Category Archives for "parenting"

Has your child seen porn? Are you scared and have NO IDEA what to do next? Here’s my story (and advice and encouragement for all parents who find that their child is looking at pornography or has porn addiction). Every Christian parent needs to read this!

Help! My Child Is Looking at Porn

Porn: That’s a scary word for most parents. We’ve all heard stories of how porn rips marriages apart and destroys families.

But let me tell you–it’s even more frightening when you discover your child is looking at porn online.

Horrified. Terrified. Repulsed. Feelings of failure as a parent. These are just a few of the emotions I felt when my husband and I discovered that our child had seen porn.

Has your child seen porn? Are you scared and have NO IDEA what to do next? Here’s my story (and advice and encouragement for all parents who find that their child is looking at pornography or has porn addiction). Every Christian parent needs to read this!

The real issue is that very, very few people are talking about this.

And unfortunately, there are millions and millions of good parents–even Christian parents who’ve taught their kids right from wrong–who now are left feeling alone, helpless and frightened when they’ve discovered their kids were looking at porn.

I’m writing this post because I want to break the silence and give practical advice for what to do if you discover that your child has viewed porn.

Most of all, I want you to know that you’re not alone and that there is hope.

If you’ve discovered that your child has seen sexual images online or any form of pornography, I want to give you some powerful advice and answers, specifically:

  • What to say to your child who has seen pornography
  • How to protect your child from seeing porn again
  • How to process the emotions you feel as a parent after a child has seen porn

Plus, I want to let you know a free e-book that I’ve found incredibly helpful.

It’s called When Your Child Is Looking At Porn and it’s by Covenant Eyes, our family’s preferred online filtering and accountability system.

 

 

Even if you don’t have a child who has seen porn, I would highly, highly recommend that you download this FREE resource from Covenant Eyes.

GET THE FREE E-BOOK HERE.

 

What to Say to Your Child Who Has Seen Pornography

If your child has seen porn, the first and most important piece of advice I can give is to remain calm and to not panic. 

I know this is hard! I know your heart may be in a thousand places! Stories of others who have had their lives ruined by porn may be echoing in your ears right now. Fears for what your child may have had burned into his/her innocent mind may make you want to cry out in agony as a mom.

It’s normal to be incredibly angry and scared for your child, but this is the time for grace-filled, honest conversations, not judgement or shame.

Even though what your child has done is wrong, please, I encourage you to walk that very careful line between sharing the truth about the child’s sin and still keeping their heart open and attentive to your words.

That’s why you desperately need God to give you the words to say to your child! Pray for both His conviction and His unconditional love to flow through you via the Holy Spirit as you speak to your child. Pray mightily before you speak!

Yes, your child needs to know the truth about porn, but more than anything, they need to understand the power of confession, of forgiveness, of purification and of hope in Christ. There is nothing “too bad” or “too dark” that He can’t conquer!

The free When Your Child Is Looking At Porn e-book has lots of incredibly good advice about how to talk to your kids after they’ve seen pornography. I found it quite helpful and comforting.

DOWNLOAD THE FREE E-BOOK HERE.

When Your Child Is Looking At Porn has biblical advice on how to broach the topic, tips on what to say, and it even preps you mentally for what you need to know before you have the conversations (because, yes, there probably will be more than one talk about this).

I can’t recommend this free resource highly enough!

 

 

How to Protect Your Child From Seeing Porn Again

Yes, your child has seen porn. That’s tragic and difficult to accept.

But now is the time for action and change. It’s critically important that you find out how they accessed the sexually explicit material and put systems in place to prevent them from doing it again.

Covenant Eyes is the Christian internet filter and accountability system that our family has used for years. We’ve looked around at lots of options, and truly, they have the most comprehensive set-up we’ve found.

I really like using Covenant Eyes because, while no filter is foolproof, I know that Covenant Eyes has an especially effective filter (and it’s one where you can set different parameters for each member of your home).

However, my favorite part of Covenant Eyes is the accountability system. I get an email every single week that details my kids’ online usage, including any flagged events when the filter was triggered. My husband and I also get a report of each other’s online access too, just to keep us accountable.

P.S. If you’re wondering how our child was able to access porn if we had Covenant Eyes’ internet protection in place, the answer is that he found a device in our home that was unprotected. This is why it is important to have protection on all of our devices, even the ones that are “out of use”!

Go here to learn more about Covenant Eyes’ filtering and accountability, even on mobile devices.

Your whole family needs this protection!

And of course, I would highly recommend that you regularly pray for your child regarding this issue, first, for total healing for your child’s mind; and second, for a removal of the desire to see more porn.

How to Process Your Emotions After Your Child Has Seen Porn

Once you’ve set up internet filtering and accountability in your home (and begun conversations with your kids about their exposure to pornography), it’s easy to want to sweep the porn issue under the rug and not talk about it again.

After all, porn is a painful, difficult and even embarrassing topic to think about.

But what I found is that I was also flooded with emotions after my child had seen porn. I was deeply troubled and had to get some truths correct in my head (because the enemy was quick to fill my heart with condemnation and shame too).

For me, it’s been a two-step process, all done with God in prayer. I want to share those two steps with you now too so that you have a framework for how to deal with your emotions too.

#1 Get out your emotions.

First, I just poured out my anger, my sadness, my hurt, my disgust–every feeling I had about the situation–to God. I literally cried tear after tear over the frustration I felt over my child’s actions.

Friend, I would encourage you to do the same. Keep going back to Him, sharing it all until the pain has been let out like infection from a wound.

#2 Let God’s loving grace heal the hurts.

Next, I spent time listening. I spent time being quiet before Jesus and literally remembering what was true about every single human:

  • We all have fallen short and aren’t perfect. (1 John 3:4) We live in a fallen world full of temptation.
  • There is no sin that is “worse” than another. All sin is like filthy rags to God, and if we are guilty of one sin, we are guilty of breaking all of God’s law. (1 John 3:4)
  • Therefore, I am just as guilty before God as my child is for his/her actions.
  • BUT there is complete and total forgiveness for any sin, no matter how difficult or ugly. (Acts 10:43, Hebrews 10:22)
  • God uses our mistakes as powerful testimonies to His restoration and miraculous healing. While the sin of viewing pornography does grieve God, we can redeem the pain by allowing Him to heal us and then choosing to walk differently. Our testimony changes others and turns them toward God. (2 Cor 1:3-7).

It gave me great comfort to know that God could redeem this tragedy for my child and even bring us a closer parent-child relationship because of it. 

#3 Let God speak His truth over you.

