Child Centered Parenting: A Biblical Perspective

In my last post, The Dangers of Child Centered Parenting, I mentioned that children who always get what they want will not be prepared for the real world. But what happens to us, as parents, when our child is the center of our universe?

Let’s look at the story of Isaac and Rebekah and how they raised Jacob and Esau. If children remain the center of our lives, calamity always follows.

Isaac and Rebekah. It’s recorded for us in Genesis 24:67 that Isaac loved Rebekah deeply. This is unique because we have no other written account that couples loved each other in scripture. We can assume as much, but it’s not specifically written.

After they were married, they had 2 sons. As they grew, each son became the center of the other’s world. 

“As the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter. He was an outdoorsman, but Jacob had a quiet temperament, preferring to stay at home. Isaac loved Esau because he enjoyed eating the wild game Esau brought home, but Rebekah loved Jacob.”

Genesis 25:27-28

This would have naturally led to a rivalry between the two brothers. They most likely competed for their parents love. 

Eventually, it became time for Isaac to pass down the birthright to Esau. It’s hard for us to understand this concept because we don’t practice this in our culture. We usually divide our things up evenly between all our children in our wills. But this was more than just inheriting the family estate; it was actually the right to be in what would become Jesus’ lineage. The right to receive the promise that God had bestowed on Abraham. 

Before their birth, they had been told by God that the younger would serve the older. Even though Jacob was younger than Esau (only by a few seconds because they were twins) he was to receive the family blessing and rule over his older brother. 

So when Isaac wanted to bless Esau (because he loved him) – Rebekah came up with a plan to steal the blessing for Jacob (because she loved him). Esau became the center of Isaac’s world – so much so that he either forgot or didn’t believe God’s promise that Jacob would rule over Esau. And Jacob became the center of Rebekah’s world so much that she thought God had either forgotten or thought God wasn’t capable of fulfilling his promise on his own – so she took matters into her own hands. 

When our kids are the center of our world – we dismiss all other relationships – our friends, our spouse, and sometimes even God. 

The story goes on. Jacob tricks Isaac into giving him the blessing. Esau is rightfully upset and seeks to kill Jacob. Rebekah has to send Jacob away in order to save his life – and she never sees him again. She dies while he is away. 

And no doubt, when Jacob left, she was upset. He was her world. Think about the tension it would have created in the family dynamic – both between Isaac and Rebekah and between Rebekah and Esau. 

Develop good relationships with all of your children. Even when it’s hard. Even when they annoy you – because, yes, it will happen. Sometimes our personalities don’t mesh – but try that much harder. Try not to show favoritism.

One way to do that is by making sure you are saving room for other relationships, other hobbies – taking care of yourself, and making sure you equip yourself spiritually every single day to take on the responsibility of being a parent. Because one day, hopefully, your child will leave and you need to still have a life when they are gone. 

When God it the center of your world – and not your children – everyone benefits. Rebekah gave up everything – the opportunity to be a good wife, a good mother to Esau, and her ability to trust that God would do what he had promised. It proved devastatingly painful in her later years. Don’t lose sight of what is important.

Thanks for reading my post! If you want to stay up to date on my latest post please subscribe, like, and share! I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on Child Centered Parenting. Leave them in the comments below, or Contact Me. Check out my other posts for more parenting advice!

How to Handle Toddler Tantrums Like a Champ!

Parenting Mistakes We’re all Guilty Of

The Dangers of Child Centered Parenting

Child. Centered. Parenting. We hear it all the time – “My child is my world.” It sounds cute and maybe even honorable. Who wouldn’t want to give up everything for their children, right? But what happens when we focus too much on our child’s wants, too much on pleasing our child, or too much on making sure our child is happy all of the time?

Child centered parenting is a common phenomenon in this day and age. It’s the parent who gives into a child’s tantrum, the parent who takes out a second mortgage to pay for their children’s sports activities, or the parent who will ignore all other relationships while their child is still living with them.

But one day, hopefully, your child will leave your house. And when they do, they will cease to be the center of your world. Yes, we still love them and care for them. But if we don’t show teach them that the world will never revolve around them, they will have a hard time getting along in society.

If a child doesn’t learn to handle disappointment, boredom, or face the fact that we have to do things we simply don’t want to do early on in life – then adulthood will be very disappointing.

