FUNNEL PARENTING

FUNNEL PARENTING

Picture a funnel. Do you give your child so much freedom at an early age and then, as the year’s progress, begin to take away their freedom? Or do you start with smaller freedoms and gradually increase it as they display self-control to be able to use freedom wisely? Oftentimes, parents have this mentality that if they put restrictions on their small child, they are breaking their spirit, harnessing them, and controlling them. I beg to differ. When we allow our children to do whatever they want whenever they want, we are teaching them that the world is open and free. While that may be a perfect world, it is not the reality in which they live. The truth is if they steal, they will go to jail. If they speed, they will pay a fine. If they do not pay taxes, the IRS will knock on their door. The world is full of consequences and models God’s principle of reaping and sowing. There will be a time when you will have to say NO to your child, yet the more you teach them they can have whatever they want whenever they want it, the harder the battle will be for them when reality hits. Let’s flip the funnel upside down and limit their freedom as they have the self-control to manage themselves. We do not allow a one-year-old to climb the stairs because their little legs are not strong enough to carry them. We do not allow a ten-year-old to drive a car because it will create greater harm. The same applies to our parenting. You are not stifling them; you are building them up for success for the long haul.

P.S. Teenagers do not like their freedoms taken away! You will have fewer battles down the road if you start out small and build upon them. Entitlement is a tricky thing to break.

OPEN YOUR MOUTH

NOW is the time to PROPHESY over your child like never before!!! What is prophecy? It is simply hearing God directly for someone else and sharing it with them. The difference between horoscopes and prophecy is simply the source behind it and which kingdom you want to release over someone. If you feel weak in this area, GROW and become stronger by practicing and pressing in. Now is not the time to be passive and weak. Now is the time to rise up and use the full arsenal that God has given us to prepare our children for their future. 

Give it a try. Ask, “Jesus, will You please show me a picture of how You see my child?” and then go tell them. Ask, “Father, what do You love most about the way You knit my child together?” and go tell them. Ask, “Holy Spirit, what specific tools have You given my child?” and go tell them. Be the parent who tells their child often what the Father says about them.

REAPING AND SOWING

I am getting better and better at letting my kids feel the aftermath of their choices instead of taking it on myself. The other day, I asked one of the kids to take out the trash, and as we pulled out of the driveway to go to school, I noticed two fully loaded trash bags sitting against the fence. I immediately pulled back into the driveway and put the trash in the bin myself in a bit of a huff. In the process, I stepped in the mud with my new shoes on, and it was not a fun ride to school. I sensed Holy Spirit saying to me, “Why did you do that?” and I began to think of what would happen if I hadn’t put the trash in the bin myself. Oh my – it would have been a disaster. Surely the neighbor dogs would have found the chicken bones, and there would have been trash all over the yard. And gee, the neighbors would probably think less of me if my yard was littered with trash. Then I heard it again, “Why did YOU do that?” and I began to picture my son coming home from school to find trash – the trash HE left out – all over the place and how uncomfortable HE would have been in cleaning it all up. While it would have cost me embarrassment with my neighbors, it would have been a price to pay for my child to learn ownership of completing tasks fully. God has set before us a Kingdom principle of reaping and sowing. Our children need to learn how to reap what they are sowing and not always have a parent who steps in to reap what they have sown. 

LITTLE MESSENGERS

Don’t refuse the message just because you don’t like the delivery of the messenger. So often, children botch the delivery of what they are trying to tell you. They do it with anger, attitudes, imperfection, and less-than-mature ways, but it doesn’t mean that WHAT they are trying to say is to be ignored. This is one of the reasons why we wrote our HEART SPLINTERS book. To give parents additional help in seeing and hearing what their children are trying to tell them.

Heart Splinters BOOK – Let the Children Fly

MY ANCHOR

Invite the children to join you in the family room with their pillows. Have them stand on their pillow and act out this childhood song. Find it on YouTube and let it serve as a reminder of our safe footing. 

 

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness; 

I dare not trust the sweetest frame, 

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name. 

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; 

All other ground is sinking sand, 

All other ground is sinking sand. 

When darkness veils His lovely face, 

I rest on His unchanging grace; 

In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil. 

His oath, His covenant, His blood, 

Support me in the whelming flood; 

When all around my soul gives way, 

He then is all my hope and stays. 

When He shall come with trumpet sound, 

Oh, may I then in Him be found; 

In Him, my righteousness, alone, 

Faultless to stand before the throne.

