4 Sure-Fire Tips for Parents to Survive the Summer

Tips to Survive Summer

It’s summer again, and you know what that means: a totally different rhythm to schedules and family time, with lots of time for connection… and conflict.

There are long, glorious days ahead: sunshine, free time and the slower pace of summer means that you can create lasting family memories. It also means more time for tempers to flare–yours and your kids’–when expectations for a great memory-worthy summer don’t happen the way we imagined. We don’t want you to feel like you are just biding your time until school returns. You can make the most of your family time this summer, and make it the best summer yet with grace and connection.

We thought we’d help you kick off your summer by re-sharing one of our favorite summer posts — 4 tips to help you retain your parenting sanity this summer.

How to Get Kids to Say Sorry Like They Mean It

siblings argue sqWhen kids fight, the typical way many parents try to resolve things is to tell the kids they have to say they’re sorry.

While parents may be aware that this can be a very shallow, “go through the motions” sort of consequence for kids, they may also struggle to know what to do instead — “How else will my kids know that they should say they’re sorry?”

We can’t make our kids give a heartfelt apology. But we’ve found that not only can kids learn the importance of apologizing and reconciling from the heart, but they can even learn to the point where they value reconciliation enough to mend broken relationships themselves!

In this short 3-minute video, Lynne shares a helpful illustration to explain conflict resolution to kids and some practical tips for how to teach and model reconciliation in your home.

P.S. You can Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos like this.

How to Help Kids Like Each Other… with Photos!

Ever feel like the moments where your kids actually like each other are few and far between? Or like deep down they love each other, but they forget as their connection gets lost in the shuffle of sibling conflict and craziness?

Lynne was worried about that very thing when parenting her three intense kiddos who fought all the time — so she decided to change the narrative and help her kids remember that they like each other, all with the use of photos! Watch the video to hear why and how she did it:

Tired of Sibling Fighting? We Can Help!

 

Tired of Sibling Fighting-

Parents of siblings… did you ever think it would be this hard?

You imagined your kiddos as best friends, being there for each other throughout life, always having each other’s backs. And yet, here they are, yo-yo-ing from best friends to bitter enemies several times a day. Sometimes it seems like the “best friend” moments are becoming increasingly fleeting as you just try to keep the next world war from launching in your living room.

We’ve been there. We feel your pain. And we’re working to develop an online course specifically to address this seemingly impossible challenge.

Help Kids Handle “NO” by Getting Great at “YES!”

 

yes no boxes

baurka | iStockphoto.com

 

If you want your kids to respect and value your “no’s!” work harder on your “yeses!”

It’s good to teach kids the various “No’s!” in life. The best foundation for doing this is to help them habitually experience the resounding joy of the “Yes!”

For example…

  • If you want your children to say “no” to mistreating each other, create experiences — lots of them — in which they are on the same “team” having fun together. Celebrate the fun with them. Verbally affirm it: “You guys seem so happy when you’re having fun together.”
  • Or, if you want your children to say “no” to too much screen time, help them find ways to experience the joy of real-world experiences. If they like adventures, go on a hike or a camping trip. If they like movies, help them make one.
  • Or, if you want your kids to value saying “no” to too much unhealthy food, do lots of things to enjoy finding and preparing healthy food together.

The older they get the harder it is, so start early and often!

This parenting tip is sponsored by Karyn Wasylik and Jane Engel in honor of their wonderful, 97-year-old mother Marie Williams, for Mother’s Day. Learn more about sponsoring a parenting tip here.

How to Not Take Sides When Siblings Fight

 

In our family, one of the realities we face is siblings who fight. I tend to want to stop my children’s rivalry in its tracks, but I have found that I sometimes contribute to the problem rather than solve it.  Ultimately, I really want my children to figure out how to stop fighting on their own, but at first, I didn’t have the tools.  Through Connected Families, I learned how to teach my children to solve their quarrels–a life skill I want them to carry into adulthood.

