Instead of reading it myself, because I was reading a thousand other books at the time, I asked her to tell me about it. I thought this was really interesting. The book details how she and her husband put their sons on a monthly “salary” on the first day of 6th grade. They figured how much they would normally spend on the child in a typical month (clothes, snacks, school lunches, videogames, etc.) and instead of fighting over money with the child, they gave the child that month’s “salary” on the first of each month to spend as he wished.
The only rules were that the child had to give 10% away (to church, charity, or someone in need, etc.), save 10% (in a bank account or other interest bearing account), and the other 80% was his to spend (they did explain that money had to be spent on items which were acceptable in the eyes of their family. They had to learn to budget. If they knew they were invited to a birthday party, then they would have to set that money aside and buy the present. So if they ran out of money for that month, they were not able to attend whatever function they could have if they had the money.
We are doing this with our kids and it has worked out fairly well. We have tweaked it to meet our needs, but they are getting the hang of it. It has been fun to see them give and also not spend when they know they have only so much money to go until the end of the month.
What a great way to teach your kids responsibility with their finances and the importance of giving!
Here is some food for thought as you struggle with going back work.
1. Recognize that sometimes husbands and wives don’t have the same reactions to a newborn baby. Husbands can wrestle with the financial burdens and/or the intrusion of the newest family member. Wives, by contrast, universally struggle with fatigue.
2. Realize that extended family members aren’t as available as they used to be. Organizations like “Moms Day Out” (MDO) have helped provide some help especially if you’ve gone back to work part-time or hours are flexible.
3. Economic realities have made the need for additional income necessary. Avoid feeling guilty about it. Sometimes the guilt even stems from church, with messages from the pulpit that only the husband should be working outside the home. Of course single parents don’t have a choice in this. (studies have actually shown that adolescents who’s mothers work outside the home have more self-confidence than those who’s mother are at home all the time.)
4. Determine who or what is making the demands on you. Are there factors there that need to be addressed? Maybe a complex or expensive lifestyle is adding to your fatigue. Simplifying both the schedule and/or the financial obligations will challenge the notions of bigger and better as being best. Too many families are living over their heads financially.
5. One more reality is that studies have shown that women who work outside the home also continue to do most of the household work. If both are working outside the home, both should share home duties too. Fortunately many husbands are starting to realize how helpful this is in helping the fatigued factor. This is best achieved by the husbands seeing the need and offering to help. It will make a world of difference.
6. Finally, husbands encourage your wife to find something fulfilling. The goal is not to just bringing in more money but to provide an opportunity for her to use gifts that God built into her that are also marketable. Children do take pride in their parents accomplishments.
We all learn differently, including your child. The following is an understanding of how an individual’s learning style works.
The way in which we view the world is call our…PERCEPTION. We perceive in two ways…
Concrete-When we deal with our concrete abilities we are dealing with what is here and now–the tangible, the obvious. We are not looking for hidden meanings. The key phrase is, “It is what it is.”
Abstract- This quality allows us to visualize or conceive ideas–to understand or believe what we can’t actually see. The key phrase is, “it’s not always what it seems.”
The way we use the information we perceive is called…ORDERING. We order in two ways…
Sequential- This method of ordering allows our minds to organize information in linear fashion. The key phrase is “Follow the steps.”
Random- This method of ordering lets our minds organize information by chunks and with no particular sequence. Their key phrase is, “Just get it done!”
Some children memorize things well with structured flash cards, while others use pictures. Some children take everything you say very literally, others can read between the lines. This all has to do with how we learn. If you want help communicating with your child, I highly suggest you read The Way They Learn by Cynthia Tobias. It will help identify your child’s learning style and how you can help them succeed in learning both at home AND at school.
Sunday was Father’s Day! As a gift from my boys, I received the infamous AlumaWallet! The gift wrapping was perfect for any dad…brown paper sack and duct tape. I opened the gift and immediately looked at my wife and thought, “ Why would you let them buy this? I have a perfectly good wallet (I used one of these…seriously).
I did not shame the gift out loud, I think I said something like, “Wow boys, thanks! This looks fancy, I will use this for special occasions!” My 7 year-old said, “DAD, a truck can drive over it and your credit cards will not bend!!!” My 4 year-old said, “Dad, if you hold it under the water your credit cards will stay dry.”
