Parenting Made Practical » Blog

The Dating Question

The Dating Question

Joey and Carla Link

February 5, 2020

 

It was surprising one day when our son who was in the second grade had a phone call from a girl inviting him to go roller skating with her. We knew there was a couple’s dance during the event where they would hold hands and skate around.We were pretty sure this was her plan in getting him to commit to “going together”. You read that right – second grade. They were 7 years old!
Are you ready for when your child gets asked out on a date or when your son or daughter wants to start dating? We don’t think any Christian parent truly is.
When it comes to dating, do you have guidelines or a plan to work from? Or do you think you will wait and deal with it when the time comes? We have found that most parents have expectations of what their kids will or won’t do when they are on a date, but they have not articulated it to their kids (or themselves) before they get hit up by their kids with the big question, “So, can I go?”
When I (Joey) was a youth pastor, I started working on how to help teens and college kids have confident dating experiences when I saw how frustrated they were in their lack of understanding about the dating experience. I was surprised to find these teens didn’t feel comfortable talking with their parents about dating, even though one day they would want to bring “that special one” home to meet their parents.
All this is why we put together a 2-part video with a 50 page workbook titled “Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate, What Works?” Filmed before an audience of parents and teens, it’s designed to help both groups get on the same philosophical and practical page of what would work for them in their dating experience.
I remember when our son was interested in a girl that grew up in a strong Christian family who had a very different dating philosophy than we did. It was challenging to work through the different viewpoints to get to agreeable standards that would work for both families. While in this process, our son decided the differences were too great and the dating relationship ended soon after.
We have heard from many families over the years how this 2 part video series helped them think through both courting and dating in a whole new way. Many have said they were thankful to see the differences in the differing standards families could have and how confusing it can be to see that since the Bible doesn’t have a lot to say about dating itself, there is no right or wrong philosophy. These families have told us this resource helped them find their own dating philosophy that would work for their families.
One Dad wrote us the following note after going through the session because his ten daughters were being asked out.
“My wife and I were having trouble figuring out how to give our kids an overall picture of dating. Joey and Carla gave us a grounded, logical approach that goes way beyond just teaching them the importance of remaining pure. “Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate, What Works?” shares 4 levels of getting to know the opposite sex and how your teens can determine what each level should look like in the relationship they are in, looking to us for guidance along the way. My wife and I appreciate understanding how we and our teens can work together to make wise decisions regarding who their life-mate will be.”
Whether you use this teaching or not, we hope you will get prepared with a blueprint for the framework you want to use when your kids get to be teenagers. You will want to be ready to help them learn how to go through the process of finding a life mate that will help them live for Christ and bring glory to God through both their dating and marriage relationship. The day will come when they come to you and say “So, can I go?”

 

Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate…What Works? DVD & 2 Workbooks

Honest Mistakes

Honest Mistakes

By Joey & Carla Link

January 29, 2020
I (Joey) was intrigued when I read a story about Lee Ann Walker a professional woman’s golfer. While playing in a tournament in 2019 after taking 8 years off from the sport, she learned she didn’t know about a rule change that said hercaddie could no longer line up her shot, which she had been allowing him to do. When another golfer told her about the rule change half way through the tournament, she on her own initiative went to the tournament directors to tell them what she had done and to ask them how to right the wrong.
Lee Ann made an honest mistake. What is that? An “honest mistake”is “a mistake made unintentionally or unknowingly and without the intention of causing harm; a mistake that anyone might have made in similar circumstances.” If your kids were confronted with an issue they didn’t know they were doing wrong, would they on their own initiative try to make it right? If there was a consequence, would they take it graciously?
How to help a child own his mistakes:
  1. Children need to climb over their feelings of failure and realize everyone makes mistakes. This can be especially hard for a child with the melancholy temperament.
  2. When a child makes a mistake, he/she needs to own it to clear his guilty conscience, apologize to get rid of it and to make the offense right with the person he offended.
  3. The question to ask a child is “What is stopping you from owning up to the fact you made a mistake?” Is it pride, selfishness?
  4. Help them realize it’s their choice to apologize quickly for a simple mistake or as a consequence for not being willing to do the right thing, to miss out on fun the family has planned.

