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DISASTERS HAPPEN

DISASTERS HAPPEN

august

Joey & Carla Link

August 2014

 

We’d just returned from a ministry trip. A week before the trip, my knee gave out and I fell and broke my leg right where it sits on the ankle joint. You would think with time the pain would pass. With this break, every time the foot moves, pain shoots up my leg. The doctor told me I would be non-weight bearing for 6 very long weeks.

 

Non-weight-bearing foot + pain = Bad Attitude

 

We got to our destination after driving all day to find the hotel room we pre-paid a month prior did not have a handicap accessible room available and the staff was rude about it. At our new room in a different hotel which took us an hour to find since it was late at night, I opened my suitcase to find the vitamin water I had put in had spilled red liquid all over my clothes. (I ALWAYS use Ziploc bags for liquids and really couldn’t figure out why the bottle wasn’t in a bag and even accused my hubby of taking it which of course made him happy) Joey graciously volunteered to wash my clothes at the hotel while he met with our hosts…and the list goes on.

 

No room + Wet clothes = Bad Attitude

 

We chose to put a positive spin on things, reminding ourselves when we are getting ready to do something good for God, the enemy attacks.

 

What does this have to do with parenting? When you get ready to leave the house with your kids (no matter their age) disaster is waiting around the corner. I remember the time I needed to get the kids to church and we were already late. Briana was about 18 months old and I gave her a bag of cheerios to keep her quiet. When we drove into the parking lot, she had gummed up Cheerios everywhere – in her hair, all over her face, smeared all over hers and her brothers clothes. I turned around and drove home, bathed and changed Bri while Michael changed clothes and back to church we went so I could get to the 2’s & 3’s Dept. where I taught the children’s church program.

 

Or the time Briana, then a teenager, got to the car when we were going somewhere and saw the outfit she had on was the same color scheme as the one her sister was wearing. Not the same outfit, mind you, just the same colors! We were ready to head out the driveway and she was in her room changing clothes, which required different shoes and a new hair style.

 

Toddler + wet gummed up Cheerios = Bad Attitude

Sisters + same clothes = Bad Attitude

 

I am sure you get the picture. Oh, the bad attitude of each belongs to the parents.

 

ATTITUDE IS A CHOICE!

 

Even if you are a pessimist, you can choose to look at the bright side of circumstances, finding solutions rather than problems and opportunities instead of road blocks. Of course, this is easier said than done. Choosing a bad attitude over a positive spirit is destructive because a bad attitude focuses on self.

 

When you focus on yourself, you become your #1 priority in life, even over God. Oh, you may say God is first in your life, but your actions hardly show it. Making yourself feel good becomes more important than anything or anyone else.

 

Getting your focus off self and back on God and others takes willpower. When I (Carla) was in physical therapy after our car accident several years ago, I was told to talk myself into moving the right way. When I am trying to stand up, to this day people often ask me what I say to myself. I smile as I tell them I tell myself “You can do it!” When I say this, I breathe a silent prayer asking God for His strength to get through the pain.

 

You can do it, no matter what “it” is. Your 3-year-old daughter spilled her juice during snack all over the mail you left on the table, not to mention your cell phone. Take a deep breath, thank God for the opportunity to show her what kindness looks like, take her in your arms and kiss away her tears letting her know all will be well and ask her to help you clean up the mess.

 

“Do all things without grumbling or questioning,

that you may be blameless and innocent children of God without blemish

in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation,

among whom you shine like lights in the world, holding fast to the Word of life.”

Philippians 2:14-16

Parenting Back to the Future

Parenting Back to the Future

by Joey Link

July 2014

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Wouldn’t you like to speed through time to see what you need to do now to prepare your kids for their future challenges? Let me take you there through a recent conversation I had with a couple who went through a Growing Kids God’s Way class we led some 20 years ago.

While he was growing up, they took their now adult son to church. He was active in their church programs. He was quick to memorize verses in their church’s AWANA program. He sat with them in church and paid attention. He was active in the youth group and went on a couple of mission trips. He was a bright young man and very good student in school. He didn’t really give his parents much trouble at all as he was a very compliant and responsible son.

