Little Mermaid complex as a mom

The story of the Little Mermaid has always been one of my faves. The Disney version came out when I was young, and growing up in Florida, I spent many a summers pretending I was a mermaid.

I took a facebook quiz the other day that advertised to find out what “Disney complex” I had. It was a little surprised that it said I had the Little Mermaid Complex.

What is it? Well, basically, just wanting to be where you are not.

Ouch.

That sums me up.

Not that I am ever totally unhappy where I am. It’s just that type A rearing its ugly head. This is great, but what’s next? Is there something better out there?

I remember when my kids were babies. They were amazing, but I missed sleep. I couldn’t wait until they were old enough to sleep through the night.

Then toddlers came. They are so much fun to play with! And boy, are they so cute! But I am exhausted, and can’t wait until I don’t have to chase them everywhere.

Then early school years came. So sweet to take them to school and watch them learn. But they need lots of support.

I blinked and my oldest will be starting high school next year. Yikes.

Is the grass greener in the next phase of life? Well, if you are raising your kids with love and support, the next phase will be fantastic. But so is the phase you are in now. And believe it or not, you will miss it when its over.

I’m glad I had 4 kids. Because by the time I had the 4th one, I realized that there is some truth to how fast time goes with kids. Do I still have the Little Mermaid Complex? Yeah, I do. But at least now I know I have it! I can work every day to savor the moments with these kids. Things become less stressful when I stop hoping for some future time and just enjoy the time I am in.

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Influence your kids!

So, as a teacher, I am required to do CEUs (continuing education units). One I was listening to online today talked about why teenagers act the way they do. They broke down how teenagers are influenced. A small fraction of hours is spent at church (for some), another small fraction influenced by parents, and the rest is by their educational system and media. 

In other words, they are mostly influenced by people you don’t know.

Now, before you quit reading because you don’t have high schoolers, remember that you will one day (if you did your job right). And, if you are thinking this will be a religious rant, you are incorrect.

You see, influence starts way down before those kiddos can talk. How you and your spouse treat each other and your child speak volumes. How much influence do you have on your child, right now?

First of all, you need to have a game plan. What vision do you have your child? If you don’t have a vision, chances are you will just “survive” and not teach your child anything but survival. (If I don’t plan what I will teach during a certain day, how much will I really accomplish? Unleash your inner teacher!) Your vision is NOT what your child will do for a living. Your vision is WHO your child will be when no one watches. I would hope that you want to raise kids with character. 

Secondly, re-evaluate how your child spends his or her time. I recommend the following hard look at you and your child’s lives. 

Birth-4 or 5 years old: You either are a stay at home parent or have an outside source of childcare. Now, as a parent, it is important to choose a childcare that supports your views of parenting and vision for your child. If you don’t choose someone like that, they will be influencing your child in another way. This is truth, like it or not. That may mean you need to not let grandma babysit, if she is stuck doing things you don’t like. Make sacrifices elsewhere financially because raising your child is too important of a task! When you get home, does your child sit in front of the TV for long periods of time? Those shows are cute, but they are teaching your child something. It may not even be bad! But it is TAKING THE PLACE OF YOU in influence. Set a time limit on TV. Set a MINIMUM time that you want to spend with your child each day, shaping them.

Elementary: School is a main influence here! And I struggle what to do with my kids, educationally. Home school is a lot of work, and I feel very few are truly qualified to teach upper level subjects (most of the time, elementary is fine). Public schools are free, but are they supporting what you think is important? I think about common core issues and the FCAT in FL, and wonder how many parents truly are on board with all of this. Private school is expensive. We have to decide what our priorities are and go with that. Friends start to influence more here. PLEASE, get to know your kids’ friends! You need to know who they are and how they are influencing your kids. Monitor your kids’ music, TV and movies! You might think it isn’t influencing them, we tell ourselves that they are “too smart”, but if you stare at a correctly spelled word for a while, it looks incorrect. (Try it!) That just means, if your kid hears the same message over and over again, it may start to sound like truth! I am very careful not let my kids listen to music with even a hint of sexual overtones. I have heard 6 year olds sing songs that they have no business singing! Same thing with TVs and movies. Whatever they are watching over and over again, is what they will be influenced by. 

