Family: Marriage & Parenting

Parenting with 20/20 Vision

It’s not only a new year, but a new decade! 

Many of us have been bombarded with new year resolutions, one word, goal setting, and vision parties. Not to mention the super cool play on “2020”. 

While many people have been looking forward to all things new, some of us may feel like nothing new is happening for us. We are running into this new year with “things as usual.”

Things As Usual Isn’t So Bad!

You have been standing on God’s word, believing He has told you to, 

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” ~ Psalm 46:10 NLT

Maybe you have heard, “wait”: 

“But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:31 NKJV

Remember, while we are entering a new year, new seasons begin and end for each of us at different times. Don’t get caught in the comparison trap, early in this new year. Be on guard! 

What Can I Do While I Wait?  

Being still and waiting does not always imply inactivity. I would like to ask you to prayerfully consider the vision God has for you and your parenting, while you are being still and waiting. 

“The Lord gave me this answer: Write down clearly on clay tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance. Put it in writing, because it is not yet time for it to come true. But the time is coming quickly, and what I show you will come true. It may seem slow in coming, but wait for it; it will certainly take place, and it will not be delayed.” ~ Habakkuk 2:2-3 GNB

Do you have a vision for your parenting? Is it written down? 

Without vision it can be difficult to find joy in our parenting. The daily struggles can pull us in, and the days become long. We begin to develop an “astigmatism”, and what started out as 20/20 vision quickly becomes blurred. 

Here are some carrots or 5 practical tips to help improve your vision. 

  1. Write down your vision: Take time to see your year, and your new season.
  2. Be intentional: When you have a focus, spend time investing in what you hope to realize.  
  3. Set goals: Map these out too. When your goals live beyond conversation, feeling, and thought, they are more likely to come to pass. 
  4. Establish your footsteps: Consider how your day-in, day-out walk with God, and the decisions you make move you towards your vision.  
  5. Remain connected to the source of your vision: When your vision is God-birthed, He will direct your steps. 

Choose today, even in your waiting, to continue moving with vision. Not just spiritually, mental/emotionally, relationally, professionally, and recreationally, but also with your parenting. 

As you develop a God-given or Kingdom vision for your parenting, your priorities and responsibilities will become more clear. You will experience greater joy in spending your energy on parenting with intention and purpose.

Are you interested in receiving weekly devotionals for the month of January? Join our growing community over at The Teaching Wife to receive one month of weekly devotionals to encourage, challenge, and support you with your parenting vision. 


Deitra Baker, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Parenting Coach and Partner, is the voice behind The Teaching Wife which is dedicated to partnering with parents to provide them with the tools they need to thrive in their parenting. Deitra’s passion is for equipping moms to disciple their children encouraging them in their walk with Christ and fulfilling their calling.

She lives in Texas with her husband and three children whom she has been educating at home for the past 4 years. When Deitra isn’t busy studying, writing, and researching parenting resources, she enjoys traveling, reading, and relaxing on a beach.  You can find Deitra on Instagram and somewhat on Facebook.

Family: Marriage & Parenting

4 Tips for Parenting Aggressive Kids

A guest post by Stella R.

One of the biggest challenges in life which parents face is dealing with their child’s difficult behavior. There will be many occasions when the child’s behavior makes your heart melt and go “aw”. However, there will also be many times when the little one will drive you mad.

Most importantly, if you have a young child on your hands, then he or she will probably lack the self-control to express anger and frustration, and thus lash out and create a scene.

Even though temper problems and outbursts are typical of young children, there are a few helpful tips which parents can consider to manage the tantrums from an aggressive child more efficiently.

1. Always tell your children what you expect of them

One of the biggest mistakes parents make is assuming the child knows exactly what is expected of him or her. Above all, remember to avoid falling into this trap! Children are not mind-readers and they frequently do not know how to behave in certain situations.

When it comes to optimal parenting, remember that the way you give out the instructions is just as important as what you are trying to get across. Firstly, be direct and concise. Never ask a question when you should make a clear statement! For example, you want to say “Please take out your books!” instead of “Will you stop playing games?”.

When it comes to older children, remember to stay clear when defining what you want them to do, but never appear to behave in a patronizing manner.

