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.
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!
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.
1. The first is Faith—Christian Faith. Children need to see us living out our faith in God and at the earliest age reading them Bible stories and praying with them. All that helps to give them a picture of how great God is and how much he loves and accepts us.
2. Secondly, hope—that the God of the Bible has a life and a plan for them and it unfolds over time. Proverbs 4:18 says “ The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day” (NLT) As you express hope that God’s way is best they’ll start to see it play out in their life. And of course the “blended hope” of Heaven is also a reality.
3. The third is love—God’s kind of love…unconditional. They need to hear, even when they make poor choices, “We have loved you; we do love you; we will always love you.” Their choices later in life can sadden or hurt you and you can express your opposition to those choices but still express that you still love them, and mean it.
4. Number 4 is discipline—Proverbs 10:17 says “People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life… (NLT.) children need to know what the rules of behavior are, and what the consequences are to misbehavior. “You cannot do that” may lead to “ You may dislike us for the discipline but we have to do this.”
5. This one many seem obvious to most but children need you to be a parent more than a buddy. Too many parents choose to be liked rather than respected and it comes back to haunt them later. Don’t confuse the two roles.
6. The last one is trust…first trust in God and also a trust in your children. Trust in an ability to release them into God’s custody and leave them there! A valuable lesson for them to learn is that trust is easily broken and difficult to recover. But they also need to see you trusting God in both large and small things.
In an article by Dr. Norman Wright, a Christian family expert, entitled “Good Marriage, Good Kids,” his opening statement emphasizes the enormous good that is gained when children’s sense that their parents love each other. Children’s antennas can actually pick up disruptions in the parents relationship. Conversely, when they’re positive about a stable, loving home, they’re much more able to strive for their full potential. Plus it enables them to see a good role model for their marriage some day. Her are the elements needed for both the marriage and the children”
1. Each spouse feels the other is allowing them to be themselves, and to develop their own unique qualities.
2. Both husband and wife can feel safe in expressing feelings and emotions as good communication is a must. Again good modeling gets passed on to our children.
3. Time to nurture the marriage is also vital. The children need to see that the marriage is important enough for their parents to carve out time for just the two of them.
4. Love and affection can be modeled positively even if the parents aren’t necessarily “touchy/feely.” A hug or a kiss at the end of a work day, if its genuine, says that all is well on the home front.
5. Mutual encouragement goes a long in building a nurturing home. Conversely, put-downs and competiveness tears down the family. Always publicly stand with your spouse and have each others back. Clarifications and disagreements over things affecting the kids need to be done privately.
6. It is also important for children to see that their parents can disagree and express differing opinions on other issues not pertaining to discipline and other children-related issues. It shows the difference between disagreeing and behaving disagreeably.
7. A huge positive factor for a family is spiritual unity. A family is strengthened when parents share a strong, common faith in God.
Keep in mind, no marriage is perfect and it’s not easy and we sometimes, maybe often, have to say “we’re sorry,” but it helps them to see that there is healthy growth.
My dad taught me a lot of valuable things about life and God. When I think back on my childhood and my young adult years, my dad is always in those memories. He played a major role in my formative years.
As I got older and went to college, I met a lot of people outside of our city and our church. I couldn’t believe how many of the people that I met did not have good relationships with their fathers…or even a relationship at all.
I can remember calling my dad in tears and thanking him for all the time, prayer and effort he had put into raising my siblings and me. I thanked him for all the times he stood in the gap for us. For all the godly leadership he brought to our home.
Dads, your role is so important. God has called you to lead your home, and to lead it well. Your children are looking up to you as an example of God to them.
A few things that you can do:
- Be present- when you are home; be available to your wife and children. Have good conversations with them.
- Have fun with your kids. I can remember my dad always being goofy and making us laugh. He brought lightheartedness to our home.
- Show up at your kid’s activities. Work and life can be hectic, but it is so great to feel the support of your dad in the stands at your game, to see him standing on the sidelines cheering you on. My dad even took time off of work to go on class trips with me. That spoke volumes to me about his priorities.
- Raise your children up in Scripture. Pray over them. Let them see you as the Spiritual head of your household.
Dr. Kevin Leman has some great books on parenting and these “commandments” are from one called “Parenthood without Hassles.” His latest book is called “Have a New Teen by Friday,” a take on an earlier best seller, “Have a New Kid by Friday.”
1. My hands are small; please don’t expect perfection whenever I make a bed, draw a picture, or throw a ball. My legs are short; please slow down so that I can keep up with you.
2. My eyes have not seen the world as yours have; please let me explore safely. Don’t restrict me unnecessarily.
3. Housework will always be there; I’m only little for a short time. Please take time to explain things to me about this wonderful world, and do so willingly.
4. My feelings are tender; please be sensitive to my needs. Don’t nag me all day long (you wouldn’t want to be nagged for your inquisitiveness.) “Treat me as you would like to be treated.
5. I am a special gift from God; please treasure me as God intended you to do, holding me accountable for my actions, giving me guidelines to live by, and disciplining me in a loving manner.
6. I need your encouragement to grow; please go easy on the criticism. Remember, you can criticize the things I do with out criticizing me.
7. Please give me the freedom to make decisions concerning myself. Permit me to fail so that I can learn from my mistakes. Then someday I’ll be prepared to make the kind of decisions life requires of me.
8. Please don’t do things over for me. Somehow that makes me feel that my efforts didn’t quite measure up to your expectations. I know it’s hard but please try not to compare me with my brothers or sisters.
9. Please don’t be afraid to leave for a weekend together. Kids need vacations from parents just as parents need vacations from kids. Besides, its’ a great way to show us kids that your marriage is very special.
10. Please take me to Sunday School and church regularly, setting a good example for me to follow. I enjoy learning more about God. —From Parenthood with hassles (Well, almost) by Kevin Leman (Harvest House, 1979).