Then, I let God share more truths with me (specifically those about my role as a mom):

  • My child is completely responsible for his choices. Even if I were to raise him in a “perfect” environment (which doesn’t exist, by the way), he is responsible for what he choose to participate in. As a parent, I have the responsibility to teach and guide, but the ultimate decision as to whether or not to follow is in my child’s hands.
  • There are some things in this world that I won’t be able to fully shield my child from, despite my best efforts to raise them to be grounded in solid Christian truths. That’s where I have to let God take over. I have to trust that He guides their steps. I have to trust that my prayers and years of pouring God’s Word into their hearts is enough to prepare them for the evils of this world.
  • And lastly, God reminded me that there is always, always hope. There’s always a chance for redemption. Christ’s resurrection proved that God has the power to heal any hurt and transform any life. I have already seen evidence of this in my child’s heart. He is beginning the process to healing and it’s beautiful to watch!

Let him speak those specific truths you need to hear too. Just like God longs to heal and restore your child from the effects of porn, He wants to heal your heart too!

Recommended Next Steps

Friend, we’ve talked about a lot here. And I know there’s a lot more that needs to be said that just won’t fit into the confines of a blog post.

That’s why I would highly suggest you download the free When Your Child Is Looking at Porn e-book and begin processing it, preferably with your spouse (or a trusted friend if you are single).

You need to get more godly counsel on your next steps, and this is a great free resource.

 

 

Then, be sure your family is protected in the future by setting up internet filtering and accountability through Covenant Eyes. At $14.99 a month, it’s a no-brainer investment that will pay huge dividends in protecting your family’s purity.

GO HERE to sign up for Covenant Eyes.

 

Friend, I’m praying for you as you walk this scary road! It is not easy, but even in this difficult issue there is healing. Our kids can find hope if they’ve seen pornography and we can help guide them to that restoration!

Other Posts on Talking to Kids About Sex

“When (and How) Should I Talk to My Kids About Sex?”

The Hows and Whys of Talking to Kids About Sex

How to Talk to Kids About Porn: 8 Tips Every Christian Parent Needs

 

Did this post encourage you? If so, please share with others on social media!

Pin it, tweet it or share on Facebook! Others need answers on what to do if their kids access porn, right?

Has your child seen porn? Are you scared and have NO IDEA what to do next? Here’s my story (and advice and encouragement for all parents who find that their child is looking at pornography or has porn addiction). Every Christian parent needs to read this!

 

Parents, our kids are under spiritual attack! It sounds scary, however WE CAN fight for our kids to be victorious against the enemy’s plans for their life. Discover 5 key areas that your kids are spiritually attacked and learn how to pray for them and encourage them!

5 Ways Your Kids Are Under Spiritual Attack

It’s a terrifying thought, but the Bible tells us that we’re in a spiritual war (Ephesians 6:12) and our children have an enemy that actively plots to hurt them.

Our kids are under spiritual attack, and as parents, we need to know how to fight for them.

Parents, our kids are under spiritual attack! It sounds scary, however WE CAN fight for our kids to be victorious against the enemy’s plans for their life. Discover 5 key areas that your kids are spiritually attacked and learn how to pray for them and encourage them!

While our kids may be under spiritual attack, the Bible also promises that nothing, nothing can thwart God’s good plans for our children.

The enemy’s plans can’t snatch our kids out of God’s awesome covering. And speaking of that enemy, we read in Revelation 20 that he has already lost the war. Amen!

As Christians, our job now is to fight! And as Christian parents and grandparents, these great battles for our kids’ hearts are fought in prayer as we use God’s Truth to claim victory, break down half-truths and ask for divine guidance (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

RELATED VIDEO: Inside the War Room: How to Fight for Your Family

However, it’s incredibly easy to be overwhelmed by this task, especially when we have multiple kids!

We know that we’re supposed to be praying for our kids, but what specific areas are our kids most susceptible to satanic attack? And how can we pray for victory in these areas?

Although every child has their own unique struggles, in general, there are 5 areas where our enemy tends to attack this generation of kids. 

Let’s take a look at each of them and discover how we can best pray against the enemy’s evil schemes.

Click “READ MORE” to see Area #1.

As Christian parents, we want to raise confident kids who make the right choices. But is self-esteem the answer? This post may surprise you…

How to Raise Godly, Confident Kids (11 Truths)

As Christian parents, we all want to raise confident kids, right?

Children who make godly choices when faced with peer pressure.

Kids who aren’t afraid to take life by the reigns and boldly pursue God’s plans for them.

On the surface, these seem like great parenting goals. Who doesn’t want to raise a child like this?

And yet, friends, I want to share with you that we must give our kids more. Way more. 

We must gift them with a godly confidence—an unshakeable, unchanging assurance—that is founded on a dependence on God.

As Christian parents, we want to raise confident kids who make the right choices. But is self-esteem the answer? This post may surprise you…

 

Perhaps it sounds counterproductive—wrong even—to teach our kids to become dependent on anything! After all, don’t we want to raise self-reliant kids?

No, teaching kids to find confidence inside themselves shouldn’t be the goal.

Instead, we want our kids self-worth to be determined not by their fleeting emotions (or the thoughts of those around them) but by the unchanging, deep riches of the Creator’s love for them.

And that kind of self-worth comes from daily dependence in God.

Imagine how different our world would be if we could teach our kids this kind of godly confidence! Wow.

Wouldn’t you love to develop this same godly confidence in your kids? It’s something that my husband and I continually—and imperfectly—seek to do (with God’s help).

My husband and I firmly believe that if our kids can grasp these 11 biblical truths they will become those joyful, intentional, confident kids that we long for them to become.

11 Truths to Teach Kids Godly Self-Confidence

Note: I’ve written each one from God’s perspective as if He were speaking to our kids directly.

Truth #1: My love for you lasts forever, and it’s because of this love that I’m always wanting to be close to you. (Jeremiah 31:3)

How awesome would it be if our kids were convinced–deep down in their soul–that they were continually being pursued by God’s love!

I believe that if our kids knew that they were wholly and eternally loved by their creator (and allowed that principle to guide their lives), they would set the world on fire for Him!

Truth #2: I know all of your thoughts and I know every part of you. Don’t be afraid to share your heart with me. (Psalm 139:1)

One of the enemy’s most insidious tactics is to tell our kids that they’ve made too many mistakes to be close to God. He wants to break down our kids’ confidence by somehow convincing them that they are irreparably flawed.

And yet, God tells us over and over in His word that He has perfectly formed us and that he knows every aspect of our lives (the good, the bad and the ugly). He is not afraid of our mistakes and in fact, wants us to share them with Him as means to grow closer!

Friends, we must teach our kids that depending on God–trusting Him to love us through all our fears and mistakes–is the key to authentic self-confidence.