2. Do not give out negative attention

Every child values the attention of the main adult in their lives, and it is absolutely normal for a kid to need attention and approval. Nevertheless, seeking attention can become quite a hassle when it happens constantly. As a result, an attention-seeking child may rule over your life and misbehave whenever the chance is presented.

In fact, many children do not know how to grab their caretaker’s attention, so he or she results to misbehave. From a psychological standpoint, children value attention so much that they do not care if it is positive or negative, as long as there is a response! However, negative attention (for example spanking or shouting) may actually increase the bad behavior in the long run.

Parents who struggle with serious behavioral issues are always welcome to consult with professionals. In fact, behavior management strategies for problematic children are highly recommended in order to lessen potential anger outbursts in the future.

3. Set house rules and teach them to your children

If you struggle with setting proper house rules, then you are not alone. As a matter of fact, many struggle with putting together a list of the main household rules and letting their children be aware of them. Setting and keeping house rules are mandatory when you want to have order and discipline in your family.

Experts claim that one of the best ways to teach children what is expected of them is to make a written list (of course, if the child is old enough to read) and have it hung up somewhere in sight. Rules are a must not only to keep things in order but also to help the child feel safer and more secure at home.

Also, when the rules are crystal clear, there are fewer chances of getting into future power struggles. For example, tell your child that he or she should always pick up after himself/herself. Plus, make sure to explain what you meant by “pick up after yourself” and include simple examples. One way to do this is to have the child put his or her dishes in the dishwasher as soon as the food has been eaten. Or have your child pick up the toys after playtime has ended.

4. Teach your child that fighting is bad

Sometimes parents have to deal with children who are not only aggressive at home, but also in other environments. Even though it is not an easy task, parents need to react as soon as possible and deal with the issue. Whether it has to do with physical or verbal bullying, if the action is not dealt with, children may develop more serious issues in every aspect of life.

First of all, have a discussion with your child and understand the reasons for the inappropriate actions. Some problematic children bully for different reasons. For example, some may not be aware of the fact that children of different size, race and religion are no different from others.

Other bullies might enjoy picking on weaker pupils because they get the feeling of being powerful and important. Instead, try teaching your child to treat others with genuine respect and kindness, as well as teaching them to develop a sense of empathy. One way to do this is to involve your child in a group with children of different backgrounds.

In summary, a parent needs to establish an approach which works for the whole family. Above all, remember to give your child a secure home with loving discipline and constant supervision. Have a nice day!

CHIME IN: What are some ways you promote appropriate behavior while parenting an aggressive child? Share with us in the comments below!


 

Stella Ryne is an art historian, traveller, conscious consumer and a proud mother. When she is not trying to improve the things around her (and herself, for that matter), she likes to lose herself in a good book. She’s deeply into green practices, cherishing the notion that sustainable living and sustainable travel will not only make us far less dependent on others regarding the dwellings we inhabit and what we eat, but also contribute to our planet being a better place to live on. Stay in touch with Stella via Twitter and  Facebook.

 

 

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Family: Marriage & Parenting

Calming the Chaos: 5 Steps to Establishing Independent Play

Join Blog Contributor Christel as she discusses how to calm the chaos with five easy steps to establishing independent play!

After baby number 7, our house became a little bit crazier. The added blessing significantly altered the structure and routine we all had grown accustomed to. Our little guy also was constantly entertained by his older siblings and never learned the meaning of independent play.

You would think we would have learned our lesson when baby number 8 arrived. Our youngest, almost 2 years old, runs the roost and keeps his siblings at his beck and call. He single-handedly manages to organize around the clock entertainment by one of the kids. From toy trains, books, to coloring, our youngest son is entertained by everything and everyone, but himself.

I realized I made a huge mistake by never letting my kids explore and play independently while they were younger. Something had to be done.

The Importance of Independent Play

Interacting with adults is essential to the healthy development of little ones. At the same time, they should be given a chance to explore the world in a safe and child-friendly environment. Time alone, gives them a chance to learn and problem solve. The benefit of this time is an increase in self-esteem.

