Category Archives: General Parenting
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!
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.
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
Jesus often communicated with the 1st century community by using stories! Parables and Illustrations were often Jesus’ mode of captivating his audience and helping them understand what he was trying to communicate. Story is still a powerful method of teaching today. Think about the type of sermons on Sunday morning you enjoy listening to the most…very few of us like just having information spewed at us. However, when principles are embedded within story, we are not only captivated, but we understand better! This is even more critical with preteens. Preteens think more abstractly than their younger counterparts and are beginning to question their old Sunday school lessons. When we can teach those same principles (love your neighbor, obey your parents, etc.) within a story from scripture or our own life it starts to make more sense and allows them to see “why” it matters.
Stories from our own past are also a great way of connecting kids with their parents. Family Systems Theory invites children to learn more about their parents’ history and how they grew up as a way for children and adults to better understand how they function. As parents, you have an exciting opportunity to share your past using the power of story! Tell them about mistakes you made, successes you had, stories of their grandparents, or even stories from when you were their age. Don’t miss an amazing opportunity…tell stories!
By Beth Loner
No matter the age of the child or how seemingly insignificant the inquiry, questions involving God’s existence and attributes are not interruptions but divine appointments. These moments add up. If we, as parents, are not laying the foundation in Jesus Christ to our young children then someone else may have a greater influence and impact on their future beliefs.
“Hear oh Israel. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:5-7 ESV (emphases added)
Diligently teaching children God’s commands, promises, and deeds involves instructing when we’re at home or away, when we’re resting or doing chores. These verses encourage parents that family devotionals are not another thing on the “to do” list. We actually have to flip everything around. It is the “to do” list with our children and everything else fits in around it.
Formal devotions are important too. Set aside a time. As a general rule, organized family devotions always take longer then you allot. Be prepared going in, and begin with prayer. Difficult questions will come up. If I don’t know the answer, I take it as a challenge to find out. There are an abundance of resources out there. The Scroll Bookstore can be instrumental. The manager of the Scroll, Sue Nelson, considers it her ministry to serve the church by connecting people with worthwhile, God honoring material. She does her research. As a side note, it is important to remember that some questions cannot be answered. Our finite minds cannot grasp God’s infinite wisdom.
Beth Loner is a wife, mother, member of First Free Church, and current seminary student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
By Angela Finch
Family Fun! Doesn’t that sound wonderful, but who has time? Between soccer practices, play rehearsal, piano lessons, church activities, grocery shopping, work and so many other demands, there is no time left to have fun. As parents, we want our children to remember good times, not just commitments, so why not purpose to have more fun. Hopefully, this article will give you some ideas that stimulate your own creativity.
Some things just happen spontaneously, but often times planning is needed. First, sit down together, as a family, and make a list of fun activities. You should list things that are inexpensive or free, such as playing a board game, a picnic in the back yard, catching fireflies, special milkshakes and a movie from the Redbox, or a squirt gun war. Then, list things that you could save for, such as a trip to play mini-golf, an ice cream outing, a movie, or an overnight trip. Ages and budgets vary with every household, but with planning, there is something for everyone. When something is really important to us, we usually put it in our schedule. Look at the calendar, and then choose a night that looks open for everyone.
Family traditions are another source of great memories for a child. Not only do children look forward to traditions, they often help develop a greater sense of belonging to the family through their family’s uniqueness. Be creative and begin with some simple ones. They may include a special birthday balloon, plate, or place mat for each family member, a scavenger hunt for a group gift on Christmas afternoon, a camp-out under the Christmas tree, a basket full of things each person has written that he is thankful for on Thanksgiving, or a fondue-dinner every New Year’s Eve. Whatever you choose, your children will anticipate that special event or holiday each year.
An article on fun would not be complete without a thought on laughter. What happens between childhood and adulthood that causes us to take life so seriously and lose so much of our laughter? Laughter releases stress, breaks down barriers, and helps us make it through difficult situations. Look for opportunities to laugh with your children. Find humor every day, let yourself laugh, then go out and have some fun!
There was a day when I began praying that God would help me to “pay attention.” I began to notice there were some very special and significant things that people where doing really well. One of those things was parenting in such a way that when a child grew up not only did they have a great love of their parents, but they also had a great love of the Lord. So, I began to ask these great parents: What did you do? What are you doing now?
Almost everyone I asked said that their children were great in spite of their parenting, not because of their parenting. I didn’t believe them. When I began to “pay attention” – there were a few important things I noticed. The first was the genuine testimony these great parents live. They are not perfect by any means, but they live their lives with intention. Jesus truly is the most important person in their life. Certainly a child can see through a charade. A parent that pretends on Sunday and sets Jesus aside the other six days of the week does not make an impression on their child that church, faith, or Jesus are important.