ATMOSPHERES

Kids feel what is going on in the atmosphere even when they don’t have words for it. I actually think they feel it more because they have not yet built coping mechanisms and walls to shut it out like many adults. God doesn’t want us to manage it, nor does He want us to ignore it. He wants us to overcome it with the authority given to us through Jesus. If you feel an increase of unrest in your home, overcome it by pulling your family in closer. Home should be the safest place on earth. Have a family meeting and forgive hurts and offenses. Intentionally have a family night to connect and laugh together. Increase worship or soaking music. Pray about what is going on as a family. Remind your children how big God is by telling them stories of His incredible power in other challenging stories in the Bible. He always comes through and always knows what He is doing (always). Hug them and then hug them some more (yes, even teenagers who act like they don’t care). Remind them of who they are (not performance). Ask Jesus to show you what your children need today.

Your children need to know they are covered, safe and secure, and our job as parents is to be that verb!

HOT POTATO

John Bevere wrote a book called The Bait of Satan, and it is just that, a bait. Someone does something that causes us to be offended, and we nurse it until it becomes a wildfire spreading to our mind, spirit, and body. We open the door to the enemy through his bait of offense. I gathered the kids, and we played a round of ‘Hot Potato’, where you catch the ball and throw it as fast as you can, pretending it is a hot potato so that it doesn’t burn your hands. Laughter broke out, and then I switched gears and explained to them about offense and how we can feel offended, but God wants us to be super quick to let it go and toss it back to Him, just like the ‘Hot Potato’ game. I have been able to cash in on this teaching over the years and remind them, “Hey, remember the ‘Hot Potato’ game? If you choose to hold onto this offense, it will cause greater hurt. Do you want to let it go?”

PART OF THE FAMILY

When the kids were little, they always wanted to go to the park after nap time, but I was exhausted from cleaning, laundry, dishes, cooking, etc. I felt like my day was a perpetual cycle of complete and repeat. The thought ran through my mind that if I didn’t have kids, I wouldn’t have to do all of this work. I hated that thought because I loved being a mom and my children. I rebuked that thought and remember the Lord leading me to EMPOWER my children to be a part of the family, not just takers. I sat them down and told them that I wanted to take them to the park too, but that part of living in a family is running a family that includes picking up after ourselves, cleaning, and managing our home. We came up with four areas that needed attention every day – floors, dishes, laundry, and garbage. From that day on, I haven’t touched a single one in nearly ten years. Each week we rotate chores and run the family together. When they were tiny, they didn’t do it perfectly, nor did I expect them to. But I used it as a time to go after character, self-control, honor, and faithfulness. When one fails to take out the garbage, it affects the family. When we rush and put clothes where they don’t belong, it affects the family. When dishes don’t get done, it affects the family. When they had attitudes, I went after their heart. I wasn’t training them in the area of perfection but in having the CHARACTER behind a chore or task. This is one of the best choices I made as a mom years ago, and I am reaping the fruit of four children who own the wealth, health, and success of our family unit. They were taught from an early age how to care for their family, and it started with chores. What have you empowered your children to do to help run the family?

CULTIVATING GRATITUDE

Take a moment and introduce your child to Psalms 100:4-5. Children of this generation understand the language of needing a ‘password’ to enter. I love how we get to write His word on their hearts!

Psalm 100:4-5 (NIV) – “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good, and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

PEACEKEEPER

Do you have a child who is a PEACEKEEPER? Those that avoid conflict at all costs and run into the other room when tensions mount? While peacekeepers are made in His image, it is super important to help them learn how to process the conflict other than just dislike it and pretend it is not there. Ignoring is not the tool of Heaven. Many kiddos are having a hard time in this season of so much chaos in the atmosphere. They have felt the conflict and yet don’t fully understand it. I encourage you to praise them for their desire for peace and validate that the presence of God is PEACE, but that sometimes we feel the opposite and can be used as agents of peace. Give them some additional tools: they can talk about their feelings, draw them out, act them out, release peace, dance, write a letter, journal, and go do sports. We want to empower their natural bent for peace without forcing them to bury their heads in the sand and walk in fake peace. 

SHIFTING OUR GAZE

It is hard to know who you are when you spend the majority of the time staring at a lens with your own reflection. We only truly discover who we are when we gaze into the One who created us in His image. Selfies only reflect what you want to see. God’s image reflects who we were made to become.