Learning to play alone is just as important for older children as it is for babies and toddlers. In fact, it is great for teaching independence, developing the imagination of a child, and learning to find a personal inner calm.

“Life is more fun if you play games.” – Roald Dahl

Controlled Chaos

About 9 months ago, if a person walked into my home, they would be greeted in the living room with toys. The yells of our four-year old would greet them from the dining room and our shirtless nine-year old could be found doing cartwheels down the hall.

My kids were constantly bickering and arguing. From whose turn it was, which game to play, or anything else, I was constantly putting out fires. Each night, I went to bed exhausted and defeated.

One day, I knew something had to change. After much prayer, my husband and I knew we needed to Calm the Chaos and begin to create time and space for independent play.

Establishing independent play in the home takes FIVE simple steps!

Acknowledge the Issue

Accepting that things may be getting out of hand in your home may be one of the biggest challenges. Everyone would love to have kids who looked like the latest social media post. You know the one where all the kids are sitting alone quietly engaged in an activity. You may never get the perfect photo but designated independent play can be a reality. Kids can decide to seek time to be alone and just play. The first step is acknowledging that your kids DON’T do this.

Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean you are looking for picture perfect kids. Acknowledging the issues just means you realize your kids need to begin to learn to work on self-soothing techniques that will be useful for a lifetime.

Decide on Tech Times

Don’t stop reading! If your family does not allow electronics, then this step is a no brainer. Limiting tech times is not something you have to worry about. However, if you are anything like my family, electronic devices are a coveted item by your children.

When we made the decision for our children to establish independent play, we knew completely cutting tech time was off the table. Instead, we defined tech time and how much time would be allowed.

In our homeschool, we use various tech resources for learning. As we were establishing our guidelines, we determined time spent in front of the screen for assigned activities would not count. Next, we looked at the alarming statistics from a report from Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

¹Some preschoolers spend between 4.1 and 4.6 hours per day using screen media.

²Kids 8 to 18 use screen media approximately 7 hours per day2

After looking at these numbers, we concluded we would limit non-educational screen time to two hours per school day. When you decide your tech time, make a decision that is best for the needs and structure of your family. Just make sure you have set clear time limits.

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Create a List of Independent Play Resources (and use them!)

To get started, sit down with your children and come up with a list of ideas and interest. This can be done over dinner or you can turn it into  special occasion. The most important thing is to give your children a chance to express their interest and ideas. Doing this, will give you a better idea of what to include on your list.

Once your list is created, decide how you will store it. Hang up the ideas on the fridge, write each idea on a popsicle stick and place it in a jar, or create cards that are easily transported.

Without a list of Independent Play resources, you are setting up yourself and your kids for failure. Remember. You want to keep this experience a positive one.

Don’t Jump All In

If your children’s screen time is high, don’t expect them to cut it off cold turkey. Their screen habits did not get this way overnight; neither will their ability to independently play. When you first start with implementing your tech time limits, ease into it and congratulate them often! You can decide to gradually decrease the time your children spend using electronics over the course of several days or weeks.

Another fun way to begin decreasing screen time is participating in Screen Free Week. This week is geared towards family, schools, and communities who are interested in unplugging from digital entertainment and spend days reading, playing, creating, exploring, and connecting with family and friends.

Whichever way you choose to get started, remember the importance of positive words of affirmation. Phrases such as “Good Job” have less impact than, “Wow! I love the puzzle you put together!”

Walk the Talk

Do you find yourself on your phone or digital device all day? Did you know the average adult taps or touches their phone at least 2,617 times a day, according to a study done by research firm Dscout. So, let’s think, if your children are seeing you on your electronic device numerous times each day, what message do you think you are sending?

Make an intentional decision to carve out time each day to model the behavior you want from your children. Sit back, put your feet up and read a book, get creative, or start a new hobby. Just make sure you are walking the talk!

Independent play is a necessity. It helps with concentration, self-control, and imagination and more! It is also a learned behavior, so don’t expect kids to perfect it immediately. If you are ready to get started, use the freebie below from Perfectly Blended and Blessed.

CHIME IN: How can you implement independent play into your home? Let us know in the comments below!