I did not want to crush their joy by telling them that…
Credit Cards can get wet and it is not a problem
Wet money dries easily
Credit cards are fine to drive over
My wallet has never been in danger of being driven over…and if it was, it would hurt the car more than my wallet
What I did do was give the boys a huge hug, told them I loved them, and thanked them. After the gift giving, my wife told me that my oldest had been talking to her about getting me the AlumaWallet for Father’s Day for over 2 months. At that time Keri had no idea what he was talking about but one day the infomercial came on and he freaked out, “MOM, MOM, THIS IS THE WALLET!!!” She said he was so excited to get it for me, he just knew I would love it. Hearing this story, my heart immediately melted. So today, I am the proud, owner of an AlumaWallet that I use every day!
Now…All that said I am on a mission to drop hints to my boys that…
Their mommy loves sun glasses
Their mommy might need some new sun glasses
And remind them that her favorite color is something crazy
Happy Mother’s Day…You better wear them Baby
What gadgets did you get for Father’s Day?
Families seem to be under a barrage of media, peer, culture, greed and guilt pressures when it comes to materialism.
1. First of all, realize that it’s not just children who express this. They just do it more blatantly.
2. See the importance of establishing value decisions and then being able to live up the that value structure. If we show restraint, our children will be more apt to do it also.
3. Establish criteria for both the number and the kinds of toys you’ll permit. Have you ever been to a home where you can hardly maneuver through a room without risking life & limb? Chose toys which stimulate creative play and have a variety of uses.
4. Toys are not to be used to silence whining!
5. Two positive methods are allowances and/or house chores plus grades. How you use those incentives is up to you. The value of a toy in a child’s mind, changes when they “earn” it.
6. As a child begins to see that he/she can make responsible choices in spending they’ll begin lifelong patterns for saving and spending.
7. Even well-healed parents can teach responsibility at an early age. Buying your child a pony can come with strings attached…cleaning, feeding etc. And for those with minimal means, garage sales and second hand stores can be great sources for toys.
8. Care for the child’s toys goes hand in hand with teachings them how to put their toys away, with consequences if there is a problem. Good quality toys can last a long time. We still have some of them…waiting for them to become antiques!
We’ve all heard these famous words before “I can do it myself, but don’t leave me”. You may be experiencing this same thing with your Jr. High student as you read this. It is just like the dependability and hindrance of training wheels on a bike. A young kid is a little apprehensive about learning how to ride on two wheels as opposed to four, but he or she doesn’t want to be the only five-year-old in the neighborhood who doesn’t know how to ride their bike without training wheels. Just as that little five-year-old is experiencing a bag of mixed emotions and trying to decide whether or not they need the help from their training wheels, so too your Jr. Higher is contemplating what they can do on their own and what they still need the dependability of mom and dad for.
As I stated in my previous blog post, Jr. High students are experiencing many new things at this cognitive developmental stage in their lives. They are ready to start doing some new things on their own and that’s a good thing. But, they also want to know that when or if they fail and fall off that bike, that mom and dad will be there with open arms ready to help them back up. I would encourage you as a parent to let your son or daughter try to do some things on their own that they previously needed your help with. This doesn’t mean that they no longer have a use for you, with the exception of your checkbook. It means that they need you in a different role. They need you on the sidelines coaching, encouraging, disciplining, and most of all praying for them as they embark on this amazing journey called “adolescence”. This is a HUGE role to fill, yet it is exciting to see all of the hard work that you’ve done pay off. You’re doing a great job, hang in there.
The Way They Learn is the title of a book by Cynthia Tobias that tells us about how our children learn best. 200 words is not even close to enough space to tell you about how it all works, so instead, I will get you started and if you like what you hear you can purchase the book yourself (you can order it from First Free’s bookstore “The Scroll”).
Have you ever wondered why some children learn better with flashcards and others can memorize things easier by seeing a picture? Or maybe you noticed that some children take what you say very literally and others can read between the lines or simply get the ”gist” of it. This happens because of a child’s learning style and understanding a child’s learning style will not only help you at home, but it will help your child succeed at school!
