We cannot resolve conflict with the spirit of religion. We resolve conflict WITH God, not FOR Him.
LEGALISM DOESN’T WORK
God did not knit your child together, hand them to you, and say, “Good luck.” His intention all along was to partner with you in parenting. He has given you tools, keys, and strategies to be a successful parent, cultivate a peaceful home, and raise children who are a joy.
Join our online JOURNEY class to give you the tools you need to be the parent you always dreamed you would be. You can learn more and register here: Journey – ONLINE CLASS – Let the Children Fly
Some of you are battling things that are consuming you and causing you to be so weary. While we live in a fallen world with a real enemy, many of you are losing the battle simply because you are not armed with heaven’s tools. It doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, becoming equipped and empowered is not only available to every believer, but it is God’s mandate on your life. It is the honor and privilege as a Son/Daughter to walk in strength, radical love, and a clear mind. Whatever you are dealing with today does not need to defeat you. Heaven has tools and strategies to help you overcome, come out from under it, and bear fruit. There is hope!
Our goal as church leaders and parents should not be peace. Instead, our goal as believers has to be FREEDOM from what causes the patterns of chaos in the first place. It is the freedom that naturally produces peace. But to go after peace without freedom is nothing short of behavior modification, legalism, and denying the power of the Cross.
Take a balloon and blow it up as big as you can and then let it go and watch it flap all around the room. Now tell the kids that a balloon is like a heart and that we need to be actively putting good things in people’s hearts. Have them pretend that the balloon is YOUR heart. Every time they call out something good about you, take a big breath and blow into the balloon. The next person calls out something good about you, and you give it another blow. Keep doing it until the balloon is about to pop. They will all laugh and giggle; tell them that we can help people have hearts that are ready to explode with goodness by being kind and calling out the good!
This lesson was taken from our Character Counts SOAR parenting magazine. If you are interested in more activities, you can purchase your digital copy here: Character Training SOAR Magazine – Let the Children Fly
May I encourage you to see something?
Think of the last thing you disciplined or got frustrated with your child over. Now ask yourself what you have done to proactively teach your child in that area. Parenting equals being a teacher, not just a disciplinarian. Set your child up for success by teaching them what you DO want, not just reacting to what you don’t want.
A mom taking our online JOURNEY class shared this:
“I put some worship music on. My daughter and I laid down with our eyes closed and just soaked in God’s word. After about 5 minutes, she got fidgety. I got her settled in again for about a few more minutes and asked her, ‘So did God tell you anything?’ My mistake; she got upset.”
This is where most parents back off and conclude it doesn’t work or their child isn’t responding. But I encourage parents to continue to be the spiritual leader of their home and KEEP GOING. Five minutes to a child is like 45 minutes to an adult. When she was done – she was done – that’s okay. Build upon it next time. Praise her for doing it this time. Kids get fidgety, and it doesn’t always mean they aren’t paying attention. It can mean they have some pent-up wiggles that need a release. A parent’s response to fidgeting can pull them out of experiencing God and into feeling pressure to perform or do something. Be sensitive with how to respond to a child when they are learning how to encounter the Father. Praise her for doing it at all! Tell her how the Father feels about her spending time with Him (if you don’t know – ask Him). A while later, come to her and lovingly ask, “Do you remember when we were listening to the worship music? Why did that upset you when I asked you what Jesus said?” Listen to what she is saying, as she will give you clues as to what she was experiencing. I would keep going and do it again. If she isn’t interested, then YOU do it and allow her to feel the atmosphere of when you are encountering Jesus. Invite her again… and again. But please do not allow her experience to shut you down as the spiritual leader of your home.
I love how this mom took the love languages quiz and put it into action! Love is a verb.
“Since taking the love languages quiz, we have implemented daily times with each other as a family. Each day, my husband and I spend 10 minutes with each child and 30 minutes with each other. The kids have 10 minutes with each other as well. One day a week, we have ‘dates’ – we each spend 1 hour with each kid and 1-2 hours with each other. It has been a game-changer. A month or so ago, my son said, ‘I think the reason we are so close and connected is because of our 10 minutes.’”
I will be so bold to say that we have it a bit backward. We teach our children about the written Word first, yet when they are in scary situations, they aren’t flipping through their memory bank to find Scripture to apply to their situation. I believe that the focus for raising spiritually strong children needs to be on leading them into encounters with His presence and hearing God speaking to them. We, as parents, should test it against our knowledge of the Scriptures and lead accordingly. When kids experience God (His voice, His love, His peace), this focuses on the relationship first, not merely memorizing Scriptures or reciting the ‘rules.’ What would this generation look like if they were equipped with tools to stand firmly when the enemy comes? What if, at the age of six (and younger), they were TAUGHT and TRAINED by YOU to use tools needed to ward off the hurts that often become adult-sized wounds? You are investing in THE most priceless gift for your child. Do not be quick to give up or give in on your privilege to teach, equip and train your child in this area.
Empowering children to obey fully and completely the first time (Deuteronomy 28:1). Expose your child to horses, whether that be taking a field trip to a horse farm, simply pulling off the side of the road near one, getting a video from the library, or finding them on the Internet. They are so beautiful and powerful. Talk about how a horse is powerful on their own, but when the bridle is in its mouth, they are trained to obey the rider right away. All the rider needs to do is gently move the reigns to the left or right, and the horse automatically goes in that direction. They are not stubborn or demanding of their own way; they simply follow the rider’s commands. Explain to your child that God wants us to respond this way to His instructions. He doesn’t just want us to obey in the end but wants us to do so fully and completely right away.
In the days ahead, when you need your child to follow your instructions, remind them of the character of a horse. Often when my children were younger and not following the instructions I had given them, I would simply say, “Mama needs you to be a horse right now,” and they all knew that meant they were behaving in a way that was the opposite of what I had instructed. It was an excellent tool for when we were in public as it spared them the embarrassment of being called out in front of others.
Children, like you, need downtime to recharge and regroup. Schedule daily time for each person to have time alone by themselves. Establish the rules ahead of time for what is and isn’t acceptable and the consequences for not honoring the time (perhaps double time the following day). I strongly encourage you to explain this during a family meeting, so everyone knows what to expect. Start with just 15 minutes and keep adding minutes each day until you have reached an hour. I suggest starting out with everyone on their beds. It helps establish a clear boundary. Once they have honored the time and can manage themselves, perhaps, you will allow them to play in their room. Make sure they all go to the bathroom ahead of time and have a water bottle, so there is no need to come out. They can use this time to take a nap, read a book, or play with Barbies or Legos quietly on their beds. Have them gather a bin or basket of items they can choose from. The key is not to make this feel like they are in a time-out or being disciplined. It is a time of relaxation and refreshment for everyone.
Trust me, some kids will be so grateful to have siblings to play with when the hour is over!
**If your child simply cannot comply with this activity, and there are no other obvious reasons, it could be that they sincerely need help growing in self-control. This is something that is taught and a life skill that transfers to all other areas. The worst thing you can do is give up and conclude, “My child just can’t spend 15 minutes alone in their room.” It is okay if you need to go after this and really work with them.