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Dealing with a Proud Child

By Joey & Carla Link

April 7, 2021

Do your kids get big heads? Do they think they know more than you do? Do they walk around with their chest puffed out showing a proud, conceited, arrogant heart? Do you have a child who is in the habit of bossing others around, telling them what to do and criticizing them when they don’t do it right? 

This can be common for first born kids and older siblings, to try and boss their younger siblings around, but it’s also the root of bullying and aptly describes a kid who is said to be “strong-willed”. Strong-willed kids have the Choleric temperament, but these attributes are the weak or negative sides of a kid with the Choleric temperament. 

As strong-willed kids don’t have trouble sticking to their guns, perseverance is a strength of theirs. They are dynamic and powerful, thriving on opposition (which is why he/she will wear their parents out when they are trying to correct him long before he gives in). A mature Choleric is determined to do the right thing. They are quick thinkers and quick to act which makes them good in crisis. 

“For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. For there are many who must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.” 

Titus 1:7-14 “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.” Proverbs 16:5 

If a proud person won’t go unpunished in God’s eyes, then we as God’s servants in raising the kids He has given us, need to be sure we don’t let our kids get away with living with a proud heart. We talked about good pride and bad pride last week and the last thing parents should want is for bad pride to take root in their kids’ hearts and grow like an out-of-control weed that will start to take over their family. 

I (Joey) was talking with a mom one day who was always feeling challenged by her strong-willed child. She said it felt like he was never teachable or open to her training. I (Joey) told her you can’t have pride and arrogance rooted in the same heart with humility and a gentle, teachable spirit.” 

Here are 5 signs of a proud and non-teachable child:1.   The Know It All – They think they are equal to you in knowledge, critical thinking and leadership skills, and will tell you what you are missing in parenting their siblings. They point out to siblings how much better they are than them. 

2.   Impatience – They don’t want to wait for you. They think you should serve them and be ready to go when they are ready to go. They are always in a hurry to get to the next thing. If a child can’t wait on you and tells you what to do, you have a proud child.  

3.   Critical – If your child is critical of you, their siblings, their friends, teachers or others, they are telling you they think they are better than everyone else and can tell them how they should run their lives. A critical child is not a teachable child or a grateful one because they think everyone else needs to rise to their moving standard. 

4.   Ungratefulness – Strong-willed kids are not thankful for the simple things in life like you taking them to sports practice several times a week. They expect you and others to be at their beck and call and to follow their lead on all things. They get upset when you forget something that they want or need when they need to be somewhere. Kids today have so much stuff they often don’t appreciate what they have because when you start taking away things they have lost the freedom to do, their room is full of equally fun things to do so they don’t miss what they lost. 

5.   Boasting – Strong-willed kids are proud of what they have and brag about it to their friends. Boastful minds cause them to look down on others because they think they are better, smarter and more talented than everyone else. It can be shown in their attitude towards others or in the words they say to them. 

How do you correct strong-willed kids? In our book Taming the lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think and in the Mom’s Notes presentations “Understanding Freedoms, Pt. 1 and Pt. 2” you will find the answer to this question. Unfortunately, we are out of room to talk about it here. It’s going to take focus, consistency, perseverance, patience, determination and lots of talking on your part to help the strong-willed child see their sin and humble themselves before God, you and their siblings. These kids need to admit they were wrong which will be very difficult for a proud child but is foundational for them to begin changing their hearts and ways. 

What Are Your Kids Growing?

By Joey and Carla Link

March 31, 2021

I (Joey) looked out the window and saw that the snow had melted and I was surprised to see fresh green grass popping up today. Now that spring has sprung, I started to wonder what is cropping up in the hearts of kids? What new influences could be starting to take root in your child’s mind and heart?Here is a list of some things that are typical yet parents often don’t see 

