Parenting Tips and Resources
Raising kids is really hard work. You’re in the trenches and you often feel alone. They cry, they yell, they’re unreasonable… and yet you love them. I believe we can raise our kids to be both compassionate and powerful and that we can do so without killing ourselves in the process. Here’s a selection of tips and resources for Christians wanting to raise their kids, teach them about faith, and also keep them free from the religious garbage of the past.
Deconstruction is a valuable part of the renewing of our minds but no one wants to live in a construction zone. How do you raise your children in faith when you’re not even sure what you believe about God yourself anymore? Here are my 4 tips for discipling your kids while you’re deconstructing.
We recently entertained a bunch of 9-10 year old boys for my eldest son’s birthday party. We had planned to take them all to a virtual reality arcade and as we were loading everyone into our SUV I ran into a dilemma: one of the parents had dropped off a booster seat for their son. The problem was not that the other boys needed booster seats as well, but that only one did. How was I to get that booster seat installed without drawing attention to the fact that he was the only one who needed it, and risk the kid getting made fun of?
Controlling access to certain privileges is one of the most useful tools for healthy parental discipline. By intentionally using things our kids want to help foster responsibility and delayed gratification, you can help your children develop resilience and self-regulation. This is very different from simply taking things away when our kids make us angry.
Much of our limited view of ourselves and our potential is due to the way we were disciplined as children and the bad theology underpinning it. To help parents raise their standard I’ve introduced the concept of un-discipline: parenting that is rooted in the self-sacrificial love of God. Here are 8 practical tips on how sacrificial parenting can be done on a day-to-day basis.
What if my kid is loud and boisterous? What if my kid is emotional and standoffish? What if my kid is an annoying handful?
And what if nothing needs to change? I believe we can become the kind of parents who see the hidden, inner beauty of our children, and who choose to ignore the outer chaos. I’m not talking about letting a child hurt someone and just smiling about it. I am talking about present, strategic, engaged parenting that knows when to not sweat the small stuff, and when to dive in and help a little person become a big person on the inside.
Your child storms off to their bedroom. You try and control your breathing. You’re both angry. You’re both back here again. But what if what you chose to do in this moment was the turning point for your relationship? What if you didn’t leave them alone for time-out, but joined them instead for time-in? What if your anger could be transformed into commitment to do whatever it takes to restore your child?
There are five languages of punishment that we naturally gravitate towards, each of which are uniquely damaging to the heart of a child. Rather than hold up a warning sign or place a healthy boundary marker, by punishing we exert power over a child, which wounds their heart. Thankfully, there are alternatives!
While God has every right to punish us, he instead took the punishment upon his own self, scandalizing himself with the love that he has shown us. Why would he do this? Because our eternal purpose is to be loved by God. Since God has loved us, we can now reflect that to our children. Consequently, fully engaged intimacy with our children is the single most effective method of behavioural correction we will ever find. We can provide no better preparation for a life of loving God, than by setting this stage of intentional, loving, un-discipline. What our children need is to be honoured by us, to be served by us, to be 100% engaged by us.
Shane Pruitt is a blogger and evangelist, who, along with his wife Kasi have 5 kids—3 through adoption. Kasi oversees the Adoption & Foster Care Ministry at Lake Pointe church, and Shane, who is also the Director of Evangelism for The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, joined me for a broad ranging discussion on authenticity, personal hardship, adoption, God’s sovereignty, and rethinking God’s will for your life. We also discussed his book, “9 Common Lies Christians Believe - And Why God’s Truth is Infinitely Better,” which he explained was the fruit of hearing too many bad Christian clichés during some of the hardest times of their life.
Natalie Frisk oversees the curriculum development for kids from birth to high school at The Meeting House (think Bruxy Cavey). She joined me on The Puddcast to talk about parenting and discipleship of children, especially in a context of deconstruction. How do you raise kids to care about faith when you’re busy cleaning up the junk in your own spiritual life? Natalie had many amazing and insightful things to share.
Krista DuChene is a Canadian Olympian and 2nd fastest Canadian marathon runner, with 3 young kids. We discussed how her faith in God has been woven into every season of her life and running career, and propelled her through incredible setbacks.
Seth Dahl is a writer and worldwide speaker to adults and children, known for his powerful wisdom and contagious childlike joy. We discussed the idea of parents being the first pastor in a kid's life, and how to rebuild children's church ministry around the family.