One of the hardest things to teach kids is to take ownership of something they did that has caused a mess or an offense with another when they don’t think they have done anything wrong. We used to tell our son when dealing with one of his sisters, “You said something that hurt her feelings. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t intend to, it doesn’t matter if you think she should toughen up. What matters is she is sitting in her room crying. What do you think you should do about that?”

Kids (8 years and above) need to learn to see themselves honestly, as others see them. Do you have a child who is mean-spirited, rude or obnoxious to his siblings but kind and gracious to others? When we dealt with this with our kids they lost the freedom of being with their friends until they could show us they could be kind to their siblings.
If kids don’t learn to see themselves through an honest lens of reality, they will grow up to be prideful, arrogant adults.
By the way, Lee Ann Walker, the professional golfer we talked about in the beginning of this blog received 58 penalty strokes for all the times she hit the ball her caddie had lined up for her. That is the most any professional golfer has ever received in a major tournament! Her response?
“I wasn’t mad; I wasn’t upset,” said Walker. “Setting the record for the most penalty points ever isn’t exactly the record you want in golf, but at that point what can you do? Obviously, it’s my fault for not knowing the rule changes before I entered the tournament.”
There are consequences to breaking rules whether you know you are breaking them or not. They help us learn the right thing to do and remember not to do it again. We doubt Lee Ann will ever enter a tournament without checking the rule book again. What do you think?
“Learn to do good, seek justice, fight oppression.”
Isaiah 1:17

Creatively Disobedient Kids

Creatively Disobedient Kids

By Joey & Carla Link

January 22, 2020
It’s always interesting to see how creative kids can get when they don’t want to obey. In last week’s blog we told the storyabout our daughter when Carla called her name 3 different times and on the 3rd time she ran to Carla saying, “I didn’t hear you the first 2 times you called.” Kids think they can be like an ostrich by putting their head in the sand and ignore the fact that they heard their name called or that you asked them to clean their room.
You tell your daughter to clean her room. When you go to check on her you see she has been playing with something that caught her eye and when you ask why the room is not clean she says the 2 magic words “I forgot!” Most parents assume their kids did forget and the child chalks that up to a win for her because she knew exactly what her mom wanted her to do.
Right up there with “I forgot”, the other popular excuse children make is “I don’t remember.” Please don’t think for a second they didn’t remember or they forgot you told them to clean their room. They remember, they just don’t want to get in trouble when you see it isn’t done.
When I (Carla) went to check on one of our daughters when I had told her to clean her room, I found her playing on the floor with her dolls. She told me she was dressing them for church! While your kids will continue to come up with creative excuses, we trust you will not be taken in by them.
Your concern should be whether your child obeyed you as Colossians 3:20 says, “Children, obey your parents in everything.” “Everything” does not leave any room for excuses or loopholes. It means they must follow through with what you told them to do to be obedient. How do you get a child to obey? We have great resources listed at the end of this blog that will help you with that.
But why should a child obey their parents? The last part of Colossians 3:20 says, “because this pleases the Lord.” Getting kids to obey parents is the first priority while they are growing up. But as they grow and mature they will transition to start obeying their Heavenly Father as they first learned to obey you.
God gave each of your kids to you because of how God created you! God made you a specific way and equipped you by taking you through life’s trials and triumphs to prepare you to train up these children in the way they need to go so they will be able to do what He created them to do. If you don’t require your kids to obey you in reality you are training them not to obey God!
We want to urge you to require your kids to obey you and other people in positions of authority in their lives with good attitudes. We don’t think if we do something we know God wants us to do with a surly attitude He considers that obedience, do you?
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:7

Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave? by Joey and Carla Link
Parents get frustrated when they don’t know what to do when their kids misbehave. This book shares solutions for putting biblical principles into practice with kids. It tells what obedience is, what obedience is not, how to get your kids to obey, what tools need to be in your parenting toolbox and which ones already in there you need to throw away. It also offers help for single parents.
  • Book only $13.95/$9.95 On Sale $7.95
  • Audio download MP3 or CD read by Joey & Carla Link $19.95/$8.95 On Sale $6.95


 Superbundle – Joey & Carla Link’s books & videos
2 terrific books and 3 DVD’s by Joey and Carla Link

Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave?,

Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think, Navigating the Rapids of Parenting DVD, Taming the Lecture Bug DVD, “Dating, Courting, and Choosing a Mate…What Works?”!  (2 books and 3 DVDs)
 A $74 value for just $39.95!


Use coupon code Jan26 at checkout by January 26, 2020

CD: $7.00 On Sale Now! $6.00
Notes: $5.00 On Sale Now! $4.00
MP3: $7.00 $4.99 On Sale Now! $3.99
PDF: $4.99 On Sale Now! $3.99

Obedient Kids

Obedient Kids

By Joey & Carla Link

January 15, 2020
During the holidays it’s normal for parents to let down their guard and for kids to take unearned freedoms, becoming less obedient each day. They are spoiled by grandparents and all the love they give them, then showered with presents. They stay up later than usual night after night and eat more sugar than they get in their normal diet. Before you know it they start toredefine what is right and wrong behavior. Parents usually are not aware of this in the midst of busyness and enjoying the holiday themselves until their kids’ behavior blows up in their faces.
The best way to bring kids back under control is similar to what many people do on New Year’s Day. They set goals for themselves and resolve to get back on track with the ones they have stopped working on. One of the best parenting goals is in Colossians 3:20, “Children obey your parents in everything for this pleases the Lord.” God didn’t suggest we do this; it is a direct command that children are not only to obey their parents but to obey them in everything they do!
How can parents do this? Pull your kids back into their funnel. What we mean by this is to remind them of their boundaries and watch for them to start staying within them again. Require them to say “Yes Mom” or “Yes Dad” every single time you call their name. If you have fallen into the habit of calling their name and giving an instruction without waiting for them to verbally respond and come to you first, please work on “call and wait”. Call their name and stop and wait for the child to say “Yes Mom, I’m coming!” When they get there, praise them for coming (if they did so with a good attitude) and give them your instruction.
Why is calling your child’s name and waiting for his/her response so important? I remember when Carla called our daughter Briana one day in a loud enough voice Carla knew Briana heard her. Briana didn’t respond, so Carla called her a second time much louder so the whole house could hear. Still Briana did not respond. Finally, in frustration, Carla went to the bottom of the stairs and called Briana’s name in a loud, very firm voce so she knew she could hear her. Briana came running saying, “Yes Mom, I didn’t hear you the first two times you called!” Make sure they can hear you when you call and unlike Carla, if they don’t come, don’t keep calling them. Go to them and deal with their lack of obedience. Just think how many times they overhear your conversations from the other room when you don’t want them to. They can hear you when you call their name.
I remember when our oldest son consistently didn’t respond when we called his name so we took him to the doctor for a hearing test. The doctor came back and said our son had “perfect selective hearing”! That was the end of that and we required him to come every time we called his name and if he didn’t he got a consequence.
Is this new information for you? If so, the Mom’s Notes presentation “Understanding First Time Obedience” (on MP3/CD and PDF/Notes) shares what this teaching looks like with different age kids. The first three chapters in our book, “Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave?”(which is also on audio MP3) talks about obedience training. Both are available at Parenting Made Practical.
What can parents do if their kids don’t come at the call of their name? Have a place for them to sit so they can think about why they didn’t obey you. When they are ready to apologize to you for not obeying you (ages 6 and up) they can do that and then you should give them a consequence. For little ones 5 years and under, have them sit and fold their hands (no talking) and when you can see they have calmed down ask them if they are ready to apologize.
Again, there is a lot more information on this in the Mom’s Notespresentation, “Understanding First-Time Obedience” and our book, Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave?
“Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.”
Ephesians 6:1

