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Ways Parents Can Pray for Themselves

A friend found this on the Bible Study Fellowship International website and I wanted to pass it on.  What a great way to add to our prayer life and strengthen our families.  The author suggests concentrating on one point per month…might be a good resolution for the new year!

Ways Parents Can Pray for Themselves

Many Christians who previously have neglected to make time for consistent daily prayer find themselves kneeling before God asking for His wisdom, strength and grace to parent their children. Parents often pray for their children’s safety, health, actions and decisions. Yet the Holy Spirit characteristically begins to open our eyes to ways of praying for our own needs and weaknesses.

God encourages the believer to seek Him if they lack any good thing (Psalm 34:10). The following suggestions and Scriptures might be helpful as you pray for yourself in your role as parent. Consider concentrating on one point a month. Within a year, you will have consistently prayed for this entire list. As you pray, ask God to reveal other areas where you need His help and transforming power.

1. Convict me of any personal hypocrisy lived out before my children, which contradicts what I say by what I do. When appropriate, compel me to admit my sin to my children (Matthew 7:3-5).

2. Allow my words, looks and actions to clearly reflect to my children that my mate is loved, honored and cherished (Proverbs 31:10-12; Ephesians 5:25, 28).

3. Help me recognize individual limitations, respect individual differences and have realistic expectations for each child (Colossians 3:21; Ephesians 6:4).

4. Uphold me so I am never too tired, angry or negligent to discipline my children wisely (Proverbs 29:17).

5. Enable me to be a peacemaker, diminishing jealousy and irritations among my children, and allow my example to encourage them to be peacemakers (Proverbs 17:14; Philippians 2:3; Matthew 5:9).

6. Restrain me so I do not spoil my children with too many possessions nor too few expectations and responsibilities (Psalm 37:16).

7. Enable me to shield my children from premature association with sexuality, sophistication in ideas and dress and unfruitful knowledge of the world (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 17).

8. Strengthen me to resist the enticement of popularity for my children and be willing for our family to be different from the world’s standards (1 Samuel 16:7; Psalm 37).

9. Soften me so I am generous in expressing appreciation and approval while holding back reminders about my children’s past failures and mistakes (Psalm 78:38-39; Proverbs 25:11).

10. Give me wisdom to know when to step in and take charge of a situation for my children and when to step back and let them learn for themselves (Proverbs 16:9).

11. Mature me so prayer is my immediate response to family joys and crises (Ephesians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).

12. Encourage me to remember daily my own need to be taught by God’s Word and filled with His Spirit so I reflect the joy of the Lord before my children (Psalm 16:11).

The day will come when your mature children make their own choices. You may painfully watch them make willful or rebellious decisions. Your years of effort and prayer may seem fruitless. Satan stands ready with taunts and accusations to belittle and mock your efforts of Christian parenting. If this time comes to you, recall your sincere prayers to God for yourself as a parent; remember how He has answered. Trust God even in the most difficult situations. Be strong in prayer and take courage! Christian parents can claim with comfort God’s promise that “the one who believes in him will never be put to shame” (Romans 9:33)



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Teaching Kids About Kindness and Giving in the Holiday Season

Teaching Kids About Kindness and Giving in the Holiday Season

from http://www.thechirpingmoms.com

  Teach Your Kids About St. Nicholas

Santa Claus is also known as St. Nick.  St. Nicholas was actually a real Saint who was known for being kind, helping those in need, & for his love for children.  You can find more about St. Nicholas & additional resources here.  St. Nicholas often left things for those in need, without wanting any rewards or publicity.  He often left bread for families in need, on their door steps, while they were asleep.  This is how the tradition started of children leaving out their shoes on the night of December  5th, in hopes that St. Nicholas would stop by & fill their shoes with treats.  post  

  Read Holiday Stories that Encourage A Giving Spirit

Here are some great books & videos that teach about St. Nick & encourage giving in the holiday season to have in your own family library during the holiday season: 

 Take Time Amidst Holiday Chaos to Say Grace and Discuss Blessings & Kindness during Meal Times

The holiday season is busy with parties, events, shopping, & so much more.  But try to take time each day to take a break from the chaos and say thanks & share gratitude for your daily lives.  This often happens at dinner time for our house.  We sit down, say our blessing, & as we talk about our days, we try to highlight with our kids some of the things that they are grateful for.

