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It’s Summer!

It’s Summer!

Joey and Carla Link

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August 9 2017

It’s already August! Is your family enjoying time together and perhaps with grandparents? It is so hot here in the Midwest everyone is talking about finding a beach! Is that in your summer plans? The stores here are putting out school supplies. I’m thinking “School supplies, it’s barely August!”

Whatever you planned to do this summer it is definitely time to get on it. I want to go through drawers and clean them out and reorganize them. I think I have gotten one done. What about you? Do you have any household projects you were hoping to accomplish?

 

What about your kids? Did you and your spouse come up with one thing each of them needed training in? Have you started to work on it consistently? If we asked each of your kids what you were working on with them, what do you think they would say?

 

What about daily devotions? Everyone slacks off doing them in the spring for the extra 15 minutes of sleep when soccer games and practices were added into the already overcrowded family schedule. You wanted to get them going again before school starts. There is still time for that. We have devotion books for all ages at the parentingmadepractical.com bookstore.

 

If things have gotten crazy and lazy with bored kids causing trouble every day, here are some tips to get your home back in order.

 

  1. Get a routine in place. Routine brings order to your child’s day and order brings predictability, which gives kids security. Too much free time for kids of any age leads to trouble.
  • Your kids get up around the same time every day so they need to go to bed at the same time too. Don’t let summer’s lazy attitude let your kids stay up late night after night unless the family has a planned activity outside the home. I encourage you to keep them on the same sleep schedule they are on when school is in session.
  • They need to have regular eating times too. Please don’t let them snack all day. We had the rule that drinks needed to stay in the kitchen unless they were outside.
  • For kids 5-11 years, have them help you make their routine (if they have a good attitude about it). Make a list of the activities that need to be done or can be done. Include chores, devotions, reading time, free play time, game time, time on computer and so forth. Write down how much time each activity should get or needs.
  • Tween and teens can come up with their own routine, although you have the right to align it with family activities or tweak it. Make sure they include a time each day to play with younger siblings.

 

  1. Step up your obedience training. Together with your spouse, write down next to the names of each of your kids how often they come with a good attitude when you call their name and give a verbal response if you have trained them to do this (kids 4 yrs. and up). Give each of them a percentage. For the ones whose percentage was lower than 75% – it’s time to step up your obedience training. Come up with a plan, decide to be consistent and get going. If you need a review, our “Understanding First-Time Obedience” Mom’s Notes presentation comes in a packet with a chart to use. Oh, for the kids with a percentage higher than 75%, make sure you have a quiet moment with them to praise them for being consistent.

 

  1. Spend intentional time with your kids. While your kids may beg to spend time with their friends this summer, what they really want is to spend time with YOU! They may not show or say it, but they do. Spending time with your kids is more than sitting in front of the television. When was the last time you rode bikes together? Our grandkids, ages 6 and 4 yrs. were here recently visiting us parent-free and we rode bikes to a city park a few blocks away. Joey was on his bike, our little guy had just learned to ride without training wheels, our 4 yr. old granddaughter was on a big wheel and I in my scooter. What a site we made but they asked to go again and again. Oh, spending time together means no phones! You can take it with you; just put it on silent like you would if you were at the movies. This leads us to #4…

 

  1. Have FUN! It’s summer! Do things as a family but also find time to spend with each child individually. Even going for a walk around the block one-on-one or out for ice cream will speak volumes to your child. You can always have fun without letting your standards slide. I remember one of our daughters was pouting on a family outing when she was around 9 yrs. old and her father looked at her and said, “I can see you must not want to do this since your attitude is choosing to sit out and watch us have fun.” She sat for 30 minutes and watched us race cars on a track. Joey went to her and asked if she was ready to join us and she apologized and said to make it right her attitude would be good the rest of the day.

 

What are some of your favorite family activities with young children? With older kids? Can you think of activities they can do during the daily routine like “Lego Time”?

Training Your Child’s Bent

Training Your Child’s Bent

Joey and Carla Link

July 12, 2017

“Train up a child in the way he should go;

even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Proverbs 22:6

 

The future belongs to those who believeParents have hung on to this verse from Proverbs for dear life, hoping and praying their kids will “not depart from it.” “I’ve taken my kids to church their entire lives. I’ve trained them the way they should go. So why is my son so rebellious?” “My daughter took up with the wrong boy and now she is pregnant. I took her to church, we are good Christians. What happened?” are questions we often get.

