Trash, Truth, Treasure

Helping kids turn anger into wisdom

When our child gets teased, battered and bullied by another child’s hurtful words, we parents are inclined to step in and fix it by saying things like, “Oh honey, that’s not true.” Or, “You don’t deserve that.” Or maybe we’ll criticize the aggressor (especially if that aggressor is an older sibling). Quick fix responses like this may settle things down in the short-term, but keep parents in the role of managing all the difficult emotions instead of empowering their kids. This article will teach you how to equip your kids to filter through what others say to them and respond wisely instead of cover their hurt feelings with anger.  

We’ve coached many parents how to equip their kids with wisdom to assess the value of what others say to them. You too can help your children learn to place the things others say to them in one of three categories: Trash, Truth and Treasure.

How I Helped My Baby Sleep Without a Sleep Method

Did you find this blog because you Googled, “How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?” Well then, my friend, soak in this moment of knowing…this is NOT your magic bullet to deep nourishing sleep. At Connected Families, we don’t believe in quick fixes. We believe in lasting change. We believe in seeking the Holy Spirit, and the hard work that brings rich connection between parent and child.

If you have been following our work for a while, you are familiar with the Connected Families Framework. Over the last two years, while working behind the scenes I couldn’t help but memorize and internalize these four levels of parent/child connection. I assumed it would come in handy in my parenting journey, but I was not expecting to apply it so early!

To Unlock Your Child’s Heart, Just Ask for the Key!

If you are reading this, you probably want your kids to know how much you love them. And you probably tell them often that you do. But effectively communicating love is not always so simple. How can we be sure that what we mean as love is received as love? It can take insight, determination and creativity to communicate love messages in ways children can’t miss them.

How I Turned My Parenting Fail into a Lesson in Grace: Sukay’s Story


We’re excited to introduce you to Sukay, who is part of our parent coaching team, and to share with you a story from her parenting journey. 

Whether or not they verbalize it, kids often struggle with feeling like they are “bad kids” or that they are “naughty” when they misbehave. It can be tough for parents, especially in moments of frustration as our kids are acting out, to communicate the message that they are loved no matter what even if their behavior may be less than desirable. The following story is an example from my own family life of a time when I discovered a great opportunity to communicate this message.

Why This Mom Loved Her Messy, Lopsided Christmas Tree

lopsided christmas tree messy loved itCheck out this “unique” Christmas tree. Not exactly what you’d expect to see in the town square, right?

While this “creative” design might have your fingers itching to straighten those dangling garlands, the mom whose tree it is decided she liked it how it was. Why? It was decorated by her children, a 2-year-old, a 4-year-old, and a 6-year-old.

Her decision might seem a little strange at first — after all, decorating can be a team effort, and parents can be on the team to make the house look presentable, right?

But ponder this: What message are the parents communicating to their children by not re-decorating this lopsided tree to a more sophisticated style?

  • What matters is not how things look, but the heart behind it.
  • You and your creativity are more important than my style of decorating.
  • I’m enjoying this stage of life with you, just the way you are.

Cultivating an attitude of loving our kids no matter what — even when their decorating is a little less than picture-perfect — in fact, ESPECIALLY then — is one of the best gifts you can give them this Christmas.


Did you know that Connected Families was started 13 years ago, reaching just a few hundred people in Chaska, MN? And now families all over the globe – from Australia, to Brazil, to China – are leaning into grace-filled biblical parenting. If you live outside the United States and receive our parenting tips, or have taken an online course, or have read our books, send us a quick note! We’d love to hear from you.

Donors – your financial partnership makes it possible for us to reach thousands of families a year, regardless of location! Help us reach more families around the world by donating $25, $50 or more. Every dollar will be matched – dollar for dollar – up to $50,000!

My Kids’ Messes Drive Me CRAZY!

For years I have struggled with the mess that our lively, spontaneous, creative, frequently disorganized children made at high speed. I used to call it “Trash and Dash.”

Since their father has somewhat more “relaxed” standards of housekeeping than I do, household messes were a constant battle in which I felt hurt, alone, and resentful.

Why is Connecting with My Kids So Hard?

She sat right in the front row. For the first three weeks of our class she had listened wide-eyed and engaged enthusiastically as we talked about the principles of Foundation and Connection. This day was different.

During the class she avoided eye contact and spent much of the time looking at the floor. She never spoke a word. After the class I approached her. “You seemed a bit distant today. Is everything OK?”

Connected Families in Ferguson, MO

Today we’d like to share with you a story we received from a dad who has been impacted by Connected Families and seen change not only in his parenting, but also in his urban ministry in Ferguson, MO.

Brycen Marner is the founder of the Kulture, an urban ministry in North County Missouri. The Kulture exists to nurture lasting hope in all areas of life for youth and young adults through transformative relationships with peers, mentors and Jesus Christ.

brycen the kulture

Brycen (back center) and some kids from the Kulture

During the spring of 2015, Brycen and his wife Kacey took part in our Discipline that Connects online course. Their goal was to gain skills and wisdom in raising their young family. Brycen wasn’t expecting that what he learned would impact the work that he’s doing with youth of Ferguson through the Kulture. We sat down with him to learn more.

Love – No Matter What!



For I am convinced that
neither arguing nor defiance,
neither sibling conflict nor disrespect,
neither bad grades nor failure,
neither whining nor lying,
neither forgetfulness nor messes,
nor any other misbehavior
will be able to separate you from
my love or from God’s amazing Love.

Romans 8:38-39
as adapted by Connected Families

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