Today he is a very good employee and yet doesn’t go to church or read his Bible. He has a great job making good money in the technology field which is pleasing to his parents. While this young man has good Christian values, they are frustrated as Christ is not the center of his life as they had hoped and expected from all that they put and poured into his life.

So, going back into his childhood from this point in time, what happened? What could they have done differently or better? We believe man has a free will and can choose to reject God and His ways, or he can choose to follow His ways. From being a youth pastor and seeing several kids walk away from their faith after they leave home, I don’t think it can all be attributed to free will.

These are many similarities that can be found in the rebellion of God’s chosen people, the Israelites. God said it best, speaking to His servant Isaiah when He said;

“These people come near to me with their mouth

and honor me with their lips,

but their hearts are far from me.

Their worship of me is based on merely human rules

they have been taught.”

Isaiah 29:13

Jesus saw the same thing in His day and quoted what God had said to Isaiah, speaking to the religious leaders of the day:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,

but their hearts are far from me.”

Matthew 15:8

 

In talking to the young man’s dad, I asked him several questions that I would ask you to ponder about your children as well. We discovered in our conversation that they left out a few essential ingredients to help their son grow spiritually while he was in their home.

 

  • They were proud their son passed the levels in the Awana club and was getting trophies and high honors, but they found he was only memorizing facts and figures like he would for a test.

 

  • They thought the memory work he did in the weekly club was getting to his heart, but they were so busy with other kids and service at church that they didn’t have time to sit down and help their son think through what the verses really meant or how to apply them to his life.

 

  • They were pleased their son came to church and paid attention, but they never talked about what the kids heard in Sunday School or the church service at home.

 

  • They figured he was having a Quiet Time and praying every day, but they never talked to him about what he was learning in his devotions or getting from them.

 

All this was brought back to me recently as I was sitting in church trying to worship and yet was distracted by a young woman near me who was focused on her phone. I was even more disappointed with her constant texting which was stealing my attention from the sermon. I wonder why she even went to church that day.

 

Her two young children who were standing with her in worship just listening to the songs being sung, then they left for a children’s program. I had to wonder what follow up this young mother will give her kids at home, training their hearts to love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength since she wasn’t even worshiping God in their presence. I wondered if her cell phone wasn’t more of a God to her than God’s one and only Son who died on a cross for her. We all need to be careful our cell phones don’t become idols!

 

Do you know if your kids are only learning with their minds while they attend classes and programs at church, or are they learning with their hearts too?

You can help your kids move the teaching from their head to their hearts by:

– Teach them to think about Scripture to understand what God is saying to them.

-Help them understand why God put that teaching in the Bible to us

-Help them understand what God wants you and your children to take away from this passage in Scripture

-Know how they will apply these verses or teaching to their life

-Know what that will look like

-Hold them accountable for having their devotions each day. On Saturday night while my kids were growing up, I used to ask them to bring me their QT journals and share with me what God had been teaching them that week in their devotions. They were excited to share with each other and Carla and I and it was a great way for me to hold them accountable for having them.

-When worshiping, make sure they see beyond the fancy staging and lights and know WHO  they are worshiping

-Print out the words of the songs sung during worship at home and talk about what they mean in regards to living the Christian life so they are more meaningful to your kids the next time they sing them

 

It’s one thing to take our kids to church and have them hear great songs and good sermons. It’s another thing to help our kids learn how to apply these to their lives. Instead of living through the next 20 years then looking back to see what kind of grades you got for mentoring your children in God’s love and the Christian faith, give them tests now. Test them to see what is in their hearts to see how close they are to God vs. the things of this world by having great family discussions to see what they already know and are learning each day, and especially on Sunday.

 

Summer time can be a good time to test your children to see what is in their hearts and what their motivation to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ is.

 

 

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WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON WITH YOUR KIDS?