Truth #3: You were handmade by me—perfectly crafted by my hands—and I call my creation of you “marvelous.” (Psalm 139:14)

Society has done an excellent job of portraying how we “should” look. What’s in, what’s out. What clothing size is the “right” one to be acceptable and loved. How our individual body parts should look in order to be “normal.”

Of course, as women, you and I know how destructive self-image issues can be to our self-confidence! So imagine how incredibly powerful it would be if our children could grow up knowing that they are perfectly crafted by an awesome creator?

Truth #4: Even when things are hard, let my deep love for you remind you that I will be there to help you through it. (Isaiah 43:2; Proverbs 3:5-6)

Our family is currently going through a difficult trial and, let me tell you, being able to depend on Christ through this challenging time is what has kept our family sane.

It would be easy for my husband and I to allow our confidence to be shaken and to allow the doubts to overwhelm us right now. I’m so grateful that God has proven over and over in my life that He is dependable and faithful! Right now, we are leaning fully on Him and have placed our confident hope in His promises.

Truth #5: I will never stop loving you, my child, and nothing can separate you from my love. (Psalm 136; Romans 8:31-39)

My daughter used to have frequent nightmares. I remember having them too as a child and thus often being afraid to go to sleep.

However, I’m so grateful that my daughter has learned that there’s nothing that can separate her from God’s love. For about a year now, she sleeps with her Bible and with Christian music playing in the background as a reminder that nothing evil can overcome her with Christ in her life.

We tell her that the enemy can try to threaten, but that she can stand strong and confident in God’s promise that He will never leave her and that His love is always with her. This has brought her much more peaceful sleep.

Truth #6: My love for you is not conditional. You can never earn my love—it is simply a gift I give to you. (Ephesians 1:4, 2:4-5)

So many relationships in our world are conditional–you do this for me, and I’ll do that for you. It’s not always a bad thing per se (for example, employers expect employees to work in exchange for pay).

However, it’s easy to let this mindset translate into our self-esteem: If we do certain things or act a certain way then we will be worthy of love.

And that’s why God’s love stands out so brightly! If our kids are convinced of the truth that they are loved regardless by God, they will be equipped with a powerful self-confidence that can change the world!

Truth #7: Stay connected to me and I promise to use you to produce good fruit in every season. (Psalm 1:1-3; John 15:4-8)

If we want to build godly, self-confident kids, teaching our kids the habit of a daily quiet time is perhaps the best habit we can give them! Jesus promises in John 15:4-8 that if we remain in Him like a vine stays connected to the branches then we can produce much fruit.

Life can be incredibly hard, and we need the power of God surging through us if we want to be triumphant through all circumstances. If we allow our circumstances to dictate our self-worth we will be left depleted and searching.

But if we stay close to Him–regularly reading the Bible and listening to His voice–then we can do amazing things for God. What a powerful truth to instill in our kids!

Truth #8: Because I love you and care about you, I want to replenish your soul when you are tired and give you strength to do more than you could hope or imagine. (Isaiah 40:28-31, Ephesians 3:20)

The world is full of tempting solutions to pain and overwhelm. It tries to provide physical comforts for the spiritual and emotional emptiness we sometimes experience.

But what if instead we taught our kids to look to Christ when they are tired? What if we demonstrated to them that they didn’t have to do it on their own but that God was always there to strengthen and replenish them? Knowing that Christ is the fuel behind our strength is a powerful self-confidence builder for anyone, especially children.

Truth #9: Don’t worry about what others think. Choose to let my voice guide you over the roar of the crowd. My truths will bring you the rich, full life that you’re looking for. (Proverbs 4:5-22; John 10:1-10)

We live in a world that is continually shouting for our attention. Without the guide of authentic truth found in God it is so easy to allow other’s opinions and worldly pressures to dictate our choices!

Our kids need to learn how to drown out all those voices and focus solely on the “voice of the shepherd” as described in John 10:1-10. When our children can learn to hear and obey the still, loving voice of God, they can much more easily develop godly confidence and discover their true purpose. They can eschew peer pressure and stand strong in godly truth.

Truth #10: Should you make a mistake, be quick to tell me about it so that nothing comes between us in our relationship. (Psalm 32:3-5). Remember, I love you as-is and at all times.  (Hosea 2:14-23)

Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard. We must recognize that all of us–even those straight-as-an-arrow kids–sometimes make huge mistakes that separate us from God.

My husband and I are doing our best to teach our kids that confession is an important part of keeping our relationship with God pure. We share with them that sin separates, but that we don’t have to live in debilitating shame because of it. God made a way for us to stay confidently connected with Him despite our failures and that’s through a real relationship with Him.

How empowering it is to know that we are loved fully and completely–despite our mistakes!

Truth #11: I love to bring new life out of the sin or difficulties in your life. Let me use them to give you a testimony of my love for others too! (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)

Last, we want to teach our kids that everything in their lives is meant to be used by God. Every trial and every tear has a purpose. Every comfort He gives through difficult times can be used to teach us how to comfort others through their own difficulties (2 Corinthians 1:3-7; 2 Corinthians 4:7-10).

We can boldly seek God in all circumstances–even when things don’t make sense on the surface–because we know that God is the great recycler. He transforms our darkest moments into glorious masterpieces that shine brightly for Him in a dark world.

Just knowing this simple truth can give our kids incredible self-confidence at all times!

3 Principles for Raising Godly, Self-Confident Kids

Of course there’s so much work that goes into pouring these truths into our children! Teaching kids godly self-confidence requires more than just taking them to church. It is a daily layering–bit-by-bit–of these 11 core biblical ideas in their heart.

I don’t want to simplify the process down into a simple to-do list because first, each child is different; second, raising godly confident kids is a divine task that requires the Holy Spirit’s divine work; and third, there are no guarantees in raising children!

However, I do want to give you three good practices for raising godly, self-confident kids:

1) Give them a love of God and his word.

Share with them early and often about God’s amazing truths found in the Bible. When they ask tough questions, dive together into God’s word for the answers. Show them how to find comfort in Scripture when life is challenging.

We currently use these books and Bibles to teach our kids to love God’s word:


2) Teach them at a young age how to have a daily quiet time with God.

My husband and I have taught our kids a simple method for not just reading the Bible but deeply understanding God’s truth. It’s called the “5Rs Method” and it’s something I developed because I wanted an easy, transferable way for my kids (and me) to apply scriptural principles to daily life.

Go here to learn how to do the 5Rs Method.

3) Model what it looks like to have authentic faith in Christ.

Let them see you reading your Bible and praying through every life season.

Don’t be afraid to share with your kids what you struggle with and to share your mistakes! Our kids need to know that faith can be messy.