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April 3 Meeting Recap

We had another great meeting today with an excellent teaching from Certified Parent Coach Dianne Daniels.

How many times do you ask your children to do something, they don’t do it, you get stressed/upset, and your children remain unflustered (there is no problem in their world)? You yell, feel guilty, and then don’t follow through. It can be a vicious cycle we get caught up in as parents.

Dianne’s talk focused on how to give instructions to our children in a way that will promote success.  Her key points included:

1.  Play a “come when you are called game” with your children to teach them to come to you.  When you play the game, demonstrate what you expect, then give high-fives, celebrate, have a party every time they respond properly.  Once you know they are capable of doing it, you should only use it when you are in a jam or there is some sort of an emergency or safety issue.  For other instances, you should “Go to them”, which is the first step in giving directions effectively.  (As in 1 Samuel 3, the Lord went to Samuel.)  We don’t yell for the stock boy at Target when we need something, we go up to him and respectfully ask for assistance. We owe those we are in close relationship with the same amount of respect. This is particularly true when we want the other person to do something for us.

2.  The next step in giving directions is to check their focus.  Are they ready to listen? What are they doing?  Are they already engaged in a task that you or Dad or someone else has asked them to do? What is their time frame for finishing? Don’t interrupt them if they are being obedient and are on track.

3.  Ensure that they are paying attention to us.  Speak at eye level, put a hand on their head or shoulder, use their name, and give ONE specific instruction (two instructions ONLY if they are very closely related, e.g.  “put on your shoes and socks”).  Your instruction could be (a) a preparatory statement explaining what you are going to do/what is going to happen; (b) a question, only if “no” is an acceptable response, e.g. Do you want to go to Target first and then the park?; (c) a suggestion, e.g. Why don’t we go to Target first and then the Park; (d) or a clear direction if we want a clear response. You should also give a time frame as part of the instruction. For young children this is always “now”.  Then have them repeat back the instruction.

We should try to do a good job of modeling obedience for our children.  Some questions on the handout included:  How does it feel to God when He gives us an instruction that we read, and study, and contemplate, and discuss, but ultimately ignore?  What do your actions teach your kids about obedience? What do you expect when you give your kids an instruction? What does God expect when He gives you one?

More information and resources can be found at http://www.MotheringLikeTheFather.com under the Resources tab.

Here is an example of links currently posted under Resources:

Preparing for Easter – Get ready to make the most important week of the year meaningful and memorable for your whole family. These resources can help:

http://www.1corinthians13parenting.com/free-resources/ – Click on the link within the paragraph for No Greater Love: A Family Guide to Passion Week and the Resurrection, from 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting.

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/holidays/celebrating-the-easter-season/do-your-children-understand-easter  Do Your Children Understand Easter downloadable mini-lessons from Focus on the Family.

~http://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/holidays/featured/easter-and-lent/10-ideas-creative-ways-to-celebrate-easter#.VQb8WtLF-So 10 Creative Ways to Celebrate Easter from Family Life Today

Many questions from our moms were answered and some valuable tips were shared.


We only have two more MOPS meetings left for this year. We hope to see you next time!

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Fostering good behavior in children

Reposted from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kenneth-barish-phd/15-rules-to-foster-good-behavior-in-children_b_5563673.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000037


15 rules to foster good behavior in children

1. Play (and work) with them often.

This is the best way to teach children cooperation and self-restraint. The best way to help children learn to cooperate, when there is work that needs to be done, is to work with them.

Every moment of interactive play with an admired adult offers an opportunity for children to learn rules and limits. In the course of this play (and work), children come to understand that rules are necessary — for safety and for living with others. To the dismay of many well-intentioned parents, most children do not learn good behavior from repeated talks or lectures.

A generation ago, developmental psychologists Eleanor Maccoby and Mary Parpal instructed parents to play each night with their children in whatever way their child wanted to play. Just two weeks later, these children more readily cooperated when asked to clean up their toys.

Since then, the importance of interactive play has been repeatedly demonstrated — in clinical interventions for oppositional and defiant children, in preschool and kindergarten educational programs and in neuroscience research. I will discuss this research in more detail in future posts.