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON

WITH YOUR KIDS?

july-3

by Joey & Carla Link

© June 23, 2014

    

Summer activities are in full swing. In driving around town we have seen lots of baseball games and soccer games being played. We observe the uniforms of the teams and families filling the stands to cheer their kids on. Siblings run around, playing on nearby playground equipment.

 

Baseball isn’t called America’s pastime for nothing. It helps the summer months go by for kids and gives them the opportunity to play with friends. Kids build a lot of character through practice, discipline and team work. A lot of good can come from sports leagues and competitions. I remember my own days of playing ball and recount a lesson I learned from it in our book “Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave?”

 

Little League baseball is a favorite activity of preteen boys and I (Joey) was no exception. I was up for bat in a game, and I thought the pitch was way outside the strike zone. The umpire called it strike three, and I was out. Three similar calls were made on me during the game and I let the umpire and all my teammates know how bad I thought the calls were. Those pitches were balls. Everyone but the umpire knew they were balls and I should have made it to base and possibly been able to score runs for my team.

         Because I was the starting 3rd baseman for the team, everyone was surprised when the coach put me on the bench for the entire game the next time we played, especially since my dad was the assistant coach. Tired of listening to my complaining, my dad told me I didn’t have the right to challenge the umpire. He said my attitude was the reason I was not chosen to be on the league’s coveted all-star team. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. Looking back on it, I can see how my dad helped me learn to be respectful and to accept when I was not in control.”

 

Summer time is also a break from the daily routine of school and academic studies. In our family, when summer came I wanted to keep my kids’ minds sharp so we assigned them specific summer reading projects.  These projects challenged their thinking spiritually and motivated them to dig deeper into some areas they had not yet developed a conviction in.

 

What areas would be good for your kids to work on?

  • Do they have character flaws they need to grow or develop in?
  • Do they have consistent daily Bible reading time?
  • Are they reading good books that will encourage them to keep living the way you have taught them and God wants?

 

Summer time is a great time to work on these! To help you work on these areas, you will find in the month of July the following books on sale at the PMP bookstore parentingmadepractical.com for your kids to read.

 

May God bless you this summer as you redeem the time to train your kids in the way they are to go.

 

Are You a “Fun Daddy”?

Are You a “Fun Daddy”?

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by Joey & Carla Link

June 2014

There are unforgettable moments in parenting, both good and bad. Once, when walking down the hallway of our home, I (Carla) heard one of my children refer to me as the “Mean Mom”. I was stunned. I will admit our standards were tougher than their friends; they had to get their chores and schoolwork done or suffer the consequences, they had to get along with each other, they had to show respect to us and others (I didn’t think “Mean Mom” was particularly respectful), they had to put the needs of others before their own… but these were our standards, not my standards! So where in the world did “Mean Mom” come from?!

 

I waited until I calmed down, then asked one of my daughters what our son had meant when he said this. She told me Michael was mad I had told his father Michael did not have the freedom to play ball with him because he had been giving me trouble all day. My husband told me he had so little time with the kids he wanted it to be positive time, not negative time, so he and Michael were going to play ball. I must’ve threatened war because no ball was played that day, and both my husband and son were irritated with me as a result.

 

My kids referred to my husband as “Fun Daddy”, and now I knew why. We were leaving for a family camping trip in a few days. I told Joey that I was going to be “Fun Mommy” on this trip and he got to be “Mean Daddy”. He thought this was a great idea. He was sure the kids would obey his every command and decided this would be a great time to show me how to parent.

 

It wasn’t long before “Mean Daddy” was shouting at the kids and calling for my help. This experience showed him just how tedious and exhausting trying to be consistent when training kids all day could be. We decided together that “Mean Mommy”/“Mean Daddy” and “Fun Mommy”/“Fun Daddy” were flying out the window. In their place, “United Mom and Dad” were coming to roost in our home. How did we accomplish this?

 

  1. Talk, talk, talk. Communication between us as spouses working together as a team was key. We set aside one weekly date night a month for “kid talk”. We discussed how they were doing in school, chores, getting along with others and the character training we were working on with each child. The best way for us to see progress was to give grades. We kept a chart and when they got below a “B” in a given area, we knew it was time to bump them back up. We determined what consequences we would use for certain misbehaviors or bad attitudes and we both stuck to them.

