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‘Daughters’ is a subject that has been on my heart lately, one, because my only daughter just became a first time mother; joining us together in a bond only mothers experience.  For the other reason, I have been speaking with many mothers of teenage girls who are at their ‘wits end ‘ dealing with manipulative, disobedient daughters.  I feel so much compassion in my heart for the parents who are going through the gut wrenching experience of dealing  with rebellious teenage girls. I know, there are plenty who deal with boys too, but this post is all about daughters.

The first thing we ask ourselves is- “where did I /we go wrong?  Many of you haven’t done anything wrong perse’, but I have some things for you to think over that may help you find the root, leading the way to better communication, and helping the young lady find her way back home.

Every girl has a need for a strong, HEALTHY relationship with her father. A father is God’s expression to her about who HE is.  Her sense of security and well being comes from strong leadership in the home. How a husband treats his wife teaches her how she will respond as a wife herself, and while she is living in your home, she will test the boundaries and limits of your marriage.  Manipulation is only possible if the two of you are presenting a weak front, divided, and not on the same page with one another.  She will “play you like a cheap guitar” mom and dad, if you don’t have each others back! If she knows that you talk things over , and agree together, double check facts etc., she will not get away with the trickery and lies so easily, she will stop trying once she figures out there is no space between you. Confrontation and consequences for her actions are essential.  If she perceives that she is getting off easy for bad behavior, she will spin out of control.  What is worse, she will accuse you of being horrible, but if you do nothing at all, she will believe in her heart that you don’t care, and don’t love her.  I know that one from personal experience.  I was a rebellious teenage daughter.  My parents fought about discipline. My mother wanted dad to do it, and he felt like the big arm of the law, who had to do the dirty work, so they fought… then gave up.  We grew up completely out of control, wishing someone would care enough to say something. Consequences for bad behavior need to be appropriate for the situation, if she sneaks out, she gets grounded, with zero privileges.    But don’t overplay the same card. Grounding the girl for every infraction is counter productive.  If the problem is school related, ie. being irresponsible about homework, take something away, and add a responsibility that relates to school.  I have heard teens talk about how the punishments their parents give them don’t make any logical sense, or that they just want to personally benefit from their child’s mistake by getting work out of them. The other thing to consider, is how do you listen to her? Or, do you just talk AT her? You would be surprised how much can be solved by just sitting down and giving a place for her to share her heart, dreams, fears… she needs the security of knowing you are for her, but will stand for the right thing, and will be just, fair, and strong.  Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. If you are together Mom and Dad, you will succeed in giving the girl a stability she needs to gain control of the chaos we like to call the TEENS.

For the single parent:  It is no easy thing to beat this daunting task alone.  But in Ecclesiastes, it says a cord of three strands.  Meaning that God is one of the strands.  You aren’t in it alone, and certainly if you have a church family, or synagogue, you can find plenty of people to come along side to bear your burden with you.  We are never expected to go through these things by ourselves.  Reach out and call for help, prayer, and support if you don’t have a spouse.  If you are divorced, you still need to try to be on the same page when it comes to your child.  Put aside your own differences, and look out for the needs of your daughter.  It is difficult to do when you don’t get along, but if you have any ability to do it, try!

I have been so very blessed to have a daughter who has been a tower of strength, virtuous through her teens, a model daughter who cared for everyone. Her father and she have always had a strong bond.  She is confident, and accomplished, and now she has a son.  It wasn’t always easy in our relationship, we didn’t always get along.  Because of my baggage with my own parents, I was the weak one, and she was BORN with a determined, strong will…just like her father.  Lately, we have been experiencing a closeness I never thought was possible.  I feel so privileged to share her company, her life, as I have always admired her so much, this is a dream come true for me.

I will finish this post with a song by John Mayer:  Daughters

“Daughters”

I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
But she’s just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change
And I’ve done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I’m starting to see
Maybe it’s got nothing to do with me

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Oh, you see that skin?
It’s the same she’s been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she’s left
Cleaning up the mess he made

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Boys, you can break
You’ll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without the warmth from
A womans good, good heart

On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

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It seems like life goes from hard to harder sometimes. I feel like I could roll over in my bed and just forget about even getting up in the morning. With the dog looking up at me to be fed, I know it’s inevitable, I will just have to face the day square on.

