Temper, Temper

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I will never forget the first meltdown I experienced with my eldest daughter, it was frightening and unnerving. Not only had I never seen a child so small become so angry but had no idea that it was even possible.

Over time, and through consistent consequences for incorrect behavior the meltdowns improved and became less frequent. In addition we began to understand the issues that our daughter was experiencing that were triggering these out bursts.

Initially I questioned my parenting skills. I thought “What is so wrong with my parenting that my child is behaving this way?” That’s when the Lord reminded me that anger in and of itself is not bad, it is what we do with our anger that is important.

The Bible tells us in our anger we are not to sin.

“”In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” (Ephesians 4:26)

God gave us emotions. Even Jesus became angry, but His anger was a righteous anger.

12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[e] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’[f]” (Mathew 21:12-13)

As parents our job is to teach our children about their emotions and the appropriate way to deal with their feelings.

For example if your child is hitting out of anger, explain to them that it is ok to feel angry but it is not ok to sin and hit others.

Ask your child if there is anything that is bothering them, then use that opportunity to talk them through the situation so they understand.

When our daughter was having problems with tantrums we realized that there was a communication barrier and her anger was out of frustration for not being able to communicate her wants and needs.

This gave us the needed information to help her communicate better which in turn dramatically improved her behavior.

God does not want your child to be emotionless, and He does not want us to eliminate uncomfortable emotions. God wants us to learn how to use self-control and not allow our lives to be governed by our feelings.

Feelings may lie to us but we can always trust the word of God and the Holy Spirit to discern right from wrong.

Turn to Jesus He will help you.

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Bully

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I recently watched the documentary Bully. It was a very eyeopening film about bullying and the impact on children and their families. I will start by saying I am in no way condoning this awful behavior, or pretending to be an expert on this subject, nor have I had to endure bullying myself; if you or your child is experiencing bullying you should seek help and intervene whenever and wherever possible to ensure the safety and well being of your child.

This being said, while watching this film I couldn’t help but ask myself some questions. Questions like ” Where is the parental responsibility in this? Do these families know Jesus? Are parents giving their children the tools they need both emotionally and spiritually to be able to withstand this horrendous behavior?”

I don’t know these people, their life circumstances, or their walk with God. What I do know is that I serve a God that is bigger than bullying, a God who loves my children more than me, and a God who gives us the tools I need to be an effective parent, and the tools my children need to be successful in life.

We can’t protect our children from everything, but we can teach them that even through these terrible and atrocious circumstances there is a God in heaven, and He is bigger than ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. There has to be parental responsibility behind this behavior.

In my personal experience children behave the way they are raised to behave. And reflect the attitudes of their surroundings.

This begs another question……

Are you a Bully?

Kid’s are not the only ones who bully. Adults bully too, and sadly there are adults who bully their children. This is not Christlike behavior and is unacceptable. If your child is a bully it may be wise to evaluate your own behavior and look into the environments that your child may be saturated in.

” Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)

Here are some ways that you can help your child cope with bullying:

1. Be involved : Don’t allow your relationship with your child to fall silent. Know who their friends are, what they are doing, and when they are doing it. You are their parent not someone else.

2. Teach your child about what God says about their value : Don’t allow other children’s comments and opinions fall on your child’s ears without giving them the tools to fight the attacks of the devil on their self-worth and self- esteem.

3. Pray for them every day: Pray that God protects them, and gives them strength.

4.Raise courageous children: Teach your children how to deal with fear. Give them scripture to repeat when they feel fearful. Here is a starter verse “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 118:6)

5. Teach your children about healthy relationships: You can do this by modeling healthy relationships in your personal life and having clear and direct boundaries with those around you. Explain to your children that healthy relationships are not purposefully hurtful.

Even the bullying dilemma that we face in this country is not too small of a problem for God. When you feel like you have no where to turn, turn to God. He will give you wisdom, peace, and comfort, and can give it to a child as well.

