pellicane has stated simply, “Screens undermine wonder.” 

Knowing this, how can you restore children’s wonder at the amazing life God has given us?

Good things happen when you have a bigger “Yes!”

We feel strongly that the answer is not just to say “No!” to technology but to offer your kids an appealing “Yes!” to three-dimensional experiences. This requires your whole family to slow down and think outside the box, as you engage with creativity and joy:

The Screenagers website lists LOTS of creative ideas!

God designed our brains to thrive on 3-D fun and interaction.  Research shows that time outdoors, especially interacting with nature, can restore attention, lower stress, and reduce aggression.” Outdoor time helps offset some of the common impacts of screen time. 

If you’re going to tackle this difficult issue of kids’ technology obsession and compete with the highly addictive quality of screens, it helps to have lots of creative ideas for engaging real-life activities for your kids. One family we know had a brainstorming session to come up with 30 screen-free ways to have fun, and they spent the summer checking items off the list.

When you say “No” to technology, working hard to enthusiastically say “Yes” to alternatives communicates the vital message: “I’m for you, not against you!” This helps keep your heart connected to your kids as you guide them through screen challenges. Instead of attempting to control through intimidation and punishment, you lead your family with grace.

Want to learn more? Check out the Screenagers website!

Looking for LOTS of creative ideas? The Screenagers website has you covered!

CLICK HERE FOR MORE IDEAS

The biggest YES is a sense of purpose

In Christ, you’re given a whole new reason to live – a purpose of destiny – to be a blessing to the world around you. This is the biggest “YES!” of all! This is why, at Connected Families, we encourage parents to help their kids discover and use their gifts to bless others. When kids discover their “Big YES!” they are far less enticed by the lure of their favorite screen. (Read how one family helped their son overcome a Minecraft addiction with thoughtful questions and the “bigger YES!”)

So, along with your kids, don’t settle for two-dimensional, pixelated life… “take hold of the life that is truly life!”


You’ll learn about the value of the Big YES in our Entitlement Fix online course (available for small groups too), which specifically addresses the Big YES for screens. When people live a life of purpose, they are more able to fight the distractions and temptations that are present around us every day, including smartphones and video games. They are living out who they were created to be!

Entitlement

Related Posts


]]> Is Your Child the Obliging Rule Follower? Listen to This. | Ep. 104 https://connectedfamilies.org/child-obliging-rule-follower-ep-104/ Mon, 11 Jul 2022 13:41:45 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=42138 rule follower

Do you sometimes worry about your child who is a rule follower? Wait, what?! Don’t we want kids who follow the rules?

Parents often express their concerns about their defiant child. But rule-following? That doesn’t seem like a bad thing! And yet, we would suggest that these types of children come with their own set of challenges.

Compliance can be viewed on a scale, from healthy to unhealthy. A child who is “easy” may actually be emotionally unhealthy and struggling to “speak the truth in love“. In this podcast, we are focusing on the more unhealthy end of the spectrum. No matter where your child lands on this scale, you’ll find super helpful guidance here to build connection with your child.

In today’s podcast, Lynne Jackson (Co-Founder of Connected Families) joins our host, Stacy Bellward, to peel back the layers of what might be going on under the surface of our rule-following children. These kids often give us a “break,” which seems to make things easier. But there is the risk of their identity being built around people-pleasing and suppressing their own needs. Over time and into adulthood, they might miss out on how to navigate conflict, and difficult emotions, and struggle with perfectionism as well.

When you get curious and patiently work to draw out your child’s true feelings, you can help them get to the bottom of underlying struggles, and teach them to recognize their own needs and emotions. You can help them find their voice in the world, and communicate to them that they are loved and valued.

In this podcast, you’ll learn:

  • what healthy and unhealthy compliance looks like, and how to get in touch with what is going on under the surface in your child
  • practical ways to help you draw out your child and help them express their needs in a healthy way
  • how the  Connected Families Framework can help you navigate this process as you consider, “What’s going on in me as a parent?” and “What’s going on in my child?”
  • the healing power of God’s grace to break cycles and overcome shame-based parenting

Mentioned in this podcast:


In our online course, Sibling Conflict: From Bickering to Bonding, we teach parents how to teach kids The Peace Process. This process equips kids to work through their arguments without your constant supervision and refereeing. Join us! Your kids will thank you.

Sibling Conflict Ad
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Do you sometimes worry about your child who is a rule follower? Wait, what?! Don’t we want kids who follow the rules? Parents often express their concerns about their defiant child. But rule-following? That doesn’t seem like a bad thing! And yet,



.stk-e5359fc{margin-bottom:19px !important}Do you sometimes worry about your child who is a rule follower? Wait, what?! Don’t we want kids who follow the rules?



Parents often express their concerns about their defiant child. But rule-following? That doesn’t seem like a bad thing! And yet, we would suggest that these types of children come with their own set of challenges.



Compliance can be viewed on a scale, from healthy to unhealthy. A child who is “easy” may actually be emotionally unhealthy and struggling to “speak the truth in love“. In this podcast, we are focusing on the more unhealthy end of the spectrum. No matter where your child lands on this scale, you’ll find super helpful guidance here to build connection with your child.







In today’s podcast, Lynne Jackson (Co-Founder of Connected Families) joins our host, Stacy Bellward, to peel back the layers of what might be going on under the surface of our rule-following children. These kids often give us a “break,” which seems to make things easier. But there is the risk of their identity being built around people-pleasing and suppressing their own needs. Over time and into adulthood, they might miss out on how to navigate conflict, and difficult emotions, and struggle with perfectionism as well.



When you get curious and patiently work to draw out your child’s true feelings, you can help them get to the bottom of underlying struggles, and teach them to recognize their own needs and emotions. You can help them find their voice in the world, and communicate to them that they are loved and valued.



In this podcast, you’ll learn:



* what healthy and unhealthy compliance looks like, and how to get in touch with what is going on under the surface in your child* practical ways to help you draw out your child and help them express their needs in a healthy way* how the  Connected Families Framework can help you navigate this process as you consider, “What’s going on in me as a parent?” and “What’s going on in my child?”* the healing power of God’s grace to break cycles and overcome shame-based parenting



Mentioned in this podcast:



* Got an Easy-Going, Compliant Child? Here’s What You Need to Know.* Sibling Conflict online course* Discipline That Connects online course* 12 Misbehaviors and the Gifts-Gone-Awry Behind Them* Connected Families Framework* Parent Coaching Certification Program







In our online course, Sibling Conflict: From Bickering to Bonding, we teach parents how to teach kids The Peace Process. This process equips kids to work through their arguments without your constant supervision and refereeing. Join us! Your kids will thank you.




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Connected Families 104 Is Your Child a Rule Follower? clean 35:42
Am I Too Soft? Setting Limits When You Feel Like a Pushover Parent https://connectedfamilies.org/standing-strong-authority-kids-need/ Wed, 06 Jul 2022 10:05:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=19516 setting limits

Knowing when to stand firm as a parent and when to extend mercy can be a difficult challenge. And even if you’ve figured out it’s time for firmness, you still need the determination and focus to follow through in the face of strong resistance from your kids! How can you be better about setting limits when needed?

Have you heard yourself say these things to your kids?

  • “That is not ok, do you understand me? How many times do I have to tell you?”
  • “If you finish your chores, I’ll get you a bowl of ice cream.”
  • “Ok, I’ll let this go this time, but next time there will be a big consequence.”
  • “You never listen to me!”  

There’s no shame in this. If you often find yourself backing down, offering bribes, or making empty threats when you want to stand firm, you’re not alone. Lots of parents struggle with this. 

But unfortunately, if parents regularly give kids unhealthy power, by being overly permissive and not following through, it can have a significant impact over time. Research shows kids will use this power on others as well because both harsh and passive parenting increases a child’s likelihood of bullying others.

“Authoritative parenting” (kind and firm, caring with authority and limits) is a parenting model that often builds wisdom in kids. But how can you remain kind and firm if you are feeling overwhelmed with your child’s intensity and the needs of your family overall?

In habitual conflicts, there is almost always more going on than meets the eye. It could be your kids know that, even if you try to appear strong, you may not be confident in your God-given authority. 

But giving yourself a scolding, “C’mon, You gotta be the parent – stop being a pushover!” is not helpful. If it was that simple, you’d be standing strong, wise, and confident already. Internally calling yourself soft or a pushover only deepens that identity, which is not the identity you‘ve been given in Christ!  

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. Colossians 2:9,10

To help you truly walk in your authority, let’s look deeper at what might be making it tough and what you can do. 

What’s going on under the surface? 

Parenting is rooted in a combination of personality, experiences, and beliefs about your kids and yourself as a parent. Turning over a few stones of self-awareness has proven to be helpful to many parents stuck in negative patterns.  

If any of these issues (or others you identify) cause you to feel timid when trying to discipline, you can stand on the solid rock of God’s grace and truth for you and your kids. 

Anchor yourself in truth

In the grid below you’ll see some hurtful beliefs with which you might identify, and some helpful, empowering truths to replace them.

Hurtful Beliefs

Do any of these hurtful beliefs sound familiar? What corresponding helpful truth is empowering to you? You can print the PDF and circle or alter phrases as needed so that you relate to it strongly, or you can ask God to show you a very personal truth just for you. Keep those truths visible! 

FREE PDF DOWNLOAD: “Hurtful Beliefs and Helpful Truths

CLICK HERE FOR PDF

It is hard to overstate the importance of a strong sense of calling in your parenting. Having a passion for God’s purposes in your kids’ lives can give you peace when the lid comes off, and determination when you want to give up or give in. That combination of peace and determination builds your kids’ trust in you. 

It’s vital to remember that God will be with you in this, just like He was with lots of people who felt inadequate. The nation of Israel had tested God and the authority He had given Moses many, many times. Now Moses was suddenly dead. Joshua didn’t even have time to grieve but was thrust into leading these two million contentious Israelites. God did not tell him it would be easy! But note what He did promise: “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.” Joshua 1:5b, 6

Let’s apply that to parenting. I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous because you will lead your children to inherit the good things I have for them. That’s your calling! May that help you stand firm in grace-filled strength when you feel like you might be “pushed over” by your children’s big energy and resistance to discipline. 

With that solid foundation, let’s dive into some practical ideas! 

Aim for “Kind and Firm” 

In a calm and respectful tone, let your kids know you understand what it’s like to be them. Then offer two “you can…” choices with a clear boundary. This combination might look like this: 

“I know you are tired after school and love to relax and play. I often feel that way after work. You can choose to get your chore out of the way and then play, or you can play now and do your chore before dinner. But it must be done when you come to dinner.” 

If they give more pushback, stay calm, give them more empathy, and repeat the choices. No deals.

If this approach is new to your kids, they may fight it before they understand that you won’t change your mind. Stay calm and just let them know that you understand, but any emotional drama won’t hook you; your boundaries are firm! Once kids sense your confidence, they are far more likely to respect your authority.

Read How to Say “No” to Kids Without Power Struggles to help you set limits in a positive, encouraging way. 

Have a Plan 

A challenge nearly all less-assertive parents face that causes them to have difficulty following through is that it’s tough to think of appropriate, constructive consequences in the heat of the moment. If you have a plan you feel good about, you’ll likely stay calm, stand strong, and follow through. 