I recall a sermon my pastor gave once, in which he shared a story of a small boy who had a chrysalis of a butterfly. The boy watched it day after day, waiting to witness the emergence of the new butterfly. One day he noticed the chrysalis was opened, and the butterfly was struggling and struggling to get out. The boy felt so bad for the butterfly, so he tore the chrysalis a bit to help him out. Alas, the butterfly emerged, but something was wrong, the wings would not open, and soon the butterfly died.

It is important for the butterfly to struggle through a small opening in order to squeeze the blood into the wings so it can fly. Without the struggle, you have no circulation.
the application of his story was of course, how our struggles as a necessary part of our lives. Struggles are also necessary for our children s’ lives as well, if we take care of every situation they come up against, we will do the same thing the boy did with the chrysalis, well meaning, we try to help, but hinder their personal growth.


I have been thinking about the many people who face many hard challenges, from financial hardship, the Hurricanes, joblessness, loss of family members, relationship difficulties…
My petty hardships pale in comparison. I have so much to be grateful for. We have so much to be grateful for. If you are able to read this, you have a computer, you can read… you have your sight.

I am glad my dog convinced me to drag my carcass out of bed and face the day today, It turns out I came to some pretty important conclusions about how thankful I am that our Lord keeps up my circulation, and teaches me how to be thankful at the same time.

1Pe 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,
1Pe 1:7 so that the proof of your faith, {being} more precious than gold which
is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in
praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
1Pe 1:8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not
see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy
inexpressible and full of glory,
1Pe 1:9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
1Pe 1:10 As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that {would come} to you made careful searches and inquiries,
1Pe 1:11 seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them
was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories
to follow.

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Wherever you look throughout scripture, we are told to walk in truth, not to lie, not to bare false witness, that ‘the truth shall set you free’ yet somehow, we figure out a way to compartmentalize our lives to include God in some places , and not in others.  When it comes to keeping a matter from a spouse for instance, so as not to rock the boat, that would be an area we need to discuss. I suggest reading through the book of Ephesians, it is a wonderful book to get a grip on this area.  For now, I will address the various ways we keep things from one another to our own hurt, and what to do to avoid it.

A secret  withheld from a loved one, should have a reason, good or bad.  Of course, for reasons of joyful surprise, or the reasons given in this link, a wonderful article I found on lying :http://parablemania.ektopos.com/archives/2004/08/lying.html The rest of the time, secrets are destructive little devices which create division, and damage to the soul, spirit, and lifestyle.

First,  the secrets between  spouses, whether it be the husband keeping mismanagement of finances, gambling, or the loss of a job… or a wife hiding secret charge accounts, workplace flirtations, or even an affair perhaps. There are some darker, more taboo secrets I won’t address in this article, when I am ready, I will talk about those separately.  Whatever the secret may be, it is going to break down your relationship- Guaranteed.  If you ponder for a minute, having secrets from your spouse is living a lie.  In our society today, “little white lies” that so called ‘keep things from getting complicated’ are totally acceptable.  “what they don’t know won’t hurt them” Our propensity to be willing to ‘cover our own butts’ in any given situation, rather than exercise integrity is alarming. How did we get so lazy about personal responsibility?    Destructive and ugly, and able to tear away at the very foundations of a marriage; husband , if you have a habit as many do, of secretly looking at porn online, and don’t think it has no bearing on your relationship with your wife.  Soon she will not measure up to your desires, you will lust for more from her, your expectations will go unfulfilled, and soon emptiness will be all you have left.  God created her for you, and if you are satisfied in her alone, God will bless you in ways you will be unable to believe if you have eyes for her alone.  If any of these areas are ones you struggle with, confess to your spouse, and work through it together.  Yes, it will be difficult, but not impossible.

Next, secrets you may have with your child, between them and you, excluding your spouse.  Again, if it isn’t for a surprise you are planning, it will teach that child some very bad lessons.  The worst of which, is the art of lying and manipulation, working one parent against the other.  You will show the child a weakness of character in yourself, that you are willing to keep things from your spouse. Remember that a child feels most secure when they know that their parents have a solid relationship. You also have the best defense against whining, rebellious, and manipulative children if you have a united approach to your children’s upbringing, and don’t do things behind one another’s back.  This is especially hard for divorced parents sharing custody, trying not to give ammunition to a contentious ex-spouse leaves little choice, but to have good communication, and strong will to avoid letting the child(ren) get in the middle of the two of you. The best policy is to always stand in the light of truth, and full disclosure, so there is no room for accusation, misunderstanding, or manipulation.