Again, please seek help if you suspect your child is being bullied.Talk with their teachers, and principals. Take action to ensure your child’s safety.

Your child may experience bullying but they don’t have to be a victim or resort to irreversible measures. Give them a way out, give them God.

Below are some resources available to parents of children who have been bullied or are experiencing bullying:

http://www.amle.org/BrowsebyTopic/BullyingSchoolSafety/Ads/tabid/529/Default.aspx?gclid=CLuy1sG73LwCFU5efgodj0kACw

http://www.stopbullying.gov/

http://www.bullyfree.com/free-resources/tips-for-parents

 

 

 

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Praying through Life

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There are so many things we can and need to pray for in our lives. We pray for God to help us with our jobs, tough life situations, finances and any other hardship we face.

Prayer was not a priority in my family when I was young. We usually always prayed at meals and at church but I don’t recall seeing either of my parents pray outside of these situations.

Children need to know the value of prayer. After all this is our way of having direct communication with God. So many adults don’t know how to pray, if you teach your children how to pray it will make dealing with life’s hard circumstances more bearable because they will not be leaning on their own strength but will know how to talk to God about things they don’t understand.

Not only is it important for us to teach our children how to pray and show them just how critical it is in our walk with the Lord but we should be covering them with prayer daily.

“Pray continually…” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

What things should you pray for…..

Here are ten ideas of how you can cover your child in prayer:

1. Pray for their safety

2. Pray that God grants them great wisdom

3. Pray for their future husband or wife

4. Pray against attacks from the enemy

5. Pray for good friends

6. Pray for their spiritual health

7. Pray that they experience unspeakable joy

8. Pray for peace to  comfort them when you are not there

9. Pray that the glory of God shines through them to others

10. Pray for their health

It is so important that our children see and know that we pray for them every day. Not only does this teach them how to talk with God, and that you care about them but it shows them that even their hero’s (mom and dad) need help and their help comes from the Lord.

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The Waiting Game

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Do you know what I hate? Waiting, but I think this is something that most of us dislike. Our American culture tells us we can have it when we want it, and we want it now. But what does the Bible say about this?

 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galations 5:22-23 ESV)

The instant gratification that society teaches us and our children goes against the very teaching of the Bible. We are called as Christ followers to develop the Fruit of the Spirit. We are to seek the strength to be patient from the Lord.

As a mother of two daughters both under the age of five I have to exercise a great deal of patience. There are times when I feel like I have no patience and there are times when I feel like patience comes easy.

As Christian parents we need to teach our children about patience. We can do this by modeling it to them in our own behavior.

Jesus was the perfect example of patience.

He was fully God and fully man when God the Father sent Him to Earth to die for us. Jesus could have demanded His rights as deity from those who were mocking them, He could have punished His disciples in the garden when they were falling asleep instead of praying. Instead He had patience with them, He had patience for those who totured Him and even pleaded for them with God.

“And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”And they cast lots to divide his garments.” (Luke 24:34 ESV)

When you feel llike you don’t have the patience to wait for your child to do what you ask, or to accomplish somthing as simple as a task that is difficult for them. Draw your strength from Jesus. He will give you the patience to see it through, and your children will learn the value of patiently waiting for things that are worth while; and they will appreciate things that much more.

Nothing that was ever worth anything ever came easy, we accomplish difficult things through patiently and earnestly continuing on. Not through our own strength and abilities, but through power from on high that only the Father in Heaven and the King of Kings can provide.

 

 

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Fear of the Unknown

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It’s human nature to be afraid of the unknown. We tend to be worriers. Some of us maybe more than others but we all have to face fear or worry at some point in our lives.

Recently God has been dealing with me on this very issue. The fear of the unknown. I often find myself worrying about my daughter’s disability. I worry if she will be a successful adult, I am worried that she will be picked on in school, and I am worried that her teachers as she grows older will place limits on her potential.

