Parents love giving their kids good gifts. And kids love receiving them! As you’ll learn in our upcoming Entitlement Online Course, the gift-giving experience can be an exciting dopamine burst (our body’s reward/pleasure chemical) for everyone! It can be fun at first, but over time the joy can quickly give way to a sense of entitlement.
Add to the mix a highly sophisticated advertising industry aimed at shaping the values of kids in order to influence their buying habits. One study reported that children under 14 influenced as much as 47% of American household spending. It is estimated that advertisers spend more than $12 billion per year to reach the youth market and that children view more than 40,000 commercials each year. These figures represent dramatic increases over those from the 1970s. They communicate a subtle and troubling message: “You need this toy (or food) to be happy.” These advertisers gauge not only how to shape your kids’ buying habits, but their identity: “You’re the coolest when you have our product!”
As you’re heading into some potentially stressful situations over the next few days (changing schedules, relatives who might judge your parenting, or not feeling connected to your kiddos) take an hour and listen to this encouraging podcast where Jim and Lynne were interviewed by Heather MacFadyen of the God Centered Mom podcast.
Highlights of their conversation (and why you might want to listen to the whole thing!):
- Why kids can behave better at school/other places and fall apart at home.
- Helping your kids get through challenging scenarios well, like traveling and restaurants.
- How to connect with your kids when we don’t even like them.
- Dealing with your need to get parents’ approval (the grandparents) when kids misbehave.
- What to do when you are trying to connect with your child and they are not responding.
So, maybe on your drive to your holiday gathering, or maybe while you are in the bathroom taking an especially long time putting on your make-up and doing your hair, listen to this interview. You’ll be refreshed, encouraged and challenged. And you might even come out on the other side of Christmas with an extra measure of joy!
Do you ever feel like your family is under the microscope at holiday gatherings?
Your lively kids – in unfamiliar places, without their usual toys – often reflect the stress all around them, which can mean they get loud, obnoxious, and argumentative. The icy stares or sidelong glances from relatives — especially your parents — can communicate, “That is soooo disrespectful, and clearly needs some firm discipline.”
You may even get some direct comments like, “Aren’t you going to deal with that?” or, “You really shouldn’t tolerate that disrespect!”
You know that you are learning more graceful, wisdom-building ways to parent and you want to stay the course, but you don’t know how to respond without sounding disrespectful to your parents. You may even second guess yourself and get harsh or firm in unnatural ways with your kids, just to avoid the criticism.
So what can you do?
It’s that time again — time for Christmas carols, snowflakes, and Advent candles, but also time for hectic schedules, slushy boots, and the Christmas cookie sugar crash.
Christmas (and Advent) can be a wonderful time to share meaningful connection as a family, but it can also be a challenging diversion from your normal routine. So we’ve assembled a countdown of our five most popular Christmas parenting tips to help you make the most of your family’s Christmas season.
Many of us grew up with Santa, but his little buddy the Elf on a Shelf has gotten growing attention in recent years.
Just like the Santa story, the “Elf” story can lead your kids toward God, or away. We just like to think deeply at Connected Families, and how we celebrate the birth of our Savior is certainly an important topic warranting thoughtfulness. So let’s take a look at the Elf on a Shelf through the all-purpose Connected Families questions: “What’s going on?” and “What should we do?”
Whether you’re feeling totally frazzled or totally prepared, here are some of our favorite parenting tips to help you and your family not only survive but find connection, faith, and the peace of Christ through this Christmas season.
As many of us prepare for our annual Christmas gift exchanges, it can be easy to be caught up worrying about making sure that everyone has the perfect gift, or that all the kids get something they wanted, or that all the gifts are fair.
It can be easy in all the rush to forget that we in the United States are already rich in comparison with most of the rest of our world-neighbors. The most alarming of the many statistics is that nearly half the world lives on less than $2 per day per person. That’s not just for food – that’s for everything!
It’s one thing to know this and talk about it in passing from time to time. It’s another to illustrate it and talk in depth about it with your kids. Let it sink in. Discuss and pray through what you want to do about it.
jarenwicklund | iStockphoto.com
Last Christmas I pulled out God’s Word to read the familiar passages of Luke 2:4-20 to my niece and nephews and extended family.
The version I read from was the Hawai’i Pidgin Bible (“Da Jesus Book”), a Wycliffe translation of the New Testament into the language of Native Hawaiians. The Hawai’i Pidgin language is a mix of common English and Polynesians roots. It’s a fascinating translation that can seem rather silly at first glance, but can also surprise you with its simple depth. Read this section a couple times for yourself and you’ll see what I mean:
Christmas is here. It seems only yesterday that it was the start of school… Thanksgiving even… and now the celebration of Jesus’ birth is upon us. What’s a busy parent to do to make sure the kiddos are still feeling safe, loved, capable, and responsible amidst all the hustle and bustle? Here are a few ideas from Christmas past…