Ahh, That New Bundle of Joy

January 19th, 2020

First newborn baby? Can we say equal parts of joy, love, and terror? How do we do this parenting thing. Most new parents determine to parent just like their parents or, (where there were bad experiences), just opposite of their parents. In any case, it's a new experience for you. So, be physically present. Cuddle lots, coo, tickle, play peek-a-boo. Also, be aware of how your new baby talks to you. Babies have different cries, you know. There's the I'm poopy cry, the I'm hungry cry, the I want your attention cry, and, of course, the I'm just messing with you cry. Learn to interpret their cries, and expand their world with new things and with new curiosities. You baby will truly be a bundle of joy.

You Cannot Not Communicate

January 17th, 2020

Are you in relationship with your children? Of course you are. Then you are communicating 24/7/365. It is physically impossible to not communicate. Soothing, explaining, directing, stony silent, staring. All forms of communication. Chapter 1 of my book, Teachable Moments: Building Blocks of Christian Parenting, is entitled, "Communication Is Relationship." Whether you are using verbal or nonverbal communication, you are communicating with your children. How you say things is just as important as what you say. And guess what. Your children are always watching you and modelling your behavior. Given that you cannot not communicate with your children, be careful what you say and do. Your relationship with them depends on it.

Dare to be Different in Active Listening

January 15th, 2020

When our kids are hurting, you want to active listen their feelings. However, if you start every response with, "You feel..." soon your child will tune out, even if you are helping. So, dare to be different in active listening. Mix it up. Stay current with what you think he is feeling. Keep eye contact and throw in a few encouraging comments like, "Wow", "I think I see," and "Tell me more." Variety will help your child stay connected with you in his pain, letting him know that you really want to understand and to help him address his pain.

Kids Will Always Test the Limits

January 13th, 2020

For kids, testing the limits is a developmental imperative. Why? They do so to help define their boundaries. Without limits, kids would be perpetually anxious and fearful. Boundaries and limit-setting by us parents give them the calm and security to function in the world. If your boundaries are fluid, she will try to take advantage of that. Fluid boundaries can lead to a sense of entitlement, where she believes she can do what she wants, whenever, with no consequence. Boundaries set responsible expectations on your child's behavior and helps them navigate the world better. When your child tests your limits, firmly set them with reward and consequence, finding yet another teachable moment

What You Say to Your Child Matters!

January 11th, 2020

Our kids are always paying attention to us, even when they seem not to be. When they have issues, you want to pay better attention. Empathy is a passive, "I understand what you are feeling" kind of message that my not get through. Active listening is more precise. "Wow! You sound like you feel awful right now." Active listening is your go-to response whenever you child is upset. Be there for her. Don't problem solve, don't criticize, don't minimize what she is feeling. She is hurting, and your active listening is the balm that soothes the pain she is feeling and helps her work through it.

Maintaining Healthy Relationships

December 15th, 2019

You can visually see what a healthy relationship looks like by imagining a transparent, Plexiglas pyramid. The pyramid shows levels of your relationships, starting with your relationship with God, above the apex of your pyramid. Extending downward are levels with your spouse, children, extended family, coworkers and acquaintances, and strangers. The quality of each relationship is related to how well the relationship above it fares. As you are able to best take care of your own needs and feelings, you put yourself in the position to bless others with agape, or unconditional, love. That's the stuff of which teachable moments are made.

Kids Do Act Out, or Act In

December 9th, 2019

Sometimes, hopefully not often, our kids behavior is out of control. In these times, they either act out, or they act in. Actor outers are impulsive, angry, feel misunderstood, and believe they are entitled. Actor inners are withdrawn, isolated, and feel bitter and unwanted. Both are in an awful place. As parents, we love our children whatever emotional place they are in, and we help them get to a better place. Active listening, collaborating, and problem-solving help them get there. Confronting and consequences help our acting outers feel less entitled. Encouraging social engagement, fun activities, and outlets help our acting inners feel less isolated. Being there for your kids is always where you want to be.

Does your child steal?

December 2nd, 2019

Stealing is a universal child behavior. The question is size, damage, and whether he gets caught or not. Developmentally, stealing behavior falls under the category of testing limits. What to do? Stop the behavior. Confront, try to talk to your child to help him understand his needs and feelings through active listening, and give consequences. When stealing goes unaddressed, it leads to impulsivity, acting out, and a sense of entitlement, where he believes he can do anything he wants and without consequences. While any stealing is not okay, it can become a very valuable teachable moment

When Trouble Comes Knocking

November 26th, 2019

Nobody likes trouble. It's not like we invite it into our lives. But, guess what? It comes knocking for all of us. So, when trouble come knocking at your door, or when your kids are in trouble, consider a response that includes total honesty and good timing. When people lie, they only double their trouble. When people delay their response, it creates uncertainty and concerns about minimizing or manipulating. Much better to confront trouble at the door, when it comes knocking, rather than waiting for trouble to come in and set up shop in your soul.

Is Your Child Having a Problem?

November 22nd, 2019

       Sometimes our kids come to us and tell us they are having a problem. Most time? Probably not. So, when you sense that something's going on, but your child is not forthcoming, how can you tell? First, notice any differences from the normal that your child is demonstrating in terms of mood, attitude, behavior. Second, make your observations in a non-threatening way and ask about what you see. If she doesn't want to talk about it, give her space and let the next move be hers. Prying it out of her almost never works. When she's ready, use your active listening to help ease her feelings and encourage her problem-solving with your assurances that you've got her back. This is the way to really be there for her.

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