Examining Motives

“Don’t jump to conclusions” and “believe the best in people” are two phrases I repeat often in my family — especially to my 11-year-old son.

But, if I’m honest, when my kids fight I am the one who jumps to conclusions and doesn’t believe the best in people.

As the youngest of four kids myself (poor, innocent me) I naturally see life from my daughter’s point of view (age 9). My husband, who grew up as the older brother of two, naturally sees life from our son’s point of view. When we get involved in our children’s fights, it is almost impossible to act as neutral parties, since we’ve got our own baggage to deal with!

This is why, when I started immersing myself in Connected Families content a few years ago (before I was employed with them) parenting tips like “When Kids Fight” helped guide me through some really difficult times. Here’s one of my favorite lines:

How to Turn a Parenting Fail into a Parenting Win

angry parent drawing fail to win

It was a Sunday evening. I was emotionally and physically done for the day and looking forward to a quiet house. Suddenly I overheard squabbling about who was the rightful owner of a large stuffed panda bear.

My engagement with sibling conflict has often aggravated my son’s anger: he feels criticized by my effort to protect his younger sister. I should have known better than to get involved in this panda bear affair, especially when I was already a little bit cranky! But I was tired and I just wanted them to go to bed so I could have a little peace and quiet to start my week.

The most sure-fire road to respectful kids!

“Knock it off! Stop it! Get over here, NOW!” These are familiar phrases for most parents. When kids act up we get frustrated. We get demanding and even disrespectful. Kids may comply with our demands in the short run but over the long run they learn from our example to be frustrated, demanding, and disrespectful when they’re not getting their way.

Dustin was becoming this kind of parent. He saw where it was leading and knew he wanted to walk a different road. He looked at numerous resources and when he discovered Connected Families he knew he had found what he was looking for. For the past 14 months he has immersed himself in Connected Families resources and support. Where once his primary goal was quick fixes and parental control, his primary goal is now to come alongside his kids as a model of God’s grace and guidance. It’s been hard work and it’s far from finished. But this recent report from Dustin shows the results:

Turn “You’re a Butthead” into Creative Sibling Connection

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

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

It is said that it takes four kind statements to “undo” one unkind statement. With this in mind, our family implemented a “four kind and true things” policy. Each time one of the kids said something unkind and/or untrue (“You’re STUPID!”), they completed a “make it right” consequence of four kind and true statements before resuming privileges.

Not wanting to make anything a parent-enforced drill, we encouraged the kids to take the calming time they needed to be sincere. The first “kind and true” was about directly correcting the hurtful, untrue statement. At least two had to be fresh and not used before. (“You’re NOT stupid, you’re really good at reading, I’m glad you shared your Legos with me, you’re fun to play Uno with.”) Occasionally if the “name-caller” got stuck, the “name-called” child would help out by suggesting a few creative ideas of his or her own personal strengths.

This practice set a wonderful tone of reconciliation in our family. Adding a discussion of Ephesians 4:15, about speaking the truth in love, helped cement the biblical nature of this activity.

This approach flows from a constructive perspective: it is much more helpful to train than to punish. It is interesting to note that the child in our family who most often needed to complete “four kind and trues” has become the strongest affirmer of others. One morning we found a note our eldest, Daniel, wrote spontaneously to his little brother. “Dear Noah, Thanks for being a neat, fun, little guy who defuses conflicts wisely and says funny things all the time, and is smart like crazy, who makes me a proud big brother.” (Wow, even more than four!)

With the intense personalities in our family, conflict will never be eliminated, but the blessing of this approach is that we easily return to a place of connection and joy.

Apply It Now:

  • Read Ephesians 4:15 with your kids and talk about what it means to “speak the truth in love.”
  • The next time someone (even a parent!) says something unkind, encourage them to take a break to write down “four kind and true things” about the person they hurt. Make sure your tone communicates – “I’m for you. I believe the best in you.”
  • Celebrate the contrast between the feelings of name-calling, and how it feels to speak the truth in love to one another. This is how God designed our hearts! 🙂

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