May teaching these truths to your kids assure them of God’s great love and impart a beautiful, godly self-confidence that can never be taken away!

I’m praying for you as we labor together to encourage kids who are dependent on God for their self-confidence!

 

Other Posts on Teaching Kids about God:

 

Did this post encourage you? Please share it with a friend!

 

Why not use Valentine's Day as a great opportunity to share not just about love... but to teach kids about God's love! You'll love this ultimate list of printables, crafts, freebies, coloring pages, and other activities! What a great resource for parents!

Ultimate List of Fun Ways to Teach Kids About God’s Love

welcome

We all want to teach our kids how much they are loved by God, right?

And yet, that’s not always easy, is it? I totally get it. 

I have four kids and not only do they each have a different way of feeling loved, they each learn differently!

To top it off, learning about God’s love isn’t a one-time deal. It’s something we spend our entire life learning about! 

Here’s my biggest tip. Ready?

 

 

 

We must teach kids about God’s love in whatever stage they’re in, and make having a relationship with God a natural part of life.

And now that I have everything from preschoolers to teens in my home, I know the importance of relating that love to each individual life stage!

Thankfully, there are so many amazing ways to communicate God’s love to our kids!

I want to share with you some incredible resources (our family’s tried-and-true ultimate ideas) that will make sharing about God’s love with your kids easy and fun!

With printables, books, crafts, activities and more, you’ll find great ideas that will be a perfect fit for each of your kids!

NOTE: Some of these are Valentine Day themed, and some aren’t. Of course Valentine’s is a great day to teach about God’s love, but so many of these tips and ideas are wonderful for year-round use too!

I can’t wait to share these with you:

  • 9 Coloring Books About God’s Love
  • 9 Crafts That Teach Kids About God’s Love
  • 6 Printable Activities About God’s Love
  • 36 Free Valentine’s Day Themed Home Decor Printables

 Let’s get started!

 

Goal planning for kids! I haven’t seen anything else out there like this so I’m so glad I found this for my kids this year. How to help your kids set goals, make plans and go for their dreams! Goal setting resources, powerful tips for parents and more.

How to Help Your Kids Reach Their Dreams This Year

As I watch my kids mature, I’ve see over and over that these little people have big dreams! As parents, we get the privilege of helping our kids set goals to make those dreams reality.

How can we encourage our kids to successfully meet their goals? What are some practical tips, strategies and resources?

I want to share with you:

  • 3 reasons why goal setting is so important for kids
  • 5 ways to help kids experience the power of goal setting
  • 13 Resources that help kids plan and inspire them to greatness

Here’s how I encourage my kids to meet their dreams (whether during New Years or anytime)!

Goal planning for kids! I haven’t seen anything else out there like this so I’m so glad I found this for my kids this year. How to help your kids set goals, make plans and go for their dreams! Goal setting resources, powerful tips for parents and more.

3 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is So Important for Kids

1) Kids have purpose. New Years goal setting assures children that they have significance too and that their life has purpose, even as a child.

2) Kids can do hard things. Setting resolutions reminds kids that they can do big things and hard things. I love this scripture in 1 Timothy 4:12 that says, “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”

3) Kids need to be challenged to become their best selves. When kids set goals, they’re able to experiment (under the watchful guidance of a parent) what it’s like to grow and change for the better. Goal setting is a wonderful way to teach kids that there is always room for self-improvement. it’s important to set goals and make self-improvements.

5 Ways to Help Kids Experience the Power of Goal Setting

1) Talk about goals regularly as part of everyday conversation. Goal setting doesn’t have to be formal or intense. Goal setting can start small (and not even be labeled as “setting a goal”). Listen to what your child is interested in, and help him or her set goals that match his or her current interests.

2) Avoid a power struggle by guiding toward a goal instead of telling them. Intrinsic motivation has been shown over and over as the best motivator, so capitalize on this when helping a child set goals. Instead of telling a child what the goal should be, listen deeper to what he or she is truly longing for and suggest tangible action plans that can help them meet that goal.

For example, my son is on a basketball team and wants to improve his stamina, especially as it relates to moving quickly to the other side of the court. My first thought was “That boy needs to be doing sprints everyday!” However, to avoid a power struggle, I asked him a series of questions such as, “What do you think is the best way to increase your stamina? What are some good activities that will make you faster on the court? How often do you think it make sense to do this?”

3) Encourage goals that are quantifiable and realistic. In his 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever Course, Michael Hyatt suggests setting goals that are SMARTER (specific, measurable, actionable, risky, time-keyed, exciting and relevant). Help kids create goals with tangible parameters, including natural consequences that occur if the goal is or is not met.

4) Give a child room to both succeed and fail. We are crippling our kids if we set them up to always succeed at their goals. Perhaps that sounds counterintuitive, so let me explain. While we would never plan to intentionally sabotage our child’s goals, I’m suggesting that we allow kids to experience the natural consequences that come from meeting or not meeting a goal. Like the rest of us, kids need to experience both the elation of meeting a goal and the disappointment of not making a goal. We can learn so much about ourselves from both sides of the process, can’t we?

5) Invite your child to witness your goal setting. Inspiration is an incredible motivator to success. What a wonderful example of sacrifice and diligence we set for our kids when we establish goals and work hard toward them! I share my personal goals with my kids often. I want them to see that there is always something to work toward and to be excited about!

13 Resources that Help Kids Plan and Inspire Them to Greatness

Does your child need help with creating a schedule? This post is great:

How to Teach Kids to Manage Their Own Schedule

Little by little, we need to introduce our kids to the concepts of goal-setting, time management and self control. What better way to do that than to teach them how to create a realistic weekly schedule? Learn a step-by-step method for how your kids can create their own schedules! This scheduling method is easy and adaptable to fit any child, tween or teen!

This post is also encouraging and helpful on how we can encourage our kids to change the world:

9 Tips for Raising Kids Who Change the World

Do you know these 9 awesome tips for raising kids that change the world? Vibrant Homeschooling

 

Calendars: Here’s a simple, free printable calendar (in kid-friendly colors) from Short Stop Designs that children would like. This one for Delineate Your Dwelling is also pretty. And this post from Yes Missy has 20 free printable calendar page designs.

Goal Setting: Here’s a fun goal setting worksheet for kids and adults from Moritz Fine Designs.

Planners: There’s some adorable kids planner designs here on Amazon.

Journal: I think everyone (including kids) should have a journal for writing their thoughts, dreams and plans! I love this one from Somewhat Simple, and here’s a free 31 Day gratitude journal from Enjoy the Learning Journey. Kids can even make their own journal at this post from Polka Dot Chair (this is more of a summer journal, but I think the “adventure” vibe totally fits for goal planning).

