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Facts and Feelings

By Joey and Carla Link
August 18, 2021

“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? What happens when your children feel like they are being mistreated by a teacher? Or they feel a sibling or friend doesn’t like them? There is nothing wrong with feelings. They are there for a reason and unless they are used to control others in a negative way by manipulating them to do what they want, they need to be validated. 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 (the truth) which leads their faith on a roller-coaster ride that leaves your child gasping for breath and wondering why God didn’t help them. We all know someone who is led by their feelings. You never know what they are thinking because their facts change with their mood. These 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 drive that person/kid higher and higher until their “good feelings” lead them to try dangerous things. Putting trust in emotions, good or bad can lead kids to make unwise choices and decisions. Have you ever noticed our culture’s emphasis on “if it feels good, it is 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 candy in the check-out lane, 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. When kids are younger, teach them to get self-control by sitting and folding their hands until they are calm. 1.Always work with your child, regardless his/her age to get self-control. When you see his feelings getting out of control (don’t wait until they are totally out of control) have a non-verbal signal you can give him that means he needs to step away and get self-control.  2.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 reality of the facts, which are truth. Feeling oriented kids don’t like to think in facts. 3.Two of the four temperaments are “feelers”, meaning those with this temperament are led by their feelings, not facts. One of these, the Melancholy temperament sees things from the cup is “half empty” perspective, meaning they are negative in their perspective of things. To get your child with the Melancholy temperament to think from a positive perspective, have him/her share 3 positive things about the same situation/person. Get three blocks of wood and write “Faith” on one, “Fact” on another and “Feelings” on the 3rd.

  • Have your child/teen 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/teen 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.
  • Make sure your child/teen, after they have apologized for letting their feelings distort the facts, tell you what they are going to do the next time their feelings get ahead of the facts.

4.Ask your child/teen who is in authority over him/her. Their response should include you, God and perhaps a teacher and coach.

  • Ask this child if he believes he needs to follow what these authority figures say, and if so, can he trust them to say and do things that are right?
  • When he decides he can, remind him God put people with authority in their life starting with you 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 one for the other.

Parenting College Aged Children

By Joey and Carla Link
August 4, 2021

When our daughter Briana went to college, we couldn’t wait for her to come home for Thanksgiving. We were surprised when she kept disappearing into her room for long periods of time. When I asked her what she was doing there, she told me she needed privacy to chat with her friends from school. I am sure I was not calm when I told her to give me her phone if that is what it would take for her to spend time with her siblings and us.  
 
Surprising? Yes. Uncommon? Unfortunately, as we have now learned from many parents who have dealt with the same thing, it is not. Their roommates and friends were now their daily life, and we no longer were. It hurt and it was hard to deal with.                
 
The difference between parenting children inside your home and outside your home is not easily defined or explained as it is seen and felt in many big and little ways. Parenting children in your home is a full-time, hands-on job. Parenting them as they leave your home and giving them the freedom to discover their own journey is an entirely different matter. 
 
We have found ways to make this transition a bit easier. Here are some great ideas for how to parent your young adult children.
 
1.     Determine what areas of their life they should be independent in and which you still have authority over. You should have been using little authority with your teens for a while now, yet as you have most likely experienced, when it is needed, the word authority fits the circumstance.
·       If you are paying their way through school, you have authority over the effort they are putting into getting good grades.
·       You have authority over any part of their lives you are paying for, including their phone. If they don’t want you to have this authority, then tell them they can pay for it themselves. This includes car insurance, car maintenance, entertainment and so forth.
 
One of Briana’s favorite expressions that first summer she was home from college was “I’m independent now.” One day, she was going to lunch with a group of widowed ladies from our church that she and her sister had dubbed their “Grandma’s Club”. I (Carla) asked her to ask them what they thought being independent meant. When she came home, she looked at me and said “You knew what they would say!” I knew what I was hoping they would say and they did. They told her that being independent meant you were paying your own way. I asked her if she was paying her own way and when she responded “No”, I told her I did not want to hear the word “independent” out of her mouth again.
 
2.     Determine what their time at home will look like. I hate to say this, but most likely they will not live in your home full-time again. They come home with the mindset and attitude of a guest. We worked with each of our kids when they left home for college studies to come up with a plan for what the time they were home would look like that we all agreed on. 
·       They would still have to do chores and we expected them to have a good attitude when they were asked to.
·       They could not sleep away their days.
·       When they left the house, they were to tell us where they were going and when they would be back out of courtesy and respect.
·       They attended church with us.
·       Their phones were put away and their time was spent with their siblings and us. (Summer break was an exception)
 
This is the time to give them the freedom to learn and grow from their experiences and mistakes. It is also the time to sit back in joy-filled wonder as you watch your now young adult kids explore the path God created them to journey on. 
 