Really, these concerns and fears are not much different from any other parent. We all want the best for our children disabled or not. What Jesus has shown me rather, reminded me lately is that He is in control.

See, that is the great thing about God. No matter how out of control we feel in a situation we can always trust and take comfort in knowing that Jesus is always in control and is still on the throne.

There are going to be situations in the lives of our children that we cannot protect them from, and we can either drive ourselves crazy with the fear of the unknown, and the constant worry or we can put our children in God’s hands and trust that we can count on God to keep them safe.

Now this doesn’t mean that our children will never experience hardship, heartache, or unfortunate life circumstances it just means that our children will grow up knowing peace that comes from on high. It means that they will know where to turn during the storms of life.

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”29 “Come,” he said.Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:28-31)

When we are one with Christ we should have no fear because He will always be there to catch us when we fall, and this includes our sweet little babies.

Don’t worry, trust in the Lord, and remember that even in the storm with Him there is peace.

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Sticks and Stones

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Have you ever heard the saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”? If only this were actually true. Our words can be so powerful. They are powerful even when no one is around to hear them.

Often times the words we say to others can be so painful. Words can stab right to our very core. But aren’t they just that words?

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat it’s fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21)

I’m sure all of us when we were a child had someone say something to us that stuck with us forever.

When I was a child in choir I had a teacher tell me that I sounded like a goat when I sang. I have never forgotten those words, they hurt, they stung, and caused me to doubt my ability to sing for a long time.

People don’t realize that what we say can either make someone or break someone. This is the same for our children. When you talk to your children do you say things like “you will never be able to…. or that was stupid….. what about don’t be such an idiot.” These are all such hurtful things to say not just to a child but to anyone.

I am pretty sure that when Jesus gave us the gift of speech He did not intend for us to misuse it.

Speaking life (saying good things) about and over your children is so critically important to their development. You as their parent are writing on the blank slate of who they will become. Speaking life over your child can change bad behavior, it can give them a sense of value, and even shows them the heart of Jesus. It makes them think “Wow if my mom and dad love me and care about me this much, then God must really love me, I am important, and I am worth something!”

Because my daughter has Down syndrome a lot of tasks that come naturally to most children are more difficult for her to achieve. I have to constantly remind myself to speak life about her, around her, and to her. Telling her she can, and she will instead of she can’t or she won’t is so important. Even if I am not speaking directly to her but talking about her she still hears me.

With all this being said I would like to re-write the phrase we started with:

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but WORDS can DEFINITELY HURT me.”

Choose to speak life into and over your child at all times, you will be amazed at how much it impacts them for the better.

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Breaking Free

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Everyone has something, something they want to separate themselves from. Maybe it’s something you’ve done, maybe it’s something that happened to you. It may be something you struggle with every day.

These are called strongholds.

What is a stronghold? The dictionary defines a stronghold as the following:

“A fortified place or a fortress.”

This may be an area of your life that you are protecting from God. You have made it a fortress of pain and sorrow.

Some people think that a stronghold only affects the person who is struggling with it, but this is not the case.

If an adult is raised in an abusive environment it will absolutely spill over into their personal life. An adult who was abused will be more inclined toward abusive relationships, and may not be able to remove themselves from chaotic situations.

The way we parent is definitely impacted by the way we were parented.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and saw your mother? I have.

Someone once told me that a child is like a blank slate, and a parent is writing the story of who they will become.

Thankfully, there is freedom from all of the chains that bind us and keep us from Christ. The Lord is that freedom, He can break through the chains and bondage of abuse. When you look in the mirror and don’t like who you see turn to Jesus. Only Christ can transform us from the inside out, it is not something that we can do on our own.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2nd Corinthians 10:3-5)

If there is a stronghold in your life, a spiritual battle for your soul or your family only Jesus can win the war. Put on His holy power. You are an over-comer! You do not have to allow the shortcomings of your own parents to control your parenting or the life of your children.

Break free!

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