Each one of our children have a “bent”,  a way to go that God has given them to be who He wants them to be to do what He wants them to do. Parents need to learn the ‘bent” God gave them so they can train them up in God’s way of living.

When we train our kids according to “the way they should go,” or their “bent, they will recognize how God made them and will see where they fit into His plan. The word bent means “someone who is determined to take a specific course of action, a knack or aptitude for doing something.”

When God designed each of your children while they were in your womb, He put together their temperament blend. He gave them specific spiritual gifts, talents, and so forth, all parts which make your child unique. As parents, it is our job to watch for these as our children develop and mature. To begin to get to know your child’s bent or “the way they should go,” we think it is important for parents to understand their children’s temperament so they can train them and teach them accordingly.

We have spent several weeks on Parenting Made Practical’s facebook page talking about the four temperaments and the strengths and weaknesses of each. Have you decided if your child is a strong-willed Choleric, a laid back Phlegmatic, a sensitive yet task-oriented Melancholy, or an energetic, out-going and fun-loving Sanguine?

For each of your child’s strengths, there is an opposite weakness. Your strong-willed choleric child has the potential to make a fine leader someday but at the same time can be bossy, demanding and has the need to control all situations he finds himself in. Your laid back, even-keeled Phlegmatic is a born peacemaker but at the same time is lazy and unmotivated. A sensitive, task-oriented Melancholy can be judgmental and expect others to stick to his to-do list as well. And your fun-loving Sanguine? They are easily distracted and don’t follow through on what they say they will do.

Everyone is a blend of two temperaments. I (Carla) think this is God’s way of balancing us out. We need to learn the temperament blend of each of our kids and train them to develop their strengths and learn how to keep their weaknesses under control.

We wrote three Mom’s Notes presentations to help you with this, focusing on the major weakness of each temperament. These presentations are called, “Working with Your Child’s Besetting Sin, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3”. They are on sale now at www.parentingmadepractical.com.

We encourage you to ask God to open your eyes to the traits that make up your child. Ask Him to show you His design for your child. Ask Him to teach you how to train your children in the way they should go, in keeping with their individual gifts and the natural ‘bent’ He gave them. When we train our kids in such a way that they find fulfillment in who they were created to be, we have done what God has called us to do as parents with the kids he gave us.

My Child Lies

My Child Lies

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Joey and Carla Link

June 2017

 

Is there anything worse than your child lying to you? It’s hard to stay calm. I was talking to a parent recently who found out her child lied to them when Mom was talking to a friend and heard what her child said to her about an issue they were dealing with. This mom felt a deep burn in her heart when she got the story from her friend.

 

What do you do when your child lies to you? We have a very helpful Mom’s Notes presentation called “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire” that is full of practical information on this troubling character trait. You can download both the notes (PDF) and MP3 at parentingmadepractical.com. I would also like to offer insight on this topic here as well. Let us first lay a foundation.

 

Does your child brush his teeth every day? Turn the light off in the bathroom? Make his bed the way he is supposed to? Get the dog fed? How about getting the trash out? Get off the computer when it’s time? Do you remind your kids to do any of these “normal” daily responsibilities? If so why do you remind them?

 

It could be because you are working on training him to do these responsibilities. When is your training over so you can give him the monkey (ownership) of each responsibility? It is over when you are confident he knows what to do, why he should do it, how to do it and does it by himself with no reminders from you 75% of the time.

 

Once you give a monkey to him, what do you do when you can see he isn’t carrying his monkeys, or he hasn’t completed the tasks he was previously characterized by doing?

 

  1. Ask yourself, is this a one-time happening or is it happening with several different responsibilities many times a day. If it is a one-time thing don’t do anything.

 

  1. If it is happening again and again, let him fail. We know this hurts you as much as them, but it is a necessary part of growing up. This is the deal with letting him fail, failure = consequences. Be ready with an appropriate consequence that makes the failure painful. If he doesn’t get his schoolwork turned in, let him feel the consequences his teacher will give him. If he is homeschooled, take away all his freedoms until he is caught up.