¹Rideout, V. (2011). Zero to eight: Children’s media use in America. San Francisco, CA: Commonsense Media. Further analysis of original data published by Commonsense Media was conducted on October 4, 2012 by Melissa Saphir and Vicky Rideout at the request of this publication.

²Johnson, J., Brook, J., Cohen, P., & Kasen, S. (2007). Extensive television viewing and the development of attention and learning difficulties during adolescence. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 161(5), 480-486.

Family: Marriage & Parenting

35 Ways to Deal with Your Kids 24/7

You can probably tell by the title that this will be somewhat of a hilarious post (at least I hope). Since I turned 35 years-old today, I thought it’d be funny to talk about ways to deal with your kids 24/7 – 35 to be exact. Just to give you a little back story, in the beginning of my motherhood journey I started out with one child. I said I wasn’t having any more after him. I also worked outside the home and he was in the care of my mom and the public school system majority of the time.

Fast forward about a decade and now I have four children, homeschool, and work from home. This means I am with my wonderful, beautiful, awesome, and amazing kiddos TWENTY-FOUR-SEVEN. All day, every day. The only time I’m away from them is during occasional lunch dates with my dad, and pit stops to the grocery store or bank. Other than that, it’s all of us. All the time. Including my husband.

Please know that I’m not complaining. I actually think it’s a huge blessing. The fact that my husband doesn’t have to slave work at a job that takes him away from his family for hours on end is a blessing. The fact that I can contribute to providing for our family by doing things I was created to do from the comfort of our home is a blessing. And the fact that our children can have both of their parents as primary influences in their lives is yet again, another blessing.

So I share this blog post out of pure humility all while keeping it real. For the mamas who are with their kids all day every day, you’ll find this hilarious. For those of you who aren’t, it’s okay to laugh.

35. Give them food. They’re probably already asking for a snack for the 319th time anyway.

34. Take a family nap. These are THE BEST! Am I right?

33. Put on a movie. And yes, let them watch it 147 times.

32. Color all the pages. That’s what the coloring book is for anyways.

31. Let them fight play. The toy was intended for Child A, but we all know that Child B, C, and D will wanna play with it too.

30. Just say yes. Doesn’t matter to what because if you say no, you’ll hear the question 20 more times.

29. Give them snacks. They’ve been asking every 5 minutes anyways.

28. Play outside. Even if it’s -10 below. Bundle up and go.

27. Pretend play. Because every movie they see they’ll want to reenact.

26. Go with the flow. You’ll have every intention of doing something only for it to backfire and leave you questioning your whole life.

25. Play games. All the games. Over and over.

24. Play clean up. Especially while they think it’s still fun.

23. Feed them again. They just ate 5 minutes ago, right?

22. Let them play dress up. Change all the clothes.

21. Watch that movie again. It’s still in the DVD player.

20. Have a dance-athon. Party like it’s 1999.

19. Read all the books. Again.

18. Color some more. Throw out the idea that the paper was supposed to be used for homeschooling. Use it now.

17. Let them tear paper. All of it. Then glue it to more paper.

16. Take a mandatory break. Send everyone to their beds.

15. Include them in what you’re doing. They need a glimpse into adulthood anyways.

14. Answer all the questions. They’ll just keep asking if you don’t.

13. Give them a dose of their own medicine. Start asking them 100 questions. Without time to answer.

12. Have you fed them yet? It’s been ten minutes.

11. Give them goldfish. They’re hungry.

10. Blow bubbles. Until you almost pass out.

9. Blow party horns. You know you have some from the last birthday party.

8. Restart the movie. It’s still in the DVD player.

7. Retreat to your save haven. Things have gotten pure psycho.

6. Stop hiding the balloons. Get them out, blow them up, and let them play.

5. Complain. Everybody does it. Then feel bad for complaining.

4. Try to go to the restroom. You’re almost done.

3. Tell them to sit down and be quiet. At this point everyone needs a break.

2. Send them to the corner or the bed for not doing # 3. We still that break, right?

1. Hug them. Kiss them. And just love on them. Because they won’t be kids for long.

Oh yeah, and don’t forget to feed them. They’re still hungry!

CHIME IN: What are some way you deal with your kids 24/7?