What will happen if they don’t feel like going to work? Or paying the water bill? It’s okay for a child to see that you have a life outside of them. Yes, we want to meet all of their needs. But in order to avoid ‘child-centered parenting’ we want to set limits on their WANTS.

Teach your child the difference between their needs and their wants. Always meet their needs. Set limits on their wants. This way, when they are an adult, they will learn to be self disciplined. What happens when we, as adults, always give into our wants? It leads to addiction, obesity, or idolatry.

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

James 1:14-15

Where sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

Teach your kids the valuable life lessons of dealing with their disappointments, boredom, and discipline while they are still young. Then, you will have raised happy, healthy adults that are prepared for the real world!

Upcoming: Child Centered Parenting: A Biblical Example

Want to know how to tackle Child Centered Parenting or other common parental problems? Keep an eye out for my upcoming course Practically Imperfect Parenting! I’ve been teaching this course for a few years now and I’m about to make it public! Details coming soon!

5 Simple Ways to Be a Better Parent

Most of us want the best for our kids. At least, I can safely assume that if you’re reading this, you agree with that statement. But what is the ‘the best’? Is it lots of toys, a nice house, a private education???? While those are all great things, I want to propose that the BEST thing for your kid is YOU! That’s why I’m offering some tips – 5 Simple Ways to Be a Better Parent….notice I said ‘simple’ – not easy.

1.Put the Phone Down!

Pay Attention to Your Kids

Like I said, it’s not always easy. But in this digital age, we can become so consumed with our Facebook, Twitter feed, or YouTube videos, that we forget to actually look our children in eyes.

I’m not immune to this. When my 3 year old knows I’m not really paying attention when she asks me a question, she quite firmly says, “Mommy, look at me.” This is her crying out for my undivided attention. And it works! I deliberately try and focus all my attention on her, if only for a few minutes. But those few minutes are so important to her.

2.Get Them Off the Screen

Just as it’s important for you to be mentally present with your children, it’s important for them to develop the relational skills that take place when you go for a walk, play a board games, or simply sit and talk.

Too many kids are becoming apathetic to the world around them while engaging in their virtual realities. This is both unhealthy and children who spend too much time on the screen are more susceptible to depression, bullying, and obesity. These were the actual results of a recent Pediatrics Research Study.

3.Don’t Underestimate the Ministry of Kickball!….or Simply – Be Active

Doing physical activities with our children is great bonding time! Get outside, go for a walk, or toss a ball around. When my husband and I worked for a children’s home, we had up to 10 children living with us. We had lots of fun family time playing kickball in the front yard.

We had a teenage girl come to live with us – a foster child whose heart had been hardened by her life’s story; and the way we bonded was by working out. I would take her swimming, rock climbing, and go on bike rides with her.

Be Active!

I’m currently training to run a race with my 2 oldest boys. It’s so much fun to spend time together working towards a common goal. It’s important to be active with our children. It not only provides fun ways to spend time together, but it helps them develop long lasting healthy habits.

4. The 10:1 Rule

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I thought it was so good that it is worth mentioning again. When I was at a Dave Ramsay conference, one of the speakers talked about the importance of of spending quality time with our children. She suggested devoting your attention to your child for at least 10 minutes everyday, and a longer period of time at least once a week.

10 minutes a day, 1 longer day during the week. This is a great rule of thumb to make sure you’re spending quality time together. Sitting in front of the TV, or staring at your phone while they’re sitting next to you isn’t ‘quality’ time. Be mentally present. Ask them how their day went and really listen. Play a favorite game or draw a picture with them. Then, one time a week take them out for ice cream or go for a long walk just the two of you.

When you make this a habit, it’s something you and your kids will learn to not only enjoy, but look forward to. Our children will know that we are setting a special time aside just for them. It may seem hard to find the time, but our children are worth it!

5. Pray For Them and With Them

Yes, it’s important to pray for our children. Pray for them as they wake up, when they go to school, when they leave for soccer practice, and when they go to sleep. Constantly and consistently pray for your kids. The world has become a scary place and our children need all the protection we can give them.

Pray for their friends, their health, and their future spouse. It’s also important to pray with your children. Let them know that you are praying for them. When they have a bad day at school, pray with them about it. If they are fighting with their friend, pray with them about it.