 

  1. When your kids give you the impression they have completed their chores and schoolwork but they haven’t, do you treat this as lying? It is a form of lying called deceiving. To deceive is “to cause someone to believe something that is not true.” Isn’t that what a lie is? To trick you to believe something other than the truth? Once your kids are 8 yrs. and above and have received the monkey for a particular responsibility or behavior, when they become deceptive in dealing with it with you, it needs to be treated as lying and you need to pull that monkey back into the funnel, meaning it is your responsibility to oversee it with your authority again.

 

  1. If you continue reminding them vs. training them to remember and be responsible for these, then you really are giving your child a double message allowing them to lie to you while at the same time telling them outright lying is wrong and not allowed.

 

What can you do? When you find they don’t get their teeth brushed or feed the dog or do whatever else is on their list of tasks for the day, instead of reminding them, threatening or lecturing them (like we talk about in our book “Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think”):

 

  • Ask them why they lied to you. With the shocked look on their face, ask them to go look up the word “deceive” in a dictionary or on the internet. Ask them how deceiving can be seen as a form of lying.

 

  • If they say “I just forgot to do it. I wasn’t deceiving you”, ask them why you should believe them. It’s easy for kids to get in the habit of “forgetting” because it erases responsibility for them. So saying they forgot to do something is again trying to deceive or trick you. Ask them why you would want to be their memory.

 

When you give your kids an instruction, when you are finished do they say “Yes Mom/Dad?” If the task does not get completed, you want to go back to “Why did you lie to me by saying you would do it?” Your child might want to know when he told you he would do it. You can tell him when he responds to you with “Yes Mom/Dad” at the end of their instruction he is agreeing to follow through with it. When he doesn’t intend to do it, saying “Yes Mom/Dad” is another form of lying and when your kids are 8 yrs. and up, they need a correction for it.

 

Kids with the Sanguine temperament are prone to lying by deceiving, distracting and the other forms you can find out more about in the Mom’s Notes presentation, “Working with Your Child’s Besetting Sin, Pt. 2 Dealing with the Child Who Lies.”

 

Teaching our kids to be responsible is one thing, and it needs to come first. Teaching them to be honest with you as well as themselves by not lying in any way when they know they should be responsible is another matter completely.

What Is Controlling Your Child?

What is Controlling Your Child?

Joey and Carla Link

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May 24, 2017

 

“You are being unreasonable!” Lexi shouted at her mother. “She thinks I’m being unreasonable?” Lexi’s mother thought and she wondered once again how to help her daughter get her emotions under control. Dealing with your child’s emotions can be frustrating at best. At times it seems none of your prodding or encouragement makes a difference in their attitude or treatment towards you or others. When I was growing up my mother would call this “they just got up on the wrong side of the bed.” Well then, how can your child make herself get up on the right side of the bed?

 

Think with us for a moment. What happens when your children feel they are being mistreated by a teacher? Or they feel a sibling or friend at school doesn’t like them? There is nothing wrong with feelings unless they control others in a negative way by manipulating them to do what they want.

 

Some 60 years ago Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ taught about this using a train. The engine was named “Facts”, the coal car is called “Faith” and the caboose is “Feelings”. He said when Christians let their feelings drive their faith, putting them in the engine’s seat, they distorted the facts which led their faith on a roller-coaster ride that left your child gasping for breath and wondering why God didn’t help them.

 

We all know someone who is led by their feelings. They can be unstable, putting their faith in wrong things leading them to make bad choices. These unstable feelings exaggerate truth which can be heard in statements like “You never” or “You always.” Lexi told her mother she never let her do what she wanted to do. Her mom realized Lexi believed this to be true. Her mom was once again left bewildered as just a couple days ago she had taken Lexi on a shopping trip and bought her a new outfit she wanted.

 

Can good feelings get out of control? Yes, when good feelings become “over the top” and become driven by “you only live once!” Putting their trust in their emotions, good or bad can lead kids to make unwise choices and decisions. Have you ever noticed our culture’s emphasis on “it feels good” is usually based on partying or living in an immoral way? From a young child squawking in the supermarket because you won’t get them the candy in the check-out lane, to a tween wanting to fit in with the crowd, to a teen going too far physically in a dating relationship, “it feels good” can lead to disaster.

 

How can you train your child to keep his feelings under control? While you can modify some of these for young children, they are most effective when children are 6 years and above.

 

  1. Always work with him on getting self-control. When you see his feelings getting out of control (don’t wait until they are out of control) have a non-verbal signal you can give him that means he needs to step away and get self-control.