  • New words, terms or phrases become part of their language. They pick them up from friends at school, church, social media, the internet and television. Are these words sarcastic, cruel, meant to tear down and make one feel bad about themselves or are they uplifting, gentle, fun-loving and meant to make one feel good about themselves? Are they words that fit with your family standards and please God? If your kids are using words that tear down instead of lift up, take away the freedom to speak for a few hours (8 yrs and up).
  • They stop saying “Yes Mom/Dad” when you call their name. When our son was about 11 yrs. old, he said “yes” but dropped the Mom/Dad. We could see a slide in his behavior and attitude but couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. One of our girls overheard us talking about it and told us he stopped saying “Yes Mom/Dad”. We called his name and sure enough, all we got was “Yes”. While this may not seem like a big deal to many of you because it was after all, still polite, the point is – who changed the family standard? We made sure he understood he didn’t have the freedom to make that decision and soon the son we knew was in there somewhere came out again.
  • They start leaving things done partway they used to do completely. After making them go back and re-do things for weeks on end, Carla had our kids all gather upstairs and had them make their beds and she timed each of them doing it. They all made them the way they had been taught in under 3 minutes. She asked them why they couldn’t find 3 minutes every morning to make their bed before they came down for breakfast. She took them around the house and repeated this exercise with all their chores until they were all asking for our forgiveness for not getting their things done completely.
  • It’s light outside later, so they think they should be able to stay up later. Did they ask to talk about making their bedtime later or do they just decide themselves to make it so? Again, maybe we should have titled this “Who Decides?” It would be one thing to ask if they could have a later bedtime, or if they could read for 30 minutes before it was light’s out, but they didn’t. When our kids tried this, we had them go to bed even earlier to show them asking for a freedom is always better than taking one.


  • They want the same freedoms their friends have. As they near the end of another grade in school, they see their friends have more freedoms than they do and they think they should have the same freedoms too. We asked our kids to write down the freedoms their friends had they didn’t, and then we would look for one we could give them. They knew if they took more freedoms they didn’t have they would lose that one so they stuck to their boundaries like glue.

 Spring is a fun time to see newness of life. We want to plant things and watch them grow. It is a great time to plant new Godly character into your children’s hearts. Don’t forget you have to weed those planters too, whether they are flowers or food. If you don’t, the weeds will take over and squeeze the life out of the good plants. That’s what sin does to us and our kids if left unchecked. What kind of behavior issues do you need to refocus on with your kids to be sure the Biblical principles you have been putting into their hearts are taking root? At times our kids need some fertilizing or weed killer to put in their funnels of irresponsibility before these roots grow too deep. It’s always easier to hold back some of their freedom’s until you know they are ready for them vs. trying to take freedoms away once they have had them. What new things are your kids starting to notice or do that could grow bad roots? Are they good, holy and honorable things, or could they bring some bad, sinful irresponsible corrupting tendencies into your child’s life and your home? 

Good Pride vs. Bad Pride

By Joey and Carla Link
March 24, 2021

Good Pride – “Satisfaction in a job well done that took a lot of effort.”
Bad Pride – “When a person believes he or she is better than others and knows more than everyone else, or when a person believes he is capable of something he really isn’t.”
I (Carla) spent several months working on a quilt for one of my granddaughters. I couldn’t find a pattern I liked so I decided to design it myself. It turned out beautifully and she loved it and I was proud of the way it turned out. This is an example of good pride, for a job well done. Telling your child you are proud of them for getting good grades when you know he/she studied extra hard is another example of good pride. Then there’s bad pride. A mother confided in me the other day that she is tired of reminding her kids to say “Thank you”. Two little words yet so hard to say. Why is that? To be thankful, the focus is on the person you are thanking, not yourself. To be characterized by a spirit of thankfulness is to think of others more often than you think of yourself, or put their needs and wants before yours. Young children don’t understand this and all the talking to them about it isn’t going to get them to. They want what they want and will let you know how unhappy they are when they don’t get it. It is good to teach them to say “thank you” so it will become a habit. When they are old enough to understand why they should be thankful for things they receive and to people who do nice things for them the “lights will come on” as they say because they have been doing it already. Our children are the same way, when they decide they want what they want to do more than what you as their parents tell them to do, they are being proudWhen your child can stand up and talk back to you or tell you “NO” to your face, they have moved out from being your child to being a peer and being proudthey think they know what is best, and by making the choices they are making, they are declaring they are worshiping themselves over God and being obedient to you.  God talks about pride in this way: “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Proverbs 26:12
The heart attitude that lies behind being “wise in your own eyes” is a proud and arrogant spirit.“To fear the Lord is to hate evil. I (God) hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” Proverbs 8:13 Pride focuses on self. A child who is characterized by pride will not put others first, including his/her parents and God. “Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” Proverbs 13:10
Today’s generation of children have a problem with being “wise in their own eyes”. We think this is because they have been bombarded since they were born with a culture that teaches them to have a strong self-esteem, which in reality teaches them to focus on self. Kids need to have a healthy self-esteem which ultimately is based on their identity in Christ. Someone who has a healthy self-esteem has an in-born sense that tells them to take care of themselves, protecting themself from harm when necessary. Someone with an unhealthy self-esteem elevates promoting themself above others. What do Children Who are Arrogant Look Like?