Enjoy inspiring your kids to greatness through goal setting!

CONNECT WITH YOUR FAMILY at dinnertime! Love these fun tips and adorable tools that make it easy and fun to encourage family conversations around the dinner table. GREAT ideas here!

17 Ideas for Meaningful Family Dinner Conversations

For years, experts have told us that families who regularly share dinner together enjoy meaningful connection and build family relationships as they gather around the kitchen table and discuss their day.

And yet, our family has found that meaningful dinner time conversation doesn’t always happen naturally!

Food may gather us around the table, but it’s easy for electronic devices, outside interests, sibling squabbles (and just pure exhaustion from the day) to distract us from the meaningful connection we’re supposed to be sharing as a family.

And truth be told, sometimes we just don’t know what to say to each other at dinnertime!

CONNECT WITH YOUR FAMILY at dinnertime! Love these fun tips and adorable tools that make it easy and fun to encourage family conversations around the dinner table. GREAT ideas here!

You get it, right? You want to make the most of family dinner time, but wow, it’s not easy.

Can I share what’s working for our family?

My husband and I have found that a few ground rules (plus some intentional tools to encourage family conversation) encourage our family to that meaningful family connection we’re looking for.

We want your family to discover how to use dinnertime to grow closer too!

Here’s what our family dinner time looks like (plus some great ideas for intentional family connection).

Our Family’s 2 Simple Dinner Time Rules

1) Be kind.

Here’s something that may surprise you: My four kids don’t always get along!! They may all look alike but, oh my gosh, they can be so quick to argue and pick at each other’s differences. Shocking, right?!

While we’re continually counseling them on how to best show love to each other, we’re especially sensitive to how they treat each other at dinner because we believe our family needs to come together in unity at the dinner table after being apart for segments of the day. That’s why we ask them to please hold any arguing or disagreements at a later time and to focus instead on finding positive things to say to each other. If they are being truly disruptive with their comments, then they’re asked to eat in the other room, or sometimes, to go straight to bed.

2) Be engaged.

For us this means no electronics at the table. Those pesky devices stay muted at the kitchen counter (P.S. Don’t you love this “Time Out Phone Caddy” from Red Rock Traditions? Brilliant!)

My husband and I also do our best to not “check out” mentally but instead to model asking each family member about the happenings of the day. We do our best to engage with our kids (and with each other) by asking questions or sharing experiences.

However, it’s not always easy to know what to say or what to share! After we’ve asked the “how was your day?” question, sometimes conversation can be at a standstill. What then?

That’s what I want to share about next. We’ve found that these three awesome conversation-starter tools from Red Rock Traditions are a super way to keep meaningful conversation flowing around the family dinner table!

3 Awesome Tools (Plus 15 Ideas) to Encourage Family Dinner Conversation

As I give you a brief description of each of these three dinner time conversation tools, I’m also going to give you several ideas of how our family uses them to grow closer. I know you’ll love these products from Red Rock Traditions… they’re really fun!

800-x-400-sharing-circle

Sharing Circle

sharing-circle-300-x-300This gorgeous wood “lazy Susan”-type dinner table centerpiece is a simple way to encourage healthy conversation at the dinner table. Along with a beautiful leaf inscription, this solid-wood piece has eight engaging conversation starters along its edges such as “Today I laughed when…” and “Today I remembered…” Because it can hold food, napkins or even seasonal decor, it’s a natural part of the dinner table.

1) Assign one of the eight conversation starters on the Sharing Circle to a specific day of the week. Since you’ll be left with an extra conversation starter (there’s only seven days in a week), consider using this bonus conversation starter for a lunch time meal or Sunday afternoon meal.

2) Have each child take turns picking out their favorite one. You can do one or more questions in a meal, depending on how the conversation flows.

3) Gently spin the circle and choose to use the conversation starter that lands in front of you. Ask the same question to each person.

4) Noticing the direction where each conversation starter in the circle is pointed, have each person share something that answers the conversation starter closest to them.

5) Ask the person across from you a conversation starter of your choice from the Sharing Circle.

 

800-x-400-convo-blocks

“Tell Me” Conversation Blocks

tell-me-conversation-blocks-300-x-300Want an opportunity to share a memory or even just a silly story? My kids love using these “Tell Me” Conversation Blocks! Using the large leather-wrapped cup, roll the picture dice and then use the enclosed card to decipher what each symbol on the dice means. Each of these symbols is categorized into one of four topics–Who, Place, Feeling or When–to serve as a fun story prompt. Use the symbols together to make one story, or use them separately!

1) Roll the dice for the person next to you and ask them to share a story or memory about one or more of the symbols on the blocks.

2) Roll all four blocks and share a memory, either from your childhood or of something you experienced together as a family, that’s about all four of the symbols together.

3) Roll all the blocks and, based on the symbols you get, share a dream of something you’d like to do in the future (either individually or as a family).

4) Roll the blocks and share a really silly story using all the symbols (this is my kids’ favorite!).

three-images-of-using-conversation-blocks

5) Play build-a-story by handing one block to four people at the table. Starting with the first person, each person rolls their block and tells a different aspect of the same story, building on the story of the person before them.

6) Roll two or more of the block and then, using a scrap piece of paper and a timer, have one person draw Pictionary-Style the image of what those two blocks together create. Everyone tries to guess what the person is drawing before the timer goes out.

800-x-400-up-side-down-side-coin

Up/Down Coin

up-down-coin-300-x-300Here’s a fun spin (literally) on the “how was your day question”! This adorable, two-sided coin gives each family member an opportunity to share about the “up side” and the “down side” of their day. If the coin lands on the “up side,” they’re encouraged to share something great that happened today. If it lands on the “down side,” they’re encouraged to share something that could have gone better.

1) Have one family member toss the coin for the entire table. Whatever the outcome–“up side” or “down side”–is what each family member will share for that night.

2) Pass the coin to each family member and, one at a time, have them share both the “up side” and the “down side” of the coin.

3) Set a timer for one minute and pass the coin to one family member. Have him or her flip the coin and give either a specific “up side” or “down side” as fast as they can. Try to see how many coin flips (and “up sides” and “down sides”) each person can get in during that minute.

4) Set a timer for one minute and pass the coin to one family member. Have him or her flip the coin and determine whether the family will be talking about an “up side” or a “down side.” Then, set the timer for 5 minutes and quickly go around the table one-by-one, each person saying their “up side” or “down side” as fast as they can. Try to see how many times you can go around the table in those 5 minutes. Then, once the 5 minutes are over, go back around to each person and ask them to elaborate on one of those things they mentioned.