I was not a think-on-your-feet parent that could pull a wise response out of the air. I got overwhelmed in the chaos and could vacillate between being harsh or not following through. I decided to write out our common discipline challenges, and then for each one, I prayerfully considered what values and skills I was hoping to build into my kids. It bolstered my sense of calling in discipline, which was essential for me to respond with calm authority. 

Over time, those ideas actually became the raw material for the Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart book appendix. For example, here’s an excerpt from p. 212 on the subject of kids leaving messes: 

A “make it right” consequence we used flowed from our vision to maintain a quickly hospitable home. We knew kids would need the skill of noticing and spontaneously cleaning things that were messy. If they left a mess in a common/hospitality area of the house, [after they cleaned it up] the consequence was to find a certain number of things that needed to be put away or cleaned and report back to the parent. This provided an opportunity to affirm and value their noticing and their diligence.

When you know your discipline is truly for your child’s good, (not your own sense of control or justice) it is so much easier to implement confidently, and kids receive it so much better. If you’ve thought well through your purposes then when the craziness starts, you’re ready! You’ll be less tempted to just give in when your child needs limits or accountability. You can even state your purpose and good intentions out loud: 

  • “Would I be a good parent if I didn’t teach you responsibility (or respect or…)?”
  • “I want you to trust our rules and trust me.” 
  • “I know this is hard, but I care about you enough to stand firm on this.” 

Even better than making all your own rules and consequences, check out our blog post on family meetings and develop these rules and accountability measures together. Ownership leads to buy-in which leads to decreased resistance. The agreed-upon rules can be the “enforcer”, not you. 

Forgetful parents: make a plan to not forget your plan!

Speaking of having a plan, a discipline plan is only useful when you can remember it. If this is a big struggle for you, perhaps forgetfulness was a coping mechanism for you as a child, or maybe you’re just a bit forgetful about most things. Either way, if you struggle in this area, your kids will know it.

Karolyn told us about a recent discussion with her almost six-year-old, about a consequence he would receive. He looked her in the eyes and confidently told her, “Mama, you’re going to forget anyway.” Ouch. (Honesty out of the mouth of babes!)

No matter how calm and thoughtful Karolyn was in the moment, her son was confident there’d be no follow-through. She wasn’t being overly lenient. She intended to set healthy limits, but… if she couldn’t remember the plan, what was the point? She began to use some practical strategies to strengthen her follow-through. 

How to overcome forgetfulness in holding your child accountable:

  • Creatively reduce offenses that just keep happening. You might be trying to keep track of too many “consequences in waiting.” If it’s a group issue, hold a family meeting as mentioned, or problem-solve with an individual child. You also could teach a positive value or skill that prevents misbehavior, using our motivate, model, practice, praise sequence.
  • Give kids ownership of consequences. Listen with grace to your child as you work to problem-solve. They might even have some good ideas for a “make-it-right consequence” that will help them practice something helpful. The more they have ownership and are invested, the less likely they are to try to avoid a consequence. 
  • Put it in writing. A post-it note or notebook makes it easy to check your plan, including why a consequence is given. It’s pretty hard to follow through when neither you nor your child can remember why you’re doing something. (Just be careful not to shame your child by putting the record of their infraction in full view of everyone else.) 
  • Set a reminder. This might be with your “friend” Alexa, a phone timer, or even a note on the kitchen table to check if consequences have been completed before a child sits down at the next meal. 

Breaks and Do-Overs

Even with helpful core beliefs, a goal of “kind and firm”, and a plan, things will still go unexpectedly awry. When that happens, take a break to think of an appropriate consequence. “I want to be thoughtful about this. I’ll let you know what I decide.” This models reliance on God’s wisdom and gives you time to become calm and confident. As one parent of a teen wisely stated, “The space between The Incident and The Conversation is a holy moment. It’s when I’m most tuned in to the Holy Spirit.”

If you realize you let something slide when your child needed firmness, you can give yourself a do-over. Perhaps you have responded in permissive anxiety, not authority. Here’s how that might sound:

“I’ve given this more thought, and I’ve realized I made a mistake by letting this slide. In doing that I undermined our family rules. You are aware that your behavior warrants a consequence, so that is what will happen.” 

You can even let your child know ahead of time that you may do this in order to be a more thoughtful, trustworthy parent. As you discuss this, you can say something like, “Whether I’ve been too harsh or too soft when I respond to you, it’s ok for me to take time to reconsider. I want to be the best parent I can.” 

For the story of a gentle parent who found the strength to stand strong in her authority, read Got a Demanding Child? This Mom Figured Out What to Do. 

Whether your need is a deeper dive below the surface of your heart, or simply some tools for a “kind and firm” approach to setting limits, either way, you can trust God to grow you in your confident authority.

No matter what, give yourself grace! You’re still going to have times of being forgetful or overly permissive, so just own it and tell your kids how you’re working on this, without a load of shame! 

But keep your successes in clear view: If you’ve remained safe and loving, if you’ve coached your kids, showing them that they’re called and capable, pause right there. Great work! That took a lot of intentionality and mental load. And maybe you used to yell or give reactionary, illogical consequences, and now more of the time you’re emotionally safe, or more likely to give purposeful consequences. 

Wherever you’ve grown, talk about that too with your kids, and celebrate!! Your kids will have their own areas they struggle to overcome. Be an example, and show your kids both your commitment to growth and your deep belief in the glorious abundance of God’s mercy that is ours.

Practical steps to stay confident: 

  • Anchor Yourself in Truth – Keep your helpful truths visible to “renew your mind”.
  • Aim for “Kind and Firm” Empathy and two “you can… choices.” 
  • Have a Plan – Develop purposeful consequences, or agree on them in a family meeting. 
  • Breaks and Do-Overs can help when it still goes awry.

2 Timothy 1:7 promises us, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” You love your child! That determined love will help you stand on your God-given identity as “called and capable.” Be encouraged. You can learn to give your child guidance and limits that will ultimately build trust in your relationship and respect for authority that he or she will need in life.


Parent with confidence.
Discipline with love.

Take the annual 8-session Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart online course this fall.

REGISTRATION OPENS SEP 2023

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小孩与小狗 https://connectedfamilies.org/%e5%b0%8f%e5%ad%a9%e4%b8%8e%e5%b0%8f%e7%8b%97/ Wed, 29 Jun 2022 23:09:15 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=41944

小孩子有点像小狗。当父母犯下各种错误时,他们通常能无条件地爱,並且原谅父母。 妈妈唠唠叨叨时,孩子也会抱怨,但事情一过,他们很快就能恢复正常。 爸爸大吼大叫时,孩子会哭,但爸爸一旦冷静下来,他们就又能依偎在一起。 小孩子能这样仁慈宽容对待处于挣扎中的父母,这是件好事!

小孩子通常不会记得日常发生的争吵(除非父母以某种强烈得令人难忘的方式真搞砸了),这些琐事似乎会随着时间的流逝而消失。正因为孩子如此包容,父母很容易误用这样的恩典,继续认为他们所做的一切都很“凑效”。

simplified Chinese

尽管小孩子常常会原谅,并且忘记为人父母平日有多么苛刻,父母可不要因此错失良机。而应趁孩子还小的时候,学习以恩典和尊重引导他们,这样才能与即将成为青少年的孩子建立良好的关系。

然而,随着时间的推移,如果父母习惯性地用喊叫和唠叨来得到他们想要的,孩子会对此越来越反感。这使我想知道:

假如孩子在早年不那么宽容,或许会迫使父母从一开始就学习更体贴和文雅地对待孩子。

我曾在杂货店看到一位妈妈,她带着两个大概五岁和七岁的年幼儿子。 他们在肉食区闲逛,看上去一切太平。但当大男孩冲动地把手伸进冷柜,抓起一块大肋眼牛排,妈妈爆发了:“我要告诉你多少遍?如果你还想再吃牛排,立即把它放回去!” 他赶紧把牛排放了回去。可是妈妈继续羞辱性说教,好像是在向旁人炫耀她多么能发号施令。

小儿子走开了,很显然不想卷入这场风波。老大盯着地板忍受着妈妈的咆哮。

等妈妈骂完了,他们继续在商店里逛着,还跟妈妈一起开着玩笑。一切回归正常,就好像刚才什么事都没有发生!很显然,妈妈认为事情已经过去,她的方法“奏效”。她和孩子们都对她“做粗暴父母”的手法习以为常了。

青少年不像小狗

假如快进到几年以后,她这套方法对于青春期男孩还会有效吗? 很可能不会。对狗的研究表明,一直接受吼叫和恐吓训练的幼犬,长大后开始表现出负面特征(焦虑、抑郁、好斗)。 我们可以期待在孩子身上看到类似的结果。 若孩子持续多年接受这种抚养方式,并习以为常,到了青春期会出现叛逆和挑衅行为。 他们的父母会困惑:“突然间发生了什么?!”

真正的答案是孩子们不会一夜之间学会这些行为,也不是“突然”发生的。 随着年龄的增长,他们越来越能意识到自己被错误地对待了,对父母的行为也变得越来越不能宽容。他们从未被教导如何以尊重的方式与父母解决这些问题,所以他们与父母干仗,毫无敬重。 在这一点上,我们不仅仅只是看到一个“有问题的青少年”,父母也有问题。而主导改变是父母的责任。

当决定需要(或不需要)改变时,为了确保你的策略有效,你不仅要关注孩子的行为,同时还要查检自己的行为。别忘了,在管教中,你是在不断向孩子们传递着有关他们是谁的信息。

也许此刻你正在阅读本文,并思索着:“这听起来像我! 那现在我该怎么办?”

  • 在祷告中省察自己的内心和动机。这将帮助你与孩子沟通时所传递的信息,是你所希望让孩子相信的有关他们是怎样一个人的信息,并会影响其一生。
  • 问问自己,“假如我是孩子,假如我被如此对待,我会作何感受?我会觉得被信任和尊重吗?还是感到很少被信任和尊重?
  • 来个15分钟育儿评估,看看你在养育孩子方面的优势和需要成长的领域是什么。

你并不孤单——许多父母都有良好的意愿,希望培养尊重人、顺从的孩子,却没时间思考他们的方法会带来怎样的影响力,或没精力尝试学习以尊重的方式让孩子承担起责任。假如你认为自己已经准备好,要学习一个新的养育孩子的模式,我们很乐意为你提供工具! 我们会欣喜地看到,因为在家里传授上帝的恩典和真理,家庭将以崭新的方式彼此交流,并经历成长。

翻译: 不详 编辑: 周奕

messages for kids in Chinese

四条信息。
一个框架。

获取免费电子书,开始带领您家迈向更好、更心相连的亲子旅程。

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Why Doesn’t Your Tween Want to Shower? We Don’t Know Either. https://connectedfamilies.org/child-shower-wisdom/ Wed, 29 Jun 2022 09:14:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=26880 child refuses to shower

Ever find yourself asking, “Why, oh why, does my child not want to shower?” The truth is I don’t know either. Tweens, in particular, get stuck in this confusing hygiene conundrum frequently. Every child’s reason is as unique and surprising as the next child’s. BUT… I encourage you to dig deeper and explore these awkward waters. It’s worth it! 