 

  1. After your child shares something negative, have him share 3 positive things about the same situation/person.

 

  1. Always ask for the facts. Ask how he/she feels about the facts. Ask them how their feelings change the facts. This will help them learn their feelings are okay, but they don’t change the facts, which are truth. Feeling oriented kids don’t like to think in facts.

 

  1. Get three blocks of wood and write “Faith” on one, “Fact” on another and “Feelings” on the 3rd. Have your child keep these where he/she can readily see them. When their feelings are getting out of control, switch the blocks so “feelings” are first, “Faith” is second and “Fact” is 3rd. Tell your child to sit and think about how their feelings are leading them to make wrong choices and to sit until he/she can put them in proper order again and tell you what they are going to do about their feelings when they apologize to you.

 

  1. Ask your child who is in authority over him/her. Their response should include you, God and perhaps a teacher and coach. Ask your child if he believes he needs to follow what these people say, can he trust them to be right? When he decides he can, remind him God put people with authority in their life starting with their parents so when their feelings get mixed up, they know who they can trust and follow.

 

Bottom line, parents need to do as Solomon said in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” If you as a parent see your kids being led by their emotions, work on guiding them back to working off of facts, showing them one does not exclude the other.

Who’s Taking Care of Your Kids?

Who’s Taking Care of Your Kids?

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Joey and Carla Link

May 2017

 

A frustrated lady was telling me recently about the small group she was in at their church and how out of control the kids were, so much so they couldn’t keep a child care worker for the 8 kids in spite of getting paid $30 for 2 hours work.

 

I found it interesting that Christians love to study the Bible and non-fiction books on Christian living, yet at the same time they don’t work on the most fundamental directive God gave parents in Ephesians 3:20: “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

 

I think it pleases the Lord when parents take the time to train their children to obey them even more so than going to a small group study. Why? Obedient children are a testimony that opens a window of light to our world which lives in darkness. Think of a childcare worker telling all her family and friends about the kids she sits for at this church that are obedient and respectful to her.

 

3 Things a Parent can do about Disobedient Kids in Public Settings

 

  1. Teach your kids to be obedient at home. If you don’t know how, our Mom’s Notes Presentation “Understanding First Time Obedience” and our book “Why Can’t I Get My Kid’s to Behave? share information on this. Both of these resources share practical

things you can start on right away.

 

As a parent, when your child does not obey you or someone you put in responsibility like a babysitter, teacher, childcare worker or grandparents, what do you do about it? We encourage you to stop and take a look at how often they obey you at home, with a good attitude. If you need to get to work on it, get the resources you need and get started.

 

  1. Talk to your child at home or in the car before going to the event.
  • Ask them what they are supposed to do when a teacher, coach or other adult gives them an instruction. Ask them to tell you why it is important to be obedient and respectful to adults.
  • Ask them what they can do if other kids are not obeying the teacher.
  • Clarify any doubt in their understanding of your expectations.
  • Ask them what will be the consequences if they don’t obey the adult leaders.
  • For your child to submit to teachers, childcare workers and other adults, parents must consistently provide the consequences when their child disobeys so he/she will not gamble by guessing if they will get in trouble or not. When a child believes there will be some kind of pain (when they get home) if they disobey the adult leaders will help them to say “no” to the disobedience they could get into.
  • It embarrasses children of any age when they have to go back to the leaders of the event and apologize for being disobedient and disrespectful to them. When our kids complained about this we told them their sin was embarrassing them, not us.
  1. Take action.
  • When kids are allowed to play with no structure in place, they will get wild. Always. Plan the time out when the children are there. Ask 2-3 teens to take turns planning the program (Bible story, craft, games, music) as a service project. If you have 2 teams of 2-3 teens each, they would only have to be there twice a month, the teams alternating weeks. Work with them until they get the hang of planning a program.
  • Many small groups across the country are using our book “Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave?” as their group study. You can download questions for each chapter off our website at no cost, parentingmadepractical.com.
  • The biggest issue childcare workers, teachers, coaches or other adult leaders have with parents is they don’t listen to them when they are trying to explain the negative behavior of their child. These leaders/teachers have no reason to lie to you. Listen carefully, thank them for telling you and work on it at home.

 

This should be the goal of every parent for when they pass the responsibility of their child on to someone else to care for and teach them.

 

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls,

as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning,

for that would be of no advantage to you.”

Hebrew 13:17 (ESV)