Win These Family Conversation Tools from Red Rock Traditions

800-x-400-products-family-dinner-table-conversation-starters_edited-1

Don’t you love these tools?! They’re a fabulous way to make family conversations around the dinner table easy and fun.

You can also enter to win them below!

Red Rock Traditions has graciously offered to give away ONE of these items to three different people! That means that one person will win the Sharing Circle; one will win the “Tell Me” Conversation Blocks; and one will win an Up/Down Coin.

Enter below! The giveaway is open until midnight PST on December 16!

Whether you enter the giveaway or not, be sure to check them out at the links above (what a great Christmas gift!).

Enjoy these tools that make it easy to engage and connect with the ones you love around the dinner table!

FTC Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me for Red Rock Traditions.  

FEAR. ANXIETY. WORRY. How can we help our kids through these BIG emotions? Try this… it’s been working SO well with my daughter!

Practical Ways to Help Little Kids Manage Big Emotions

With tears in her eyes, my normally enthusiastic and cheerful daughter clung to me tightly as we both sat on her bed at bedtime. Despite my hugs and encouraging words of “You’ll be fine,” she seemed unable to receive comfort. 

Her first performance in The Music Man was just three days away, and she was overwrought with fear and anxiety like I’d never seen in her before.

FEAR. ANXIETY. WORRY. How can we help our kids through these BIG emotions? Try this… it’s been working SO well with my daughter!

She had diligently memorized her lines and had done well in the dress rehearsal that night, so it seemed probable that she would do well in her performance.

But we’ve all been gripped with those irrational, all-consuming fears before, right? We can understand how crippling those emotions can be.

We’ve dealt with those emotions on our own (and that’s tough enough!) but as parents, how are we supposed to guide our little kids through these big emotions?

Our first instinct is to fix them like we bandage their scrapes and soothe their sore tummies. We want a remedy and a solution, but we quickly learn that there’s not always an easy-to-follow answer.

Empathy, Compassion (and Practical Way to Help Kids Handle Emotions)

When I find myself caught in these “I-have-no-idea-how-to-help-you” moments with my kids, God reminds me of this simple mindset: How would you want someone to help you through this?

I don’t say that to mean that we should comfort our hurting child in the exact same ways that we’d want to be comforted. Instead, I’m saying that I’ve found it helpful to simply first offer my kids respect for their emotions and then space to process the emotions in a way that is helpful to them.

Of course, expressing emotion in a healthy way is rarely something that any of us are born with. That’s why we parents also have a second role here: to offer healthy alternatives to process all that they’re feeling. We need to find that careful balance of giving them space to process while still offering potential helpful solutions.

This looks different for every child (none of my four kids deal with emotions in exactly the same way!) but one powerful remedy is to encourage a child to write down or to draw their emotions.

I recently discovered a great tool for helping younger kids not just put their emotions on paper but to give them up to God: Worry Eaters.

Worry Eaters are soft, adorable plush animals that give kids a unique and positive way to deal with difficult emotions.

worry-eaters-in-a-row-web

What makes Worry Eaters different from a regular plush toy is that each Worry Eater has a zippered pouch on their body that’s meant to be a hiding place for a child’s fears and concerns.

Kids can simply write or draw what about their emotions and then place it inside the Worry Eater’s zippered pouch. This simple-yet-brilliant concept has won Worry Eaters multiple awards from the toy industry and from parenting groups.

worry-eaters-together-web

A Transitional Tool for Teaching Kids to Give Their Fears to God

Worry Eaters isn’t necessarily a faith-based product, and of course we want our kids to put their hope in Christ during tough times (and not a plush doll).

However, I do have to say that I’ve seen how “Bill” (the given name of my daughter’s Worry Eater) has been an excellent transitional method for my daughter to learn to give up her fears to something outside herself.

It can be hard (especially for our littlest kids) to understand such an intangible concept as putting faith in something they can’t see or touch (like God). My daughter loves Jesus with all her heart and has a very active relationship with Him, but I know that “Bill” helps act as a tangible way for her to express and release her most troubling concerns to God.

As an example, let’s go back to that night when my daughter was struggling with immense anxiety about her upcoming performance.

As my daughter and I sat on her bed, we prayed for her to have peace and confidence. I prayed that her heart would be able to discern truth from emotion and that she could be released from the half-truths that were plaguing her psyche.

However, after our prayer, I also encouraged her to write down what she was feeling on a scrap piece of paper and to give it to “Bill” so that he could hold onto it for her.

writing-about-it-for-bill-webDid she know that God was the one really holding her fears? Yes. We talked about that.

But this simple ritual of writing her fears down and tangibly giving them to Bill made that release to God more final and complete for her. She was able to link a tangible process to an intangible concept. And she fell asleep hugging Bill, her worried look now replaced with one of peace.

It reminds me of a ceremony I’ve done many times throughout the years while at church retreats (you’ve probably done it too). After a powerful, convicting message (usually on a Saturday night of a weekend retreat), a retreat leader encourages everyone to write down their fears or sins or whatever it is that is keeping them from God on a piece of paper; and then after that participants are encouraged to either nail that paper to a wooden cross or to throw it in a campfire. It’s a symbolic way of releasing those deep emotions we’re carrying.

Releasing Emotions as Stepping Stones of Faith

Dealing with these emotions is never easy for parents or kids, but these difficult situations are also an incredible opportunity for our kids to start those baby steps of trusting God on their own.

It’s so beautiful when our kids can step out in faith (even in the tiniest of ways) or put what they’ve learned about God by tangibly trusting Him through difficult times. When they get through the situation and look back, the challenging emotions are transformed into a beautiful stone in a monument of God testimonies they’re building in their heart.

As hard as it can be for us to watch, our kids need to learn how to face these difficult emotions! They need to feel the difference in their heart between trusting God with their emotions and trying to deal with the emotions themselves.

huggin-worry-eaters-at-end-boy

While my daughter is usually quick to share with me about how she may be struggling, I’m grateful that her Worry Eater is another practical way for her to release her emotions and connect deeply with God.

I know that my daughter will one day outgrow her Worry Eater, but for now, “Bill” is one of those special, well-loved plush friends that brings my daughter comfort when she’s struggling through overwhelm and anxiety.

I love that she sleeps with him every night and squeezes him especially tight when fears plague her heart.

FTC Guidelines: This post is written by me for Worry Eaters. I received compensation for writing this post, but the opinions are my own and based on my personal experience.

Little by little, we need to introduce our kids to the concepts of goal-setting, time management and self control. What better way to do that than to teach them how to create a realistic weekly schedule? Learn a step-by-step method for how your kids can create their own schedules! This scheduling method is easy and adaptable to fit any child, tween or teen!