This not only helps them see that prayer is important, but over time they will see the power that prayer has over their lives. It will give them a tool to use when they are older and find themselves in a situation where they don’t know the answer. Pray.

Be the best YOU you can be!

I could write an endless list of way to become a better parent. Not every way will fit into your family. The trick is to find what works and go with it. As long as you keep trying, you’ll keep growing in love and in your relationship with your child. YOU GOT THIS!

Children and Choices – Clarified!

If you’ve researched any types of parenting techniques, you’ve probably come across the idea of ‘choices.’ There are many schools of thought on this topic. You’ll find anything from, “Stop giving your children choices,” to “Give your children lots of choices.” How do you decide what’s best for your child? Let’s talk about children, choices, and bring some clarity to this topic!

No one likes being told what to do all of the time. This includes our children. However, too much freedom of choice can be overwhelming and instill a sense of independence outside of the respect for authority. Our children need to know how to follow specific instructions but they also need to know how to make smart, informed decisions on their own. Using choices is a great way to accomplish both of these when used wisely!

A Sense of Control – When They are Younger

2 Choices, both make YOU happy

The idea of choices can give your child a sense of control over their lives. It invites them to participate in the decision making. When our children are younger, this can help prevent some power struggles. If a child is struggling to follow instructions, give them a choice. Only offer 2 choices – too many can be overwhelming. Make sure both choices are options that make YOU, as the parent, happy.

If you want your child to get dressed, but they’re struggling to listen, try something like, “Would you like to put your socks on while sitting on the couch, or sitting on the floor?” This way, their socks get on their feet. When we offer choices that make us happy, we take the focus off of what they CAN’T do and bring their attention to what they CAN do.

You can do this for anything! “Would you like to wear your boots or your sandals to the store?” “Would you like to stop crying and continue to play, or would you like to cry in your room until you’re finished?”

Choices can also be fun! Get creative and offer your child lots of 2 option choices. “Would you like to go to the car while walking on your hands or on your feet?” “Would you like to wear your coat backwards or forwards today?” By offering lots of choices, your child will be more receptive for when you get to make the choice. “Mommy has given your lots of choices today. Now it’s my turn.” They still might protest, but it let’s a child feel secure knowing they have many choices too.

This way, our child has a sense of control over their lives, but at the same time their choices are not overwhelming. As our child grows and matures, their options will become less controlled by us and the responsibility will shift to them.

Teaching Opportunities – When They are Older

Giving our children lots of choices when they are younger and gradually letting them make more decisions as they mature, will teach them how to make good choices when they are older. A child will naturally learn from the consequences of their choices. If your teenager is faced with a difficult situation, they will learn to look at all their options. They will ask, “What choices do I have? Which choice will bring the best outcome?”

Embrace Every Teaching momen

Sometimes, they’ll need our guidance. We can use phrases like, “What do you think you should do? Do you want me to offer you a choice?” They will gradually learn to form their own choices and with some guidance from us, they will learn how to make informed decisions. This can be as simple as, “Should I go to youth group, or should I go to my friend’s birthday party?” Either decision might be okay, but they will learn that those are decisions they will have to make their entire lives.

However, if we’ve been guiding them and teaching them how to make good choices when they are younger, they will know how to think through things when they are older. When someone offers them drugs or alcohol as a teenager, they will know how to think through their options to make the best decision.

The Ultimate Choice

Our kids will have to make the ultimate choice in life – to follow God or not. God gives us a clear choice. This began in the garden. Adam and Eve were given many good options for food to eat. However, the serpent distracted them by making them focus on the one thing they could not have.

We need to direct our children to all of the choices they do have. They have many blessings in life – just the fact that they have socks and shoes to wear is a great privilege that most children in the world don’t have.

We can learn from this too! By focusing on all the things that God has given us, we will be less worried about the things we believe we are lacking. If we model good decision making for our children, they will make good decisions in life.

Choices are good, but ultimately there is only ONE choice that matters. If you do nothing else as a parent, show them how to choose Jesus!

The ultimate Choice

Don’t Fall into this Parenting Trap!

We’re all guilty of it at some point. It sounds so warm and fuzzy. The fact that it’s a trap is counter intuitive to our natural instincts. But when we practice this style of parenting, our children turn into selfish adults whose relationships are based on their own gains and not the other people involved. It’s called Child Centered Parenting. Don’t fall into this parenting trap!