Awkward conversations

Personal hygiene is tricky, because… well, it feels very personal. “What difference does it make to you? It’s my body! Are you saying I stink?!”

Sound familiar? Who wants to tell someone that they stink? And who wants to hear this? Answer: no one.

Personal hygiene is tough for a lot of tweens

If you have a child in late elementary or middle school, you may relate to that phase when hormones, and body odors specifically, begin to increase. Unfortunately, also during this phase, the desire to take care of personal hygiene decreases.  Every suggestion (or command) to get in the shower is perceived as a controlling insult.

Hygiene in general, and showering in particular, can cause resentment and frustration in families as kids desire more independence. Numerous parents have told us they have struggled with this conflict. Kids are no longer small enough to swoop up from the pile of toys and plop into the tub. When you’ve got a tween refusing to shower, it’s easy to get swept up into a battle of wills.

An amazing opportunity to partner with your child and build wisdom

Sierra had been giving her parents, Kristi and Steve quite a run for their money since she was a toddler, and they finally came in for coaching when she was five. This kiddo really “marched to her own drumbeat.” Kristi and Steve had benefited a lot from considering Sierra as their “teammate to solve problems”. 

Now that Sierra was 10, she was beginning to struggle with showering regularly. Because Kristi wanted to build wisdom instead of try to manage behavior, she asked Sierra thoughtful questions to try to understand her daughter’s mindset. 

In the process, she not only unpacked why her daughter did not want to shower, but she helped her daughter own both the problem and the solution.

Even if you don’t have a child refusing to shower, you can learn a lot by how Kristi guided the process. If you’ve ever wanted to help your child think through any issue well, read Kristi’s story below (shared with permission) with all the practical details: 


It started as a power struggle over showertime

Showering had become a dicey issue in our house. Either Steve or I would announce, “Tonight is a shower night!”  Sierra would proclaim, “Nooo! I’m not showering,” and the power struggle would escalate.

Then Kristi crafted a curious discussion about hygiene

I decided to approach this as a coach to build wisdom, instead of as the “shower sergeant”. We started our discussion by watching an educational video. There were some moans and groans during the video, especially when it mentioned bacteria on your skin and the benefit of showering daily.

After the video, the conversation between Mom and Child went something like this:

M: How are you feeling about your hygiene, especially about showering?

C: Fine. (in a clearly defensive tone)

M: What are your thoughts on what the video said?

C: I don’t want to shower every day!

M: How often do you think you should shower?

C: Once a year!

To peel back the defensiveness, she asked her daughter to list the pros and cons of her showering choices

M: Ok. (staying relaxed and curious) What would be the pluses and minuses to showering once a year?

C: You’re just asking me because you want me to shower every day!

M: No. It’s not about what I want. It’s about you caring for your body. I’m just curious what your thoughts are. So, if you want to shower once a year what would be the pluses and minuses to that?

C: I’d only have to shower once a year! (in an indignant voice)

M: Any other pluses?

C: No

M: Ok. What are the minuses?

C: I’d stink. I might get sick more often. My skin would start to itch.

She had her daughter come up with alternative showering plans

M: It sounds like there is one positive to showering once a year:  you only have to take the time to do it once a year. At the same time, it sounds like there are quite a few minuses. What are some other options for showering?

C: Once a month! But I would still be stinky.

M: What else could you do?

C: Once a week.

M: What would be some pluses and minuses to that plan?

C: I’d probably still be stinky but I’d only have to do it once a week. (She still had frustration in her voice.)

M: Ok. So an option they said in the video was every day. What do you think about that option?

C: I DON’T WANT TO SHOWER EVERY DAY!!!!

M: I can tell you have some pretty strong feelings about showering. What is it that makes you feel so upset about showering?

C: You just want me to shower every day!

M: No. I honestly want to understand what it is about showering that you don’t like.

From a place of curiosity, Kristi found out why her daughter didn’t want to shower

The desire to truly understand and figure out “What’s really going on with this challenge?” helped us have an honest conversation about what was actually bothering her the most.  She was anxious about having other people (especially her little brother) walk into the bathroom when she was naked. 

Together, they brainstormed ideas to figure out, “What could we do to make you less anxious about showering?”:

  • Shower in mom and dad’s bathroom.
  • Shower when he’s not home.
  • Lock the bathroom door. (She was now old enough for this privilege.)
  • Bring clothes into the bathroom so that she doesn’t have to walk out of the bathroom with just a towel.

Together they came up with a plan for showering

M: Earlier we talked about how often to shower. What seems like the best option?

C: I’ve decided I want to shower every other day. Since I wear deodorant, and it’s cold weather now, I won’t be stinky.

M: Do you want my help in remembering shower days?

C: It’s ok to remind me if it’s a shower day and it’s after dinner and I haven’t done it yet.

She didn’t control the outcome—letting her daughter own the problem and the solution

As we implemented the plan we made together, the reminder that seemed to work best was “It’s an every-other-day shower day. Do you want to shower today?” And she usually does. One day she was resistant and said no. I went into her room and genuinely asked “Hey, are you really not going to shower? It’s your decision but I’m just reminding you of your plan. It doesn’t matter to me.” (It actually didn’t matter to me.) Then she said, “I am going to follow my plan and shower.”


You can apply this problem-solving conversation to non-shower problems

The thing that stands out in this conversation is how relaxed and curious Kristi was as she and Sierra were talking. As Kristi persisted in asking curious questions, Sierra gradually dropped her defenses and they solved the problem. 

A simple template for these discussions (generally best with school-aged kids) might be:

  1. Are there underlying issues to be solved?
  2. What choices do you have?
  3. Evaluate the pros and cons of each:  What would be good about that choice? What might not be good about that?
  4. Make a plan and determine any necessary accountability. 

Consider how Sierra received the four Connected Families messages as they solved their problem:

  • You are SAFE with me and I will respect your need for independence.
  • You are LOVED no matter how often you decide to shower. 😉
  • You are CALLED and CAPABLE of making wise choices.
  • You are RESPONSIBLE to take care of your body well.   

Grow a wise heart—you’ll do yourself a favor;

keep a clear head—you’ll find a good life.

Proverbs 19:8 MSG

This approach to solving personal hygiene and other challenges has continued to bear good fruit

When engaging in discipline situations it’s easy to get caught up in, “Because I said so!” Oftentimes a thoughtful discussion about the “why” behind the problematic issue can make all the difference. Your child wants to know you are for her!  

I followed up with Kristi four years later to see how this approach has played out over time. She said that 14-year-old Sierra is very respectful and independent with her responsibilities and schoolwork. Her mom said, “She’s just a really cool kid, and I’m so grateful for the great relationship we have.”

If you feel stuck in an entrenched power struggle and want help or need ideas for younger kids, refer to our in-depth article How To Go From Power Struggles to Problem Solving.

There are certainly issues where parents should set boundaries and be firm about consequences. But building wisdom in the small things (like showers) can help eliminate power struggles now and prepare kids for a lifetime of thoughtful, wise choices when the stakes are higher. And even when boundaries are necessary, kids learn and cooperate so much more when you ask curious, helpful questions, seek understanding, and problem-solve obstacles. And when your kids show that glimmer of wisdom?  Encourage and affirm them!


In our online course, Sibling Conflict: From Bickering to Bonding, we teach parents how to teach kids The Peace Process. This process equips kids to work through their arguments without your constant supervision and refereeing. Join us! Your kids will thank you.

Sibling Conflict Ad

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Should Dads Demand Respect? | Ep. 103 https://connectedfamilies.org/should-dads-demand-respect-ep-103/ Mon, 20 Jun 2022 00:01:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=41752 dads demand respect Ep 103

Should dads demand respect?

Maybe this sounds familiar:

“No, I don’t want to!” “This is dumb, you’re unfair!” “Who cares if my homework isn’t done?!” 

Hey dads, have you experienced this kind of pushback from your kids? It can push ALL your buttons when your child is disrespectful. This can make it especially hard to keep calm and respond with calm authority.

Although this is a struggle for almost all parents, it seems to be an especially challenging scenario for dads.  

When our “respect buttons” get pushed, it’s tempting to grasp for control and command obedience. But in doing so, we might find ourselves sacrificing connection and true, heartfelt respect with our kids. You want to build connection and respect. So what can you do? How can you respond?

In today’s episode, Jim Jackson (Co-Founder of Connected Families) and Chad Hayenga (Marriage and Family Therapist and Connected Families Parent Coach) have a heartfelt conversation about respect. When we engage with our kids in humility and curiosity instead of control, we model what respect looks like, and safely earn their respect and trust. Treating our children with respect helps us diffuse a tense situation, and paves the way for connection, conversation, and understanding.

In this podcast, you’ll learn:

  • how you can initiate and model respect to your child–even when they are being disrespectful to you
  • ways you can unintentionally frustrate or exasperate your kids, and how to encourage your child towards true heart change–not just compliance 
  • practical ways to teach respect both in and outside of the moment or situation
  • the importance of asking foundational questions such as: “What’s going on in me as a parent?” “What lessons are my kids really learning by my actions?”

If you’ve struggled with teaching your child to be respectful we hope you’ve found practical wisdom in this podcast to guide you and your family in God’s grace and truth. Please check out our resources, and as always, your questions and thoughts are important to us. We would love to connect with you!

Mentioned in this podcast:


In our online course, Sibling Conflict: From Bickering to Bonding, we teach parents how to teach kids The Peace Process. This process equips kids to work through their arguments without your constant supervision and refereeing. Join us! Your kids will thank you.

Sibling Conflict Ad

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Should dads demand respect? Maybe this sounds familiar: “No, I don’t want to!” “This is dumb, you’re unfair!” “Who cares if my homework isn’t done?!”  Hey dads, have you experienced this kind of pushback from your kids?







Should dads demand respect?



Maybe this sounds familiar:



“No, I don’t want to!” “This is dumb, you’re unfair!” “Who cares if my homework isn’t done?!” 



Hey dads, have you experienced this kind of pushback from your kids? It can push ALL your buttons when your child is disrespectful. This can make it especially hard to keep calm and respond with calm authority.



Although this is a struggle for almost all parents, it seems to be an especially challenging scenario for dads.  



When our “respect buttons” get pushed, it’s tempting to grasp for control and command obedience. But in doing so, we might find ourselves sacrificing connection and true, heartfelt respect with our kids. You want to build connection and respect. So what can you do? How can you respond?



In today’s episode, Jim Jackson (Co-Founder of Connected Families) and Chad Hayenga (Marriage and Family Therapist and Connected Families Parent Coach) have a heartfelt conversation about respect. When we engage with our kids in humility and curiosity instead of control, we model what respect looks like, and safely earn their respect and trust. Treating our children with respect helps us diffuse a tense situation, and paves the way for connection, conversation, and understanding.



In this podcast, you’ll learn:



* how you can initiate and model respect to your child–even when they are being disrespectful to you* ways you can unintentionally frustrate or exasperate your kids, and how to encourage your child towards true heart change–not just compliance * practical ways to teach respect both in and outside of the moment or situation* the importance of asking foundational questions such as: “What’s going on in me as a parent?” “What lessons are my kids really learning by my actions?”