Middle and High: DON’T bail on them now! Just because they are older, doesn’t mean that you stop trying to spend time with them. You know their friends are very important now. Try to let your house be a hangout for their friends. I think about my mom-in-law. All of her kids’ friends would come hang out at her house. She knew all of her boys’ friends, and who they dated! Still encourage good music, movies and TV. Monitor social media and PLEASE don’t be naive. My oldest is 12 1/2 and I still watch what he does online and TV from time to time. I reward for good behavior, but I let him know that the very most important reward he gets from me is my trust.  Parents tell me all of the time in conferences that they are “trying to let them go”, when they still should be more involved! Let them know you love them unconditionally and are there to talk. Kids know when you are checking out and it affects them way more than you know.

These principles aren’t just for kids. I still guard what I watch and what music I listen to. Because I understand what influence has in my life. If it can affect me, I can only imagine what it will do to my kids. Your kid will become like who influences them most. Be someone worth imitating, and then spend time with your kid to pass on that influence!

 

Honor

Proverbs 3:9 “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.”

I read this tonight in my devotions. Funny how we can see things that we have never seen before…. I’ve always heard this verse in reference to why you should give offerings to the church.

But, I got to thinking on this verse, and there is a second part to it. The best part of everything you produce. On a very base level, I produced children. If you think about it that way, God is calling us to honor Him, not only with money, but with everything we do, everything we create, really everything that we are.

I’ve never had much money. But I do have a lot of kids. And I truly have sought to honor God with the way I raise our kids. I’m not just talking about baby dedication. Anyone can stand up in front of a church and promise to do whatever churches ask them to do at those services. The real test is in real life. Can you really say that you honor God by the way you raise your kids? If He spoke to you about how you raise your kids, would you be afraid of what He would say? The truth is, we can put on a good show. We can even train our kids to act like every thing is ok at home. But God sees past that. He knows our actions. He knows our heart.

If you haven’t read Proverbs 3 recently, go ahead and look it up. Read the whole chapter slowly, letting God speak to you.

Because in all honesty, God doesn’t need my money. But He sure loves my 4 kids. And He sure loves your kids, too. What He wants from us is to honor Him with our lives, marriage, kids, and those we come in contact with. And it isn’t really magical to “honor” Him. It is just doing our very best through the power of His Holy Spirit. Praying over situations constantly. Loving unconditionally. Saying that we are sorry when we are wrong. Making sure that there are no “hidden parts” of our lives- things that we hope no one ever finds out about. Because honoring God means doing it for Him.

I’ll leave you with another verse from Proverbs 3 (Prov 3:33): The LORD curses the house of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the upright.

Good stuff. Great God!

Knowing fiercely (a repost from my facebook page in 2010)

This is a repost from my facebook page from back in 2010. It isn’t really about parenting as much as how parenting has helped me see God a little better! Enjoy!

 

I had something scary happen a few weeks ago. My 5 yr old is not know for paying much attention. We laugh, saying he is just like Daddy. He will wander up to some lady with the same type of hair as mine and pull on her shirt. I usually have to call him before he realizes he’s got the wrong lady! 
Well, the other day we were at Disney. The kids know they are supposed to stay right by us. We had just got off of ‘Small World’ and Daniel and I were trying to get the strollers set up (we have to take 2!). I told Jadon to come over to us and saw him starting to walk. When I looked again, he wasn’t there. I asked Daniel if he saw him, and he didn’t. I was absolutely terrified! The place was packed. I started screaming his name (and I have a LOUD voice). He was not within earshot- this is not good! I grab the 3 other kids and start looking and Daniel runs out into the crowd. A few minutes pass (and lots of prayer prayed!) and Daniel comes back, holding Jadon’s hand. My heart can beat again! Why was he lost? He followed the ‘wrong mom’. 
Wow. This reminds me of our spiritual life. There is no way I would mistakenly follow another boy thinking it was Jadon. Why? I know him fiercely. I know not only what he looks like, but his little habits, and even the way his little brain works. I can almost guess what he is going to do. But he will follow any lady with dark hair. He lives with me and talks with me. Why doesn’t he know me as well as I know him? I am responsible for him. This is just like with God and us. God knows us fiercely, but we don’t always know Him that well. We follow what looks like Him, only to realize we followed the wrong person. It is scary to realize you are lost, but just like Daniel and me, God is fiercely looking for you. Pursuing you. Wanting you to realize that you are not following the right Person. I’m glad He knows me fiercely. And I hope to know Him fiercely enough to not lose sight of Him.

