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Show Your Devotion to God

Right now is the best time to work with your kids on developing a consistent quiet time. There are many good resources out there to accomplish this. How can you encourage your kids to have consistent devotions?

Set reasonable expectations – Most devotion books allow kids to have their quiet time in 10-15 minutes. Be satisfied with this.

Write it down – Encourage them to write their prayer requests in a spiral notebook or journal, and to use this same notebook to answer the questions that are asked at the end of the day’s lesson.

Sharing keeps kids accountable – One night a week, Dad invites the kids to bring their notebooks and share 2-3 things in their devotions that spoke to their hearts. Have them share 1-2 answers to their prayer requests so kids can see God does answer prayer. Encourage them to write the answers to their prayer requests in the journal.

Lead them to Jesus – Your kids will love hearing what God is teaching you as well. During this weekly share time, Mom and Dad need to be prepared to share 2-3 things they learned in their quiet times that week as well.

Doing It

“Doing It”

by Joey and Carla Link

doit

Parents do a lot of talking. Your kids need to see less talking and more “doing.” It is time to put into practice the frequent words of advice you give your kids.

 

Please be kind to each other,” Mom begged her kids. Ephesians 4:32 tell us to “be kind and tenderhearted to each other.” For kids, these are just words. Show your kids what kindness looks like.

  • Ask your church for the names of elderly widows who don’t have family in the area, then adopt a couple of them. Ask them over for dinner.
  • Have a theme of “Be happy.” During dinner, Dad starts a game of, “I’m happy when…” and calls out a person’s name to go next. Once that person answers, he gets to call out a name and so forth.

 

I told you to pick up your room! Why is it still a mess?” Mom yelled. “When are you going to learn to keep your room clean?” Instead, going with the “Be happy” theme, gather your kids and tell them that you are having a positive reinforcement day (Proverbs 31:31). Whenever they cheerfully do what they have been instructed to do with no reminders or warnings, they get a reinforcement or reward. Have a basket ready with pieces of candy, gum and cards with one of their names on each one. When one of your children pulls a card, he reads inside how special he is to you. Over the dinner table, Dad asks the kids if they enjoyed getting smiles and hugs all day from Mom rather than consequences. Mom tells which child got the most rewards and Dad tells that kid he is taking him and only him out for ice cream that night.

 

Mom-m, sissy won’t share her toy with me,” your 5 year old whined. Mom goes to her daughter and asks her why she won’t share and reminds her it is “more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) Show your children the blessing of giving. Staying with the “Be happy” theme, work with your kids to show them the blessings of sharing what they have. Declare a ‘sharing’ day. Have each of your kids choose 2 outfits they don’t wear anymore and 2 toys.

 

Take them for a drive to a homeless shelter. Tell them why people become homeless, especially women and children. Ask them if they would like to give their clothes and toys to these children, who have little to play with. That night when you tuck them into bed, let them know how proud you are of them.

 

We hope you can see how “doing it” will show your children how to model the character of God. There is little else you can do that will have more value than this!

 

 

 

 

 

What Are Your Kids Thinking About

Parents often look at their kids and wonder what they are thinking about. Which of us haven’t wished for the gift of mind-reading when it comes to our kids?! You have given your kids consequences for misbehavior, yet they repeat the offense again and again. You wonder if they think you are going to overlook it this time, or if they like pain, or if the consequence wasn’t tough enough and so on. In your mind, they do what they are supposed to do and make wise choices and they get the blessing of earned freedoms and rewards…they don’t, and they get the pain of consequences and your disapproval. Seems simple enough, doesn’t it?

SO, JUST WHAT ARE YOUR KIDS THINKING ABOUT?

 

Let’s look at what they SHOULD be thinking about. Many times we think of the teachings in the Bible for us as adults, but it is in the “Instruction Book for Life” on how we are to raise our kids! Philippians 4:8 is a terrific verse we should be drilling down deep and planting in the hearts of our kids.

 

“Finally brothers, 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.”

 

There are eight key words in this verse that should be what your kids are thinking about!

True…Noble…Right…Pure…Lovely

Admirable…Excellent…Praiseworthy

 

Can your kids even define these terms? Sounds like this would make a great Family Night project! Then ask them (and you) to pick 1 and write down one way they can work on it that week. Decide on a night to talk about the progress each of you has made during dinner the next week. On the other hand, you and your spouse should pick one each child struggles with, and make a plan on how you are going to train them in that.

For a biblical principle to stick with your child, you have to plant it in his heart so when he has to make a decision that would use this principle, his mind can reach down and grab it so he makes a wise choice.  Too often we talk to our kids, but we do not teach or train our kids.

You can throw watermelon seeds on the ground and hope and pray some of them grow and mature. Or you can take the time to plant them. It takes little effort to open a package and toss seeds wherever they land. To plant them means getting tools out, finding the best spot, digging up the ground, making mounds for the seeds to sit in with a water trench around the mound, fertilizing them and watering them consistently so they will bear ripe fruit. That’s the difference between talking and teaching.

Training your kids has 3 parts.

  1. Teach them by giving them information and telling them WHY they need to apply it.
  2. Work with them to show them HOW to use this information and model it for them.
  3. Hold them ACCOUNTABLE for doing it, which means giving them consequences when they don’t.

