I have 4 children and my purpose with them is to leave them a legacy that teaches them about Jesus and one that honors Him as well.
I started parenting as a young unwed girl. I really didn't know the first thing about becoming a mom or what that involved. Of course, you learn as you go...reading books and seeking advice when needed.
Now, as a Christian growing in my faith, I continue to desire more to seek God on how I should parent my children. For after all, they are His and He loves them even more than I do.
Both my husband and I have attended classes, seminars, and read a variety of books. Nothing has really captured both of our hearts...until now that is. We started studying Danny Silk's "Loving Your Kids on Purpose" back in November 2009. It has been life changing for us. I will continue to blog about our parenting and what we learn as we go on our way. I will periodically ask my children for their input on how it has impacted them. And for my oldest, Amanda, I will ask for her input as a child who was parented differently because she is now out of the house and on her own. She is a wonderful, smart, beautiful and talented young lady. I love her so. And continue to pray and ask for her forgiveness for the mistakes I have made and will continue to make in this life.
Here's my disclaimer: I am not a parenting expert! Just going along on this journey trying to be the best parent that I can be!
Here are my parenting posts:
Are You Afraid - Posted 11/24/09
ARE YOU AFRAID....
of your children's failures?
I know I am.
I'm afraid they might fail.
I'm afraid they might act out in public.
I'm afraid they'll hang around the wrong crowd.
I'm afraid they might get into drugs.
I'm afraid they'll get hurt.
I'm afraid they'll get kidnapped.
All those things and all that worry won't change a thing!
So, we're making some changes. We're going to change the way we parent. Dave and I participated in a pilot Parenting Course. It was great and it's over, but it has left us wanting more! A friend of ours found a great study called "Loving Your Kids on Purpose" by Danny Silk. Last night a group of us got together and started this course. I'm so excited. I felt so convicted. I've been doing it all wrong.
Can I have a "Do over"?
Ok, well I can't. But I can change things from here on out. I'm trading in my "Old testament" behavior for the "New testament". Do you ever say something and then immediately say to yourself, "oh my gosh, I'm just like my mother"? Well, I know I do. We tend to apply what we know, what we've seen and heard. Our goal in parenting has been compliance and obedience. That is the WRONG goal!
Dave and I have had a paradigm shift and it's a big one!
We want to train our children in love not fear of punishment.
What if we remove the fear of punishment? What if we remove the fear?
1 John 4:18 says Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.
Many of us fear the Lord as if He is punishing us. But God is love and His love is perfect. And if we are made in His image than are we not created to love like Him?
Why would we want to train our children in love instead of punishment?
Danny Silk says...
To give our children a culture of honor - a culture of freedom
To prepare our children how to handle the freedom they have
To prepare our children how to many themselves and their choices
To introduce something different then what we were given.
So much of parenting for us has been about control. We're the big yellow bulldozer and we'll squash our kids like they're the little red truck if they get out of line. OK, so that's not literal, but boy does it make me angry when my kids are disobedient.
THE BIG LIE....
The idea that you can control other people - is the root of all evil in relationships!
WOW! How true!
God doesn't control us. He gave us free will. Why did he put the tree of knowledge of good and evil right smack in the middle of the garden. He wanted us to have a choice. What do our children do many times when they think they won't get caught? If the fear of punishment is removed than what's left? Nothing is left to stop them, UNLESS you've given them a heart to heart connection and their goal is protect our heart.
Here's an example: When the law dictates compliance there must be a punisher to protect those laws. So, take speeding for example. If there's no punisher (police car) within sight and you're on an open highway, many people will speed. If the cop is there, you won't speed. Jesus left us the helper, comforter, counselor, the one who reminds us - not the Punisher or the Controller. Right? So, what if I parent like God does and instead teach them how to manage their life?
Psalm 32:8- 9 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye.
I will guide them by allowing them to see my heart and my core values. I will connect with them heart to heart and protect my relationship with them.
God gives us unconditional love and grace no matter what. Jesus came to cover our sins. What God wants is our love. If our heart is with him, we will make more of the right choices. If we study His Word, we will know what it is that is right. I know that personally, I don't want to disappoint the Lord and since He is at the center of my life, I make more right choices now than I did when He wasn't at the center of my life. God doesn't control me, but He has my heart! Similar to that is my relationship with my husband. I don't cheat on him or even think about cheating on him. Not because I'm afraid I'll get caught, but because I love him. Because my heart belongs to him and I would not want to hurt him or disappoint him. There's no fear of punishment there, just love. I can't control my husband and he can't control me. We trust each other because we love each other. What I can control is myself. And personally, I think that's a task that is plenty difficult all by itself.