Dealing with defeat

OK, so I’ll admit. I’m not looking forward to writing this post. I am more of a hopeful and optimistic person. But, sadly, defeat is real. So, here it goes.

As a family, you will face defeat. That is, if you haven’t experienced it already! (and I’m guess you have….) We live in an imperfect world, so there is hurt and let down. We need to know how to deal with it in a healthy way to make our families stronger. Because if we dwell on defeat, our house becomes unhealthy. It is a negative environment and WILL affect your kids, whether you want it to or not.

In my own personal life (and my husband’s), we have faced defeat most often in the area of jobs/finance. This is probably the best place to face defeat. You could face defeat in relationships (bad marriage, strained parent/kid relationship). You could also face defeat in health. We have had a few scares in that area-  a febrile seizure with one of our infants, one child born with a hole in her heart, bad case of eczema…. but I consider those to be so small compared to what others have had to face. 

My husband and I had kids at a young age. With that, comes plenty of energy to parent, but a severe lack of money! My husband had no experience in his field when he graduated college, right about the time of the birth of our first son. So here we were, trying to find a first time job for my husband while I tried to stay at home. We ended up having to move totally across the country for a job! After a few years, we needed to be near family (after the birth of twins…), but he couldn’t find a job in his degree field. Do you know that in almost 14 years of marriage, he has only worked in his degree field for 3 of those years? Along with that comes great financial stress. It really does seem that every time we start to get ahead on finances, somebody ends up in the hospital!

My defeat is similar. I teach math, but I don’t think that is what I am called to do. I really believe I am supposed to be a family/children pastor. You would think with a background in teaching and 4 kids of my own that I would be well qualified. Nope. I have faced defeat after defeat with job interviews. And the thing about me- I am insanely passionate about things I love. That means I am “all in” and super upbeat and exciting to be around. That is, until I face defeat. Then I take it super personally.When our brain can’t make since of defeat, it feels all the more painful. So basically, for 4 years I have felt like I was “floating”- trying to make do until I am able to do what I feel called to do. And apparently I’m picky. Because I need to work at a church that thinks outside of the box and loves on community, one that believes in me enough to let me do what I feel passionate about, one that is all about making God’s Kingdom great (and not just making their church big).  It makes it hard to put down roots where you are. I can’t go buy a house in Palm Beach if God is going to call us somewhere else in a few years. 

So how do we deal with defeat in our family? It would be really easy for me to mope around every time I don’t get a job. And maybe I do, just a little. But that’s the thing about emotions. I have seen so many parents who do apparently do not know how to do deal with strong emotion properly. Here is what I try to do:

1. Admit it hurts. Cry if you need to. Get it out! I dish on my poor husband. If you aren’t married, maybe you can talk with your parent, sibling or good friend. We aren’t made to keep these emotions in. If you don’t, you are more likely to hold on to the pain too long.

2. Don’t take it out on any member of your family. Maybe it is someone in your family who is sick, causing the stress. You can’t take it out on them. If someone at work is being a total jerk, you can’t be angry at your spouse or kid over that. Put emotions where they belong. No matter how many times I don’t get a job or a raise, I can’t blame my husband or kids- they aren’t the reason for this!