Parenting “Do-Overs”

Parenting “Do-Overs”

By Joey & Carla Link

January 8, 2020

 

Don’t you wish you could have parenting “do-overs”? You could hit pause after you have dealt with something badly and go back and do it over again. Hindsight is wonderful if we choose to learn from it and awful if it brings guilt or anger.
I (Joey) was talking to a parent recently who told his 17 year-old first-born child, “You are my experiment. I learned how to parent on you.” 
You may feel like this at times too, but in parenting there are no “experiments”and there are no “do-overs”. When it comes to parenting, you get one opportunity per kid and one only.
Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he is to go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” At parenting conferences I often say, “Parents are training their kids in the way they will go, but not always in the way they should go.”
Some of the best advice we could give you is to be an intentional parent. This means you are parenting deliberately and purposefully in both words and actions. You choose to parent every single day rather than dealing with your kids when you are so angry or frustrated with them you can’t stand being around them any longer.
Let’s say your child’s heart is like cement. You need to mix the cement with just the right consistency to get it to harden just right. When it is ready you pour it in and smooth the roughness out, sealing it with your love and encouragement. Parents often hold their breaths, trying to be patient while it dries (a time-consuming process) wondering if what they put in “took”.
When you want to teach your child a new character value like patience, you need to think about all you want them to know about being patient (age-appropriate) and then determine how you are going to teach it to them including ways to be patient. You need to determine ahead of time how you will correct them for it when they aren’t patient and how you will encourage and praise them when they are.
Before cement is poured, forms are put into place so it will go where the contractor wants it to. You need to pre-determine what boundaries you want to put into place so the cement (teaching) goes where you want it to the way you want it to. Pouring it in so that it’s not too much information that will overwhelm your kids because they don’t have the age or maturity to understand it is a fine line parents walk every day. Just like us, your kids can only handle so much information at a time before they mentally shut down. When this happens, the cement will flow over the forms with no shape or meaning to it and it will harden this way into place.
Concrete takes time to harden. In the same way, when you give your kids some incredible information, it needs time to cure. They may need time to change bad behaviors or ask more questions to clarify what they think you told them. We always asked our kids after we knew they understood what we wanted them to learn to give us one way they were going to put it into practice that week. Doing this gave us something to look for to see if they were working on it and it put a concrete way into their mind to remember to do it.
Training a child takes time! I know a young father who, when his job moved to a new location, it cost him 3+ hours driving each day to and from work. He didn’t see his young children when they were awake, meaning his wife was a single parent during the week. Because they wanted to be intentional parents, they chose to move away from friends and their church to a much costlier area to live so he could be home with his kids when they were awake each day.
Intentional parenting means you have to make choices. When you are with your kids you are always parenting! This means when you yell at them because you are tired and frustrated, you may not remember what you said by the time you go to bed but they may and often do remember it for days, weeks, months or longer. When your kids are awake you are parenting. It is not “free time” for you to be on your phones or watching television.
In the parenting class Growing Kids God’s Way we learned, “Everything you do whether good or bad, is teaching your kids something.” We took that to heart and made our parenting our biggest priority (after our relationship with God and each other) and our jobs and hobbies came after those.
There were many things we wanted to do in life. Many hobbies, organizations we could volunteer with and creative interests called our names. We were invited by many friends and groups to join them and to help them out, but we kept our first and primary focus on our kids.
We did go on dates and take time to rest. We also kept working out at the gym, and even when we needed to get away for a weekend we did. Parenting is a season in life. We are now empty nesters and don’t have to think about our kids or their activities when we want to do something or go somewhere. We made mistakes when it came to parenting and so will you. But hopefully, when your parenting years are over, you won’t wish you could have a “do-over” when you look at your adult children.
As you start this New Year, what do you need to change so you don’t wish for a “do-over” in your parenting?
“Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)