“My child is my world.” It sounds nice. But when you drop everything all the time to make sure your child is always happy, you end up creating a 2 Timothy 3:2 child.

” People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive,disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,”

2 Timothy 3:2

Does that sound familiar? Many children and young adults today are lovers of themselves, lovers of money, ….

It’s a bit of a paradox. Parents don’t intentionally parent so their kids grow up to be selfish. They are so afraid of being ‘too hard’ on their children that they go completely the opposite and actually give them too much. They struggle to teach their kids the difference thier wants and their needs.

When we think of our children as completing our world, we teach our children that they are the center of the universe. Children do NOT complete a family – they simply expand it. Think about a husband and wife holding hands. If a child stands in the middle, he pushes the mother and father apart. Instead, a better image of a healthy family dynamic is for the mother and father to each hold hands with the child. They embrace them as part of the family – not the center of it.

Child Centered Parenting

Child-Centered Parenting fosters family independence, not
family interdependence. Children who perceive themselves
to be the center of the family universe too often grow into
selfish independence…Independence robs a child of the
opportunity to invest. Where there is no relationship
investment, there is no reason for family loyalty. Other
people (parents, siblings, peers) matter only to the extent
that advantages are gained by maintaining relationships.
What the child can get out of relationships, rather than
what he can give, forms the basis of loyalty.

Growing Kids God’s Way

Just because our kids are not the center of our world does not mean we don’t care for them, love them, and have lots and lots of fun with them. We want to be involved parents who show our children that their happiness does not rely on getting everything they want; rather, we find joy in being with and serving others.

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 

Galatians 5:13-14

The way we teach our children to love others is by modeling love to them. If we treat our children with the same respect we expect them to show us, their siblings, their peers, and their future spouse, then we need to be actively involved in being with our children in a healthy parent-child relationship. We can teach our children to understand the difference between their needs and their wants by setting healthy limits and discipline them in a loving manner.

Above all, we love our children. We model Jesus and do our best to show Jesus to our kids every single day. If we make Jesus the center of our family and not our kids, we set them up for success. They will learn to have healthy relationships by serving others and they, too, will learn to make Jesus the center of their lives.

Keep Christ at the Center of Your Family.

4 Big Parenting Mistakes We’re All Guilty Of

parenting mistakes

Let’s face it. As parents, we’re not perfect. We love our kids, we do the best we can, but we all make mistakes. It’s hard to break old habits and sometimes it’s just easier to give in than turn our children’s imperfect behavior into teaching moments. Here are four big parenting mistakes we all make when it comes to disciplining our children and how we can do our best to avoid them!

1. Bribing

Bribing or begging kids to behave

The first mistake we are all guilty of is bribing. Bribing is when we try to exchange a gift or reward for our children’s good behavior. This is when our child is already behaving poorly and we bribe them to stop.

We’ve all been there. Our two-year-old is throwing another tantrum in the grocery store so we give them candy in hopes that they will be quiet so we can avoid embarrassment. Bribing teaches our kids that we reward bad behavior. If our kids always get something good for acting poorly, they will continue to act poorly to achieve the same result.

Bad Behavior = Candy (or whatever I want that makes me happy): A child thinks, “If I act this way, I will get what I want.”

Instead, we should expect good behavior from our kids. Kids should not expect to get a reward every time they behave. However, we want to reward good behavior as often as possible. This doesn’t have to be anything big or fancy. A simple verbal praise will suffice. “I loved the way you shared your toys today! Great job!”

If a child does something exceptionally good, then I will reward it – but not always. On the other hand, I always make sure bad behavior is not rewarded. If one of my kids throws a fit in a store, I generally buy all the other kids a small piece of candy at the checkout counter and say, “This is for kids who did not throw a fit. You can try again next time.” It generally only takes once, if the child is stubborn sometimes twice, in order for them to correct their behavior for the next time.

2. Empty Threats

Threatening Kids

Have you ever flown off the handle and made a ridiculous threat that you couldn’t back up? Maybe something along the lines, “If you don’t stop you will get no TV for a year!” We can say things in the heat of the moment that we realistically can’t follow through.

As parents, if we give out a consequence, we need to follow through. Our words are so important. We need to choose the hills we are willing to die on because if we decide to fight a battle – win!