What's the best thing I can do for my children?
Have a hear to heart connection with them
Empower them to make the better choice
Give them a safe place to fail and make mistakes
Give them unconditional love
I am now going to make the choice to show my children The Father's Love.
Each week I'll try to share our tidbits with you. This week we're working on changing our surroundings. We're letting our children know that we're making changes. Our first change is bedtime. This isn't typically too bad for us. Our kids are usually pretty good about going to bed, but we're going to try to make it even easier and more so than that, it will be their first new opportunity to make the choice for themselves.
Danny Silk calls it Room Time. I don't want to see you and I don't want to hear you until morning. They can do whatever they want in their room as long as I don't hear them and I don't see them. The choice is theirs to stay awake or go to sleep. The natural consequence is that if they choose to stay awake they'll be tired in the morning. If they get loud or leave their room, we will go in and say, "OK you're not tired. You can now go and clean the bathroom sink (or whatever chore you give them). When you're done with that, we'll see if you're tired." Now yes, there is a consequence for choosing to be loud or to leave their room. But it's done without anger and as a matter of their choice. Then when they're done with the chore, I will say "Ok, would you like another chore or would you like to go back to bed and have room time?" Last night we tried it. All three of the younger ones wanted to sleep in Mackenzie's room. So, we said, ok, but we don't want to see you and we don't want to hear you. We explained about making choices and the consequence. We didn't hear one peep out of any of them! And they all slept in the bed the entire night! How cool! I can't wait for bedtime tonight! I'm now counting the days of love and no yelling. :) Day 1 of absolutely no yelling in our house, just love.
ROOM TIME - Posted on 12/11/09
Well, we've been practicing our new parenting for about 3 weeks now. Here's my first post about it. I have to be honest...it's been working FABULOUSLY! We're studying Danny Silk's "Loving Your Kids on Purpose". I can't believe the changes. Although I must admit, it's hard. It's hard changing habits that have been a part of my entire life. We still have a long way to go, but I can already see changes in our house. Changes from everyone. This is something that is going to take constant practice and reminders. Sometimes when you're in the heat of the moment, you can't remember anything that you just learned! But that's why we have to practice when things aren't heated.
I'm going to tell you how "Room Time" is going. It's working GREAT! As I mentioned in my first post, the first night went great. The second night not so great. Mitchell and Hailey were jumping around and playing after I had told them it was room time. So, I went upstairs and said with a smile on my face, "Ok, you must not be tired. Remember the choice you had?" They said yes. I said, "Ok, since you're not tired Mitchell (8 yrs old), you will clean the bathroom sink. Hailey (6 years old), you will clean the toilet." They went in and did their chores and then I asked them. "Ok are you tired or would you like to do another chore?" They both said they were tired. And I put them to bed and said "It's room time. Don't want to see you, don't want to hear you until the morning." And I didn't hear a peep out of them.
In fact, since that second night, it has worked every night!!! Seriously! Someone asked in my comments how I deal with the crabbiness the next day if they choose to stay up late. Well, I really haven't had to deal with that. They actually go to sleep. They may stay up and read for a while, but not too long. And we put them to bed between 8:00 and 8:30 which helps. Usually by 8:15 they're tucked in. Now, I say it's Room Time, Don't want to see you...and they finish it by saying "Don't want to see you until the morning". It's kind of cute. :)
I was actually hoping that they would be loud so I could have them finish cleaning their bathroom! I don't stress about bedtime, because I have a plan.
Part of the success in the changes is also the heart to heart connection that I've been working on. I've been spending more time getting to their heart. We've been doing more cuddling and talking. We've also been doing less yelling in our house. We're not perfect, not even close, but we're a work in progress. And I have much much more to tell you, but I'm out of time. So, I will try to update again in the next day or so with other great tidbits. Like how I got my 12 year old to do her own laundry without even asking!
Did you try Room Time? How did it work for you?
Welcome to our journey. The purpose of my blog is not only to journal our life experience, but also to share what God is doing in our lives. I do not claim to be an expert in parenting, marriage, or even the Bible. But I do have a heart to share my experiences and the true love that God has for each and every one of us. You can read our testimony by clicking on the top of the page. And if you'd like to know about the Homeless Ministry my husband started, you can click on the Homeless tab. I hope you will comment freely on my posts and in my community.