  • They “show off” what they know – Instead of looking to help others with knowledge, they use it to make others feel dumb or less smart than they are
  • They boast and brag
  • They argue with you
  • They constantly correct you and others
  • They have difficulty submitting to those in authority
  • They frequently point out the fault of others
  • They make excuses for their behavior
  • They take freedoms they have not earned
  • They have to be “first” and “best”

 “If you have played the fool and exalted yourself, clap your hand over your mouth.”Proverbs 30:32 If Your Child is Prone to Pride Teach Him:

  • How God views a proud spirit vs. a humble spirit
  • Teach him to think of others first
  • Always have him work through the repentance process for big and little things
  • Work with him to develop a heart that is willing to serve, not lead
  • Teach him to comply even if he doesn’t agree
  • Teach him that compromise and working things out with others is better than quarrels, arguments or debates
  • Teach him to be gentle and kind in his tone and words when talking
  • Teach him to ask permission for what he wants to keep him from taking freedoms he hasn’t earned.

ASK QUESTIONS!When dealing with a child who is characterized by being wise in his own eyes, ask them these questions when they want to know something they don’t have to know.
·      “Do you need to know this?” ·      “Is it any of your business?
Teaching your kids about bad pride and how it affects them and others is a task all parents should consider. Consider this: When was the last time one of your children wanted something he/she didn’t get? When was the last time they wanted something they didn’t get to do?
“For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you and understanding will guard you. “Proverbs 2:6

Name Calling

By Joey and Carla Link
March 17, 2021

In the “Back to the Future” movies, the word “Chicken” always caught Marty McFly’s ear. You could call him any other name, criticize him and say anything else bad about him, but when you called him “CHICKEN!”, it made him mad and he wanted to take that person on and would not back down. Name calling by kids towards siblings or other kids has gone on since Cain and Abel’s time in the book of Genesis in the Bible. Words such as “idiot”, “stupid” and such were not allowed in the Link household when our kids were growing up. We are fairly sure such words aren’t allowed in your households either. These kinds of words only cause one thing and that is “Bring on the fight!” Have you taught your kids how to hear a name thrown their way that is meant to hurt and not take it personally?Have you taught them how to let it go so it doesn’t control their thinking and tempt them to seek revenge?

  • Joseph’s brothers threw many a sneer at him before they sold him into slavery. For some reason they didn’t seem affected by the Godly character of their father Isaac, but they were consumed with jealously. Joseph didn’t respond to their verbal jabs and later saved the family from certain death by starvation and showed the true meaning of forgiveness. (Genesis 37-45)
  • David’s brothers didn’t think much of him when he went to visit them when Goliath was calling the armies of Israel out to fight him. David’s brother called him “conceited and wicked”. That is like calling someone “Arrogant, stuck on themselves and evil”. (I Samuel 17:28-29)

How to Help Kids Deal with What Others Say About Them

  1. Know who they are in God: David had a strong faith in God and in His protection. Are your kids as confident in who they are in God and that He loves them and has a wonderful plan and purpose for their lives? We loved the bracelets “WWJD” (What would Jesus Do) when they were popular. We used that term in our family a lot and encouraged our kids when they faced a Goliath to ask themselves that question 1st.
  2. Be confident in their family’s love: Do your kids feel loved and accepted by all members of your immediate family? This is where having a strong family identity comes into play. Kids who know their family is a safe, secure (in who they are) and fun place to be don’t need the approval of peers. Oh, the 2nd question we encouraged our kids to ask themselves after “What would Jesus do?” is “What would Dad and Mom do?” followed by “What should I do?” 
  3. Learn to control their emotions: James 1:19-20 says “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”

 What are you doing to help your kids keep their emotions in line?

  • Be Quick to Listen – How well do your kids listen to you? What do you do when they don’t?
  • You can have them repeat back to you what you have said to them every time you talk to them to get them to listen.
  • You can also hold them accountable to do what you have told them to do with no reminders.
  • Slow to Speak – If your kids are always talking (those with the Sanguine or Choleric temperaments) they will respond to what they think you are saying before you are done saying it!
  • Have them sit in an isolated place and tell them they can get up when they are ready to listen to you without talking.
  • They need to apologize for not being quiet when you were talking to them.
  • Slow to become Angry – Have your children worked on getting their angry outbursts under control?
  • Can you look back over the past few months or year to see how they have worked to control their anger when someone says something to them they don’t like?
  • If not, it is time to come up with a plan to work with them on it.