If you’ve struggled with teaching your child to be respectful we hope you’ve found practical wisdom in this podcast to guide you and your family in God’s grace and truth. Please check out our resources, and as always, your questions and thoughts are important to us. We would love to connect with you!



Mentioned in this podcast:



* Ephesians 6:1-4* Connected Families Framework* Donate to Connected Families* Sibling Conflict online course* Wycliffe Hawai‘i Pidgin Bible translation







In our online course, Sibling Conflict: From Bickering to Bonding, we teach parents how to teach kids The Peace Process. This process equips kids to work through their arguments without your constant supervision and refereeing. Join us! Your kids will thank you.








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Connected Families 103 Should Dads Demand Respect? clean 33:49
Help! My Kids Are Constantly Fighting https://connectedfamilies.org/the-peace-process/ Wed, 15 Jun 2022 10:51:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=21719 kids are constantly fighting

Does it seem like your kids are constantly fighting? Sibling conflict is often a common source of anger and frustration in parenting! It is a tough challenge with such big emotions, especially if you are trying to protect a more vulnerable child. This is why we created our Sibling Conflict online course. We teach something called “The Peace Process”, using four simple steps: Calm, Understand, Solve, Celebrate. 

After this podcast on sibling conflict aired, we received an email from Kirsten, a mom of four kids, ages 2-10, who had just signed up for the course:

I am BLOWN AWAY by how beautifully even the basics of the four-step Peace Process have worked! After I took notes on the podcast, within 5 minutes we had an opportunity to test the process. It. Was. Amazing. Seeing my oldest child’s face light up at the end of the process was the greatest reward. Wow. We’ve used The Peace Process again two or three times this morning alone, and it has been incredibly life-giving. I cannot wait to learn more. 

Learn the basics of The Peace Process

The Carpenter family was struggling with their three children (Sam-8, Mitch-10, Emma-12) hassling each other frequently. They found The Peace Process significantly affected the overall vibe in their home in a positive way. 

Here is their story in their own words:

Step 1: CALM

Guided by The Peace Process, we would first encourage them to calm down by finding their own space for a few minutes or taking a few deep breaths, and then they would determine if they were calm enough to work through their hassle.  If not – a few more deep breaths, a stroll around the main floor of our house, a few minutes sitting alone on the couch… anything to get the space they needed to disengage for a minute.

Step 2: UNDERSTAND

Once they were calm, we’d move on to step two of The Peace Process: understanding one another’s perspective. One would say to the other, “Can you tell me how you’re feeling?” And then he’d restate what he heard his brother saying. And then they’d flip roles. “Do you feel understood?” they would ask each other, and if not, they’d ask for more information and try restating again until the answer was “yes” (I feel understood).

Step 3: SOLVE

The third step was coming up with a win-win solution. This step was often challenging for them, and we’d sometimes have to redo steps one and two in the midst of trying to settle step three. But eventually, they’d land somewhere conciliatory and come up with a compromise: “How about you get the ball for five minutes, and then I get it for five minutes?” “How about you read in the living room, and I’ll play my music in the basement?”

Step 4: CELEBRATE

We also did the bonus step of “hugging it out” after the win-win solution was reached. A high five or fist pump was always an alternative.

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 12:18

One family’s experience with The Peace Process

The Peace Process has changed the way our kids handle conflict with one another. We have grown accustomed to hearing one say to the other (without our prompting, no less!), “I’m mad at you. I need to take a few breaths.” Or, “Can you tell me how you’re feeling?” The other day, I could hear my boys fighting in the basement, and I did not intervene. It got quieter down there, and a few minutes later, my youngest son came up.

“Sounds like it was heating up in the basement,” I commented.

He responded, “Yeah, but we did The Peace Process and worked it out.”

This family even helped a child in their neighborhood learn this valuable skill: 

Not long ago, we had a neighbor boy, Mitch, over at our home. He spends a lot of time here, and he and my 10-year-old son will often go head-to-head, sometimes even getting physical with each other. After such fights, Mitch will leave screaming, run to his house, and won’t come out.

One day as my boys were going through The Peace Process, Mitch watched in fascination. “What are they doing?” he whispered to me. I explained it to him, and he listened intently as they worked through things.

A few days later, Mitch and Sam started yelling at each other and things escalated quickly. Mitch started to run out of our house as he hollered his anger at Sam.

I stood in his path. “Mitch, let’s go do The Peace Process.”

He had tears streaming down his face and was furious with Sam, and so the first step “calm down” took a while, but after that, he walked through every step. Once they had reached a win-win solution, Mitch said eagerly, “We have to do the last step – hug it out!” Mitch, Sam, and even my other son Henry met in the middle of the room in a three-way hug that ended as a huge, laughing pile.

Now that we have that language and practice shared between the boys, The Peace Process can be employed any time they find themselves at odds with each other, which has made their play times far more enjoyable for all!

(Side note: There is a video in the course of Emma, Sam, and Henry sharing about The Peace Process that kids love to watch.) 

We got an update many years after their family learned The Peace Process: 

Our kids are now 18, 16, and 14 and Emma just came home from her freshman year of college. Occasionally there was a fight for which we got to dust off our adapted version of The Peace Process and remember what hard work this whole relationship thing can be. But there has been a lot of connecting, silliness, gratitude, and even pulling out the old Lego bin together!

You may have tried to guide your kids toward reconciliation in the past with little success. We have lots more practical help for you in both our book and the online course. But here are three starter principles about how to lead with grace toward true reconciliation

Three Keys to True Reconciliation

ONE: Stay “one step ahead of your kids”

In other words: 

  • get yourself calm before you engage 
  • be the first one to empathize and understand what’s going on in your kids’ hearts 
  • have some solve ideas in case your kids need them
  • and be looking for small things that have gone well so you can affirm and help them celebrate

TWO: Enter with a new goal of grace

This parent’s story says it well: In the past, when my oldest daughter was mean to her siblings I saw her as the enemy and she needed to be controlled.  But I’ve been focusing on the truth that everyone has bad days, hard times, and can be mean or harsh.  It is not the end of the world and doesn’t mean they are bad, just humans in need of forgiveness and grace. I’m trying to look at what’s behind her behavior, have empathy, and then help them all figure it out. 

I’ve switched my goal from shutting down the “meanness” to bringing grace, love, and acceptance. That shift has been HUGE!  I feel so much less stressed and am able to see my kids from a new perspective. They have been kinder to each other and have shown more grace too! I think they are all feeling much more “seen” and understood. I know that we will still have ups and downs, but I have seen some real transformation. 

I’ve switched my goal from shutting down the “meanness” to bringing grace, love, and acceptance. That shift has been HUGE!  I feel so much less stressed and am able to see my kids from a new perspective. They have been kinder to each other and have shown more grace too!

THREE: Stop before kids get frustrated and celebrate anyway

Any helpful parenting tool can become legalistic if implemented in a rigid, “gotta get to the 4th step or we fail” kind of way. When that happens, even an effective tool loses the power of God’s grace and usually backfires. Kids feel controlled and criticized instead of empowered toward learning something valuable. (I love that God holds us accountable to walk in his grace, not manage behavior with clever tricks.) 

A mom of three shared how The Peace Process has permeated the culture of her entire family:

“Things went a lot better once I realized – Stop at any point during The Peace Process if kids or parents wear out or get stuck and still celebrate. We have done this pretty well since that realization, and I got confirmation of that tonight. My husband and I were having a heated ‘discussion,’ so we stopped for dinner and I tried again afterward. My oldest daughter came into the room where we were talking and gave us each a chocolate chip in celebration of us trying again nicely. My husband thanked her and she said, “I’m just doing what my mom taught me to do.”

The reason The Peace Process has helped so many families is that it is so full of God’s grace! Don’t settle for quick or controlling “fixes” to sibling conflict. You can lead your kids with grace to reunite hearts and enjoy the sweet fruit of reconciliation, as they build valuable, lifelong skills.

Let’s hear some updated feedback from Kirsten, the mom of four mentioned at the beginning of the article who signed up for the course after listening to the podcast. 

The practice of getting calm and slowing down enough to listen and respond respectfully has been so helpful. I did The Peace Process with them a handful of times and they now often talk things out for themselves and come to a solution. (I’m not sure they would even recognize that there are “steps”.) When there’s an especially tense conflict, I have the tools I need ready to go. This is SO helpful and life-giving in the midst of conflicts that can feel totally draining! 

What a gift Kirsten has given her kids! We’d love for your family to grow in wisdom and healing in your precious relationships.  

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18


In our online course Sibling Conflict: From Bickering to Bonding we teach parents how to teach kids The Peace Process. This process equips kids to work through their own arguments without your constant supervision and refereeing. Join us today!

Sibling Conflict Ad

Related Posts

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How to Be a More Playful Parent | Ep. 102 https://connectedfamilies.org/how-to-be-a-more-playful-parent-ep-102/ Mon, 13 Jun 2022 00:01:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=41653 playful parent

Sometimes parenting can feel like one big list of things you have to get done. It can be so hard to switch gears from the many demands of being a parent to having joyful and playful time with your kiddos!

Yet research shows that playfulness brings connection and communicates in a language that helps kids learn! Playful parenting is an important part of every level of the Connected Families Framework.

Intentional parent/child play can:

  • calm your child’s brain and yours
  • provide opportunities to teach skills
  • enable problem-solving capability
  • reach kids who are struggling 
  • communicate to your child, “I enjoy you!”

Sounds great, right? So how do we get there?

In this podcast, Stacy Bellward (podcast host) is joined by Lynne Jackson (Co-Founder of Connected Families, Occupational Therapist) and Joy Wendling (Connected Families Certified Parent Coach) to discuss the vital role that play contributes to a connected relationship between you and your kids. Tune in as they talk about how you can invite your kids to cooperate through play, and keep the long-term goal of connection, while also teaching important skills for the moment.

From both a scientific and a biblical standpoint, play is a vital part of speaking your child’s language. It is a pivotal way kids learn! The language of play creates an atmosphere of emotional safety where you can diffuse conflict and invite joy and connection.

In this podcast, you’ll learn:

  • what the Bible says about play–it might surprise you!
  • the brain science of why playful parenting creates connection and invites cooperation
  • practical ways to make it happen in everyday routines (like trying to get your kids out the door!)
  • how to tune into your family’s unique personalities to discover what playful connection looks like 

Has this podcast been helpful to you? If so, could you please rate and review so others can find us more easily? We want to share the message of hope and connection with as many parents as possible! 

Mentioned in this podcast:

Guest Bio

Joy Wendling is a wife, mama to 5 girls ages 1 – 9, and play advocate. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where she has served in children’s, youth, and family ministries and in Christian Early Childhood Education. In 2016, she earned her Master’s in Youth, Family, and Culture from Fuller Theological Seminary. Though her primary ministry is to her family now, she loves to serve other families through Connected Families Certified Parent Coaching, and her podcast Playfully Faithful Parenting. You can connect with Joy on her website createdtoplay.com, and on Instagram instagram.com/createdtoplay, and Facebook facebook.com/created2play. Or you can email her at joy@createdtoplay.com


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Sometimes parenting can feel like one big list of things you have to get done. It can be so hard to switch gears from the many demands of being a parent to having joyful and playful time with your kiddos! Yet research shows that playfulness brings conn...



