How To Root Your Teen Daughter’s Heart In God’s Word

I remember the day she was born…so small and dependent on me to care for her.  I wondered if I’d be able to give her everything she needed.  Would I be able to love her the way I knew God wanted me to?  Would I teach her about God’s ways enough?  Enough to survive this cruel world that seems to have heartache at every turn?  That was 15 years ago and I am seeing the fruit of the Holy Spirit in her life.  I see it every single day.  I see how she loves the Lord and longs to be close to Him.  This did not happen by accident or by osmosis as a Christian family.  Are you wondering How To Root Your Teen Daughter’s Heart In God’s Word?  

**I went live on Facebook  with my daughter, Sarah!  See video at the end of this post!**

As a Christian parent, we want our kids to grow close to God and have their own relationship with Him. But how do we go about doing that? I enlisted the help of my teen daughter in writing this post to help give you some ideas. How To Root Your Teen Daughter's Heart In God's Word

I am writing this post with my daughter, Sarah.  She is going to offer her insight as a teen girl.  Her direct comments will be in teal color.  Here are the things she has found helpful in growing her faith as a teen in our culture. Read More

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When Education And God Collide

It really does not make sense to me.  Not one little bit.  I don’t hear it very often, but when I do I can’t fathom separating the two.  The notion has become so foreign to me.  I am talking about taking God and His Word out of education and setting it all on its own.  And I believe that when we separate the two with our kids, they grow up with a false understanding that Sundays are reserved for God while the rest of the week and their lives are their own to do with as they wish.  What happens, though, When Education And God Collide?  

What is your approach to combining God's word and your homeschool? Do you keep them separate? Or do you see the importance of intertwining the 2? When Education and God Collide

One of the things I love about home education is that I can immerse my children – and myself – in God’s Word.  If you have read many of my homeschooling or parenting posts, you will know that I take the passage in Deuteronomy to heart.  I believe God intends for us to teach our children His promises, laws, hope, assurances, wisdom, admonishments…every bit of His Word every single day.  I don’t think His idea was to have Bible lessons for 30 minutes a day or to rely on the Sunday School teacher to teach our kids the truth.  That’s not enough.   Read More

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6 Advantageous Tactics For Well-Behaved Children

I was browsing the aquarium gift shop with my kids happily following along when we were almost plowed over my two young boys about 9 years-old running through the store, screeching.  I looked around to see if a responsible parent would stop them before they ran by me again.  No such parent was in sight…the mischievous boys zipped by me again, careless and oblivious to other shoppers.  It really was appalling behavior, conduct I’ve never seen in my own children…because they always knew there would be serious consequences if they even attempted anything so ill-disciplined.

Do you struggle with your child's behavior? Are you pulling out your hair wondering why they won't obey? In this post, I discuss 6 Advantageous Tactics For Well-Behaved Children for Christian parenting.

Now, my children are not perfect…far from it.  But they have always known that running around a store in such a manner would not be tolerated by me.  Here are some things we did in order to train our children how to behave appropriately during outings.  

Expecting Expectations

Whenever I took my kids out, we went over expectations of behavior before arriving at our destination.  We would talk about staying near me at all times and absolutely no whining.  We would talk about the consequences of not behaving when we were out.  One time, I had to leave my shopping cart full of groceries in order to take my child to the car for a discussion.  Eventually, my kids were so familiar with the expectations that I would have them tell me what the behavior expectations will be.  Doing this helps them to take ownership of their choices.  

fruit spiritPaul tells us in Galatians the expectations of a believers behavior through the Fruit of the Spirit.  We are expected to show love and kindness.  We are counted on to have self-control!  Are these not the same expectations we ought to be instilling into our children?  If so, then we better make sure we are living by the same expectations.

As followers of Christ, there are certain expectations for us…we are expected to live holy lives.  Our children are never to young to begin understanding this truth. 

Rewarding the Good Times

When they did behave well, I made sure they knew how proud of them I was.  Sometimes I’d buy them a special treat or promise them something fun when we got home.  I would also make sure my husband found out their good behavior that day.  

I often explained to the kids that when they are well-behaved on outings, it makes incredibly happy to take them on outings more often.  This not only encourages the good behavior, but it also helps them to take ownership of their behavior and choices.   

Being Proactive Is Key

Be proactive instead of reactive.  This means you don’t wait until there is a problem to teach and admonish.  Begin teaching good character habits early on.  Have regular discussions on what it looks like to respect and honor others above themselves.  How can we show love and kindness to those around us?  What does self-control look like?  

Being proactive will help to prevent many problems later on.

Encourage, Encourage, Encourage 

I am a huge believer in building kids up before the need for discipline arises.  Let them know you believe that they can make good choices.  Sometimes it is so hard to make the right choice – yes, even for us adults.  But it sure helps when we know someone has our back, right?  Make sure your child knows you are cheering him on.    

Everyone needs a ‘second chance’ – or more.  We all mess up.  It is good to know that there is a way back when we have made mistakes.  Encourage your child with something like, “You made the wrong choice this time but I am confident that you will make a better one next time.”  There is always room for redemption.  Don’t go on and on and on about it (believe me, it doesn’t work…I’ve tried).  Let them experience forgiveness and redemption.  