This is how you plant the Word of God down deep in your kids’ hearts. By showing them how to put a biblical principle into practice, when it comes time for them to make a decision, they will know what to do. They will know HOW to keep their thoughts on the right track. Keeping your kids thoughts pure and holy is not something you do just once, but throughout the entire time they live in your home. When they leave home they will know what to do, because you helped them think through what is  true, and noble, right, pure, lovely admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy”

Helping your kids develop and cultivate right thinking will definitely change their focus and attitude about things. Have you ever noticed when they make unwise choices they are thinking about themselves? The eight things to think on from Philippians 4:8 are others-focused. This fits in perfectly with Jesus’ teaching, “Love others just as much as your love yourselves.”

When our kids made a decision that focused on themselves, we would ask them, “Who are you thinking of right now?” They had no other answer but to say, “Me.” If they had a teachable heart, when we followed this up with the question, “Who should you be thinking of right now?” we got the response of “my sister” or whoever or whatever they should have been focused on. If they weren’t teachable, you have uncovered ground you need to get the gardening tools out for and begin cultivating your child’s heart to begin thinking rightly.

This is how we trained our kids to keep their thought processes on “…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.”

 

 

 

Apologies are Important

Most moms want their kids to apologize when they have done something wrong. Parents want to know if they should force their kids to apologize when they don’t want to. Why is apologizing so hard? I ask myself that question when I struggle to apologize. To get into the habit of apologizing makes it easier, and that is why we believe you should force children to apologize, even if they don’t mean it.

 

Our son had a tough time apologizing, especially to his sisters. We often had to force him to do it. But when we see him quickly apologize to his wife when he thinks he has offended her, we are grateful we stuck with working with him on this.

 

Apologizing looks like this – a child needs to:

1. Admit he (or she) was wrong. Saying “I’m sorry” is not enough. All they are sorry for is they got caught. To say, “I didn’t obey,” is not good enough either. It is too generic. He needs to state what his disobedience looked like.

2. Tell why what he did was wrong.

3. Ask for forgiveness, which is making the relationship right with the one he offended.

4. Tell what he will do to make things right, such as go and do what he was asked with a good attitude, or admit he needs to apologize to his siblings if he has offended them.

5. Accept the consequence. If a child is truly apologetic, he will calmly accept the consequence. This is why we recommend you give the consequence to your child after he apologizes. Apologizing is a key part of training children to obedience. To apologize correctly takes a humble spirit. Kids behave when they are humble, and are pleasant to be around.

 

What about your family? Have you worked with your children to apologize when they do something wrong or offend someone? Have you seen a difference in their attitude when they do?

Positive Parenting

Elevate the Good

 What do we mean by this? It is easy for parents to focus on the restrictive or negative side of parenting. You are “restrictive” in your parent when you point out your children are doing wrong. “Why can’t you get ready on time?” “When are you going to do what I tell you to do?” “Stop hitting your sister!” While you cannot avoid being restrictive in your parenting, don’t overlook the many things you can do that affect the behavior of your child in a positive way, often without discipline.

ELEVATE THE GOOD…

Point your children in the direction you want them to go. Instead of saying, “Stop hitting your brother!” try, “Tell me one way you can be nice to your brother.” After you get that answer, say, “Are you willing to do that now?”  Pointing them to the ‘good,’ is to get into the habit of saying the opposite of the negative. Instead of saying this: Stop running in the house! Try this: Please walk in the house, you can run outside. Instead of this: Why can’t you do what I tell you to do? Try this: I asked you to vacuum the family room. When will get that done? Instead of this: We are late again, why can’t you get your stuff done on time? Try this: Make a list of all the things you need to do to get ready to leave the house in the morning. Write down how much time it will take to complete the list. That is how early you need to get up.

Write down the negative things you said to each of your kids this past week. Re-word each statement in a positive way. Parents have to teach themselves to elevate the good in their children.

Praise and encouragement are far better motivators to get your children to do what they are supposed to do to than discipline and critical words. When you praise your child, you are showing him honor and your approval for something he did. When you encourage your child, you are giving him courage to do something he needs to do, and you cheer him on towards the goal.  To encourage someone is to give him hope. Praise is for an accomplishment, encouragement is to be given along the way.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

“Therefore encourage one another

and build each other up.”

       I Thessalonians 5:11

ARE YOU REQUIRING YOUR CHILDREN TO DO THINGS YOU ARE NOT REQUIRING OF YOURSELF?  Children quickly pick up on any double standard on the part of the parent, and it breeds in them a lack of trust and security. Asking your children to do what you are not asking of yourself applies to more than just your actions.  It applies to how they view your character. For example, do not require them to speak kindly to others if you do not speak kindly to them.

“Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.”

I Corinthians 11:1

Elevate the good, encourage your children when they take the initiative to do the right thing and don’t require your children to do what you will not make yourself do as. Wow. This is a lot to work on, isn’t it? Pick one of them and get to work on it. Flip your calendar to the beginning of next month and write down one of the others and figure out a way to work on it. Do the same for the next month. The only way to be consistent when working on things is to work on one thing at a time. Putting these positive ways to get your kids attention will reap huge benefit.

Tammie CrowgeyJune 25, 2013 - 11:20 am

Wow. I need to hear this message every day. By nature, I am quick to see all the things my kids are not doing well and slow to see what they are doing well. It’s embarrassing to admit that I have to physically remind myself (by writing the word “Praise” on a note card and placing it in a prominent place) to praise my children. However, when I praise them, I can see the joy on their face and in their attitude.
I also would not have thought to reword my instructions in a positive manner. What a great tip. It helps me to focus on the goal we are working towards and not focus on where we have been in the past.
Thank you Joey and Carla for sharing your fount of wisdom!