Sometimes parenting can feel like one big list of things you have to get done. It can be so hard to switch gears from the many demands of being a parent to having joyful and playful time with your kiddos!



Yet research shows that playfulness brings connection and communicates in a language that helps kids learn! Playful parenting is an important part of every level of the Connected Families Framework.



Intentional parent/child play can:



* calm your child’s brain and yours* provide opportunities to teach skills* enable problem-solving capability* reach kids who are struggling * communicate to your child, “I enjoy you!”



Sounds great, right? So how do we get there?







In this podcast, Stacy Bellward (podcast host) is joined by Lynne Jackson (Co-Founder of Connected Families, Occupational Therapist) and Joy Wendling (Connected Families Certified Parent Coach) to discuss the vital role that play contributes to a connected relationship between you and your kids. Tune in as they talk about how you can invite your kids to cooperate through play, and keep the long-term goal of connection, while also teaching important skills for the moment.



From both a scientific and a biblical standpoint, play is a vital part of speaking your child’s language. It is a pivotal way kids learn! The language of play creates an atmosphere of emotional safety where you can diffuse conflict and invite joy and connection.



In this podcast, you’ll learn:



* what the Bible says about play–it might surprise you!* the brain science of why playful parenting creates connection and invites cooperation* practical ways to make it happen in everyday routines (like trying to get your kids out the door!)* how to tune into your family’s unique personalities to discover what playful connection looks like 



Has this podcast been helpful to you? If so, could you please rate and review so others can find us more easily? We want to share the message of hope and connection with as many parents as possible! 



Mentioned in this podcast:



* Joy Wendling: Created to Play* Connected Families Framework* Sibling Conflict online course* The “Just Right Challenge”* Bible verses: Ecclesiastes 11:8, Matthew 19:14, 2 Samuel 6, Zephaniah 3:17, John 15:15<...]]>
Connected Families 102 How to Be a More Playful Parent clean 43:44
15 Reasons for Love-No-Matter-What https://connectedfamilies.org/12-reasons-to-love-no-matter-what/ Wed, 08 Jun 2022 10:11:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=27987 1200x628 12 reasons to love 1

Our kids know they are loved unconditionally, right? Or do they? As parents, we often take this fact for granted. Here is a story about the power of unconditional love from the Connected Families community:

Mitch was only in his early twenties, but he confidently welcomed the congregation at a church we attended where he was a new pastor. We knew his family, and reflected back to when he wasn’t so confident! 

Ten years ago, Mitch’s high-powered executive dad, Andy, had been pretty determined to deal firmly with Mitch’s predictable avoidance and meltdowns over 6th grade math homework. When Andy asked me (Jim) for advice, he was quite skeptical of the suggestion to express love-no-matter-what when Mitch was upset and resisting math. “That’ll just make him think his behavior is ok – and it’s not,” Andy protested. 

It was clear to Andy that things were getting worse (not better) with his firm approach, so he decided to give my suggestion a try.  The next time Mitch began to get upset over math, Andy very sincerely expressed his unconditional love, no matter how math might go that night. Mitch sobbed in relief as his dad hugged him. They began to work as a team, and Mitch began to feel successful at math for the first time. Andy later told me, “He’s a different kid. And I have to admit, I’m a different dad.” 

If you want to read the full story check out pages 91-93 in our book, Discipline that Connects With Your Child’s Heart

There is nothing more important as a parent than understanding and passing on the unconditional love of Jesus to your children.

He became a different dad

Many years later, during our conversation after the church service, Mitch shared with us, “I don’t remember that math incident, but I do remember how whenever something was hard for me, Dad would remind me that his love for me was absolutely unrelated to how well I did. I told him once when I was in seminary about a class that was really challenging. My dad told me, ‘Remember son, we’ve all got different gifts and challenges. Your value and God’s purposes don’t change because this is hard. You’ll get through it.’”

Mitch revealed that indeed Andy had become a different dad through the concept of “You are LOVED no matter what.”

 The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Galatians 5:6

Since our ministry is now 20 years old, it’s a joy to hear back from some of the early families we worked with, and see the long-term fruit of the principles from the Connected Families Framework. Mitch is a confident, caring young man who loves Jesus deeply, and is serving others with his people skills, not his math skills. 😉 

Stories like this make us even more confident to communicate to parents the essential nature of the message, “You are LOVED no matter what… even when you are really struggling and feel like you least deserve that love.” Romans 8:38,39 are wonderful verses about the unstoppable, unconditional love of Christ for us! We’ve applied those concepts to parenting and made a beautiful download for you. Click HERE to get this free and encouraging PDF.

Top 15 reasons for unconditional love:

We compiled for you our top 15 reasons for expressing unconditional love when kids are struggling the most. What would you add to the list?

Love-no-matter-what…

  1. is the best way for kids to experience a representation of God’s love and grace for sinners. (Romans 5:8)
  2. builds emotional security in kids. When children understand that love is not earned by performance they know their value is not at risk. 
  3. helps strengthen kids to withstand peer pressure and resist seeking the approval of peers.
  4. protects against the “gotta get it right” perfectionism that steals joy, authenticity, and creativity. 
  5. keeps kids from forming a problem-child identity: “When I act bad, I am bad.”
  6. brings the culture of Christ into families and deepens spiritual hunger. (Luke 1:17) 
  7. calms hearts and helps kids listen to other people’s perspectives.
  8. bonds your heart to your child in enduring ways, and is the foundation for a connected relationship through the teen years and beyond.
  9. frees kids to take responsibility for their sins instead of focusing on your anger. (Romans 2:4)
  10. encourages kids to serve out of true compassion, not out of a need to get affirmation, or to soothe shame.  
  11. grows kids to become dispensers of grace to others and naturally seek grace-filled relationships in life. 
  12. trains kids to become loving spouses and parents.
  13. blesses you, as the parent, when you are the channel for God’s love!
  14. can even heal your heart from hurt if you didn’t receive that unconditional love as a child. (We’ve seen it happen many times.)
  15. honors Jesus’ work on the cross which is our model and source of unconditional love. (Picture him washing the feet of those who would betray or desert him just before dying on the cross for all of us.)

After reading Mitch’s story and the list of fifteen reasons you might be deeply inspired to bring God’s unconditional love to your child. And then, reality hits, and you might scream at that same child 15 minutes from now! We acknowledge that this can be so hard when your child’s behavior is really difficult. We get it, we’ve been there. But there is so much hope! 

But how do we accomplish this?

Want to learn more?

LISTEN HERE

We were not meant to do this alone

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:17-19

Ephesians 3:17-19 gives insight into how this can happen:  

  1. Supernatural power – “I pray that you… may have… power…” When you receive and pass on the wide, long, high and deep love of Christ to your misbehaving child, the source is not a teeth-gritting performance, but a powerful partnership with the Holy Spirit.

As Lydia, our newest Connected Families parent coach has shared, 

“When one of my kids is really struggling and I’m overwhelmed, I sense Jesus right in the room with us, full of love and confidence. I know He is saying ‘I’m here with you, we’re gonna get through this together.’ That gives me the peace and strength to lean toward my child and pass along that unconditional love, often with the same words God has just spoken to my heart or sometimes with just reassuring touch.”

  1. Support – Isolation is a set up for failure. For this holy calling of showing unconditional love in misbehavior, you need others to encourage you and pray for you along the way (James 5:16). Find a small group, a prayer partner, or a safe, encouraging person you can call when things get tough. This is what “together with all the saints” looks like!

Expressing your unconditional love in the midst of a struggle is when you can most effectively let your child know he is loved-no-matter-what. And there is nothing more important as a parent than understanding and passing on the unconditional love of Jesus to your children. 


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

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Childhood Wounds: What They Are & How to Free Your Parenting of Them https://connectedfamilies.org/what-is-attachment-style/ Wed, 25 May 2022 03:23:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=26955 childhood wounds

Are you struggling to experience joyful, connected, authentic relationships with your loved ones? Is it possible that childhood wounds are keeping you stuck? 

Here’s a story you may relate to:

She sat right in the front row of a Connected Families parenting workshop. For the first part of the teaching she listened wide-eyed and engaged enthusiastically. 

Then things changed.

As we taught about the importance of loving and joy-filled connection she started to avoid eye contact. She stopped talking and looked at the floor most of the time. Afterward, I (Jim) approached her and prodded, “Something changed for you. Are you OK?”

The tears formed instantly and were falling by the time she spoke:

“For the first time in my life I’ve realized that the reason I have such a hard time connecting with my son is that no one ever really connected with me.”

How childhood wounds get in the way of parent-child attachment

It’s not uncommon for parents to struggle with actually wanting to connect with their children. There can be numerous reasons (stress, anxiety, different personalities, behavioral challenges) for this disconnection. However, we’ve found this mom’s words,  “no one ever really connected with me” to be a primary factor in what can be an ongoing challenge. In fact, a study by Hazen and Shaver suggests that a whopping 45% of adults have insecure attachment.

What is attachment theory, and what do childhood wounds have to do with it?

There are countless books written on attachment theory, and it is taught in child development courses all over the world. We’ll simplify here.

In the 1970s, a British psychologist named John Bowlby became the first attachment theorist. He was curious as to why some people flourished in healthy, secure relationships and others didn’t. He discovered that simply meeting a child’s physical needs (feeding them, for example) did not lead to a secure parent-child attachment. 

He began to theorize that secure attachment had to do with how parents respond when their child is scared or anxious. Parents can use these times to become a safe haven that increases their child’s confidence and security. 

When parents struggle to connect and empathize with their child during these big emotions, it can lead to childhood wounds that make attaching to other people throughout life more difficult. (If you relate to this, take a deep breath and know we’ve got a lot of hope for you and “next steps” throughout this article.)

The “Strange Situation”

Another researcher named Mary Ainsworth took Bowlby’s research and expanded upon it. She created a now-famous experiment called the “Strange Situation.” 

Ainsworth recruited mothers with children between the ages of 12 and 18 months. She created a “Strange Situation” and observed the child at each of these steps:

  • The mom and child were alone and together in a room.
  • The child was allowed to explore the room with their mom present.
  • A stranger entered the room and talked to the mom, then approached the child.
  • The mom left the room.
  • The mom returned and comforted her child.

She noticed that children responded to the strangeness of this situation in a variety of ways. Since this 1970’s experiment, research has discovered that the way children respond corresponds with long-term relationship patterns.

Ainsworth grouped the toddlers’ responses into the following three categories:

  • Secure attachment
  • Avoidant-insecure attachment (or dismissing attachment)
  • Ambivalent-insecure attachment

Since that time, attachment researchers have added:

  • Disorganized-insecure attachment

A brief introduction to Attachment Theory

The grid below will give you a broad overview of Attachment Theory. If you want to learn more, read this thorough wikipedia entry.

Attachment Theory 2

1. Secure attachment

  • Top-left of the grid
  • Low anxiety, low avoidance

In secure attachment, when the mother leaves, the baby is distressed, but happy when she returns and welcomes the mother’s comfort. Also, the baby is friendly toward the stranger when the mom is present, but avoids them while she is gone. For the securely attached child, the parent is the secure base from which the child can safely explore the world and other people.