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6

The “Preciousness of Others” Can Be A Reality in Your Home

By Joey and Carla Link
July 14, 2021

Have you ever heard the term “the preciousness of others”? We learned we needed to work on this principle with our kids in the parenting class “Growing Kids God’s Way”. So how can you teach your kids to think of others as “precious”? “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significantthan yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests,but also to the interests of others.”Philippians 2:3-4 (bold/italics added) People say the Bible doesn’t have much to say about raising your kids. We disagree. The Bible has everything to say about teaching your kids the character God wants them to live by. Let’s take a look at this verse. If you have listened to any of the Mom’s Notes presentations you know I (Carla) am big on looking up the definition of words. I want to know exactly what they mean. Let’s start with the word “rivalry”. It involves 2 or more people who are competing against each other. “Rivals” are in a 24/7 power struggle. “Conceit” is excessive pride in oneself.”
So, according to these definitions, we should all be teaching our kids NOT to compete with others, especially their siblings for power because the one who starts a rivalry is telling all others he/she is better than they are. Strong-willed kids are masters at starting rivalries with their siblings and parents.Next, we should be teaching our kids what to do, and that is to treat others/siblings as more significant than they think they, themselves are. Don’t worry about their self-esteem. God gave all of us a healthy self-esteem when he created us. To think of others as “significant”, is to think they are “important enough to be worthy of their attention.” Oh, and when your kids treat others, (meaning you and their siblings) as being worthy of their time and attention, they need to have a humble attitude! To be “humble” is to be “free from pride or arrogance”. Proud, arrogant kids think they are better than others to the point of exaggerating their importance. When working with your kids, have them look up the definitions of these words, then talk about this verse together.
If you are teaching your kids to treat others to be more significant than they are, you are teaching them to treat others as if they are important enough to play with and share their possessions with. When they win a game, they need to remember what it is like to lose so they don’t lord it over the others. And they need to do this with an attitude that says, “We are in this together.”
Humble adults & kids:

  • Know the difference between a healthy self-esteem and being too confident in oneself
  • Take responsibility for their actions rather than blame others
  • Are thankful for what they have and to those who show them kindness
  • They look for people who need or especially appreciate being treated with kindness, like kids no one else plays with, disabled people, the elderly (their grandparents) and so on.

 When our girls were teens, they made friends with widows in our church who didn’t have family in the area. They drove them to their doctor appointments and earned money to pay for their lunch. They invited them to their music events at school. They had a Mother’s Day brunch for them and we invited them to Thanksgiving and Christmas and birthday parties. These ladies became their prayer warriors and have stood by them to this day. Who was blessed more by their “thinking of others first? Our girls will readily tell you they were. How can you teach your kids to think of others as better than themselves? You will be surprised to find how simple this can be by using two phrases. Next time your kids are headed for trouble, pull them aside individually and ask this question: “Who are you thinking of right now?” followed by “Who should you be thinking of right now?” Your child will respond he is thinking of himself.

  • Ask him who he should be thinking of. He will respond he should be thinking of others.
  • Given the circumstance your child is in at the moment, get specifics. Ask him who he should be thinking about right now. (The sibling he just hit; the sister whose toy he just broke, even accidentally; you, for not taking the trash out)
  • Then ask him to think of one way he can show this person he is willing to put their needs above his own.
  • When your child comes up with something, ask him if he is willing to do it right then. If he says “No,” he gets to sit and do nothing (including talk and get out of the chair) until he is willing to do what he came up with.
  • Unless your child is under five years of age, resist the temptation to tell him what he could do to show ‘preciousness’ to the one he offended.

 Teaching your kids to think of the preciousness of others starts in the home with you and their siblings. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”Ephesians 4:32

Summer Routine

By Joey and Carla Link
July 7, 2021

We often talk about routine on the Parenting Made Practical social media sites. Nothing is predictable when you have a houseful of children, regardless of their age. Every day can be disorganized, hectic and tiring. There is no sense of accomplishment, except Mom made it to bed at the end of the day and all the kids are still alive. A good routine will bring stability, security and calm to your household. Children function much better when they feel secure. When you have a good routine going in your home for your kids, you will notice how much better behaved they are and how much less stress everyone in the home is feeling. If you have children who seem to be anxious or fearful all the time, if a routine helps eliminate stress, wouldn’t that be a simple thing to do to help them relax? If you have a strong-willed child, believe it or not, a routine will help manage their behavior. They will initially fight it, but once they decide to stick to it, their behavior is much more manageable for you and them. In last week’s blog we talked about having consistent bedtimes for all your kids and teens. Studies show kids/teens who are getting the right amount of sleep are more content and productive. Everyone wants to stay up late during the summer months. Let that be a treat rather than an everyday occurrence. What does a routine look like?Make a list for each of your kids (7 yrs. and under) of the things they like to do, need to do (chores) or can do.