Hebrews 4:12-13
12For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Revealing what should be (secret) things personal to you and your spouse, to friends, or family members should be avoided.  What I am talking about is: your private things should be kept private, don’t go to mom ladies with your frustrations about hubby, it will make him look bad to your parents, which is destructive in itself.  Talking about your sex life to your friends in a “just for fun” way is never good either.  This goes for both of you… Do you love ,respect, and cherish your partner, or think of your spouse as a way to get your needs satisfied?  Mutual respect and cherishing your spouse is so important to keeping  your relationship on the right track to deepening and growing stronger over time, as opposed to diminishing and wondering what can be done to ‘get back that lovin’ feelin’ .  It isn’t hard to understand, these aren’t really secret things, but cherished things between you two, or private things, like your difficulties.  If you as a couple need to get some advice, the best thing to do is… don’t go to mom & dad at all.  It is hard for mom and dad to separate themselves emotionally, not taking a side.  Go to a pastor, or someone you can trust, who you have admired their marriage a long time.  Try first just talking it out from a different place, looking at things through that other persons vantage point.  Conflict management should be handled on an individual basis for sure, but if you know that you are for one another, or at the very least, can commit to  look out for one another, have that persons back, start from there.  Whatever you do though, don’t embarrass them by revealing all the personal stuff only a spouse would know, is that something you would like them to do to you?

Whatever the secret may be, it doesn’t belong. You can justify in your mind why you may be keeping that secret, but once you reveal it, and deal with it, healing and reconciliation is possible.

1Jo 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and {yet} walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
1Jo 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
1Jo 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
1Jo 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

God is able, don’t think any situation is too bleak to fix, or any lie or secret is too wretched to be forgiven.  He does forgive, as will the person who has been offended, if they also will seek the Lord and His power to forgive. Please feel free to email me with prayer requests or questions, they will be confidential.

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A nagging wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day. (Proverbs 27:15) Drip, drip, drip… it makes you go crazy!  Have you ever been around couples, where the husband is passive, and the wife just drips continually?  Throughout the Proverbs, Solomon teaches his son about women, finding a good wife, among so many other things, he says this about that nagging woman: “It is better to live on the corner of the rooftop, than in a house with a quarrelsome wife” Prov 25:24.

So why the nagging? Is it fun? Do you just think he deserves to be shot machine-gun like with choice morsels of cleverly formed jabs, so he will be sure of your disapproval?  Don’t think I am only going to address how this applies to your marriage.  If you are nagging him, you are nagging your kids too.  Track with me for a minute, there is something at the core of this,  Much of it can stem from the poor modeling, you grew up with a “Hover Mother” constantly on you for this or that.  You could just be very unhappy with life, disappointed with how things have panned out, you are taking that frustration out on those around you…maybe you don’t even realize you are doing it.  Are you being accused of nagging?  You are undoubtedly frustrated with people not listening to you, not doing what you ask them to do, but how are you communicating?

There should be good communication between you and your spouse, if there is something you are having difficulty with, you need to talk it over while you are both in a good place, not when the issue becomes heated.  If, after he/she is spoken to, knows how you feel, and doesn’t respond, it is your turn to offer help, or just take it to God.  Many times God will change us, and our attitudes, before He changes someone else s’ bad habit.

Let’s address those core issues for a second. You need to so some soul searching here.  If things are coming out pear shaped because you are disappointed with your life, feel let down, you have unresolved bitterness, these things need to be dealt with. How?  The first step is recognize that they are there, next, you need to take them to God, he can heal you of those things, you should also talk with someone you trust, and pray with them about it.  I always say that the skeleton when left in the closet, has the power to get scary, but bring him into the light, and all he is, is old, lifeless, bones. Bring old “boney” out, and deal with the core issues, you will feel so much better!

For the life of me I just do not understand couples who cut each other down.  Worse yet, is when they do it in front of a room full of people.  It is like a dagger in MY gut, when I hear couples tear each other apart, or humiliate their spouse.  The entire room turns frigid with the lack of love, discretion, and prudence.  It makes you wonder what kind of relationship a person has, that they would cast their spouse in the worst possible light, rather than present the best side of them, knowing every flaw intimately, privately.  Being the most important person in your life, you want to be sure that people see the good in your spouse, not exposing those flaws, they are yours to know, you are one flesh.  You have each others backs, you will defend them and honor them to the end. That is how it should be!