2. Avoidant-insecure attachment (also known as dismissing attachment)

  • Bottom-left of the grid
  • Low anxiety, high avoidance
  • Childhood wound: Primary caregiver rejects child repeatedly, or is unavailable during emotional distress

The babies with an avoidant-insecure attachment pattern tend to not explore the room, whether their mother is present or not. In fact, they also show no distress when their caregiver leaves. Instead, they mostly avoid their parent and operate independently, both physically and emotionally.

3. Ambivalent-insecure attachment (also known as anxious attachment)

  • Top-right of the grid
  • High anxiety, low avoidance
  • Childhood wound: Primary caregiver is not dependable. The parent responds inconsistently to a child’s emotional needs, creating a situation of high anxiety.

The babies with an ambivalent attachment may be wary of the stranger, even when the mother is present, and they may be excessively distressed when she leaves. However, they don’t necessarily embrace her when she returns either. The child may not welcome the mother’s comfort, and it may take a long time to settle after her return.

4. Disorganized attachment (also known as fearful-avoidant attachment)

  • Bottom-left of the grid
  • High anxiety, high avoidance
  • Childhood wound: The parent is a physical and/or emotional threat to the child. 

The child in this category is hard to categorize. It’s the disorganization of their responses that stands out. This might look like ambivalent attachment one minute, then avoidant attachment the next. In the Strange Situation, they bounce between signs of avoidance and anxiety. This attachment style is usually the result of abuse or neglect.

Feeling discouraged? Don’t lose heart, you don’t need to be a perfect parent to have a securely attached child! Read on to learn more about healing your own childhood wounds and earned-secure attachment

What do securely attached relationships look like?

The top left corner of the attachment graph is where all of us long to be: in securely attached relationships in which we are confident that we are worthy of love and can love others well.

The securely attached individual has low relational anxiety and low avoidance tendencies.

A securely attached child:

  • can separate from parent, but is happy when the parent returns
  • seeks out parent for comfort
  • would rather be in parent’s company than with strangers

A securely attached adult:

  • maintains trusting intimate relationships
  • is able to express feelings in relationships
  • has a healthy self-esteem
  • seeks out support in community

A securely attached parent:

  • desires to be near their child and attending to their child’s needs, but also enjoys their child’s budding independence and encourages it
  • easily notices and affirms the image of God (the God-given goodness) in their child, even while facing the messiness of daily life (Ephesians 2:10)
  • doesn’t parent in isolation, but draws on their community for support

If you don’t relate to this picture of a securely attached parent, or if you don’t think your child acts like a securely attached child, read on. The story isn’t over yet. Let’s get to the rest of the attachment styles.

Dysfunctional attachment: When your childhood wounds impact your parenting

In parenting, there may be a tendency to blame the lack of connection with a child on the child’s difficult behavior. 

The hard truth: Your own childhood wounds may be keeping you stuck.

Parents may have difficulty acknowledging hurts and a lack of connection in their family of origin because it can be deeply painful.

But often, beneath these seemingly superficial problems, there is an intense sense of grief and loss. This is due to the unmet longing for deep, loving connection. That connection may have been weak, unpredictable, or even absent with their childhood caregivers. Now it’s hard to create that deep and loving connection with their kids.

What unresolved childhood wounds look like

Addiction, anger, depression, overachievement and perfectionism, anxious peacekeeping, or a tendency to control can all be possible symptoms of insecure attachment. But however it shows up, the end result is stress-filled, superficial relationships.

Perhaps the most tragic part of these unresolved childhood wounds is that the wounds often reopen and fester during the stress of parenting. Your children, then, may suffer the effects of what you missed from your parents.

The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us.

1 John 4:18b, 19

Parenting attachment style: An issue at your parenting foundation

At the core, attachment style is a foundational parenting issue. If you and your children are struggling with healthy attachment, it is an opportunity to strengthen your foundation. The good news is that attachment wounds can be identified and you can grow along with your kids. There is always abundant hope in God’s grace and truth for you and your family!

The Connected Families Framework for parenting is clear. The first level of the framework says, “You are SAFE with me.” Part of creating safe, healthy, connected relationships is to ask ourselves questions like these:

  • “What’s going on in me?” 
  • “Why did I react that way?” 
  • “Why do I parent the way I do?”

Some parents, like the one in the story mentioned earlier, can readily answer these questions on their own. Others need help. And some spend a lifetime trying to either compensate for this loss, protect themselves from the pain, or both. 

After reading this, you may be wondering if your own attachment is secure.  None of us had perfect parents. To some degree, we all have wounds, pain, and fear. Make this the day you begin to move towards freedom and health! God’s limitless love is the source of true healing.

The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:18b, 19

Baby Step 1: Identify where your attachment style is dysfunctional

Most people will have some type of attachment wound. Go to the website Howwelove.com and take the Love Style Quiz,*  which takes about 15 minutes. This quiz will help you key in on the dysfunctional attachment style(s) that you might default to under stress:  Avoider, Pleaser, Vacillator, or Controller/Victim. “How We Love” has split the insecure attachment styles into four, rather than three, but they still follow the same basic patterns.

*Warning: In order to cover the full range of situations, some of the questions in this quiz are about domestic violence. 

Attachment Style

While this quiz will show you different attachment styles that all seem negative, it’s important to view them objectively and as a useful tool to help answer the question, “What’s going on in me?”. Welcome the insight you gain as a guide to help you better understand and heal patterns of insecure attachment. The goal is earned-secure attachment.  

Baby Step 2: Invest in healing your childhood wounds and fostering healthy attachment in your kids

If you want to know more, you can buy the book How We Love Our Kids to understand the way your love style impacts your parenting. Throughout the book you’ll uncover areas for potential growth. Be encouraged: we’ve seen many parents grow in emotional health and secure attachment, as they are a channel of God’s love and grace to their kids. 

Check out the Connected Families Podcast as we interview Milan and Kay Yerkovich, “Does Attachment Style Matter?”

BIG Step 3: Ask for help!

If you continue to feel stuck, seek help! A therapist can help you develop a secure attachment style, even if your parents are no longer living or you’ve lost all contact. Search for a therapist that uses attachment theory and a development model (history influences present day behavior) in their practice.

Kay Yerkovich (co-author of How we Love Our Kids) has generously provided some extra resources to help you in your journey:

It can be a scary journey, but you and your kids are worth it! Begin the journey of healing from your childhood wounds and develop better connection not only with your children, but in all your most important relationships.


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Does Attachment Style Matter? | Ep. 101 https://connectedfamilies.org/does-attachment-style-matter-ep-101/ Mon, 23 May 2022 00:01:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=41196 attachment style

Your relationship with your child might feel “off” but you’re not sure why. Could it be that the way you were parented impacts the way you parent? Your attachment style affects all your most important relationships – from spouse to children to close friends.

So, what is “attachment style” anyway? And does attachment style really matter?

Attachment tends to be a buzz word in parenting circles. Not to be confused with Attachment Parenting, Attachment Theory comes from scientific research about different ways that children securely bond (or lack bonding) with their parents in the child’s early years. 

In a perfect world, a child experiences secure attachment when the parent-child relationship is built around emotional safety and stability from the parent. 

But we don’t live in a perfect world. 

Sometimes we (and our children) do not experience this kind of secure attachment. When we explore our family of origin, we learn how our own style of attachment affects how we respond in relationships and it definitely affects how we parent our children! 

On today’s episode, Stacy Bellward (podcast host) and Jim Jackson (Co-Founder of Connected Families) as they welcome guests Milan and Kay Yerkovich. Together, they dive into the significance of, and styles of, attachment and how we model them in our parenting. They are the authors of How We Love, and they discuss how we bring the attachment style from our parents to our own relationships, especially to our kids.  

Learning about your attachment style is a key component of the first level of the Connected Families Framework and can help you understand, “What’s going on in me?”. Parents who have not experienced secure connection — don’t lose hope! The good news is that attachment wounds from your past can be identified, and you can grow along with your kids. You can cultivate a secure, deep connection to your kids and transform your family for generations to come. 

In this podcast, you’ll discover:

  • the six attachment styles and how you can identify your own attachment style
  • how your attachment style passes on to your kids, and affects emotional regulation, sense of safety, and predictability in your home
  • the specific challenges of cultivating a secure attachment with kids who have experienced trauma, particularly kids who join your family through foster care or adoption
  • the importance of understanding your own attachment history without shame, and adopting a growth mindset to change the trajectory of your family’s legacy

We are so glad you’re here! Has this podcast been helpful? Could you please take a moment to rate and review this podcast, so others can find us more easily? Here’s what others are saying about our podcast! 

Resources mentioned in this podcast:

Guest bios:

KAY YERKOVICH, M.S., M.F.T.

Kay is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  She has a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Counseling and has been counseling with people for over 30 years.  She is a popular speaker and lecturer in the areas of parenting and marriage relationships.  In her free time Kay enjoys creative hobbies, ceramics, painting and sewing. Taking a swim in the ocean is her favorite way to renew her energy. 

REV. MILAN YERKOVICH, M.A.

Milan specializes in couples’ marriage counseling and is the founder and president of Relationship 180, a non-profit Christian counseling center specializing in the application of attachment research (www.relationship180.com).  He has a master’s degree in Biblical studies and has worked with marriages and families for over 40 years and is a Bible teacher and lecturer in the areas of relational theology, marriage, family, and parenting. He is a Co-Host of New Life Live! a nationally syndicated counseling show heard on over 180 radio stations, which can be seen on the NRB television network (www.newlife.com). He loves to row crew, swim and is a martial arts instructor.   

TOGETHER:

They are the creators of Attachment Core Pattern Therapy (ACPT™), co-authored How We Love, How We Love Workbook and How We Love Our Kids, and travel and speak extensively on relationships (www.howwelove.com).    They were married in 1972, have four grown children, two daughters-in-law, two sons-in-law and ten grandchildren. 


Are you ready to parent more peacefully? Do you find yourself feeling angry a lot? Resilience in tough times, anchored in God’s truth, could be the best legacy you leave behind. During the month of May, we are offering our Grace & Truth for Moms online course at 30% off! Grab a friend (or 2 or 10!) and join us for this five-session online course that will deeply encourage you in your parenting.

Copy of Grace Truth OC size
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Your relationship with your child might feel “off” but you’re not sure why. Could it be that the way you were parented impacts the way you parent? Your attachment style affects all your most important relationships – from spouse to children to close fr...



Your relationship with your child might feel “off” but you’re not sure why. Could it be that the way you were parented impacts the way you parent? Your attachment style affects all your most important relationships – from spouse to children to close friends.



So, what is “attachment style” anyway? And does attachment style really matter?







Attachment tends to be a buzz word in parenting circles. Not to be confused with Attachment Parenting, Attachment Theory comes from scientific research about different ways that children securely bond (or lack bonding) with their parents in the child’s early years. 



In a perfect world, a child experiences secure attachment when the parent-child relationship is built around emotional safety and stability from the parent. 



But we don’t live in a perfect world. 