3. Pray over the defeat. And be REAL! I have asked God “What on earth is going on here?!?!?” It is totally OK to admit to Him that you don’t understand or are hurt. And, as much as it hurts, defeat is God directing us in some way. I don’t know how that applies in your situation. Maybe sit and think/pray over it. 

4. Decide where to go from there. It may be that you have no choice in the matter! For me, when I don’t get a job, I am just stuck where I am. Do I continue applying? Do I give up? If your marriage is going bad, decide to make it work. If your kids are rebelling, decide they are worth fighting for. But in every choice, decide that you won’t let defeat ruin you.

As parents, we can choose to be selfish. I have seen my share of this! They let their emotion scare their kids. (By the way, anger isn’t the only emotion that scares kids! A depressed mom or dad scares them, too!) They dwell on what they don’t have. They let greed eat at them until they are just a horrible person to be around. But as parents, we have little eyes watching. How we deal with defeat teaches our kids how to deal with defeat. So if you are an emotional wreck, don’t be surprised when junior is a wreck when he doesn’t make a team, or your daughter is a pill because she didn’t get what she wanted. I have seen way too many parents throw “grown up tantrums” and they don’t seem to understand why their kids are a hot mess. Umm, they are copying your example!

Decide that you won’t let defeat ruin your family. Decide that whatever it is keeping you down, that you won’t let it shape your family in a negative way. If you are dealing with a major issue, get help! Dealing with cancer or death, on the verge of divorce, eating disorder, abuse, etc..- that needs some major help and we can’t just decide that we are big enough to handle that on our own. Be open with your kids about what has defeated you and talk as a family how  to go on from there. My kids know when I don’t get a job. They know when we are holding our breath until the next paycheck goes through. They know we struggle so that they can see how to handle struggles. Is it always easy to be transparent? No. Sometimes I would rather deal with defeat all by myself. But as parents, we need to always be looking how we can teach our kids to be healthy adults. 

I hope this helps. And, I would love to here your story. What is your defeat? How do you deal with it? Do you notice a difference in your kids when you share struggles and try to deal with them in a healthy manner?

Father’s Day

Today’s post is a tribute to my husband- one of the best dads I know!

When I was pregnant with our first child, I had to have surgery about 20 weeks in. They had no beds in my room after my surgery, so he slept outside in the lobby and came running in every time he heard nurses or doctors talking.

He worked tirelessly to let me stay at home with the kids. Our first child was not a happy baby. He would come home from construction work all day to watch our crying son so that I could work part time and stay up on my math teacher skills. 

He drove me 2 1/2 hours to a specialist on his days off when we found out we were having twins. He was with me during that surgery. 

He woke up to do feedings and diaper changes, knowing full well he had to wake up earlier than me. He did it to give me a break. 

After working all day, he will sometimes cook, play, read to, help with homework, work on the car or house, or even help with housework. He is selfless- he has let me choose where to eat out more times than he probably wanted to! He still listens when I have had a bad day and need a good cry. He listens to the kids’ hopes and dreams. He encourages us all to do our best. And his jokes make us all laugh- it instantly makes my day better!

He packed up and moved us because of a job opportunity for me. Not many men would do this. He didn’t have a job at that time. He drove 4 hours one way each weekend to be with us until he got a job 4 weeks later. That time apart was the first time we were apart since we were married. It made me really realize how blessed I am when he is around. 

He put off his passions and dreams, taking jobs that were hard and not what he wanted to do, just to provide for us. 

He loves the kids so much that he is willing to take time to train them. He takes the time to talk to each kid. He is not afraid of discipline, he knows the end result is a trained child. 

He loves God, and it shows. He demonstrates God’s love to me and the kids, and I am eternally grateful. When we were dating, I could clearly see what kind of dad he would be, and that is one of the reasons it was so easy for me to fall in love with him. His spiritual guidance is the #1 reason why I am glad I married him.

So, Daniel, this post is for you. Thanks for loving me and being a great dad. I hope someone reads this and is inspired to be a better dad because of your example. I know 4 kids who are better because of your example, for sure! Happy Father’s Day!Image

Time

Well, it is summer vacation for my kiddos and me… which is a fabulous time for teachers! I get to be home with my kids and that always makes me remember my time as a stay-at-home mom. I love that I can still spend so much free time with them!

