Soul-Care Articles: Christ-centered, Spirit-led, Biblically-based, Clinically-sound, Truth-oriented

Posts tagged ‘Family’

Surprisingly Simple Ways to Help Children Develop Empathy

SOURCE:  Kim Blackham

The following exercises are not only fun, but also effective in helping children become more empathic.

I Wonder

Go to a public location where you can sit and watch other people coming and going –  i.e. airport, mall, park, fair, sporting event, etc.

Find a place to sit that is in an area of moderately heavy traffic.  You want it to be busy but not crowded.  Then start asking questions.

  • What do you notice about these people?
  • Where do you think they are going?
  • Can you pick out a particular person?  Tell me about them?  Who are they with?  Why are they here?

At this point, you might get a little push back with the child saying, “I don’t know.”  That’s okay.  Encourage them to imagine who the person they see might be.  Acknowledge that of course they don’t know for sure, but based on what they see, what story can they imagine. 

  • Look at their faces.
  • What do you see?
  • Do they look happy or sad?
  • What kind of food do you think they like?
  • Do you think that little boy plays any sports?  What sport do you think he likes best?

Continue reading at this site:  http://www.kimblackham.com/surprisingly-simple-ways-to-help-children-develop-empathy/

 

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4 Easy Reminders to be a Great Parent

SOURCE:  Ron Edmondson

The title says these are “easy”…and they are in some ways. None of these are hard to remember. None of these are hard to implement…with personal discipline. But, living them daily, in addition to the normal stresses of life…can seem very difficult at times.

But, great parents are continually working at them.

Here are 4 principles to be a great parent:

(Or the best parent you can be…)

Be present. Be there for your kids. Stay committed to them throughout their life. Be willing, especially in the formative years, to sacrifice your time for them. They’ll know whether or not you really want to be with them. And, something positive happens when they have your full attention. They model. (So also live a life worth modeling.)

Be intentional. Make a plan for each individual child based on their needs and work the plan. Introduce them to Christ. Involve them in church regularly. Help them with their school work. Teach them Biblical principles. Do what’s best for them…even when it isn’t popular with them.

Be relational. Let love reign. Keep grace flowing. Provide healthy discipline…because you love them and they need it at times. Be patient, recognizing they are learning….even when it seems some days they are not. Don’t ever let them think they have to earn your love. You may not always approve of their actions, but be sure they have no doubts that you approve of them. Spend time with them doing what they enjoy doing. Sacrifice your time to play with them…even at the end of a long, hard day. It will be worth it.

Be consistent. Keep doing the right thing…always…continually. Over and over again. That’s what the great parents do.

Even if you do everything you know to do, children are unique individuals…with wills of their own. They will make choices in life…and mistakes…just as you do.

Parenting IS hard, but you’ve got this. And, the reward of seeing adult children thrive…worth every sacrifice.

Family: Imperfect – BUT – Important

SOURCE:  Family Life/Dennis Rainey

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27

I believe there is nothing more powerful on Earth than family. It is the single most influential force for good (or for evil) in all human existence.

From birth, it marks you. Your family crafts your conscience and shapes your soul. At home you learn life’s lessons and begin the art of practicing them. At home you learn to love and to do what’s right. More than merely giving you a street address, your home and family imprint you with a spiritual and sexual identity shaped by the two people who gave you life.

Truly, nothing compares to the strength of being tightly wrapped in the protective fiber of family.

It’s who you are. It’s where you belong.

And if all goes well–as it should–it is your family that surrounds you when you start life’s journey, when you face life’s hardest trials, when you go through the valleys and when you die. More than anyone else, the members of your family are the ones who are there for you, caring for you and mourning the loss of you when you’re gone.

This should come as no surprise, because God created the family. At the very dawn of time, “God created man in His own image, . . . male and female He created them.” Of all the ways He could have chosen to inaugurate His creation, He chose to start with family. In fact, the Bible begins with a marriage in Genesis and ends with a marriage in Revelation.

Marriage and family have always been central to what God is doing on planet Earth.

I believe family is still of utmost importance to our heavenly Father. It holds the key to our health, our success as a society, and our future. And I believe it is worth whatever effort is required to nurture, encourage and support it.

Thank God for the gift of your family, regardless of its inadequacies and failures.

