The Parenting Secret


“Just wait till their teenagers!”

This was the common refrain we heard every weekend at the ballpark while cheering on our six year old athlete and chasing her three younger siblings around the bleachers.

I often think back at how I felt when I would hear those words: overwhelmed, fearful, confused, even sad. It was as if people were communicating to me, “One day you’ll be sorry for having all those kids!”

How sad

Here’s a newsflash

It is 17 years later….and

I’m not sorry

Recently, my husband was asked to give his #1 parenting advice.  If he could tell young parents one thing, what would it be? How does he raise such great kids? Without a second thought he spoke the most profound words…

Wait for it…

joey and cassidy

“NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES

YOU MUST WIN THEIR HEARTS.”

He went on to say that one reason why our family is working, was that when we first were married and starting a family, we made an intentional decision to win their hearts at a very young age. We would hold them as long as they needed to be held, never worrying about “spoiling” them. We would look them in the eye and listen to their side of the story, even if we already knew our answer. Our discipline would be swift and fair, always working to have the punishment fit the crime, followed by a sweet time of love and reconciliation.

We decided to make every effort to be involved in their lives, ask questions, find out how they were processing situations, love them with our lives, and introduce them one day to the source of all love. We decided to love each other in front of them first, always reminding them that daddy and mommy were here first, and love them in such a way, that no matter what they did, or where they went, they would always know the height and depth and width and breadth of our love for them.

Just like the Lord.

My husband said to me that it didn’t really matter if they followed all the rules of the home, obeyed us at home and in public, performed great in school, used nice manners, were star athletes and musicians, or even led worship with their youth group. Raising kids who ONLY follow the rules for the sake of outward appearance means that we are raising them for how they will make US look, how WE are perceived by society.

“OH look at that beautiful family!”

If parents are only concerned with how their kids behave, they may win the early battles, but by the time they turn 18 and are ready to leave on their own,

You will have lost the war.

In our home, we did not want to raise a bunch of rule followers, keepers of the law…Pharisees.

We knew that if we didn’t have their hearts, we didn’t have a thing. If they obeyed outwardly but inwardly resented or even hated us, we would have failed.

Check out the Parenting Secret Part TWO…

https://sowwithvision.com/2016/03/16/the-parenting-secret-part-two/

Let me know your thoughts!  You can follow me on Twitter @sow_with_vision

Advertisements

The Strong-Willed Child


 

Sitting in my office, I am  listening to my 20 year old son make breakfast for his 4 year old sister.  The two are laughing and giggling and referencing different silly cartoon characters.  My son prepares to begin a day of back to back piano lessons as students and families come in and out of our home all day.  Our son is in his Junior year studying piano performance at Sam Houston State.  Each Monday and Friday I get the blessing of interacting with different moms who love to tell me about how much they enjoy the lessons, while I also listen to him teach his young students about discipline and control on the keys.  The value of doing something WELL…over doing something FAST, and I have to smile.  Mommas….he was my strong-willed child.  Enjoy the read

The Strong-willed Child

 

Are you raising a strong-willed child?  If you are not quite sure, think about it like this.  Strong-willed children are a lot like active labor.  For weeks leading up to childbirth you experienced Braxton-Hicks contractions.  There’s always that nagging question as you feel those pains, no matter how many babies you’ve had,

“Could this be it?”

I’ve given birth eight times, and I still have those questions and I still time those contractions, to no avail, it’s not real labor.  But, when REAL HARD ACTIVE LABOR finally does hit you, there’s no more ‘guess-work’, you KNOW you are in LABOR, and dad had better hurry up and get momma to the hospital PRONTO!

A strong willed child is like that.  If you HAVE one in your home, you KNOW it.  If you are ‘guessing’, you probably don’t have one.

Here’s the deal with the strong-willed ones, and I am speaking to mom.

HEAR me momma:

This child needs you to stand strong in your authority as his parent.

This child needs you to always WIN.  This child needs you to NEVER EVER EVER GIVE UP.  They need you to have vision for their future, because they can’t see.  They need you stand firm.  They will test every single ounce of your patience, and squeeze out every bit of your resolve until you feel like you have nothing left to give.

KEEP GIVING.

