Tag Archives: Discipline

6 Lessons Parenting Has Taught Me

I’ve reached a milestone in my life.  One decade of parenting.  It would probably take me that long to write all the lessons I have learned over the years.  So instead, I’d like to list a few things parenting has taught me, and more importantly how it has changed me.

Patience.  Here’s a rule of thumb.  When you want your kids to move quickly – cleaning up, rushing to the car in the rain, or walking quickly past the toy aisle…they are in slow motion.  When you have literally an ounce of energy left, they could fill water towers with their energy.  What have I learned through this?  Patience.  (Still learning this by the way).  I have to be patient with their slow pace, learning how to pick up toys, and their misunderstanding of why they can’t do things.  Parenting is a marathon, and if you expect them to be competent, tax-paying, godly, self-sufficient people after they grow out of diapers, buckle up and take a drink from the patient drinking fountain.

Flexibility.  All the kids dressed, fed, teeth brushed, hair done, and looking very well put together.  You are headed out and we grab the baby to put into the car seat.  One problem.  Poop.  Poop.  Is.  Everywhere.  You thought you were going to be early out the door…now your plans aren’t the only things you have to change.  Kids get hurt, sick, tired, soiled…you have to be flexible.  Roll with the punches.  As a very structured, plan ahead, day-timers are fun type of guy.  This has been a challenge, but also a valuable lesson.

Confrontation.  Multiple children are screaming.  Another yells “I’m going to hit you”.  Loud noises, like someone is throwing something, is also occurring.  You just sat down for the first time all day.  You didn’t even have a chance to exhale.  So do you let it play out?  You may not believe in evolution, but you are really tempted to see if this “survival of the fittest” thing has any merit.  Oh, you’re so tempted.  But no, parenting has taught me you have to get up and confront the assailant and the defendant.  Listen to the witnesses, plea bargains, and review the evidence…and then make a verdict.  People rise when judges enter the room, you have to duck from not getting hit with a whiffle bat.  Judges also get to retire to their chambers for decision-making and a quiet moment, you have to wait till midnight for that.  So, what do you do?  You confront, correct, and discipline.  Why, because you love these kids.

Giving.  You’ve read the graphic.  Your kid when they are 18 will have cost you $__________.  It’s like when you buy a house, don’t look at that last page that includes all the interest.  Don’t do it.  And with kids, don’t ever think about how much they are going to cost.  Instead, think about how much love you can give them.  My wife and I have rarely worried about how God would provide for our children over these last 10 years.  He has always been faithful.  Sure, they will get more expensive in the coming years, but you can’t live life seeing children as dollar signs.  Give love to them, be wise with your money, but be willing to give too.  And giving doesn’t stop with your money, your kids need you to give them time, attention, and all the love you can possibly share.

Unselfishness.  Speaking of giving time.  Listen, there will be times when the only “me time” you get is when you go the bathroom (and even then do not expect privacy) or that sliver of time before the last child falls asleep and you pass out.  So if you go into parenting needing a lot of time to yourself, you’re in the wrong business.  Let me tell you, parenting taught me how selfish I was.  I still fight selfishness, but having little ones that need me to play with them, teach them, and show them God-moments each day…I can see the value of being unselfish.  I’m still learning this lesson every day, but my kids have helped me be more selfless.

Perspective.  Ever heard the phrase “don’t cry over spilled milk”.  My mother-in-law helped teach me this principle.  There is a difference between an accident and a deliberate act of treason by your kids.  You get me?  Yesterday one of my kids dropped a big glass bowl, and I grabbed the vacuum, my wife grabbed the broom.  Perspective.  It was an accident.  We cleaned it up, and moved on.  I’ve gone to bed with stickers or little hair rubber band stuck to my feet.  Every day I have to look in my shirt for hair that my little girls have shared with my clothes in our laundry.  I’ve stepped in toothpaste, slobbered on, and had to wipe boogers with my hand.  Hey man, perspective.  One day, I won’t have this.  And I’ll miss it.  I’ll miss the noise, the craziness, the boogers, the spilled drinks, the cheese sticks I find under our couch that have been sitting there for months (they get hard as a rock!).  I’ll miss it.  So it’s taught me perspective (that’s certainly not always perfect), but it is much healthier than it was 10 years ago.

I have a long ways to go.  I’m just in my first decade, and “teenage-dom” is around the corner.  I’m sure I’ll learn a whole new set of lessons then.  But until then, I’m thankful for the lessons God has taught me through parenting.  It is a humbling, joyful, frustrating, tiring, loving, and growing experience all rolled up in one.  And I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

 

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Book Review: How to Keep Your Kids on Your Team

Book Review:  How to Keep Your Kids on Your Team by Charles Stanley

The Good:

Been there, done that.  Charles Stanley had both the view of the counselor and the parent when he brought personal illustrations to play.  The counseling situations were enlightening and eye-opening, and the family illustrations brought a personal touch.  Each produced a break for the mind and allowed for smooth reading.