The second thing I noticed was the significance of prayer in their family life. This is huge. Prayer is their family’s knee-jerk reaction to anything and everything. Can’t find the car keys – they’re praying. Someone got an A in math – they’re praising. Praying is a first response, not a last minute cry. Their lives are consistently prayerful. They pray as a family and as a family they see God’s faithfulness.
Finally, they study together. They jump into scripture and learn together. It seems easy enough, but actually carving time out of busy schedules to do something beyond a simple devotional reading makes a big difference in the way these families function in comparison to others.
I began to really look at these three steps: intentionally living for Christ, prayer, and study. Does this mean if I follow these steps I will have perfectly content children who will rise up and thank us for doing such a great job of parenting? No, probably not. But, I think that the three steps are building a strong foundation. A strong foundation can withstand a lot of life’s pressures and keep a family on the same starting point. When all else fails, a foundation built upon Jesus will remain.
According to a recent survey conducted by A.C. Nielson Co., “The average parent spends 38.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children.” This is an amount that needs to be raised. I understand that church, sports, music, extra-curricular activities, and 4 other people in the house pulling different directions make it more difficult for family mealtime to happen. I didn’t value family dinnertime while I was in Jr. High, but now I most definitely value the time that I had with my family as I think back to the memories that were made around the dinner table. These memories that ranged from Chicken Kiev exploding all over my dad’s glasses as he made the first cut into the chicken and my older sister declaring that she was having pizza at her wedding because she was such a picky eater.
The truth is, family dinner gives you time at the end of the day to stay in communication with your son or daughter for more than the average amount per week. It gives you the chance to pray together, share stories from the day, share what was learned that day, and last, but certainly not least… laugh together!
Here are a few fun dinner ideas to try with the fam:
- Let a different person choose the menu for each night of the week.
- Have a picnic!
- Talk while cleaning the dishes.
- Allow your son or daughter to occasionally invite their friends.
- Discuss what’s been going on in the lives of everyone around the table… I know that this is vague, but it’s a good reminder that this isn’t just time for one person to consume the conversation.
By Gayle Ozartun
Prayer is the most powerful tool we as Christians have. My walk with God has been soaked in prayer from the beginning. When my husband and I were married for two years, we decided it was time to start a family. My siblings all had several children so I figured it would be a piece of cake for us. I was wrong. In the next seven years, we sought out the LORD through study and prayer. People all around us were having babies so I would get discouraged. Because I had hope in Christ I would pray for His favor and that He would grant me a child. He encouraged me through His Word over and over.
After seven long years and many doctor appointments filled with testing and waiting, we found out that God was going to grant us our prayer threefold! Carrying triplets is a high-risk appointment! I went into pre-term labor at the beginning of week 20. Our church family diligently prayed for us and I definitely prayed without ceasing. I ended up on bed rest for a total of nine weeks, most of which were in the hospital. I spent my nights singing praise songs and praying over my precious bundles of joy. My doctor, through medicine, was able to keep me from prematurely giving birth before week 29. At twenty-nine and a half weeks my wonderful children arrived!
I had one child that had absolutely nothing wrong with him except a little jaundice. My other son and daughter needed to be on a C pap to help them breathe. My son was on a ventilator and on the third day my daughter’s lungs collapsed. The hole in her heart was not closing and she had three bacterial infections and needed blood transfusions three times. In the midst of this, I spent my days going to each one and singing over them and praying for them. Our church family had been constant in praying for them. While my family fell apart over all of this, I had complete peace. I knew that my God had His hand upon them and I didn’t need to fear. Not just daily, but all day, I prayed over them.
Finally, after forty-one days my beautiful sons got to come home. On day fifty-five, my beautiful baby girl came home on a monitor. During the time that she was in the hospital, I was not able to hold her much at all, but now she was all mine.
As they grew, I found myself fearing about sickness, disease, and even snakes!! I have learned from God’s Word that He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power. As I started to fear over the possibilities, I became aware that I have been given power over it by my Father in heaven. I began to pray against all of the things that I feared might happen to my children. When I did that, all fear was gone because I knew that they were in God’s hands. His promises and perfect love cast out fear so completely! I clung to and still do to Luke 10:19 which says, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy. Nothing will harm you.”
My point is this: When in fear, pray!! He will give you indescribable peace if you just lean on Him. God is greater than our biggest obstacles and storms and even the monsters in our closets. Trust Him.
Recommended books: Stormy Omartian, “ Power of a Praying Parent” book and workbook (Stormy Omartian has written several other books on prayer that have been very helpful to me as well.)