If your child is behaving poorly, stop, take a breath. Evaluate the situation and decide if this is something that is annoying (and it just irks you) or if it is a behavior that needs to be corrected. A three-year-old asserting their independence by wanting to choose their own clothes might be annoying if they choose to wear one sandal and one snow boot. But if you’re just going to play in your backyard, is it a big deal? Whereas a child who doesn’t want to put on their shirt to go to church might be an issue.

If we ‘threaten’ and say “If you don’t get dressed you’ll go back to bed,” but realistically we need to leave the house now because we’re already late, our child learns that we won’t really follow through on our consequences and test you every time.

Take a breath. Evaluate the situation. Is it a big deal? What kind of consequence will make us happy? Remember, if we threaten to take away the TV, then we need to provide another source of entertainment – or we will get annoyed and eventually cave in. If you’re going to ‘lay down the law’ – make sure it’s a law you can keep!

However, when we use an ’empty threat’ that we know we can’t follow through on, we can turn that into an opportunity to talk about God’s grace and show our child that we are willing to forgive.

3. Negotiating

Negotiating, like bribing, is something we see happen frequently. Have you ever witnessed a parent say, “Eat all your food or no dessert.” Then, a few minutes later, “Just eat your hamburger or no dessert.” And again, “Okay, only three more bites and you can have dessert.”

The child went from having to eat everything, to just a few simple bites. What will happen the next time the child does not want to comply with the rules? They will wait until the parent starts negotiating until their ‘rule’ becomes so minimal that they are willing to comply. And kids will wait it out once they learn they can!

This is why our words are so important. Choose your battles and stick to your rules! Set the bar for your kids, and then make them rise to the occasion!

4. Repeating

Repeating

So many parents undermine their authority by constantly repeating themselves. When a parent repeats themselves, the child learns that they don’t have to listen the first time.

If you request something of your child, expect them to do it the first time. If they don’t, they have a consequence. This is why I’m not a fan of the 1…2…3 technique. Think about it this way, a policeman will not pull up beside your teenage driver and yell, “I’m pulling you over if you don’t slow down in 1…2…3.”

Real-life consequences happen without warning. We should prepare our children for the real world early on so they can avoid the pain of learning this later on in life. It’s easier to teach a child to follow through the first time than it is to teach a teenager or young adult.

As a parent, a child will learn to respect you if you require immediate and complete obedience.

Final Thoughts…

Our parenting goal is to teach our children about Jesus and teach them how to follow God’s word. If our children learn that they don’t have to follow our rules, how can we expect them to follow God’s?

Give yourself lots of grace. I still make these mistakes. But when I do, I try to learn from them and move on. Parenting is hard, but with a little work and a lot of Jesus, we can do this!

You can do it!

Five Ways to Handle Toddler Tantrums Like a Champ!

Are you a parent raising a toddler? Then you’ve probably experienced a tantrum or two…or three, or four. Toddler tantrums can be embarrassing in public, frustrating in the home, and difficult to handle at times. But there are a few things you can do to ease the stress and parent with a smile! Here are 5 Tips to Help you Handle Toddler Tantrums Like a Champ!

It happens at the dinner table when they don’t like you’re serving.

It happens when you leave the park.

It happens when they can’t have a toy from the store.

It’s that everlasting battle to leave the house on time – find the shoe, go potty, find the matching shoe, grab the coat, can’t find the right shoes, tears, tantrums…you’re already late and you know you’ll go through it again the next morning.

It happens. Day in and day out – it happens. Toddler tantrums! And there’s nothing we can do about them…well, that’s not entirely true. Parenting is hard. But here are a few tips that can help the next time your child is due for a tantrum.

1. Prepare Your Child

Surprises aren’t always fun. No one likes to be caught off guard. Prepare your child ahead of time anytime you’re about to leave the house, park, or anything that will cause your child to have to change location or activities.

Always state your expectations and remind them of the rules beforehand.

A five-minute warning.

“We’ll be leaving in 5 minutes.”

“In 5 minutes, it’s time to go to bed.”

“5 more minutes, and then it’s time to clean up.”

Set Expectations

“We’re going into the store. No whining. I know you can do it!”

“Remember, we do not run inside church.”

“Use nice words and share your toys while playing with your friends.”