Time. We all have it. We all don’t think we have enough of it. 

My baby girl just had her K5 graduation. They do it up with the cap and gowns and everything! I have seen so many high school graduations, being a high school teacher, but it is a little different watching your own kid. I know it was only K5, but it got me thinking. How am I spending my time with my kids?

How do you spend time with your kids?

Most of us, summer is a time with a little bit more freedom. Even if you don’t work in a school and have to work all summer long, your kids don’t have homework, so your evenings are a little less stressful. What are you doing with that time?

In our house, we believe that change comes from relationships. So we pour everything we have into our kids. We spend time with them, listen to their concerns, pray over their struggles. 

Here are a few things that we are doing with our kids this summer, feel free to steal any of our ideas!

1. Building up skills lacking during the school year. The kids have summer reading, so I have to make sure they do that. But some of them also struggled with math, so I am using a subscription to http://www.aleks.com to help my kids get stronger. I have been thoroughly impressed and recommend this to parents!

2. Spend time with friends and family. We are visiting my husband’s side for a week and my side for a week, since neither of them live where we live. We are also getting together with friends by doing different playdates.

3. Spend one-on-one time. I have 4 kids, so I decided that each night, one would stay up past bedtime to do something with mom and dad. Last night, I made salse from scratch with my oldest son! It was his choice, by the way! It is a fairly easy way to make sure that I spend time with each of them, plus there is just something magical about staying up past bedtime! 🙂

4. Do something new. I firmly believe that our creativity comes from our varied experiences. So if you only do the tried and true, you probably aren’t very creative. I LIVE for new adventures and, well, tend to be creative. Do you want creative kids? Break out of your comfort zone and do something different. We will be visiting the FL Keys. We haven’t done that before. But you don’t have to be that exotic. Even if you just do a “staycation”, look up things in your area that you haven’t done before. 

5. Relax with your kids. Turn on a family movie and just snuggle! Wind down together. My youngest daughter gets mad when we don’t do our “tradition”. That is, watching a 20 minute episode on netflix and just snuggle. We do this all year, not just summer! It is a small amount of time spent, but the rewards are great! Plus, I am now very knowledgable on all things cartoon….

6. Spend a little extra time in spiritual development. Pray about what needs work in each kids’ life. Pray over how to handle it and then get focused and started! If you are feeling really brave, ask your kids what mommy or daddy needs to do to be a better parent or person! Then you know what you need to personally work on during the summer!

This school year went so fast for me- I honestly don’t know where all the time went! But we, as parents, are accountable for the time we have with our kids. And it really isn’t that long before K5 graduation turns into high school graduation. My challenge is to not take this time for granted. Embrace it and spend time with your family. Train them, pour into them, love them. It is our job, after all!

 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7NIV

Repeat misbehaviors in kids

Well, here it is, the 2nd part of the post that I started, what seems like, forever ago! Last time, I wrote about the importance of following through with what you say you will do. But every once in a while, one of our perfect little angels might “try” us by repeating a bad behavior over and over again. 

Now, as I write this, I am no expert. I am not a child psychologist or anything like that. Just a high school math teacher and a mom of 4! There may be deeper issues that what I talk about just won’t fix. 

If your child is repeating the same bad behavior over and over again, here are some ways to start off:

1. Check circumstances. Is there something new in their lives that is unsettling to them? Lots of times, kids will act out if there is a new sibling, new spouse, new school or house, just to make sure that they still have your attention. If you suspect this might be the case, spend a little one on one time and reassure them that you still love them. By the way, high schoolers need this, too! I’ve noticed, that as parents’ kids get older, the parents spend less time with the teenager, since they assume the kid wants no part of them. Of course, most teenagers won’t hang on every word their parent says, but they still need to feel valued and loved. The activities you do together may be different, but spending time together is so important- it keeps the lines of communication open.