What Kids Need From A Mom

SOURCE:  Life, Love and Family Daily Fact Sheet/Dr. Tim Clinton

“Mothers”

  • 3 Ingredients for Good Parenting (Clinton & Hawkins, 2009):
    • Love—children need hugs, physical contact, words of encouragement and affirmation, and quality time—all of these communicate love. Love also helps break down barriers and walls that we can’t see with our eyes. As a mom, you are to love your children even when it is undeserved. This does not mean that you accept everything that they do. It does mean that you remind them that you love them even when you disagree with or are heartbroken by their actions.
    • Discipline—discipline, unlike punishment, always envisions a better future for the child. As a mom, you must discipline and train your children.
    • Guidance—as a parent, it is your job to teach your children about life, guiding them in all areas, especially in God’s Word (Deut. 6:4-9). Guiding your children may also mean allowing them to make mistakes.
  • Special Time: Helping Your Child Feel Loved and Cared for (Clinton & Sibcy, 2006):
    • Before more structured behavioral techniques are used to help a child, the parent-child relationship must first improve.
    • If a child is angry or feels unloved or uncared for, no parenting technique can make him behave.
    • Special Time is playtime that parents intentionally invest in their child, and it is totally command free.
    • During Special Time, parents are not allowed to give their child any commands or suggestions.
    • Special Time should last for twenty to thirty minutes at a time and parents should allow their child to pick the activity they’d like to do together.
    • Connection begins by starting with something your child actually likes. Avoid agenda-centered conversations. Enter your child’sworld. Be present and available to him or her without any other obligations competing for your time.
  • Quotes:
    • “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”—Abraham Lincoln
    • “A mother is the one to whom you hurry when you are troubled.”—Emily Dickinson
    • “My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.”—George Washington
    • “Perhaps it takes courage to raise children.”—John Steinbeck
    • “Only God Himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother.”—Billy Graham
    • “A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.”—Agatha Christie
    • “A mother understands what a child does not say.”—Jewish Proverb
    • “You are not making memories with your children; you are the memory!”—Josh McDowell
  • Key Thoughts (Morgan & Kuykendall, 2001)
    • Mothers face the challenge of investing their time and energy in the lives of their children. The culture, however, confronts them with two messages: “Mothering is not a job,” and “Mothering is not a skill.”
    • It can be difficult for women to value their major investment in life—mothering—when their culture judges that investment as having no value.
    • Similarly, mothering skills, where time and energy are invested in the lives of those who can’t do for themselves, are undervalued.
    • Mothers need to understand the value of their mothering from God’s perspective.
    • Mothering is highly esteemed in God’s Word. Children are declared to be precious gifts from God (Ps. 127:3). Proverbs 31, the chapter describing the “virtuous woman,” pictures a mother who diligently cares for her household.
    • Mothering cannot be defined by a paycheck or a promotion, but in the peace of mind that comes from being there for children.
  • Verses:
    • “She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.”—Proverbs 31:26-27
    • “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”—Exodus 20:12
    • “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.”—Psalm 127:3
    • “Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying, ‘Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.’ Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”—Proverbs 31:28-30
    • “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”—Proverbs 22:6
    • “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”—Ephesians 6:4

Endnotes

Clinton, T. & Hawkins, R. (2009). The quick-reference guide for biblical counseling. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Clinton, T. & Sibcy, G. (2006). Why you do the things you do: The secret to healthy relationships. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Morgan, E. & Kuykendall, C. (2001). “Does mothering matter?” The Bible for Hope. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

It’s Not Your Job to Entertain Your Children

SOURCE:  Family Life Ministry/Jenae Jacobson

There’s more to mothering than keeping your kids amused.

I fear that we are headed down a slippery slope when it comes to one aspect of parenting.  And we at least need to start talking about it.

For some reason we have this strange belief that it is our job to entertain our kids all. the. time.

In case you aren’t convinced … feel free to browse Pinterest for a few minutes or visit one of the amazing blogs with activities for children. I, too, am guilty of spinning my wheels day after day, trying my hardest to provide fun experiences for my children … all in the name of being a good mom.

Yes, we want our kids to have a happy childhood with a variety of experiences. But this certainly doesn’t mean that the mark of a good mother is spending all her time creating and engaging her kids in those activities.

My goal as a parent is to raise my children to know, love, and emulate Jesus.  Entertaining them is not what should take up the majority of my focus. My focus should be on others, just as Jesus’ was. After all, the two greatest commandments are loving God and loving others.

So, what is a mother to do?

Meet their needs of feeding, changing, and bathing? Yes.

Teach our children? Yes.

Engage with our children in play? Yes.

Enjoy our children? Yes.

Play with our children? Yes, although not every minute of the day.

Encourage our children to think of others before themselves? YES!

Laugh with, tickle, and kiss our sweet babies? OF COURSE!

Entertain our children every minute of the day? No.

The fact is, when we make it our mission in life to make sure that our children are entertained and having fun, we are teaching them that life is all about them! It also can prohibit children from using their imagination and creativity to come up with something fun to do on their own.  This is a problem with my firstborn—I continually entertained him from birth to 2 years of age, when his little brother was born, and now he has a hard time playing on his own.