2. Prepare Yourself

It doesn’t matter how many times you prep your children, there will still be tantrums and tears. But, it will be easier if you prepare yourself ahead of time. If you know it’s always a rush to get out the door in the morning, pack a bag of extra clothes and shoes to keep in the car.

Give your child a 5-minute warning.

If they’re being slow, pick them up and put them in the car. You already have extra clothes on hand just in case!

If you know your child always struggles at the store, remind them of your expectations, but have a friend on standby who can come get your child and take them home when the tantrum hits. Make sure they have NO FUN with your friend. (After you’ve done this once, you might only need a time or two more, but it will stop grocery store tantrums.)

If you don’t have a friend, smile and just ignore it the best you can. Go through the drive-through on the way home and order an ice cream. When they ask for one, simply say, “I get one because I didn’t throw a fit at the store.”

Try to think of possible solutions before a tantrum occurs. This way, you’re prepared to handle it like a champ!

3. Planned Ignorance

Most of the time, a tantrum is due to disappointment when a child does not get his or her own way. A child continues to throw tantrums because they expect to change your mind, get the outcome they want, or they’re seeking attention. If you give into the child when while they’re throwing a fit, they will learn that a tantrum is what they need to do to get what they want.

If they are not hurting themselves or others, let them throw a tantrum. Don’t acknowledge it, or make eye contact. It might be hard to do this in public, but the more you ignore the fit, the faster they will realize that they don’t get what they want. This will help decrease the frequency of tantrums overall.

4. Take Simple Actions or Use Simple Words When Needed

You can’t ignore all the tantrums all the time – especially if a child is hurting themselves or others. In these cases, the child needs to be removed from the situation. Calmly pick up the child and carry them to a safe place. This could be their room, a crib, or if you’re in public, they might need to go to the bathroom until their fit has ceased.

Simple actions include buckling them up in the car seat yourself, using the strap in the cart at the grocery store or on the high chair, or removing a toy that they threw across the room.

There is no need to lecture a 2 or 3-year-old. Use simple phrases such as,

“That’s mine now. Maybe you can have it later.”

“I’m sorry you’re acting this way.”

“You can come out when you’re finished crying.”

“We’ll try again when you’re ready to be nice.”

“Dinner is over. You can try again later.”

5. Have Fun When Your Child is Behaving

The most important thing you can do to decrease the number of tantrums in your house is to have fun while your child is behaving. Once the tantrum starts, all fun stops. Once the tantrum stops, the fun starts again. Let your child know that you still love them and move on with the rest of your day.

Remember, everybody has bad days. Tantrums are a natural part of a child’s development and they are actually a good thing. Ever wonder why your child’s behavior is always better for someone else? A tantrum says, “I’m comfortable enough to share my emotions with you.”

So, you’re not a failure as a parent just because your child throws tantrums. You’re normal! But now you have some tips to help you the next time your child decides to throw down!

For more tips see 5 Ways to Parent Intentionally and Build a Better Relationship with Your Child

Or, for tips on Spiritual Development check out To Train Up a Child

5 Ways to Parent Intentionally and Build a Better Relationship with Your Child

5 ways to build a better relationship with your child

I have had a lot of parental experience over the years. You could say that I’m a trained professional – which is true because that is how the state refers to us as foster parents. I have had many trainings, read many books, and even teach parenting classes.

But even as a ‘trained professional’ there are times I still feel lost, overwhelmed, and like I have no clue what I’m doing. Every child is different. Every parent is different. But I think most parents would agree that they love their children and they want what is best for them.

It’s not always easy being a mom or dad. Parenting is a great gift, but also a great responsibility. I want to do the best I can with the children God has gifted to me. So here is list of 5 ways we can parent our children intentionally and build a better relationship with them.

1. Notice Your Child

This may seem silly, but simply taking notice of your child’s likes, dislikes, and how they interact with the world around them can help impact your relationship with them. Notice something your child does and tell them.

“Hey, I noticed you like coloring with the blue crayon.”

“I noticed you sleep with your pink teddy bear.”

Be cautious of saying phrases like, “That’s great,” or “I like that.” Children tend to want to please their parents, and when we add these caveats a child might think that we want them to do more of what we noticed. They will end up doing it out of trying to please us instead of it simply being something they can enjoy.

When we notice our children, they notice that we notice.

“I was looking back to see if you were looking back to see If I was looking back to see if you were looking back at me.”