Let Them Be Responsible

Let them be responsible for their behavior.  Don’t make excuses for them.  Every single parent has to deal with misbehavior.  It happens.  It is part of raising kids.  Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed – just deal with the misbehavior appropriately and move on.  They made the choice, therefore, they need to be responsible for it.  

It’s A Heart Issue

Lastly, remember that misbehavior is a heart issue.  There is only one heart changer that I know, our Heavenly Father.  And He longs to be the Abba Father of our children.  Through prayer, hearts change.  Through meditating on His Word, hearts are healed and redeemed.  Through worship, hearts are made new.  Jesus promises to give us a heart of flesh in place of our hearts of stone.  This isn’t any different for our children.  A changed heart is a heart that rests at the feet of Jesus.  Our kids are never to young to  sit at His feet.   

Back At The Gift Shop

My husband tried to tell them to stop running, but they refused to listen.  One of the employees finally had to step in after these boys were throwing several stuffed toys around the store – and I mean from one end to the other.  Armfuls of stuffed toys were being placed back on the shelves as fast as these boys were taking them off and hurling them throughout the store.  One employee told them to stop running and that if they hadn’t purchased the items, then they couldn’t take them out of the store.  With one last toss, they ran out of the shop…parents still nowhere to be found and staff was left to clean up the havoc.  

As my children witnessed this event, they stood in disbelief and disgust that these boys behaved so badly.  They also expressed their gratitude that we never allowed such behavior from them.  They were thankful for our parental discipline now even though they likely did not years ago when we would enforce it!    

Maybe you are looking for some resources to help you parent and develop Godly character in your children.  I will be blogging over at A Little R & R in July about my favorite discipleship resources.  Stay tuned…

Do you struggle with your child's behavior? Are you pulling out your hair wondering why they won't obey? In this post, I discuss 6 Advantageous Tactics For Well-Behaved Children for Christian parenting.

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Top 5 Reasons To Homeschool

I was asked the question yet again…the same question most homeschool moms get.  Then I was asked the second question that is typically raised when people find out I am a homeschool support teacher.  While they may be two completely different questions, the foundational response is the same.  Why do I homeschool my kids and how do I know homeschool moms are not doing the work for their kids?  To answer these questions, I’ve put together a list of the Top 5 Reasons To Homeschool.  

**I did a Facebook live video to talk about this post – see bottom of this post for the video!**

Why do you home educate? Or better yet, why are you parenting as you do? On tough days, I need to come back to the foundation of they 'WHY'. Here are my Top 5 Reasons To Homeschool - or parent.

Many people think that the absolute best reason to homeschool is to keep our kids from the big, bad world.  However, we know that scripture does not support seclusion from the world.  We know that we are not supposed to be in relationship with only Christians.  We are to be in the world, not of it…  Read More

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How I Got My Kids To NOT Be Afraid Of The Dark

I heard her call out my name…again.  I knew why she was beckoning me…it was the exact same reason she’d cried out every night this week.  She was afraid.  The darkness of night frightened her tender heart.  I quickly went upstairs in order to comfort her and reassure her that she was safe and I was close by.  However, I knew that these truths would be soon forgotten after I left the room again.  A new strategy was necessary.  A new plan.  This is How I Got My Kids To NOT Be Afraid Of The Dark.

Do you have kids who are afraid of the dark? They hate being in their bedrooms alone at night...just in case? I've seen several ideas out there that claim to alleviate this problem, but only one has worked for our family. How I Got My Kids To NOT Be Afraid Of The Dark. Christian parenting.

It seems that all three of my kids have experienced fear of the darkness.  My youngest, though, had it the worst.  In fact, she still walks very quickly to my bed in the middle of the night once in a while.  She is ten;)  PS – I don’t mind her middle of the night snuggles!  I love them! 

Why Are They Afraid?

Before I get into how I helped each of my kids overcome their fear of the dark, I want to discuss why they are afraid.  At least this is what I have found with my kids.

All three of my kids have crazy imaginations.  I’ve asked them to tell me exactly what the are afraid of.  If I don’t know what precisely scares them, then it makes it harder for me to help them.  Sometimes, it was the typical monster in the closet fear or there was something under the bed that will grab them.    

My youngest has the most powerful imagination.  She was afraid of so many things.  Discovering spider crawling on her would be terrifying.  Seeing a bear coming into the house was a scary thought.  A tiger jumping out from under her bed was not enjoyable to think about.  Other times, her dreams were so intense that she would wake up afraid and cry out for me.  

For example, one night she had a dream that a bear came out of a small prune plum.  This terrified her (but it was funny and she laughs about it now).  I think that the more intense of an imagination, the more intense the fear and bad dreams will be.  This little girl of mine has been writing a novel with the goal of over 20,000 words…she is ten.  Her imagination is amazing. 

Deal With It

When we know exactly what we are dealing with when it comes to their fear, we can talk about it and reassure much more easily.