  • Then make a master time sheet dividing the day into 30-minute segments.
  • Label these segments with categories such as Quiet Time (personal devotions), morning chores, breakfast, outside time (backyard, park), lunch, naps or quiet/rest time, swim time or inside activity due to heat, play alone time, supper, daddy time, baths/get ready for bed, story time and bed time.
  • It you break up your time with things the kids can do together and things they can do alone, you will be giving them needed space from each other.
  • When they are together, they will need to be supervised by you because for whatever reason, when kids are together, especially siblings, trouble is a constant companion.
  • To have a routine like this on paper, it shows you when and where you can do your own chores, laundry or have your own quiet time.
  • Once you make out your master list, slide the kids’ names in where they fit. You can combine half hour segments into longer time frames for activities/naps/rest time that need them.
  • When your kids have “playing alone time”, look at the list of activities you made for them and slide an activity in. With kids 8 yrs. and above, they may choose what they want to do with this time.
  • Your preteens and teens can make their own routine, but have them write it down on paper and give to you each day/week.
  • If they are killing time, they will spend too much of it on their phones or other digital entertainment. Too much of this entertainment makes kids of all ages edgy and they are easily provoked.

Do you have questions about getting a routine started? Our book, “Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave?” has a chapter on what a routine looks like for toddlers and preschoolers. If you have a baby and he/she is on a routine like the one talked about in the book “On Becoming Babywise”, you can work your younger kids’ routine around the baby’s feed, wake, sleep schedule. The Mom’s Notes” presentations “Structuring Your Child’s Day, Pt. 1” and “Structuring Your Child’s Day, Pt. 2” describe in detail how to get a flexible routine going in your home. Please get both presentations as it is actually one talk that was cut in half. At the end of the Notes/PDF version you will find a family of 4 kids where we show you how to blend all their activities into one routine that works for the entire family. “He must be one who manages his own household well,keeping his children under control with all dignity.”I Timothy 3:4 

Summertime Days

By Joey and Carla Link
June 30, 2021

Summer is a kid’s delight! They look forward to the end of school with anticipation. It is not long however, before many moms are counting the days until school starts again, even if they homeschool. Why? With school comes routine.
In On Becoming Babywise (or GFI Preparation for Parenting), parents learn that their babies sleep through the night faster and are healthy and happy when they are on a routine. For whatever reason, these very same parents tend to give up the routine once their children reach the preschool years.
Let me ask you this – what do your kids do with too much free time? Do they look for creative things to do or start irritating each other? Do they follow you around telling you they are bored, wanting you to entertain them? Do they constantly want to go, go, go?
The number one way to eliminate chaos in your home is to get your household on a routine. A routine brings predictability, order, and stability to a home. As adults, you know how much better you feel and how much easier life is for you when you are in a routine, It is the same for all ages of your children.
How do you come up with a routine?When you first start working with a routine get your kids mealtimes at the same time every day and except for breakfast, your kids should sit down together and eat at the table. During the summer, all your kids no matter their age should nap or have a rest time after lunch for a minimum of one hour. I gave my non-napping kids the freedom to look at or read books during this time.Also, put your kids to bed at the same time each night.4 yrs. and younger should be in bed by 7:30 pm and from 5-9 yrs. by 8:00 pm.9:00 pm for kids ages 10 – 13 yrs.Your older teens by 9:30 pm unless they have an event planned.Staying up late should be a once a week treat, not a daily event just because it is summer and they don’t have school.Kids who get the hours of sleep they need every night will be happy kids, isn’t that what you want?Little ones grow in their sleep (that is why they often wake up screaming during their preschool years as that is when their bones are stretching out).Kids/teens who get the suggested amount of sleep every night will be healthier too. Parents, are often amazed to see how adding routine to their kids’ day eliminates the need for a lot of corrective discipline. The more routine you add to your kids’ day, the more discipline you will be able to subtract from it! A good routine enhances good organization of time and helps your to-do list too.
For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.”1 Corinthians 15:44