This child will be the one who needs to be disciplined every single day, possibly for years, while all the other kids watch in disbelief at the fact he is messing up YET AGAIN.  They will scratch their heads and think, “DUDE!  Just do what mom says!”

He just can’t.

It’s his iron will, and yours needs to be stronger.  Love him deeply, hold him often, praise him in the non-conflict times, and always discipline with a vision of righteousness.  Do it over and over and over.  Don’t quit.  They grow up fast and every day is another brick in the wall of his character.  You are helping to forge his character every single day you keep standing.

Each day will seem like a power-struggle.  It is.  You will notice that the house is calmer when that child is not home, and you’ll be tempted to let him play all the time at his friend’s house just to get him out.  Don’t send him.  He’s not ready.  You are in a battle.  God will grant you rest one day, but for now, keep standing.

Do not let this child win the battle.  He will fight to win every time.

You win

You fight

His soul is the prize

His future hangs in the balance.

You will say to yourself, “I must be doing something wrong, he keeps getting in trouble, always needing to be disciplined”

Yes he does, keep doing it.

You may be thinking…How do I reach him?  How do I train him? Nothing is working. 

Find what works and do THAT. Ask other moms, go to your elders and ask them for help.   Sometimes corporal punishment works, sometimes it doesn’t.  Sometimes time-outs work, rarely ever do they work on the strong-willed child. There are countless other disciplining techniques.   Mix it up.   Make every action he does that is willful disobedience, counter-productive to what he is after.  Allow him to get the OPPOSITE of what he’s going for.

He throws his toys up against the wall when he’s mad? Go buy garbage bags and put every SINGLE one of his toys in them and get them out of the house.  When my son was six years old we did just that.  I bagged up every item in his room and left him with a bed only.  He slowly earned back one toy at a time, over several months.

Teach him, “He who is faithful in little, will be faithful in much”. Luke 16:10

He slams the door to his room? Take the door off the hinges and put it in the garage.  Teach him that privacy is a privilege, not a right.

He pitches a fit in the grocery store because you won’t buy him the item he is demanding?  Instead of giving in to the tiny terrorist, leave the groceries at the store, and GO HOME.  Yes, it’s more hassle for you now, but you are buying your time back in the future and making sure it will NEVER happen again.  When you get home, look him in the eye and tell him that he will NOT be allowed to come with you to the store if he EVER pulls that again. Teach him that self-control is a fruit of the spirit. (Gal. 5:23) Then try it again.  If he doesn’t get the message, take his sisters to the store when dad is home and leave him home.  He’ll get it eventually.

Think ‘counter-productive’ when bad behavior arises.  What does he WANT?  What is the opposite that I can give him?

He won’t fold that basket of laundry? Give him two baskets to fold.

He won’t stop pestering his sister in the car?  Stop the car, and tell him to, “drop and give me twenty push-ups!”  One day, my son was bothering his sister over and over in the car. Nothing was working: screaming over my shoulder, empty threats, nothing.  It was raining outside and everyone’s “feeler” was “on ten” from the conflict.  I stopped the car, and made the offender get out in the pouring rain on the side of the road where there was only gravel.  He was nine at the time.  I told him, “drop and give me 20!”  Right there on the side of the road in the rain. I think he thought it was a joke at first, then, he realized all the siblings were watching him and he was going to have to deliver.  Nothing shocks a child into a sound mind quicker than the element of surprise, and sitting in wet clothes.

He continually bickers with his sister?  Set up a meeting with him and a church elder and let another man reprove him.  He won’t forget it.

He plays with matches when you have repeatedly told him not to?  Take him to the fire department and let the firemen lecture him.  I promise you he will NEVER forget that moment.  They are dead serious about fire safety, and have attended many funerals.

REMEMBER dear mothers: Do not give up on your precious child, no matter how strong their will.  They will be the ones to change the world, because they will NEVER let the world change them.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Gal. 6:9

 23193a5dee485f20526bda3c8b371c53

Golden Apples

[My wonderful husband of 24 years, was born weighing only 2 pounds, with Cerebral Palsy, his testimony daily inspires myself and our children, below is one example.]

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” Proverbs 25:11

Today my husband asked me, “Why is Allie sad?”  Our ten year old has been struggling for a month with bouts of sadness and, though we’ve talked with her at length, prayed over her, and listened to her, she still was battling the sadness this morning.