So they don’t pick up after themselves, they have bad habits, you have things you have to put up with,old boney is rattling your cage, Yeah, So? I have only one thing left to say:

1Cr 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind {and} is not jealous; love does not brag {and} is not arrogant,
1Cr 13:5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong {suffered,}
1Cr 13:6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
1Cr 13:7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1Cr 13:8 Love never fails; but if {there are gifts of} prophecy, they will be done away; if {there are} tongues, they will cease; if {there is} knowledge, it will be done away.
1Cr 13:9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part;
1Cr 13:10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
1Cr 13:11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
1Cr 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
1Cr 13:13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Let the Love of Christ do it’s perfect work in us, we only have this short time with our family, with no “do-overs” don’t waste it nagging.

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He was between a first born son, and a first born daughter, who was born only 11 months later. He was the lost boy. He was “hell on wheels” trying to keep up with big brother, who was handsome, and confident. Everyone got the attention but him, except for the fact, that in trying to keep up, he got hurt allot. As he got old enough to start figuring out ways to be noticed, to find approval, he started sports, and was very good at what he did, but the coach made him pay a heavy price for the pitcher’s position on the little league. Our parents were oblivious, they were busy. He tried and tried… He sold greeting cards door to door every year to buy all of us Christmas gifts, we didn’t notice his generous spirit, we were all too busy.

He finally decided to try the other approach, he knew he got attention when he got in trouble, so he started getting into trouble ALLOT!. They called the police and he went to juvenile hall, they couldn’t handle him, they called it being incorrigible. He came home,  the drugs, and drinking were keeping him from the pain of constant rejection. There was a point when it looked like things would turn around, when  he got into a serious accident that fractured his skull, landing him in the ICU for weeks. My folks were hand wringing for him, nobody knew what the outcome would be . Many who get this type of injury on a motorcycle without a helmet become impaired for life.  Physical therapy and teaching him to talk all over again, proved to be a good thing to reboot him, and connect him with my parents.

They actually did allot for him outwardly, he was a diver, on the dive team, so they put in a good spring board in the backyard pool. They got him classical guitar lessons from a very reputable teacher. They were doing outward things to keep him busy, but didn’t know how to get to the core of his problems, what the issue really was.

He eventually got a steady job, got married, had a daughter, got divorced, met another woman, had another daughter…Split up. They never got to the core of the issues, “Dad… I need you to love me, to listen to me, to accept me for who I am”. So the pattern you see, but there were deeper issues, soulish hurts, that little league coach, what unimaginable damage it has on a man. It wreaks havoc on future relationships if not navigated carefully with God’s help.

One day he came to me, rejoicing with a beaming face. He came to know Christ. I had never seen him so happy. My Father too, had turned his life to Christ before that time,so there was some real mending to do. Another day he came to me, a bit more concerned, but still filled with joy, he asked me if I could take him for an HIV test. I did, it was positive, and he moved in with my family for awhile. We went together, my husband I and my brother, to tell my parents,about his test results,  it was devastating. As you can imagine, as a parent, you wonder what you could have done differently, with my dad, he looks back and now that he knows what he knows, would have done everything differently, he is riddled with regret.

He moved in with a family who had a quiet place on a hillside in the country for the time that he was able to get around. They were friends from church, who had a spare room, and big hearts. When we thought it was time for my folks to have time with him as he was diminishing, we had him move in with them. He and my dad got to go fishing together several times, (he loved to fish) but later was bedridden for quite some time. He passed away on my birthday in 1993, he had a happy look on his face, I saw him just a few minutes after he passed into Glory.

So how does his story apply? Remember in previous posts, how I talked about knowing the character of your child? His was special, he was generous, entrepreneurial, ambitious, creative, and athletic. When a parent takes time to recognize the qualities in their child, and steer them in the way of those traits and characteristics, (Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. )that child will not have the burdens of trying to prove their worth to a parent, or the mess of trying to figure out who they are. You are helping them along on their journey, their coach, and greatest advocate.  Listen to your son, affirm to him that you accept him for who he is, don’t just make him listen to your endless rants about you, and how it was for you- that is your deal… this is your chance to make it work for his future, this will prevent you from future regret.