When I was in college, I visited Paris, France over spring break with some friends. Not knowing a lick of French, It was an extremely frustrating task trying to order food, get directions, or even find the bathroom! The language barrier stopped me dead in my tracks when it came to communication. I tell you this as an example of how we should try to look at the way children learn. If you fail to communicate with them or have them study in a way that does not connect with them, it’s like me speaking with the Frenchman…FRUSTRATING! If you want to help your child both at home and in school, I highly suggest picking up this book from Focus on the Family and learning more about how your child learns best.
Teenage girls are some of my very favorite people. They are in the stage between child and adult- trying to navigate that difficult road of becoming their own person and making their faith their own. I have learned a few characteristics to be true of them:
- Want permission to be themselves
- Need their dads like crazy
- Need to be affirmed in who they are
- Want attention from older caring adults
- They want to laugh during this time of transition from child to adult
- They thrive when they are given individual attention
- Are each individuals that need unique care
- Need the permission to dream about what God has planned for their life.
- Need a listening ear
- Need their parents to say I love you to them
- Want to accomplish big things for God
- Take your daughter on a date
- Have a meaningful conversation with her
- Tell her you love her
- Talk to her about her relationship with God- ask her the tough questions
- Wait up for her to get home and have cookies and milk waiting for her (take some time to sit at the kitchen table and talk about her night)
- Go on a walk through the neighborhood
- Work through a devotional book with her- (suggestion: The Way I’m Wired by Katie Brazelton)
Parents, you have a difficult job. You are raising your kids in a time where they can so easily become distracted from their faith. They need you. They need your attention, listening ear, counsel, correction, guidance, encouragement in their faith and most of all, your example. I am praying for you.
A counselor friend whose practice has dealt with thousands of families over the years, has some wise advice on how to deal with such outbursts.
1. Your first choice is either to respond or react. Reaction is spontaneous while responding can be constructive. The statement itself is loaded with emotion and its easy to feel rejected and unappreciated.
2. Next, accept the reality of anger and learn how to deal with the seeming rejection. Is anger even an accepted response in your home? How well do you accept your own anger?
3. If anger is simply denied in your family, as is it is in some Christian families, then there’s a greater problem. You must know how to accept anger as an emotion common to all.
4. Make sure that the feeling stirred up by your child’s outbursts don’t define your relationship. How much do you depend on your child’s love and respect?
5. Ask yourself what your child is really saying? Is it manipulation or is it a hurt you’ve caused? Ephesians 6:4 reminds us not to “exasperate” our children. Or maybe he/she is actually angry at someone else and you got in the path of that emotion.
6. Children need to be shown and taught how to express their anger appropriately. “I feel angry at you” can express the same idea without the fallout.
7. Sometimes when a child is expressing anger it’s really aimed at themselves. You might need some outside help with that one.
8. You initial response is crucial. “Tell me how I’m hurting you” can easily open up an expression of compassion as well as defuse the harsh statement.
At least part of the solution for a child’s selfishness is to learn how to be a servant. Our culture tends to not like that term, but any good employer, spouse, or team player knows how to give up his or her agenda for others at times. That’s servanthood.
Children need to learn how to be servants. It’s not an elective; it’s a required course. Learning to be a servant will help children be better employees, better husbands or wives, and even better parents. It may be helpful to make servanthood a focus for a week or a month in your home. You might create a poster giving a working definition of servanthood that goes something like this:
–Seeking to overcome self-centeredness by looking for ways to help and care for others.
Or for younger children:
–Looking for ways to make other people happy before me.
You might have everyone in the family memorize a verse from the Bible like Philippians 2:4, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Plan ways that each person can practice being a servant. As a parent, you are already serving your children in more ways that they probably appreciate. In fact, you might ask your child to serve by taking on one of the tasks you usually do in family life. This gives an opportunity for you to model appreciation for service.
For example, a child might plan and prepare a meal for the family. That’s more complicated than many children realize. The work required to think of others may be just what some children need to get out of their own selfish patterns. Of course, those being served often respond with delight and appreciation, the built-in reward for servanthood. This kind of role reversal can go a long way in teaching children to value others and appreciate the things people do for them.
www.biblicalparenting.org June 1, 2011