 

  1. Talk, talk and talk some more. Communication between us and the kids came next. Instead of picking on them when they did something that displeased us, we set aside a time each week to talk with them about it (individually of course). We asked them how they could step it up in the areas they were struggling in, and how we could help them accomplish this. When they came up with ways themselves, they took ownership of them and stuck to them. When my 5 year old daughter wished she could write so she could make a note like her siblings did to remind herself to make her bed before she came down for breakfast, I had her draw a picture of a bed and we put it where she could easily see it every morning. She rarely forgot to make it after that.

 

  1. Keep your marriage relationship #1. It takes work to keep your marriage relationship a priority when you are busy with your kids. Our weekly date nights didn’t have to be expensive. A picnic in the park was one of our favorites. Be creative. Swap babysitting with friends. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to have weekly dates; it just has to be a non-negotiable appointment. We also saved money to go on weekend overnights about every 3 months. Feeling good about each other helped us be positive when we worked together on our parenting.

 

  1. Get “Fun Daddy” or “Fun Mommy” out. I would tell the kids “Fun Daddy” was coming home with a surprise for them, and he would take them out for pizza and miniature golfing. “Fun Mommy” would decide there were no chores to be done one day and played games with the kids instead. Kids need to know their parents have a fun side too and enjoy being with them.

Do you and your spouse have a special way when working together to parent your kids? How do you stay consistent? The Mom’s Notes presentation “Parenting as Partners” will help with this. When you order the Notes for $5.00 of “Parenting as Partners” in the month of June, you will get the CD for free!

Macro or Micro Rebellion

Macro or Micro Rebellion

Which is Your Child Characterized By?

by Joey & Carla Link

2014

 

What is ‘Macro’ Rebellion?  Macro refers to BIG. Think of the child who throws major tantrums, fits, and is always in your face with defiance.  When a boundary is spelled out to them, they will throw themselves over it and then smugly look at you to see what you are going to do about it. The ‘macro’ child lets everyone know HE is in control.

 

What is ‘Micro’ Rebellion? Micro refers to SMALL. Think of the child who disobeys in little ways. When a boundary is spelled out to them, they will push their big toe just over the line. They rebel in ways they won’t get caught in, because parents have to be really paying attention to catch them.

 

Their rebellious actions are not always obvious or clear-cut. However, they will cross the line in some way almost every time an instruction is given to them. The ‘micro’ child doesn’t need parents to see their rebellion. Just knowing he didn’t obey and didn’t get caught is enough for him.

 

Please Note: For children, rebellion is rebellion. If they throw themselves on the floor kicking and screaming or roll their eyes and walk away, their hearts look the same. Don’t overlook this. There is no such thing as a ‘compliant’ child. They are just ‘micro’ in their rebellion and are not getting caught.

 

Example: 

Macro – Mom mops the floor and tells the children to stay off it until it is dry. Her son, wanting a drink, walks across the floor leaving his footprints for all to see.

 

Micro – Mom mops the floor and tells the children to stay off if until it is dry. Her son stands in the doorway, puts one foot on the floor to reach the counter to get a cookie his mom just made and walks away.

 

Which child do you think gets Mom’s immediate attention? Again, for the ‘micro’ child, putting one foot on the floor was just as defiant as the one who walked across it. Even more so, because he took a cookie without asking for permission.

 

Working with the Macro Child

1. The parents must stay in control. You run the family. Don’t let this child forget it.

 

2. Keep the boundaries tight (funnel) and be consistent in your correction. These children don’t handle choices well because they have an over-inflated view of their ability to make choices which is why they openly question and challenge the parent when their freedom to make their own choices is limited.

 

3. Be fair and consistent. A ‘macro’ child rebels against what he perceives to be unjust. Make sure your instruction is heard and expect a verbal response.

 

4. Teach this child self-control in both attitude and action.

 

5. Give this child ownership of behaviors/attitudes as soon as he/she demonstrates the ability to take it. This way, they are in control of things they have earned the right to be in control of.