“I think it’s because she watches her friends online and she wishes she could do what they are doing.”

Though she never said those words outright, I’ve watched her disposition change after she spends time online checking out different fun things her friends participate in.

So we sat down at the kitchen table this morning, and I was blessed to be able to witness a father’s gentle instruction and love poured out to his daughter.  He asked Her, If your heart was the weather, what would the forecast be, Allie?

“Raining all the time, daddy…”

He told her a little story.

Allie, when I was your age, do you want to know what all the kids were doing this time of year?

They were all signing up for the local baseball teams.

I loved baseball more than anything and I would have given anything to be able to play with them.  But do you want to know why I couldn’t play with them?  Why I couldn’t play little league baseball?

Because I couldn’t run.

Allie, I was ALWAYS the last one picked at every game on the school yard. No one wanted to pick me, I could not run.

My mom was sensitive to my love for playing outside and she bought me a basketball goal where I shot baskets on the driveway.  I also was able to throw a ball against the side of my house pretending to be a pitcher and going down the batting line up in my mind.

Each day I would still long to be a part of a team…to belong.

In God’s wisdom and sovereignty, there was a reason for my loneliness.  He was trying to drive me to something that I didn’t even realize at the time. Sometimes, Allie,  God says no in one area, so He can push us towards our calling. So He can say yes to another area. God uses the struggle to push us towards His will.

At age 12 my father bought me a guitar.   It sat in a closet for two years before I ever played it.

 “For I consider that this present suffering shall not be worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

Instead of looking at your life through the eyes of scarcity, what you are lacking, you need to ask God to show you how he sees you, Fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of his son Jesus.

Last month, Allie, I was walking to my car, and my feet gave out on me.  My ankle bent and I fell to the ground.  There was nothing nearby for me to grab on to, so I was going to have to crab walk over to my van so I could grab something to pull myself up.  All of the sudden, out of nowhere, a complete stranger comes over to me, sees me on the ground, and gets on her knees and says, “What do we need to do here to help you?”  I was humbled, vulnerable, and extremely thankful that she had the courage and compassion to come help me up.  Allie, I wasn’t unhappy that I fell that day, I was thankful God sent a stranger to help me up.  We need to pay attention to our thought life and stop longing for what we don’t have, but rather praise God for who we are in him

Ask yourself, ‘what is my calling?’  How was I created to serve God Best

After sitting in a closet for 2 years, I picked up that guitar.  It soon became my constant companion.  Playing the guitar filled a void in my life.  If filled an emptiness.  God used my loneliness and longing to play baseball like other kids, to drive me to the instrument, which would soon become my calling

I then learned to play the bass guitar on a 25 dollar guitar from K-Mart. While practicing for hours on the guitar alone in my room, I learned to play the Red Raven Polka. My father was so excited he went out and bought me my first bass guitar. Then he took a tape recorder out, got on the piano and recorded us playing the song together

For my 15th birthday, he had the radio station play that recording.

Allie, you are going to have to stop watching those videos and staring at those pictures,   longing for something you think you don’t have.

Allie, I have never roller skated, ice skated, ridden a bike, run a race, hang glided, jumped from an airplane, taken my family on a camping trip all by myself….there are hundreds of things I can’t do.  If I focus on those things, it will only discourage me.  I have to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith, and focus on what I CAN do.  What He created me to do.

I understand my limitations, in my mind I don’t focus on what I can’t do and what I don’t have. This is why we need Jesus.

“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” Proverbs 23:7

“God wants us to focus on whatsoever things are pure, lovely, true, just, of good report…” Phil. 4:8

Allie, you are a champion.  God created YOU for a unique and special purpose.  Something only you can do.  Ask the Lord to show you what He created you for.

Let this sadness you are feeling, drive you into the Savior’s arms of comfort.

Allie was blessed by the words of wisdom today, as evident when she told him the weather had changed for her and the sun was now shining.  Myself and our 19 year old daughter were also encourage, inspired, and humbled because we were able to witness this sweet exchange.  God reminded me today, that our lives are not our own, we’ve all been bought with a price, and so we must glorify God in our mortal bodies today. I am continually reminded of all that God has given us in this life.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.” 1 Peter 1:3   #integritymatters.

golden apples