How to Teach Kids to Manage Their Own Schedules

Back to school means back to routine. And this school year, my kids are managing their own schedules. 

Sound crazy? Maybe. But I’m learning that my kids are capable of way more than I think they are (I’m guessing your kids are too).

The truth is that everyday our kids get one step closer to adulthood, and that as good parents, we must slowly hand our children the reigns to their life. They’ve got to learn the life skills they need to survive as successful adults.

Don’t you want your kids to experiment with important life skills like self-management while you’re there to guide them through it? I do.

Little by little, we need to introduce our kids to the concepts of goal-setting, time management and self control.

What better way to do that than to teach them how to create a realistic weekly rhythm?

Little by little, we need to introduce our kids to the concepts of goal-setting, time management and self control. What better way to do that than to teach them how to create a realistic weekly schedule? Learn a step-by-step method for how your kids can create their own schedules! This scheduling method is easy and adaptable to fit any child, tween or teen!

Why I Want My Kids to Learn About Scheduling

1) I want my kids to experiment firsthand with the power of saying no to one thing so they can say yes to something else.

2) I want my children to see how much free time they really do have, and how to best use that free time wisely.

3) I want to teach my kids how to build successful habits into their everyday routines, and how those little habits produce big results.

4) I want them to have input to their daily rhythm so they have more respect for it and are more likely to follow it.

5) I want to show them that schedules serve us, not the other way around.

Man, I wish someone had taught me these things when I was kid! I had to figure out much of this on my own as an adult.

Do you want to teach your kids life skills like goal-setting, self-management and the importance of daily habits?

If so, learning to create (and manage) their own weekly routine is an excellent way to teach these skills!

Click “next” to learn practical tips and a step-by-step approach for how to teach your kids to create their own schedules!

It can be easy, and I want to show you how!

next-button

Commitment—it’s such an important character trait for kids to learn! How can we both model commitment and give kids hands-on experience learning about commitment? Be inspired with these great tips and practical tools for all parents!

11 Practical Ways to Teach Kids About Commitment

Character traits like commitment aren’t born in us, but are purposely developed.

How can we help our kids develop this very important life skill?

How can we share with them both the importance of commitment and the practical steps to developing commitment?

In my own experience, I’ve found that kids learn character traits through both strong modeling and active participation.

We must show them what commitment looks like, and we must purposely give them opportunities for this rich treasure to develop in their hearts.

I want to give you 11 simple ways to do that in this post!

Commitment—it’s such an important character trait for kids to learn! How can we both model commitment and give kids hands-on experience learning about commitment? Be inspired with these great tips and practical tools for all parents!

4 Ways to Model Commitment to Kids

1) Maintain a strong marriage.

How do we persevere during the hardest moments of marriage? How do we handle conflict? Marriage can be extremely challenging, but do our kids see us working together to solve issues? Just things to think about.

2) Set big goals and work hard toward them.

Whether it’s a goal to lose 20 pounds or to learn a new hobby, our kids learn so much from us as they see us persevere toward our own goals.

Be real with your kids through the struggle to stay committed to your goals! I believe it’s just as important for them to see us standing strong as it is for us to admit the challenges of commitment.

3) Show them unconditional grace.

How do we respond when a child falls short? While it’s important to correct (and sometimes that correction includes discipline), I believe it’s equally important to shower a child with unconditional love which demonstrates not only our commitment to him as a parent, but God’s commitment to him.

4) Share inspiring real-world stories of others.

Thankfully, our world is filled with amazing stories of folks who chose to persevere through difficult challenges and stay committed to a goal. My kids and I spoke about this at length as we watched the recent Summer Olympics.

Our family also reads books (and watches movies) like these that share these incredible stories of perseverance and loyalty.

8 Hands-On Ways to Teach Kids About Commitment 

Want kids to see first hand what commitment means? Have them set a goal, try something new and start working toward it!

Here are some ideas:

1) Get them involved in daily household chores.

Chores are a great way to tangibly teach kids about the ongoing commitment to keep the family home running. Here’s some ideas on age-appropriate chores and some chore lists.

2) Have them take care of a pet.

Whether it’s caring for farm animals, a family cat or dog, or even a fish, the daily responsibilities of animal ownership certainly teach commitment.

Last year my son raised a pig as a 4-H project and wow, did that grow his character development! There were many times he wanted to quit, but he had to learn the importance of committing to the end since he’d already decided to raise the pig for the fair. He told me at the end that it was hard work, but he’s excited to do it again next year.

3) Work together on a big home project.

What great treasures can be learned from tackling a kitchen remodel as a family or maintaining a garden together!

4) Teach them a sport or an instrument.

Daily practices teach both commitment and the joy of accomplishment.

5) Play difficult board games or put puzzles together.

Even learning to play chess or putting together a 500-piece puzzle teaches commitment. There’s great value in finishing something, especially when it’s difficult!

6) Offer regular challenges.

We parents must master the fine art of encouraging kids just beyond what they think they can do. Perhaps that’s asking them to complete a difficult math problem, asking him to read especially challenging literature, or even taking them on a short-term missions trip.

7) Develop a schedule for your child.

Here’s how my kids manage their own schedules (and yours can too!). This is a great way to teach how commitment works hand-in-hand with planning and self-management!

8) Encourage patience with siblings and/or those who may be different.

Some of my kids have a hard time getting along because their personalities are so different. And yet, by teaching them to get along and love each other (despite the differences), we’re teaching them that commitment is not conditional on behavior.

A verse I find myself quoting a lot around my house is Ephesians 4:2-3: “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”

Commitment is one of those great character traits that grows little by little, layer by layer as we encourage our kids to step out and try new challenges.

What ideas do you have for teaching commitment to your kids? Let’s share them in the comments below!

Other Posts on Teaching Kids Life Skills:

30 Books and Movies That Teach Perseverance

Wow... what a great list to have to encourage kids! 30 Books and Movies that Teach Perseverance Vibrant Homeschooling

Raising World Changers: 38 Bible Verses to Teach Kids About Wisdom

38-Bible-Verses-to-Teach-Kids-Wisdom--WEB

Simple 5 Step Method to Teach Kids to Study the Bible

How can you teach your kids how to not just READ the Bible during personal Bible study time but to UNDERSTAND IT? Here's an easy, 5-step process called the "5 Rs" that my kids and I use to glean deep spiritual truths. Includes a FREE BOOKMARK PRINTABLE CRAFT!

8 Powerful Ways to Teach Our Kids About Ownership

Ownership: It’s the idea that my life is my own, which entails both freedom and responsibility. How can we introduce this critical concept to our children so that they can be successful, mature adults? Here are 8 ways to introduce ownership from bestselling author and international speaker Tim Elmore.