2. Check their nature. Is there something your kid does that you have told them a 1000 times NOT to do? See if you can see why they might be doing it. Sometimes kids just get into bad habits. Maybe they want to change. My youngest daughter’s name is Aylee Ruth. When she was smaller, she had a bad habit of lying, so I made up this rhyme to tell her: “Aylee Ruth, tell the truth!” That little reminder gave her a 2nd chance in a low-key atmosphere to think about what she was saying. Was it really the whole truth? She then could fix her story as needed. Eventually, she got to the point where she would tell me the whole truth the first time, so I changed the rhyme to: “Aylee Ruth, Princess of Truth!”. She smiles so big every time I say that! Maybe their bad habit is not studying or doing their homework. This is a chance for parents to step in and share stories of their struggles and how they overcame. Sometimes, just sitting with a child while he/she does the homework assignment is incentive enough to do it! It is time spent with you! Be creative and see if you can find a way to help your kid overcome something that brings them down. 

3. Check the heart. OK, so there are no new circumstances and your child just flat out does not want to change. This is now a heart issue, and as parents, it is our job to shape the hearts of our kids. Here’s where it gets messy! Most parents don’t want to deal with this, our tendency is to get the desired behavior, no matter what is going on in the inside. This is dangerous- we become dictator-like and that breeds rebellion. We only have our kids for a little while, so we don’t want to build a relationship that breeds rebellion, but rather builds a healthy relationship. 

First things first, talk to God, and then talk to your kid. Start light, and ask about their day, what is going on in their life. Then gradually work your way into the subject. “I’ve noticed that you have been doing ___________ a lot lately. Is there something going on?” Let them have the chance to explain their thought process before you jump into some random lecture. (By the way, the timing is not right if the kid just did the activity and you both fought about it and are angry at each other!) Sometimes, have the child open up to you will help you see something about yourself that you didn’t know. Perhaps he acts out because he thinks you are unfair, or that you like “so-and-so” better than him. Some kids have a hard time opening up, so you may have to ask him if this is what is going on in his head. Explain to your child that it is your job to help them grow up healthy: physically, mentally and socially. Kids need to know that our job is not to always punish them for what they do wrong, but rather to train them to do right. Mention that you have noticed a pattern in her behavior that is not healthy. Point out the behavior and explain why doing this behavior over and over is not good. Bring in any life stories of struggles you have, so that your child knows she is not the only one dealing with things like that! Let her know that you are on her side and you want to help her change. Then listen. If the child sees it from your point of view, you are in a good place! You can help her come up with ways to fix the issue. If your child still doesn’t see it as bad, or shows no desire to change, then point out that repeat behaviors will have more severe consequences. Because now you are no longer dealing with a child whose heart is right but actions are wrong, but with a child whose heart is in rebellion. This is a very dangerous place for a kid to be. They are willing choosing to not obey. And as much as we hate it, we can’t make a kid willingly change. This is where prayer is SO important. Pray with your spouse, pray with that child, pray alone- and fervently! We as parents need to see rebellion for what it is! It is not a phase, it is something that needs to be dealt with! You may be tempted to let up on punishments, thinking that you have exhausted it. But the moment you don’t punish the child for doing the wrong behavior, they see it as an acceptable behavior. It is ok to re-evaluate the effectiveness of the punishment you have chosen. If you need to find something else that will get through to them, then by all means, go ahead and try that. It is important to let a child in rebellion know that he/she is damaging the relationship you both have, and that will cause punishment and lack of trust on your end. 

And then? Endure. That’s all you can do. Pray and endure. It is a battle, but such a battle worth fighting! I work with high schoolers every day. I meet kids whose parents gave up a long time ago. That doesn’t show love, guys! It is the easy way out, to just give up. And it speaks volumes to your kid. Although they probably will like it that you are no longer punishing them, they know it means you’ve given up. And it is human nature to fight for what is important. So they know that they have gone down in importance in your life. So maybe this post is for parents who feel totally whipped by a hard-headed kid- just to encourage you to stay strong!