Buck Owens, Looking Back to See

2. Plan One on One Time

I have 6 kids. It’s hard to find some quality time to spend with each one of them individually. It takes time and planning. But it’s worth it! If our kids see that we intentionally plan time with them, it’s something they can look forward to. This can be a special outing, a walk around the block, or playing a game of UNO with them.

I was at a conference once and the speaker talked about the 10:1 rule. Try to spend at least 10 minutes of one on one time with your child every and at set aside a longer time period at least 1 day a week.

This will be something that both you can your child can look forward to!

3. Ask, Don’t Accuse

When you think your child has done something wrong – or you just caught them in the middle of it, try asking in a calm voice, “What are you doing?”

Sometimes, the child needs discipline, but if we take time to listen, we might realize that they have good intentions.

If you catch a child drawing on the wall, you might be tempted to start yelling and accusing of them of making a mess. But if you calmly ask, “Honey, what are you doing?” You might be met with a, “I wanted to make a pretty picture for you.”

In this instance, you could calmly say, “That is so sweet. But we don’t color on the walls. Would you like me to get you some paper?”

This will encourage the child, lessen your frustration, and spare your relationship in the long run. We wouldn’t want the child to be fearful of creating a pretty picture for someone in the future.

Always try to catch your child doing something good!

Past performance is not indicative of of future results
Past performance is not indicative of future results.

4. One and Done

If your child needed to be disciplined, let them have their consequence and be done! You don’t like be reminded of your past mistakes – neither does your child.

Which brings us to our last and very important way to build a strong relationship with your child…

5. Always Hug and Reaffirm Your Love

After you child has finished the duration of their consequence – time out, etc. Always hug them and tell them you still love them. It’s important for them to know that you will be there after they’ve messed up and you will love them no matter what!

Always reaffirm your love for your child.
Always reaffirm your love for your child.

To Train Up A Child…

I am a mom.

My oldest son will be 13 in just a few short months! I know it’s cliche, but I really can’t believe how fast time flies.

The days are long, but the years are short.

The days are long...but the years are short.
The days are long…but the years are short.

The other day, I walked into the kitchen to my almost 13 year old and heard him singing along to the radio,

What a Beautiful Name it is.”

It’s moments like these I want to treasure in my heart. God has been so good to me over the years. He has blessed me with many children and I still cannot comprehend why he would grant me with such a huge responsibility.

My oldest has faith that far exceeds mine from when I was his age. Parenting is hard. But if I don’t get anything else right, the most important thing I can do for my kids is to introduce them to Jesus.

Time flies...Then & Now
How the years have past…

With my son, it helps that his father is a great man of faith. He spent the past year, from January 2018 – December 2018, going through the Bible chapter by chapter, book by book with our oldest son.

They would wake up early in the morning and take turns reading. My husband would explain all the life lessons that you find in each book – and they are ALL there.

We didn’t force him to read his Bible. It was simply an invitation. He had the choice to get up with his dad every morning. Sometimes he slept through his alarm and had to sacrifice some other time – giving up computer or play time to catch up on his reading for the day.

When they were finished, my husband and son took a 3 day ‘father-son’ camping trip. This was the year my son grew up.

Father Son Camping Trip

My husband is planning a big event for my son when he turns 13. He has invited the men in our family and some strong men within our church to a ‘Celebration of Manhood.’

Even though they finished their Bible reading, my son still tells me about what he reads every morning. He is growing in his faith a little more every day and he talks about the things he thinks God has called him to do. I tear up thinking about it because I still can’t believe how blessed I am.

Our other two sons will be given the same opportunity to go through the Bible with their dad when they get a little older. Then, I can get to do the same with our three girls.

I’m so thankful for the example my husband has set and for the role model he is to our children.

My husband with our kids

We are not perfect parents. But we are seeing the fruit of consistant, Biblical parenting. Life is hectic. Our children are 12 (almost 13), 10, 6, 4, 3, & 3. They keep up busy. But it’s a beautiful busy. I thank God every day for the this crazy beautiful life.

Proverbs 22:6
Proverbs 22:6

Teaching kids about Jesus at home can be difficult. How do you keep Christ at the center of your home? I’m always searching for new ideas and creative ways to show Jesus to our kids. What are ways you share Jesus with your kids? Let me know in the comments below!