 

Your Turn:

In your family’s current life situation, what may God be wanting to teach your children (and you) about commitment?

How can you intentionally build opportunities into your children’s life so that they can grow in commitment? 

In the tween and teen years, good parents set the boundaries. They put their kids in the right activities. Offer to be the carpool mom. Brave awkward conversations like

The #1 Problem Good Parents Face When Raising Teens

I am a good parent.

I don’t say that as a statement of pride, but more of a confession. Let me explain.

Good parents do the research. They buy the safety version. Put up the baby gates. Say no to that second candy bar.

In the tween and teen years, good parents set the boundaries. They put their kids in the right activities. Offer to be the carpool mom. Brave awkward conversations like “the talk”.

But good parents like you and me have trouble with one thing. And I’m learning that “one thing” proves to be an incredibly important aspect of raising confident, healthy teens.

Good parents don’t have trouble saying “no”–we have trouble saying “yes.”

Good parents have trouble letting go.

In the tween and teen years, good parents set the boundaries. They put their kids in the right activities. Offer to be the carpool mom. Brave awkward conversations like "the talk". But good parents like you and me have trouble with one thing. And I'm learning that "one thing" proves to be an incredibly important aspect of raising confident, healthy teens. Read this… do you agree?

You see, for a really long time we’ve figured out how to successfully create a world where our kids are pretty safe because we hold the reigns. We determine what they eat at each meal. We figure out their fashion choices for them.

We are the gatekeepers, and although it’s not always easy to hold the line, what should be done in each situation is relatively clear (especially as we go through the stages of early parenting multiple times as new children are born).

And then suddenly our babies want cell phones. They want to watch non-PG-rated movies. They want to have sleepovers and text their friends and to talk about dying their hair.

They want to experiment with freedom, and suddenly, we have no idea where to grant or deny that freedom anymore.

It was easy when they were little and wanted to play outside by themselves on a busy street (that’s a no) but now the lines are way more fuzzy.

To make it worse, the things they want to do are scary (“But mom, I just want to take her to a movie”) and the stakes are higher than ever.

What’s a good parent to do? With a 13 year old, an 11-year-old and an 8-year-old currently in my home, I’m learning the answer to that question right now too.

I want to share with you what I’m learning as God guides my husband and I through this process, and encourage you with confidence and hope that yes, you can successfully guide your kids through these sometimes-tricky teen and tween years.

Parenting Teens: Gatekeeping Is No Longer Just Guarding

Parenting is full of gateways–places where we must let the gates to one area open so that our child may be lead out into another.

And yet, this “opening” and “closing” goes directly against every nurturing and protecting parental instinct we’ve developed.

I’m always afraid of opening those gates too soon and of giving too much freedom because I don’t want my kids to believe that my letting go means I’m abandoning them (see? there’s that overactive nurturing drive!).

And of course we parents can imagine every single bad thing that could happen should we choose to open those gates (thanks to that well-developed protection instinct).

However, we must live with the reality that every day our tweens and teens move closer to that moment where they will be completely without our provision and protection. And our job as a parent is to guide our kids along that slow transition from utter dependence to utter independence.

Little by little (and guided by intense prayer and deep discernment), our “good parent” role of provider and protector must make room for a new role: Preparer.

Two years ago, it was very difficult for me to let my always-homeschooled son start going to a Youth Group where I knew none of the kids. Then six months later, I was challenged to let go again as God lead our family to move toward a hybrid homeschooling option where the kids would be taught in a school three days a week.

Both times, anxiety of the unknown filled my heart and I was terrified to let my tweens and teens step into these new roles of freedom.

But looking back now, I see how much my kids have flourished because of these decisions. They’ve grown immensely, and these freedoms have prepared them for the next level of freedoms we’re prayerfully considering for them now.

Accepting New “What Ifs” When Parenting Teens

The “what ifs” are what keep us from opening gates, right? “What if he… ?” “What if she… ”

The “what ifs” are incredibly important protection mechanisms for parents since they help us hold those much-needed boundaries.

And please hear me when I say that “what ifs” are still incredibly important during the tween and teen years because, oh boy, do we still need to hold the lines in many areas!

I just want to challenge you with a different set of “what ifs” that God has been challenging me with lately:

What if it all works out?

What if our kids really do turn out just fine? What if the worst doesn’t happen, and if fact, things turn out even better than planned?

He’s given me Romans 3:20 to pray over my kids:

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

Yes, our job as parents is to keep our kids safe from those scary “what ifs,” but we also are tasked with trusting in our kids and believing in the work that God is doing in their hearts too.

Consider these truths from Ephesians 1:19 and Jeremiah 29:11 as well:

“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him.” Ephesians 1:19

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'” Jeremiah 29:11

These truths keeps me on my knees asking God for guidance, but also for insane courage to believe that the hopes and dreams He has for my kids (which are much greater than mine) can come true!

From Overprotective Fear to Waiting Expectantly

I heard recently about a teen girl whose mom would always check her breath after she’d been with her friends to see if she’d had alcohol. One day the girl finally decided to have a drink “because it seemed like that’s what my mom was expecting me to do.”

That story really hit me hard. This was obviously a well-intentioned mom, but she’d let her fears overshadow her belief that her daughter actually could be trusted, and that choice had let to her daughter making the very choice she’d feared.

That story scares me because I would be that “good parent” that would check for alcohol over and over. I would be that mom that copes with the freedom by obsessively trying to make sure that everything is above board.

What if instead of clinging to control and fear, we shared in His great expectations for our kids and let that also shape our everyday parenting decisions?

It’s not that this “letting go” is done with our heads in the sand, but instead it’s not allowing control and fear to become an idol. It’s about walking forward with our child in the freedom, finding that God-directed balance between trusting a child and periodically verifying that they’re still trustworthy.

Releasing our loved ones to the unknown can be such a frightening place because, as good parents, we can see the dangers in this new freedom. And yet, there are those moments when God (and our child) are saying, “It’s OK. It’s time to let go. Let’s embrace some new freedoms.”

From a Good Parent to a God-Led Parent

I’m praying to be that kind of a “good parent.” I’m praying to know where God is saying “hold the line” and where he’s saying “open the gate.”

God has been so faithful to not only prompt my husband and I about when it’s time to open those gates, but He has been such a gentle, comforting guide to this overprotective mama through the process.

Friend, I know He will faithfully guide your kids (and you!) through this unique journey too.

 

What are you struggling with as you figure out the balance of still being a good parent and allowing your tween or teen to take on new freedoms?

Let’s share in the comments below.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and encouragement too!

 

1 2 3 4