Sometimes we (and our children) do not experience this kind of secure attachment. When we explore our family of origin, we learn how our own style of attachment affects how we respond in relationships and it definitely affects how we parent our children! 



On today’s episode, Stacy Bellward (podcast host) and Jim Jackson (Co-Founder of Connected Families) as they welcome guests Milan and Kay Yerkovich. Together, they dive into the significance of, and styles of, attachment and how we model them in our parenting. They are the authors of How We Love, and they discuss how we bring the attachment style from our parents to our own relationships, especially to our kids.  



Learning about your attachment style is a key component of the first level of the Connected Families Framework and can help you understand, “What’s going on in me?”. Parents who have not experienced secure connection — don’t lose hope! The good news is that attachment wounds from your past can be identified, and you can grow along with your kids. You can cultivate a secure, deep connection to your kids and transform your family for generations to come. 



In this podcast, you’ll discover:



* the six attachment styles and how you can identify your own attachment style* how your attachment style passes on to your kids, and affects emotional regulation, sense of safety, and predictability in your home* the specific challenges of cultivating a secure attachment with kids who have experienced trauma, particularly kids who join your family through foster care or adoption* the importance of understanding your own attachment history without shame, and adopting a growth mindset to change the trajectory of your family’s legacy



We are so glad you’re here! Has this podcast been helpful? Could you please take a moment to rate and review this podcast,]]>
Connected Families 101 Does Attachment Style Matter? clean 46:42
100 Truth Phrases to Keep You Going https://connectedfamilies.org/100-truth-phrases-to-keep-you-going/ Wed, 18 May 2022 21:18:56 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=41116 truth phrases

A few years ago Connected Families had a dream to extend our reach with God’s grace and truth for parenting by creating a podcast. In June 2019 that dream became a reality and we dropped our first podcast series called, “What Should I Do When…(insert parenting struggle here)”. 

This week we are excited to share that we released our 100th podcast episode! 

Listen to Episode 100:Ending the Shame Cycle”

This podcast explores how we can better replace our own parenting shame and toxic lies with God’s hope-filled grace and truth and then pass that on to our loved ones. We trust you will find this podcast encouraging! Even if you are not a normal podcast listener, take 38 minutes to listen to this one. You’ll be glad you did.

To celebrate our 100th podcast episode, it only made sense to tap into the wisdom within the growing Connected Families community. We asked the question of our Insiders Team, “What Truth Phrases keep you going in the messes of daily life?” The answers they gave did not disappoint! 

Without further ado, here are 100 Truth Phrases to keep you going! As you’ll see, the majority are inspired by Connected Families’ content and co-founders Jim and Lynne Jackson. Where they are not, we have done our best to give credit to the original source. 


The Connected Families Framework for parenting is something you can keep in your mind, right in the middle of a stressful parenting moment (with practice, anyhow). It’s behind all the parenting content on our website, in our books, and in our online courses. 

framework optimized

We have organized these Truth Phrases by each level of the framework, so no matter where you are in a parenting moment, you can find one that will speak to you.  

Truth Phrases are also available as a downloadable PDF

FOUNDATION

A question we continue to encourage parents to ask is, “What’s going on in me?” This question grows a strong foundation of insight as I relate to my child, so I can communicate the message, “You are SAFE with me.” Sometimes we unintentinally send messages to our kids that are misunderstood. Learning to receive God’s grace for ourselves, and then dispensing that grace to our kids, is at the heart of becoming an emotionally safe parent.

“You are SAFE with me.”

My greatest effort needs to be on my own heart and relationship with Christ.

All things can be redeemed.

The time between “the incident” and “the consequence” is a sacred moment. Tune into the Holy Spirit’s quiet voice. 

Jesus is more than enough. Without Him I can do nothing.  (John 15:5)

We have a lot of BIG feelings in our family, and we CAN work through them together. 

I may have little patience but the Holy Spirit has plenty for us. 

When I am failing, I’m not a failure. God is holding out new opportunities, teaching me new pathways and building me up.

God’s got this!

What’s going on in me?

I can be okay even when my kids are not.

God is God, and I am not. Trust Him!

Today is a hard day/moment but God isn’t done writing our stories. I can have hope for tomorrow.

When a toxic lie rears its head, “the voice of truth tells me a different story.”  (Casting Crowns song)

This is an opportunity for healing.

You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. (Psalm 139:5)

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. (Psalm 73:23)

God has been very gracious to me. I have more than enough. (Genesis 33:11)

My kind words are sweet to the soul and healing to others. (Proverbs 16:24)

People before plans.

Breathe.

I’m trusting in the Lord with ALL my heart!

God knew about this flaw of mine a long time ago, and He still loves me. 

God loves my kids more than I do and I don’t have to be a perfect parent because He is.

God’s grace is sufficient for me. His power is made perfect in my weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

No one is dying. We can slow down and handle this thoughtfully. 

This is hard but this is the life I prayed for and want. 

I can accept the grace that has already been given to me. 

How do I do it? By rolling with the punches, Baby! (Disney’s Incredibles 2)

God is good ALL the time.

God has given me this child. He will give me what I need to parent him/her. 

Check your shame at the door, it ain’t welcome anymore. (Cory Asbury song)

I can be ok and God loves and values me, even if the house is a disaster and the kids aren’t responding to my training.

CONNECT

Do your kids know they are loved unconditionally? Do you know you are loved unconditionally? It’s easy to believe the toxic lies that our worth is dependent on our performance, or our child’s performance. But what if our worth could be found in God alone and His unconditional love for us? These Truth Phrases will ground you in God’s unconditional love for you so you can pass that on to your children. Read on. 

“You are LOVED no matter what.”

My children are not my report card. 

Do not embitter (child’s name) or he/she will become discouraged. (Colossians 3:21)

I can receive God’s grace for myself and extend His grace to my kids.

It’s a great day to be alive!  (Travis Tritt song)

I love my kids and am relying on Jesus when I’m angry and overwhelmed. 

My child is having a hard time, he’s not giving me a hard time.

Kids are busy working hard in their play and they deserve the respect of communication just as much as an adult. 

This is hard for me, but even harder for my child. 

My faithful presence still matters to my child.

I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God.  (Bethel Music)

Just read a book together. It will get better.  (Read Aloud Revival)

Everything can be different in 20 minutes.  (Rachel Jankovic, author)

They’re my favorite people and I love them!

This is tough, but we’re going to get through it together.

God is powerfully FOR my family.

“You didn’t want that to happen!”  (Dr. Becky at Good Inside)

God, thank you for loving me (or us) right now.

When you connect to the heart of a child, everything is possible. (Dr. Karyn Purvis)

It’s OK to feel disappointed/sad/frustrated/mad… I don’t have to make my child happy. I can hold space for his difficult emotions rather than try and “fix it.” 

Feelings before facts. 

Bad moments do not equal a bad parent. God’s love equips me where I lack and strengthens me where I’m weak. 

God has so much mercy for us in this struggle.  

I need to bring God’s mercy right into the middle of this.

These tantrums are my child learning to process her big emotions, she just needs a little grace in the learning. 

CLICK HERE for a downloadable, printable PDF version of “100 Truth Phrases”.

COACH

It takes skill to misbehave! When kids want something, they tap into their strengths to get what they want, not their weaknesses.  How can we better grow wisdom in our children and not just compliance? When our children are misbehaving, how can we instill in them a desire to use their gifts to serve and bless others?

“You are CALLED and CAPABLE.”

You can have control or you can have growth. You can’t have both.  (Craig Groeschel)

It’s my job to learn to parent wisely. It’s my child’s job (over time) to learn to respond wisely. (Grace & Truth online course)

For [child’s name] is God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for him/her to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

As parents, our job is to continue to feed our little one’s logic.

Children are more capable than we often imagine. 

Hope springs from truth rehearsed. (Mark Vroegop, author)

We must seek to motivate our children rather than manipulate them.

Jesus gives me the courage to face adversity and I will grow from this.

God chose ME to be the mother (parent) for these children; He doesn’t make mistakes.

I’m not concerned. You’ll figure it out. 

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:4-6)

Everyone is still learning!

God thought I would be the perfect person to raise this tiny human. He has called me, and He will equip me.  

The Holy Spirit teaches me truth and empowers me to live a full life. (1 John 2:27)

My child is in the middle of her story. 

Do your best, God will take care of the rest.

A pushy, loud child is getting desperate to be heard but still knows their voice is valuable. 

We have come so far!

My focus is fertilizer. Look for the good.

Skill or will? (Is this a skill issue or a will issue?)  (Hope for the Journey Conference)

I love this child and we are going to figure this out. 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

My child’s rational thinking goes offline when they lose. I can help them with that over time.

CORRECT

BUT…sometimes our children need correction, right? How can we teach our kids to be responsible for their actions? We all want children who are able to reconcile well and make right what they’ve made wrong. This is a skill they will carry with them into adulthood that will impact generations to come. As your child is in the midst of a misbehavior, remember these Truth Phrases.

“You are RESPONSIBLE for your actions.”

Clear is kind. (Brene Brown)

My child can grow and learn from this hard experience.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)

How can I teach wisdom over obedience in this situation?

If I can’t fly, I will run. If I can’t run, I will walk. If I can’t walk, I will crawl. No matter what, I will keep moving forward. (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Blowing it with my child is an opportunity to model receiving God’s grace and reconciling.   Adapted from (Phillipians 4:9)

I can do all things through Christ. (Philippians 4:13)

This behavior does not define my child.  

What’s the opportunity here?  

His crisis is not my emergency. 

This is not my problem but I can be a resource. (Alfred Adler, MD)

Connect before you correct.   

My kids’ conflict is a valuable opportunity to equip them for grace-filled relationships in life. 

I will pray about this more than I will worry about it. (And then I pray.)

We are each valuable and loved.  And we are all sinners and sometimes we hurt each other.  But conflict is an opportunity for us to learn to problem solve and love each other.

She’s struggling and hurting. Hurting people, hurt people.  She needs me to be an example of grace, mercy, and love and not take it personally.

Jesus lives in me and will guide me because HE wants my kids to have a great relationship, even more than I do.

In conflict, I’m only responsible for my sin. 

God is able, over time, to do significant healing that brings him glory and he will use for his purposes.

I try to spend time with wise people. This helps me become even wiser. (Adapted from Proverbs 13:20)

I don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants me to do. (Adapted from Ephesians 5:17)


We pray you found these 100 Truth Phrases encouraging! As you read through them, consider downloading and printing this FREE PDF to share with a friend as a way to introduce them to Connected Families. We are honored to partner with you in your parenting journey.


Are you ready to parent more peacefully? Do you find yourself feeling angry a lot? Resilience in tough times, anchored in God’s truth, could be the best legacy you leave behind. Check out our Grace & Truth for Moms online course. Grab a friend (or 2 or 10!) and join us for this five-session online course that will deeply encourage you in your parenting.

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Ending the Shame Cycle | Ep. 100 https://connectedfamilies.org/ending-the-shame-cycle-ep-100/ Mon, 16 May 2022 00:01:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=41067
ending the shame cycle

Are you hard on yourself as a parent? As a person? It’s so easy to get caught up in what feels like failure to us. We want so much to be good parents! Though it’s unintentional, we can project our own feelings of shame onto our kids. Then we feel even worse. Shame can be so destructive to us and to our relationships. What does ending the shame cycle look like?