For my dad, he got to know my brother at the very end of his life, and had a very short time with him. The times they got to go fishing together are precious to him, but if there was anything that I know he would wish for, and that would be, a chance to do it all over again, knowing what he knows now, that your children grow up much too fast, don’t be too busy, don’t take any of it for granted. Let love and patience be what guides you, pick your battles wisely, don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t impose your own dreams and failed ambitions or lack thereof on your sons, let the grace and kindness of your affirming words do their perfect work instead.

You know, there are so  many parents today, and every day, who have an unexpected sudden loss of a child.  What a tragedy, I have not had this experience, losing my brother was  an anguish that was deep, due to our closeness, I cannot imagine losing a child.  This, I want to be especially sensitive about, because it is so hard for those who have lost children, or for those who have kids fighting in the war, you want to take things back, get a second chance, before it is too late. Take the time to lay your soul on the table, about how much you love your son, accept him, and want him to know that there is nothing that can separate him from your love. He is just a keystroke , text message, or phone call away.  You have a daughter who you are at odds with? Now is the time… No time for regrets.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hiv-aids/DS00005/UPDATEAPP=false&FLUSHCACHE=0

http://www.way2hope.org/signs_of_child_molestation.htm

Joe 2:25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten,

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This is such an uplifting video, the way it should be between father and son.  Building a relationship starts when the child is young, and grows to manhood.  He is watching and modeling himself after you. Communication between Father and son is the most important element in the building of the future husbands ability to lead, to communicate with his future wife, and to pursue his dreams and aspirations. For some reason, in the heart of each son, there is a passionate desire to please his father, and to make him proud. If , like in the song, you are always telling the son to listen, as you rant against him, the walls will go up, and he will take a natural course of either rebellion, least resistance, or fighting to prove to you he is worthy of your love with everything he’s got. I am keeping this short today so it may have the impact I want it to have. Men, mom is not the only one who needs to break that cycle, LISTEN to your son, take him fishing, hug him and tell him you love him, no matter what. Next time I will share with you the brother I lost to “too late syndrome”.
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

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Things have been hard in the world lately. It has been hard to hang on to what we have, whether it be a job, house, relationship, it is just intense these days! I was reflecting this morning on how hard it has been on my husband, he has allot of pressure on him. The times when we are in the crucible of trials is when we need someone to be solidly behind us. We need words of affirmation, and the confidence building that assures them that everything is going to be O.K. Think about the marriage vow, “… in richer and in poorer, in sickness and in health” a commitment and promise was made that assured that other person that you wouldn’t let them down , even in the worst of circumstances.
In Ephesians chapter five, Paul states no less than three times that the man should love his wife, and once that he should “cleave to her”. It is not there for arbitrary reasons, and three times?
We can be hard to love sometimes, we can nitpick him, nag, place all sorts of heavy expectations on him. We make excuses for it, like “I am having PMS” or “Menopause” or “I am having your child!” What does Paul say to us women? “Wives, submit to your husbands as unto The Lord” (Eph. 5:22)
Ladies, he makes mistakes, men, you make mistakes, but we have to bring those to the Lord, and HONOR you with solidarity and affirmation. We are partners, we are in this together, a team. If one is down, that other team member must be there to pick the other up. ( Ecc 4:9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.
Ecc 4:10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. )
It is so easy to break the spirit of your spouse. I cannot emphasize that enough. It is so easy to tear down, and hollow them out to the brink of complete despondency. If this is learned before it is too late, it can make a world of difference. One pastor said one Sunday, that the best thing that parents can do for their children is to love one another, and be affectionate toward each other. This teaches the children what a nurturing marriage should look like, and theirs will have that much more chance of success. I have to confess, I have not been a nurturing and affirming wife lately, and have never seen my husband so hollowed out. He is usually the most confident, upbeat, inspiring person you will ever meet. My words have torn him down to the very core of his being, and I have a heavy heart. I am thankful our children are grown. All that I share with you is from experience, and forty nine years of learning at the University of Hard Knocks. I am confident my best friend and I will get all things sorted out, we always have these thirty years, but what I learned through this situation is that I never want to see my best friend and husband lacking in my affirmation and support ever again.

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