Parenting Tip of the Week: The Do's & Dont's of Discipline...

At The Connection Church we're talking about raising indesctructible kids this month in our series Kidstruction. This Sunday, our lead pastor, Cole Phillips, talked about Making Kids Mind Without Losing Yours. You can check out the sermon here.

With that in mind, this week's parenting tip is all about discipline. Here are 5 Do's & Don't of Discipline for kids of any age:

The Do's
  1. DO Be consistent. Consistency is the key to discipline. If your kid isn't getting a consistent message , they're clueless about how to behave, and may be feeling confused, insecure, and perhaps unloved.
  2. DO Clearly Communicate Expectations. As a parent, we must overly communicate our expectations for our kids. Children can't follow rules or live up to standards that they don't understand or know about.
  3. DO Enforce the rules you set. Don't make a rule that you don't intend to enforce. It only creates mixed messages for your kids and creates confusion within your family.
  4. DO Present a united front. As parents, if you undermine your partner (or another consistent authority figure) you are not making your kids love you more (Admit it; that's why we do it!). You are actually confusing them and undermining their respect for both of you. If you present a united front, you create an atmosphere where your children feel secure and respect authority.

The Don'ts

  1. DON'T bribe. While rewarding your child for good behavior is a great discipline tool, bribing kids to avoid bad behavior only reinforces that negative behavior.
  2. DON'T get personal. When you tell your child that they are naughty, rude, lazy, etc, you are labeling them. Instead, try to condemn the behavior, not the kid. Instead of saying, "You're so rude! Why can't you share?" try saying something like, "That was a selfish thing to do. It's very rude to take Joe's toy from him."
  3. DON'T go overboard with punishment. Punishment is just one aspect of biblical discipline, so don't go overboard on that alone. Make sure you're following the old saying of "making the punishment fit the crime."
  4. DON'T expect children to behave like adults. Newsflash: Your kids are not adults. That means that sometimes they'll do foolish or irresponsible things because...well, they're kids! Our children don't have the wisdom that we do from the life-experience we've gained so we need to remember that as we set proper rules and expectations.

Check back here on Thursday for the Parenting Resource of The Week!


Parenting Resource of The Week:

While kicking off our Kidstruction series this past Sunday, Pastor Cole talked about how our homes should be places where God is honored and where we are pointing out God's blessings and work in our lives. Having a family Bible study or family devotional time is one of the most important things we can do as parents for our familes. It's also one of the most intimidating! But it doesn't have to be that way. Below are this weeks Parenting Resources of the Week, which all offer some great insight and helpful tips on how to get comfortable leading your family through a weekly or nightly devotional time and becoming the spiritual leader that your children need. Check these resources out!

Free Online Resources:
  • The Christian Parenting website offers 10 Tips For Fun Family Devotions here.
  • Pastor Mark Driscoll offers Four Constants For Better Bible Study With Our Spouses and Children. You can read his blog here.
  • Mark Driscoll also has written a book entitled PastorDad: Spiritual Insights on Fatherhood that would be a great read for all men who are trying to better lead their family's spiritually. While you can purchase the book at local Christian bookstores, Driscoll has also made it available for free online and in PDF form here.

Book Resources For Purchase:

  • Wayne Rice has written the book Generation to Generation which is full of practical and creative ideas for raising kids to know and love God. It would be a great resource for any family to have and can be purchased at most Family Christian Stores or online here.
  • Teenage counseling guru Josh McDowell's book The One Year Book of Family Devotions is another great resource for families. It can be purchased here.
  • Mike and Amy Nappa provide another great resource for families in their book 52 Fun Family Devotions: Exploring & Discovering God's Word. This book provides a devotional for each week of the year & uses the ordinary things of life to demonstrate and experience spiritual truths. You can order the Nappa's book here.


Parenting Tip Of The Week: Effective Communication...

One of the best ways to ensure that your child or teen will communicate with you is to create a home environment where they feel safe and comfortable to share what's going on in their lives and where they feel that they are listened to and not simply heard. So how can parents go about creating an environment where communication takes place in the home? Here are some helpful tips.

7 Keys to Creating Communication Within Your Home
  1. When your child or teen begins a conversation with you, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING. Your child wants, and needs, your undivided, complete attention. When talking with him or her, put down the laptop, turn off the television, or silence the cell phone. You'll be amazed at what you hear when you actually focus on listening.
  2. Eye contact is key. It's hard to tell if someone is paying attention if they're reading the newspaper and responding with random "Uh-huh"s as you talk. Look your child in the eye to ensure that they have your complete attention when they're talking to you.
  3. Comment on what you heard. So many times our children & teens are sharing something because they are looking for our advice. You don't always have to give them the easy answer, or even give them a "yes" or "no" but commenting on what you think you are hearing from them is a great way to foster communication. A good way to do this is to use a statement like this: "I hear you saying _____. Is that what you are saying/mean?"
  4. Spend time together. There is nothing like simply doing life together that fosters relationships where good communication can grow.
  5. Praise, praise, praise. Your child/teen receives criticism and judgement from so many sources. Be sure to give praise when praise is due!
  6. Admit when you've blown it. If you mess up in your relationship with your kid, admit it! They know it already! And you being able to admit it will build trust in the relationship that will open up lines of communication in the future.
  7. Be an askable parent. There are times when parenting requires that you take disciplinary action and make judgements. But you also want to make sure that your child or teen know that they can approach you when they need help and that you'll react in a non-judgemental way, helping them solve their problems.

Be sure to check this blog later in the week for the Parenting Resource of the week!


Kidstruction, Parenting Help, and Blogging...

Yesterday we started a new series at The Connection Church called Kidstruction: Raising Indestructible Kids. For the next few weeks, we'll be looking at some building blocks of parenting to help strengthen families.

As a Family Pastor, husband, and dad, this is a series that is close to my heart. I want to do all I can to equip our parents to create families where the love of God is modeled, where families are growing stronger, and where there is fertile spiritual ground. Too many times, often without any intention on either part, the church and the home are in conflict rather than working together. At The Connection Church, we want the church and families to be walking side by side to help kids of all ages learn what it means to love God and love others.

So over the next few weeks, I am going to be sharing a Parenting Tip of The Week and a Parent Resource of The Week right here on my blog. Stay tuned each week to gain some challenging, encouraging, and inspiring material for the difficult job of parenting. And in the meantime, if you missed Sunday's kick-off message to Kidstruction, you can check it out here.