If you have ever felt stuck in this kind of a cycle, please listen to this podcast. In this milestone podcast (our 100th episode!) we talk about a prevalent and powerful concept that has resounded with our Connected Families community for nearly 20 years: Moving forward from shame to the freedom of living in God’s grace and truth.

In this episode, Stacy Bellward is joined by Connected Families Co-Founders, Jim and Lynne Jackson.  Together, they share the message that has transformed the lives of thousands of parents and families, and has provided the foundation for an enduring parenting framework. Modeling God’s grace and truth to our kids communicates that we are human, and that when we mess up there’s an opportunity to bring God’s very real mercy into any situation. 

In this podcast:

Listen in today to learn about how to embrace and incorporate truth phrases into the messiness of daily life. Phrases such as:

  • “This is a moment for compassion for me, and for my kids.”
  • “Jesus gives me courage to face adversity and I will grow from this!”
  • “Everyone is still learning.”
  • “I can respond without ‘freaking out’.”
  • “Hope is the fuel for a growth mindset.”

Was there an encouraging statement in this podcast that resonated with you? Do you have your own hopeful-truth statement that has helped you? We’d love to hear it! Post it on your social media and tag us! FB: @ConnectedFamilies Insta: @connectedfams  You will encourage other parents too! 

Mentioned in this podcast:

Want a handy list of Truth Phrases to hang onto when life gets messy? Click HERE for a downloadable/printable PDF!


Are you ready to parent more peacefully? Do you find yourself feeling angry a lot? Resilience in tough times, anchored in God’s truth, could be the best legacy you leave behind. During the month of May we are offering our Grace & Truth for Moms online course at 30% off! Grab a friend (or 2 or 10!) and join us for this five-session online course that will deeply encourage you in your parenting.

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Are you hard on yourself as a parent? As a person? It’s so easy to get caught up in what feels like failure to us. We want so much to be good parents! Though it’s unintentional, we can project our own feelings of shame onto our kids.



Are you hard on yourself as a parent? As a person? It’s so easy to get caught up in what feels like failure to us. We want so much to be good parents! Though it’s unintentional, we can project our own feelings of shame onto our kids. Then we feel even worse. Shame can be so destructive to us and to our relationships. What does ending the shame cycle look like?



If you have ever felt stuck in this kind of a cycle, please listen to this podcast. In this milestone podcast (our 100th episode!) we talk about a prevalent and powerful concept that has resounded with our Connected Families community for nearly 20 years: Moving forward from shame to the freedom of living in God’s grace and truth.







In this episode, Stacy Bellward is joined by Connected Families Co-Founders, Jim and Lynne Jackson.  Together, they share the message that has transformed the lives of thousands of parents and families, and has provided the foundation for an enduring parenting framework. Modeling God’s grace and truth to our kids communicates that we are human, and that when we mess up there’s an opportunity to bring God’s very real mercy into any situation. 



In this podcast:



Listen in today to learn about how to embrace and incorporate truth phrases into the messiness of daily life. Phrases such as:



* “This is a moment for compassion for me, and for my kids.”* “Jesus gives me courage to face adversity and I will grow from this!”* “Everyone is still learning.”* “I can respond without ‘freaking out’.”* “Hope is the fuel for a growth mindset.”



Was there an encouraging statement in this podcast that resonated with you? Do you have your own hopeful-truth statement that has helped you? We’d love to hear it! Post it on your social media and tag us! FB: @ConnectedFamilies Insta: @connectedfams  You will encourage other parents too! 



Mentioned in this podcast:



* Grace and Truth for Moms online course* Connected Families Framework* Bible verses: Psalm 3:3, 2 Corinthians 10:5, Ephesians 1,2, Romans 15:13, Philippians 4:8, 2 Peter 1:3



.stk-d466284{background-color:var(--paletteColor4,#1e3f52) !important}.stk-d466284:before{background-color:var(--paletteColor4,#1e3f52) !important}Want a handy list of Truth Phrases to hang onto when life gets messy? Click HERE for a downl...]]>
Connected Families 100 Ending the Shame Cycle clean 38:10
Getting Kids to Behave in Church https://connectedfamilies.org/getting-kids-to-behave-in-church/ Wed, 11 May 2022 09:35:00 +0000 https://connectedfamilies.org/?p=27236 getting kids to behave in church

Is church frustrating for you as a parent? If so, you are not alone! In such a public, often quiet environment, it’s easy to have a singular goal of managing your child’s noise and energy! BUT…what if your main goal is not “getting kids to behave in church”, but instead loving your children through this transition into maturity, helping them grow and build wisdom as they learn about church and about God, and that is your spiritual act of worship? 

We received the following question from a mom with three active boys who, at the time, was taking our online course Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart :

Our 4-year-old twins are very persistent and strong-willed. Yesterday, at church, I tried to get them to stay quiet and quit climbing on the pews but they wouldn’t stop! Church is one of the hardest places for us. Before church, we explain our expectations and offer incentives, but it is still a frustrating, continual problem for us. We try to get them to comply while we all work hard to stay quiet. It is so stressful!

Can you relate to this struggle?

It’s awesome when parents want to experience church together with their family! However, if all church means to kids is a place to go where they get in trouble or are tightly controlled, they will likely learn to dislike church in a hurry.

Here are some perspectives and ideas using the Connected Families Framework. For starters, our overarching suggestion is to do whatever is needed so that your kids find church to be a place of joy.

Want to read more? Check out, “How Jesus Meets Us In Distraction” written by Connected Families Certified Parent Coach, Taylor Irby.

FOUNDATION (“You are safe with me.”)

The key question to consider is, “What’s going on in me about this issue?”  How do your thoughts, feelings, and the opinions of others affect your responses? And what do your kids see in you at times like this? Most parents admit that their facial expressions and body language show their kids that church is more of a chore than a joy.   

If this describes your family, it may help to remember that Jesus loved hanging out with the messiest of people. When the disciples rebuked people for bringing children to Him (presumably the kids were not acting like little adults in the meeting!) Jesus said, “Let them come to me for this is what the kingdom of heaven is like.” (Matthew 19:13) Maybe the kingdom of heaven is not a place where kids have to sit still for an hour but instead a place of grace and acceptance for all who come!

Remembering God’s mercy for your messiness in the midst of the liveliness can help you create a safe environment for your children to learn and grow at church.  When you model that church is a safe and joyful place your kids can learn to see it that way too! 

CONNECTION (“You are loved no matter what.”)

To truly understand and empathize, ask yourself, “What’s it like to be my child right now?”. Active or “strong-willed” children tend to have more sensitive nervous systems and find church more over-stimulating than other children might. If this is the case, these kids will often seek extra activity/movement/noisiness to help them feel more in control and less overwhelmed. This can feel disrespectful or defiant to adults, but it might just be your child’s way of compensating for the stress of the church environment.

Do your lively little ones know that you understand how hard it is for them to sit still and listen to something they don’t understand, when their bodies are driven to move? How might you sincerely empathize with them?

OR, does it seem like your child is seeking attention? Another question to consider is, “Am I meeting my child’s God-given need for attention before we get into church, or do we stressfully fly into the service with my kids suffering from ‘attention deficit’?” Read about how to help prevent misbehavior with quick, intense, joy-filled attention.

COACH (“You are called and capable.”)

An important question here is, “How could I set my child up for success rather than wait for them to fail?” You can discuss this with your kids and make a plan together. As you do this, consider what your unique child might need in order to have the best shot at staying reasonably calm during church. 

A creative child might benefit from activity books that have biblical messages. A tactilely sensitive child might benefit from a back rub or some putty, pipe cleaners, etc. to fidget with. A “mover and shaker” might do best with strong movement first. You can run into church from the far side of the parking lot and/or march up and down some stairwells before the service. Would it even work to stand in a back corner and move and dance a bit as you worship? 

You might also consider having your child serve in church alongside you (nursery, ushering, handing out programs, etc.). One of our restless ADHD kiddos thrived when he teamed up with a creative friend of ours, to help him do skits for a younger class. Serving often brings a sense of belonging and value to your child which can be motivating, while keeping them more active than sitting in a pew. 

The ultimate goal is NOT to have quiet kids for one hour, but rather that they enjoy learning, serving, and worshiping together with the body of Christ.

CORRECT (“You are responsible for your actions.”)

If you’ve tried some of these ideas and the kids are still struggling, it’s okay to find other options outside the sanctuary. The message is: church is a wonderful privilege, and we are responsible to make sure those around us aren’t distracted from learning and worshiping.

Some parents go into the lobby and let the kids roam a little more freely. Some find churches that are more intentional about engaging the younger kids. Some churches have rooms for parents and kids to be together in ways that don’t disrupt the larger service. Most churches want children to enjoy coming as much as you do!  If you are at a loss for ideas you could also seek out the children’s pastor at your church– they are trained in these things. 🙂

Putting it all together: One mom’s story

If you’ve ever had kids out of control in church (think flying crayons), you’ll relate to this entertaining story below! Mary shared her story and concluded, “The Connected Families Framework is so helpful, and has given us so much hope.”   

Our children Andy (5) and Kate (4) began attending the first 20 minutes of “big church” with us recently. Our church is pretty formal and traditional, and my son Andy especially struggles. (He’s the 0 to 10 child!) Most of the time I sit on the edge of the pew just waiting for them to be dismissed. 

One Sunday when my husband was gone, it was a full on disaster! Unfortunately we sat close to a ledge that became the perfect launching platform for jumping. My son also started hurling crayon missiles into the pews in front of us. My blood was boiling and my cheeks were red with embarrassment. Andy would look at me and dangle his toe off the ledge and I’d say, “No sir, you may NOT do that!” and then he’d give me a smirk and start jumping. This happened over and over until the last song when Kate joined in, jumping and twirling all around. I wanted to hide! It didn’t matter how many looks, arm squeezes, or threats I gave that morning, they didn’t listen.

At this point I was in flight or fight and I wanted to bolt out with both of them in tow but I was more afraid of the commotion that might cause! It felt like hours for the call to dismiss them. I stood up and marched right out with my kids. They looked at me with confusion and I said, “You aren’t going to children’s church, we’re going home.”

Not a word was spoken as we walked to the car. I took some deep breaths to gather myself, fight back tears and come up with a game plan. When they asked why we were leaving, I wanted to say, “Because you don’t know how to behave in church! Y’all were terrible this morning and you know better!” Or “I am embarrassed and disappointed by how you acted!” I thought about all the privileges they should lose or consequences I could hand out.

FOUNDATION

But I heard that voice, maybe it was the Holy Spirit, but also the principles from the Connected Families Framework. It was, “How can these children behave well in church if their only teaching was, ‘You need to behave!’?” I remembered my parent coach taught me that practice with “do-overs” helps kids to learn and do better the next time they are in the same situation. I was also convicted by my response. The embarrassment I was feeling was about what my peers thought of my parenting. I was allowing my children to define my worth when I felt out of control and helpless. Thankfully I had the car ride home to think through all this. 

CONNECT