2. Express enthusiastic interest in your child’s interests, even if these are not the interests you would choose.
Enthusiastic interest in our children’s interests is a first principle of strengthening parent-child relationships — and of fostering cooperative behavior. At the risk of being somewhat crass, we can think of enthusiastic interest as the deposit that we draw on when it is time to set limits. (Or, as the behavioral psychologist Alan Kazdin points out, the effectiveness of our time-outs depends largely on the quality of our time-ins.)

3. Repair moments of anger and misunderstanding.
When feelings of anger and unfairness linger, children are far more likely to become irritable, uncooperative and disrespectful. We should therefore set aside some time, every day, to repair angry interactions.

4. Engage them in problem solving.
Most common behavior problems are best solved proactively. Place the problem before your child and ask for her ideas. (For example, “We seem to have a problem every morning, when it’s time to get ready for school. What do you think we can do about this?”) Then, together, develop a plan. When we enlist children in solving problems, we have changed the channel. Instead of thinking about how they can get what they want, they begin to think, even if just for that moment, about how to solve a problem.

5. Teach them a language of emotion regulation and emotional intelligence.
Children behave well when they have learned to handle (or, as we now say, “regulate”) the anxieties, frustrations and disappointments of everyday life — when they come to learn that disappointments are disappointments, not catastrophes. They develop this ability through emotional dialogue.

Acknowledge their disappointments and frustrations. Talk with them about your own frustrations and disappointments — and how you coped with them.

6. Teach them to wait.
Pamela Druckerman, in her entertaining account of parenting in contemporary Paris, observed that French parents, from a very early age, do not immediately meet a child’s demands. Instead, they stress the importance of teaching children to wait. And, unlike American children, French kids don’t throw food.

7. Offer encouragement, not criticism.
When you need to criticize, criticize thoughtfully and gently. Persistent criticism breeds resentment and defiance, which then undermine a child’s initiative and sense of responsibility.

If we are frequently angry and critical, our children will not be well behaved, no matter how much discipline we provide.

8. When you have to say “No,” say “No” calmly. Then, insist that they speak to you calmly.
Our mantra should be, “Johnny, when you’re calm, we can talk about this.”

9. Begin your sentences with “When…” or “As soon as….”
Too often, we begin our sentences, “If you don’t….” This simple change of tone and grammar often makes a dramatic difference in the cooperativeness of young children.

10. Compromise.
Compromise is not giving in. When we compromise with children, we teach them to compromise — to think about how their needs and the needs of others can be reconciled. Is there a more important lesson for children to learn, for all their future relationships?

11. Give them responsibilities.
Across cultures, children who are given responsibilities (for example, when they have chores or teach younger children) show more helpfulness and caring behavior toward others.

As a side benefit, they also begin to experience our point of view. They learn, firsthand, how annoying it is when you are trying to get things done and someone doesn’t listen.

12. Teach them the importance of other people’s feelings.
Respect for the needs and feelings of others is the foundation of moral behavior.

In a series of important studies, psychologist Ross Thompson and his colleagues found that the mothers of children with strong moral development spoke to their children in an emotion-rich language and made frequent references, not to rules and consequences, but to other people’s feelings.

13. Let them know when their behavior is over the line.
Then, take a brief time-out. But it is really a time-out, with an opportunity to start over, to try again, to do better the next time.

14. Let them know that you are proud of them.
Especially for the good things they do for others.

15. Take time to listen.
Hear their side of the story. Tell them what is right about what they are saying or doing before you tell them what they are doing wrong.

When children feel that their concerns and grievances have been listened to and understood, they will make fewer, not more, demands. And we will have an easier time when it is time to say no.

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Courage to be a Brave Parent

5 Reasons Modern-Day Parenting Is in Crisis, According to a British Nanny

By Emma Jenner

I generally am quite an optimistic person. I tend to believe that everything will work out for the best unless the evidence is overwhelmingly to the contrary, and anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not prone to drama. That’s why when I say that modern parenting is in serious trouble — crisis, even — I hope you’ll listen, and listen carefully. I’ve worked with children and their parents across two continents and two decades, and what I’ve seen in recent years alarms me. Here are the greatest problems, as I see them:

1. A fear of our children.
I have what I think of as “the sippy cup test,” wherein I will observe a parent getting her toddler a cup of milk in the morning. If the child says, “I want the pink sippy cup, not the blue!” yet the mum has already poured the milk into the blue sippy cup, I watch carefully to see how the parent reacts. More often than not, the mum’s face whitens and she rushes to get the preferred sippy cup before the child has a tantrum. Fail! What are you afraid of, mum? Who is in charge here? Let her have a tantrum, and remove yourself so you don’t have to hear it. But for goodness’ sake, don’t make extra work for yourself just to please her — and even more importantly, think about the lesson it teaches if you give her what she wants because she’s thrown a fit.