Homework?  With each chapter, I walked away with homework.  There were parenting skills that needed sharpened, conversations that needed to take place, and changes that needed to happen.  I have a long ways to go, but there were measurable steps I could take in improving my parenting.

This Quote – “The only hope they have is to undergo a transforming experience by Christ in their life and thus gain an understanding of who they really are in Jesus Christ.”

Handing Down Your Faith.  The chapter on this very subject was priceless.  My favorite part of the book and made the whole read worthwhile.  Such an important concept and I’m indebted to the author for the wisdom that was shared.

The Bad:

Not too sure.  There were a couple specific parenting situations that I disagreed with the take of the author.  Nothing sinful or even anything wrong, but a stance I probably wouldn’t take.  I am still learning on the job, so maybe my view may change as my kids get older.  Seems most of my disagreements had to do with discipline that was at times on the weak side.

Not One Mention of SnapChat.  It’s no fault of the author, but the book is outdated in the area of technology.  Writing in the mid-80’s, there is no mention of the constant battle of cell phones, gaming, and technology that this generation of parents face.  (Disclaimer:  Looks like an updated version was written in 1996, but would still lag behind in some technological issues.)

The Grade:  A.  Any parenting book that teaches you practical ways of improving your relationship with your children and your role as a parent gets an A from me.  This book provides valuable insight in parenting, while providing personal ways of improving the day-to-day grind of parenting a child.  Written over 30 years ago, it just goes to show, Biblical parenting does not go out of style.

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Book Review: Lead Your Family Like Jesus

Book Review:  Lead Your Family Like Jesus

Lead-Your-Family1

The Good: This book provides positive instruction for the parent. Ranging from topics of goal-oriented parenting and developing family values, the parent is given wise advice throughout the book. It is more positive reinforcement than life-altering, but still provides value for the parent looking to improve in their parenting.  The idea of post-it notes for positive reinforcement was a great idea, and I plan to use that.  The Pause & Reflect sections are very useful to gauge where parenting help is needed.  Also, while the versus needed a little more depth, they do provide great basis for parenting Bible studies in the future.

The Bad: Sad to say, this book lacks spiritual depth at times. The authors have written books that have been popular in the business world, and that approach does not translate well in leading like Jesus. Basically, without the spiritual depth, it often acted like a parent self-help book. And when it came to discipline, I found it somewhat weak. It often caved to the thinking of discussing problems rather than providing consequences for actions.

The Grade: C. The title was a bit misleading. With the title, the reader is expecting a theological study of Jesus in regards to parenting. What the reader gets is a practical, day-to-day instructional book on parenting. While many of the points are helpful, I was hoping for something with a little more spiritual depth.

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How To Build a Spiritual Home – Part 3

Plumbing – Loving Discipline – Proverbs 3:11-12Image

Why did I choose plumbing for discipline.  “It stinks.  But if you don’t do it, the whole house will smell.  The times when your children don’t get it, teach through discipline.  Discipline means literally “to teach”some of us had more teaching moments in our childhood than others.  In the Hebrew, discipline was a 3 part process – correction, discipline, and instruction.  Do we discipline your children without correction?  Is there correction, with no discipline?  And do you instruct your kids HOW & why to change their behavior after discipline?

Pastor Craig Groeschel of lifechurch.tv does a great job at summing up undisciplined parenting vs. disciplined parenting:

Undisciplined Parents

  1. Lifeguard Parents:  Often rescue a child from consequences.  Kids need you to be a parent 1st!  According to a recent survey of Parents:  57% said they were more fearful of disobeying their parents than their kids are of them, and 42% admit they are less strict.  Asked Parents to list their best friends – 46% mentioned their kids.   “… A man reaps what he sows.”  Galatians 6:7b
  2. ETCH-A-SKETCH Parents: often inconsistent.  What decisions are you leaving up to your kids?  Do you they choose their punishment?  Whether to attend church or maybe where to attend church?  I think we all can do better at leading.  I realize our goal is to transfer the dependence on you as a parent (in the early years) to depending on God & His Word…but our leadership of our children still needs to be a priority.  The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother…Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul. Proverbs 29:15, 17
  3. SPLIT-DECISION Parents: often un-unified.   Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? Amos 3:3

Which one do you struggle with being?  Write it down, begin the change, & discuss it with your spouse.

Parental Expectations – The Disciplined Parent

  1. We expect 1st time and cheerful obedience.  (Not an easy combination)  Discipline for attitude and actions.  Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord – Col. 3:20.  Do everything without complaining or arguing – Philippians 2:14.
  2. We agree to never discipline in anger.   In your anger do not sin – Ephesians 4:26
  3. We will discipline promptly with instruction and reconciliation.  Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4

Which expectation do you struggle?  Circle one, begin the change, & discuss it with your spouse.

In the end, follow God’s pattern of discipline, found in Hebrews 12:5-6.  That is how God shows His love for us, in his discipline.  You show your love for you children through your discipline.  Prov. 13:24 says He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him”Those that withhold discipline from their children are not being loving.  In actuality, they are not showing love at all. Follow God’s example of disciplining His children.

Do the plumbing work in your house yourself…discipline your kids.

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