4. Pray and be willing to change! As we pray over our kids, God may reveal something in US that needs to change. Maybe my kid is hard-headed because, gulp, that is what I have modeled! Then there is a change that needs to happen in my life before I expect that my kid can change. Maybe the child feels that you like another child better. Before you are quick to say “oh, honey! That isn’t true!”, step back and see if there are things that you do that could be misconstrued as favoritism, and then work to correct it! Perhaps your standards are too high, so the kid rebels because he feels like he will never measure up. Not every kid is an athlete, and not every kid is straight A material. At some point, we have to come to terms with that. Just love them where they are!

5. Make sure the punishment fits the crime. If my kid doesn’t study enough for a test or does something wrong because he just acted first and thought later, then these types of offenses are small punishments. Because their heart is not in the wrong, it is just a wrong action or choice. When rebellion is present in our family, we give the worst punishments we can think of. Because something has changed. It wasn’t a mistake- it was deliberate. Our goal is to change from rebellion to relationship as soon as possible! In our house, we have been blessed not to have kids in rebellion for very long at all. We stress how important relationships are, so our kids want to quickly get back on the “good side”. We have fun as a family, and it is no fun to be left out!

Punishment should be looked at as a way to bring you kid back into a right relationship with you or others. Some parents tend to go overboard with punishment, while others keep putting off punishing a child. Either of those are both damaging. It is hard to keep the right balance, but it is important to stop before you punish a kid and think about what is really going on. Dealing with the heart instead of the action is always the right way to go!

Healthy Relationships

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We all would agree, a no-brainer really, that our job as parents is to train our kids. So we work really hard to get them to clean their room, use their manners and try their best in school (hopefully!). But have we ever considered that how we treat people is a form of training our children, too?

What is your current relationship status as a parent? Married? Single? Divorced or separated? Let’s first focus on that relationship. If you are blessed to be married and have a good relationship, fight for it! Treat your spouse well, especially in front of the kids. Talk them up! I have a personal thing that I won’t complain about my husband to those outside. Any issues we have, we deal with. I will only say kind things about him to others. Dads: you are training your sons into what kind of husbands they will be. Would you be ok if he were just like you??? Same thing with moms, we are training our daughters to be some kind of wife. What are you teaching her?

Those who are single or divorced, be careful with new relationships! You are modeling what is OK in the dating world to your kids!!! Set clear boundaries, get out of unhealthy relationships, and model what you would want to see from your kids!!!

See, we forget that little eyes are always watching and little ears are always hearing, until they repeat something they shouldn’t in front of someone else! It is a very hard aspect of parenting, always being observed. But what we do speaks VOLUMES more than what we say!

What if your relationship is strained? What if someone continually talks bad about you in front of the kids? We may feel justified to get back at them and do the same, but once again- is that what we want our kids to do? Taking the higher road is hard stuff. But years later, when you see your kid doing the same thing, you will be proud. I am argumentative sometimes, but what I have learned is that, no matter how right you think you are, an outsider listening probably thinks the whole fight is a waste of time! Of course, some fights are worth having, but there is a time and a place (away from your kids). 

Also watch your relationship with your kids. My sincere hope that your “not now, honey”‘s aren’t said too often. And if you promise them “later”, that you come through. It is a sad thing when kids can’t trust a parent. Enough said.

We should continually watch our words, too! Obviously, bad language said by parents is taught to kids. But what else are you saying? I have this habit of saying “I don’t care”, when it doesn’t matter to me which option my kid does. But then I heard my son say it to my other son, and thought “Wow, I don’t want to convey a message that I don’t care about the little things in their lives!” So now, I try to find other ways of saying that- maybe, it is your choice. I want every thing I say to be supportive and loving. Kids are sensitive and will interpret what you say depending on what they are going through at that time.

I want to encourage you to really try to build up the people you love this week. Let them know they have your love and support! And watch what you say this week about people you don’t like or disagree with. We might not be able to change over night, but this is worth working on. I promise that I am working on this, too!