 

Working with the ‘Micro’ Child

1. Parents need to observe this child and learn HOW his rebellion is demonstrated. This is the child who never quite does the chore completely, but does it well enough you don’t notice the part he didn’t do. But he knows and it reinforces the rebellion in his heart.

 

Example: It is this child’s turn to clean the kitchen after dinner. He knows this job also includes sweeping the floor.  He ‘forgets’ to sweep the floor. You tell him to do it again, not dealing with the “forgetting” as the rebellion it is.

 

Parents need to watch and learn how their child demonstrates his/her rebellion, and then have a watchful eye out for it, so that you may train this foolishness out of them!

 

2. Parents need to be willing to correct this child consistently, even if it seems the child’s action wasn’t a big deal. Remember, it is a huge deal to the child. When parents let the ‘little’ things go, the child will develop an attitude of being “wise in his own eyes” (proud).

 

3. Keep the boundaries (funnel) tight – so you can see when he crosses it.

 

4. Don’t confuse ‘micro’ rebellion with ‘passive’ rebellion. Passively rebellious children rebel quietly. They will say “Yes Mom” and have no intention of doing what they were just told to do. The ‘micro’ child openly rebels, just in seemingly small ways.

 

Passive Rebellion: The child has been instructed to go to bed. He does get ready for bed, but instead of getting IN bed, he puts his toys away, taking 30 minutes past his bedtime to do so. His parents, not seeing this for the rebellion it is, praise him for picking up his room!

 

Micro Rebellion: This child gets in bed but ‘forgets’ to turn out the light first. He asks permission to turn out the light, and is delighted when give permission, as this reinforces his disobedience of not staying in bed. As it would be with most of us, Mom is clueless. Then he asks for a drink. Because he so sweetly asks, he gets one. Then he calls his Dad in and tells him he forgot to tell him something that happened to him at school that day.  He hears his mom tell a friend of hers the next day how proud she is of him because he asks for permission to do things. She wished his sister would do this. Really? This boy knows he uses the freedom to ask for permission to do something instead of what he is supposed to be doing.

 

We are often asked how young you can tell is a child is micro rebellious. Actually it is quite easy. Kids are one or the other. If they don’t throw tantrums when they don’t get their own way, they are most likely micro in their rebellion. When our son Michael was not yet walking, we used the walker with him.  This was in the days record albums were still in use. He would go to the open shelf they were on and throw the record albums across the room like frisbees.

I corrected him for this. The next day he went to the shelf and touched the shelf, not the records. The next day he pointed to the shelf and looked at me with a smile. It was exhausting to stay on top of him. Even then, I knew he was challenging me.

When he was in Middle School, I asked him why he didn’t do the little things well. He told me he did a good job with the big things, and I just needed to learn not to sweat the small stuff!  I told him letting the little things go were like cracks in a mirror. When he looked in the mirror, the cracks reflected an image that was marred. I told him the cracks would widen over time because he wouldn’t do the little things and they would eventually become big things. Working with him and Amy on their micro rebellion was a process that took place over years of time. We had to be consistent in both our instruction and our correction. God doesn’t give up on us, so how can we as parents give up on training our children?

 

Watch your children over the next few days. Determine if they are ‘macro’ in their rebellion. Talk things over with your husband. Decide what steps to take to rein them in. It is worth the trouble.

“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer,

he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.

For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.

But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty,

and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts,

he will be blessed in his doing.”

James 1:21- 25

 

Resources available at Parenting Made Practical Bookstore:

 

Mom’s Notes presentation, “Working with Your Child’s Besetting Sin, Part 1: The Choleric” (Volume 2)

Mom’s Notes presentation, “Working with Your Child’s Besetting Sin, Part 2: The Sanguine and the Phelgmatic” (Volume 2)

Mom’s Notes presentation, “Understanding First –Time Obedience” (Volume 3)

Mom’s Notes presentation, “Training the Passive Rebellious Child” (Volume 4)

Mom’s Notes presentation, “Understanding the Funnel” (Volume 4)