2. A lowered bar.
When children misbehave, whether it’s by way of public outburst or private surliness, parents are apt to shrug their shoulders as if to say, “That’s just the way it is with kids.” I assure you, it doesn’t have to be. Children are capable of much more than parents typically expect from them, whether it’s in the form of proper manners, respect for elders, chores, generosity or self-control. You don’t think a child can sit through dinner at a restaurant? Rubbish. You don’t think a child can clear the table without being asked? Rubbish again! The only reason they don’t behave is because you haven’t shown them how and you haven’t expected it! It’s that simple. Raise the bar and your child shall rise to the occasion.

3. We’ve lost the village.
It used to be that bus drivers, teachers, shopkeepers and other parents had carte blanche to correct an unruly child. They would act as the mum and dad’s eyes and ears when their children were out of sight, and everyone worked towards the same shared interest: raising proper boys and girls. This village was one of support. Now, when someone who is not the child’s parent dares to correct him, the mum and dad get upset. They want their child to appear perfect, and so they often don’t accept teachers’ and others’ reports that he is not. They’ll storm in and have a go at a teacher rather than discipline their child for acting out in class. They feel the need to project a perfect picture to the world and unfortunately, their insecurity is reinforced because many parents do judge one another. If a child is having a tantrum, all eyes turn on the mum disapprovingly. Instead she should be supported, because chances are the tantrum occurred because she’s not giving in to one of her child’s demands. Those observers should instead be saying, “Hey, good work — I know setting limits is hard.”

4. A reliance on shortcuts.
I think it’s wonderful that parents have all sorts of electronics to help them through airline flights and long waits at the doctor’s office. It’s equally fabulous that we can order our groceries online for delivery, and heat up healthy-ish food at the touch of a button on the microwave. Parents are busier than ever, and I’m all for taking the easy way when you need it. But shortcuts can be a slippery slope. When you see how wonderful it is that Caillou can entertain your child on a flight, don’t be tempted to put it on when you are at a restaurant. Children must still learn patience. They must still learn to entertain themselves. They must still learn that not all food comes out steaming hot and ready in three minutes or less, and ideally they will also learn to help prepare it. Babies must learn to self-soothe instead of sitting in a vibrating chair each time they’re fussy. Toddlers need to pick themselves up when they fall down instead of just raising their arms to mum and dad. Show children that shortcuts can be helpful, but that there is great satisfaction in doing things the slow way too.

5. Parents put their children’s needs ahead of their own.
Naturally, parents are wired to take care of their children first, and this is a good thing for evolution! I am an advocate of adhering to a schedule that suits your child’s needs, and of practices like feeding and clothing your children first. But parents today have taken it too far, completely subsuming their own needs and mental health for the sake of their children. So often I see mums get up from bed again and again to fulfill the whims of their child. Or dads drop everything to run across the zoo to get their daughter a drink because she’s thirsty. There is nothing wrong with not going to your child when she wants yet another glass of water at night. There’s nothing wrong with that dad at the zoo saying, “Absolutely you can have something to drink, but you must wait until we pass the next drinking fountain.” There is nothing wrong with using the word “No” on occasion, nothing wrong with asking your child to entertain herself for a few minutes because mummy would like to use the toilet in private or flick through a magazine for that matter.

I fear that if we don’t start to correct these five grave parenting mistakes, and soon, the children we are raising will grow up to be entitled, selfish, impatient and rude adults. It won’t be their fault — it will be ours. We never taught them any differently, we never expected any more of them. We never wanted them to feel any discomfort, and so when they inevitably do, they are woefully unprepared for it. So please, parents and caregivers from London to Los Angeles, and all over the world, ask more. Expect more. Share your struggles. Give less. And let’s straighten these children out, together, and prepare them for what they need to be successful in the real world and not the sheltered one we’ve made for them.


View the original post here:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/emma-jenner/modern-day-parenting-in-c_b_5552527.html