Rather than going out of our way to find ways to entertain our kids, let’s go out of our way thinking of opportunities that we can serve and love others together.

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This article originally appeared as a post on MomLife Today®, FamilyLife’s blog for moms.

Grand-parenting: The 10 Things You Don’t Say to Parents But Should

  • Here are ten things to say to your adult children that will support them as they grow into the role of parent, just as you adjust to being the grandparent

  • Take a positive spin

    The shift from being the parent to becoming a grandparent takes a major adjustment most of us never anticipate. It’s so easy to offer advice based on our years of experience raising children. It’s so easy to see what our adult children don’t. But we can get so focused on giving advice and telling them what they’re doing wrong, that we forget to tell them what they’re doing right. There’s nothing like positive reinforcement.

  • iStockphoto

    I respect how you’re raising your kids.

    You may not do things the way I did, but it’s a different world today, especially given the state of the economy and all the pressures on young families. (Now could you please stop making fun of me for not being able to buckle the kids into their car seats or collapse the stroller!)
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    Please, let me do the dishes!

    Or the laundry! Or change the baby’s diaper, then make dinner! I’m here to help!
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    Don’t worry; you’re wonderful parents.

    We all make mistakes sometimes—as I know only too well. So what if you let your daughter eat cupcakes for dinner every now and then? There were times when I let you run barefoot in the freezing cold and eat ice cream for breakfast—and you should have heard my mother! (And, true story, once I put fresh kibble in my son’s bowl in an attempt to cure his habit of eating out of the dog’s dish. It worked.)
  • iStockphoto

    Your children are wonderful.

    All kids go through difficult stages—you did, and look how fantastic you turned out!
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    I’m here if you need me.

    I realize that you’re up on all the latest information about childhood safety, diet, education, and health, which is different than back in my day. I trust that if you want my advice or opinion, you’ll ask for it.
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    All parents feel insecure sometimes …

    … especially with their first child. Parenting is an art that can only be learned on the job, no matter how many books you read or experts you consult. You know your child better than anyone. Just know that I’m here for you and if you ever want the benefit of my experience, say the word.
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    I promise to follow your rules …

    … as much as humanly possible. That means, I’ll feed the kids according to your instructions, limit the treats, make sure they do their homework, then get them to bed on time. And I absolutely swear I won’t start feeding the baby solids without your permission.
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    I support your decisions.

    You’re an intelligent, responsible adult with a good head on your shoulders, and I know that you think everything through carefully. If you want my opinion, I know you’ll ask for it. (You cannot repeat this often enough.)
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    It’s a privilege …

    … and an honor to be allowed to spend time with your children, because I know how much you love them and want to protect them. Thank you for putting your faith and trust in me.
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    I know I’m no longer the boss.

    It is strange, especially at first, to be the grandparent and not the parent. The truth is, becoming a grandparent takes almost as much on-the-job training as becoming a parent. Please forgive my mistakes and know that I’m doing my best to support you and love your children.————————————————————————————————————————————SOURCE:  Grandparents.com

    Barbara Graham, a Grandparents.com columnist, is the editor of the anthology, Eye of My Heart: 27 Writers Reveal the Hidden Pleasures and Perils of Being a Grandmother.

Parenting: Lessons Along The Way

SOURCE: Adapted from an article by Dennis Rainey/Family Life

A Parent’s Top Five

A righteous man who walks in his integrity–

how blessed are his sons after him.
Proverbs 20:7

Barbara and I have not been perfect parents. But when you have as many children as we do, God gives you a few hundred lessons along the way. And from our years of experience, we’ve come up with a list of five non-negotiables that all parents need in order to raise a family God’s way:

  1. Understand the times. In past societies, the culture helped reinforce the values that parents were trying to instill in their children. Not today. That’s why you need to be surrounded with a few like-minded parents who can support, encourage and counsel one another through the choppy waters of modern life. A great church is where you’ll find them.
  2. Have a sacred commitment to each other. Your kids need to see your vows lived out in every circumstance, in times of both peace and conflict. Make it a priority to resolve disagreements with your spouse, to forgive each other, to remain faithful. These qualities of love build a powerful, profound sense of security in children.
  3. Know what you believe. You are the textbook your children read. Your deeply held values about life will influence your interactions with your children. As parents, you need to know what your unshakable convictions are.
  4. Remember God’s perspective on children. Never forget that children are a gift from God. Raising your children is a privilege and responsibility He has given to no one else, and they should be raised to know Him and walk with Him.
  5. Strive for the right goal. More than anything else, your children need to grow to love and fear the Lord. That’s more important than ensuring they have a good education, develop different skills or learn how to succeed in today’s culture. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

Pray
Pray that your priorities will be shaped by God’s Word and will influence your choices for you and your family.

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