 Teaching your kids to control their emotions starts at home. When their emotions get out of control, have them sit in a place by themselves until they get them back under control. Even good emotions such as being silly or bouncing off the walls with giddiness is out of control.Apologizing every time their emotions are out of control will help them learn to keep them under control.

Should My Kids Play Team Sports?

By Joey and Carla Link
March 10, 2021

When we first moved to Iowa 30 years ago, we were amazed that the school district respected churches enough that they didn’t allow extra-curricular or school events to be on Wednesday nights as most churches had services or kids’ activities that night. Coming from Southern California, this was truly astonishing and for Joey, whose job as pastor of family ministries was to oversee the youth program, it was a welcome change. That time is long gone. Over the last 30 years, the development of team sports has grown exponentially. 50 years ago, most high schools only had 3-5 school-sponsored sports. Today they average 15-20. All these different sports allow more kids to participate than the time of fewer sports would have. At the same time, kids try to be involved in too many things which stretches them and their families to the point of breaking. Add in travel sports leagues. Now not only are Wednesday and Sunday nights open to school or other-sponsored activities, kids are taken away on the weekends to play “on the road”. We offer you some insight on team sports to help you think through their value for your kids and family.  Negatives of Team Sports1.    Cost: All sports are expensive. A travel baseball team can cost $500-$3,000 a season for a kid to join the team. This does not include uniforms, food, hotel costs or your ticket cost to their games. Some sports like ice hockey can cost $3,000-$5,000 because of the cost of ice for practice and the games.What will you sacrifice financially for your kids to play sports?How will participating on these teams help your child academically? Spiritually?Can you afford your kid’s participation on travel teams? 2.    Time: Travel teams usually play weekend tournaments on 2-3 weekends a month for 3-5 months. They also typically practice 2 times a week minimum.What will your family sacrifice to get your kids to and from practices and games?If you have kids on more than one team, how will you keep family unity going or have family nights and date nights? 3.    Energy: We know many families who have kids in the same sport, but their age dictates they are on different teams. Moms are running kids to different practice fields, then turn around and go the other way to pick them up.What will you give up so you will have the excess emotional energy needed to keep track of your child who is on a traveling team? 4.    Moral Values Confusion: What will you tell your kids to do when their coach wants to be called by his first name and your kids call all adults “Mr./Mrs./Miss”? Swearing is a part of language coaches tend to use and other kids will swear to their heart’s content in front of your kids. What are you going to do about this?
Positives of Team Sports:1.    Respect: A good coach will teach kids respect for teammates as well as the game. They are encouraged not to speak ill of officials or players who make mistakes. Some coaches however, are out to play their own kids or to relive their childhood. Finding good coaches is essential to a positive team experience.If your child does not learn these essential respect character qualities from team sports where will they learn them? 2.    Winning and Losing: All kids need to learn to win and lose gracefully. Since no team will ever win every game, playing sports where you put all your effort and energy into an activity and still lose builds character. 3.    Socialization:  Sports give your kids a chance to spend time with their peers. Before you sign them up, we encourage you to explain to them other kids don’t live by the same standards you have in your home and if your kids are young, just say it is because of family identity, “You are the Moore’s and this is what the Moore’s do or don’t do.”  One other key element to evaluate is if your child should play on a sports team is how will it impact and influence them spiritually.Sports can take kids away from attending church on Sundays or take away the time to read their Bible and pray due to early morning practices.Sports can also become an idol in your kid’s life, replacing God in their lives during formative years when they need to grow in their faith.Being a good athlete can make your kids proud instead of appreciating their talent as a gift from God. On the other hand, sports can give your kids the opportunity to stand up for their faith and show their teammates the way God wants us to live. It was our family standard that only one kid played a sport a season unless the girls could be on the same team. You need to be an involved parent so you can see for yourself what is going on and how your child is reacting to it. Notice I didn’t say be a helicopter parent, hovering over your kid every minute, but an involved parent. If you feel you need to be a helicopter parent, then you are telling your child and everyone else you don’t trust him to handle himself in the situations that could come up. If you don’t, he shouldn’t be playing. We know teens who are varsity football players, run cross country and are in marching band all at the same time. Can you imagine the number of practices these kids have every single week? When the next season comes it is basketball, swimming and concert band. Can your kids play on sports teams every season of the year and continue obeying you as their parents and grow in their faith with Jesus as their Savior and Lord?