My daughter and I discussed the reality of a bear coming out of a plum or breaking into our home.  We discussed where tigers live – after I found out what kind of tiger was in her imagination;).  We talked about spiders when they come into the house and the chance of them crawling on her – and what would happen if one did (nothing).  

Lead Them To Jesus

I didn’t use ‘monster spray’.  I didn’t ‘fight’ monsters out of the closet or from under the bed.  Telling my kids to ‘suck it up’ was not an option.  I didn’t shame them by saying they were being ridiculous.  

How I Got My Kids To NOT Be Afraid Of The DarkSomething that had much more promise of working was what I was aiming for.  

I’ve always discussed spiritual truths with my kids with the expectation that they would understand whatever the Holy Spirit would teach them.  We started with talking about how we can let Jesus be the boss of what we think about.

We talked about what we ought to think about (Philippians 4:8).  Yes, young children can understand these concepts – just word it differently.  

The Power Of God’s Word

Following this discussion, I introduced scripture verses about not being afraid.  I wrote several on index cards and taped them above the head of their beds.  I told them that when they felt afraid, they can remember these verses (they were simple enough to memorize – or remember the basic idea of the verse).  There was just something about having God’s word covering them at night.  

The finishing touch of our discussion was prayer.  We prayed against bad dreams and asked God for good dreams.  We prayed against fear and asked Jesus to bring comfort and peace.  

Did this solve everything right away?  No.  There were still times of fear, but our kids always knew that we would be there when they needed us.  They weren’t alone in struggling with their fear.  We would be there to help them.  And the biggest reason why this method eventually worked for our kids is because it pointed them to Jesus.  Not a spray bottle.  Not a toy sword.  But Jesus.

I want my kids to place their faith and trust in the Lord, Jesus Christ.  Not pretend ‘monster spray’ or fake monster fighting.   

They started to learn that when they faced troubles, the first thing to do was to turn to their Saviour.

Final Details

There are some extra things you can do to help your child work through their fear.  Get several night lights and place one in their room and in the halls and in the bathroom.  We would have one in our room as well. 

Give them a small flashlight to have beside their beds.  They can turn it on when they feel afraid.  

My kids knew they were always welcome in our bedroom if they were afraid during the night.  We had a mattress on the floor beside our bed.  They would quietly come in during the night and snuggle up near us on the mattress.  This was also helpful when they were sick and when my oldest would get crazy growing pains in the night.   

My youngest preferred to snuggle in bed with me.  She just felt more safe and secure and I was just fine with her in bed with me.  She still comes to my bed at night for cuddles, not because she is scared, but because her love language is touch and she feels very loved and cared for when she snuggles.  

And, well, if I am truly honest…I still don’t like to hang my feet over the edge of my bed.  Did I mention that those with strong imaginations tend to have stronger fears in the dark??

I have made a free printable for you to download and print.  It is a sampling of some of the verses I used with my kids.  Print on either card stock or regular paper. 

Scripture Verses for Kids Facing Fear of Dark

I made these printable scripture verses for my post How I Got My Kids to Not Be Afraid of the Dark.  These are examples of the verses I used for my kids.

Do you have kids who are afraid of the dark?  How did you handle it?  

Do you have kids who are afraid of the dark? They hate being in their bedrooms alone at night...just in case? I've seen several ideas out there that claim to alleviate this problem, but only one has worked for our family. How I Got My Kids To NOT Be Afraid Of The Dark. Christian parenting.

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How To Teach Our Children Obedience

We were eye-to-eye in a struggle of wills…me, the parent and he, the son.  This young man would test my patience…and my grace over the years.  He brought the term “strong-willed child” into my life!  I had not known anything about it before him!  My daughter was the picture perfection of the compliant child.  Teaching her obedience was a dream.  But my son…that was an entirely different story.  I had my work cut out for me.  Some of you…many of you know exactly what I am talking about.  You have a strong-willed child (or children…my 3rd is also of the same sort…**SIGH**) yourself.  And maybe you are here because you need to understand how to teach our children obedience. 

Are you tired of trying to get your kids to obey? Training our children to make right choices is exhausting. We wonder if they will ever get it. In this post, I provide a few tips to help teach obedience to your children.

Photo by liz west “children at play”

Don’t get me wrong, I love that my youngest 2 are strong-willed.  I have come to embrace this personality trait…and perhaps even see a bit of my own strong will.  In fact, I’ve come to be more comfortable with their strong-will than my oldest’s easy-going compliance.  Interesting, hey?  A lot of that likely comes from my own compliant childhood and how my compliance affected me.     

So, how do we get our children to obey us?      Read More

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When Your Child Says “I Forgot”

We were on our way to church and I notice that he does not have his Bible…again.  I ask my son where it is.  His response has become the standard reply.  “I Forgot”.  I try to not show my extreme frustration as I keep my eyes on the road.  I think to myself, “Will he ever remember these things on his own?  Do I really need to make him carry around a list all day, every day?”  Parenting is just so hard!  That’s why I was relieved to find that Pam Forster of Doorposts addressed this issue on day 9 of her Child Training Bootcamp Bible study.  Here is what I learned When Your Child Says “I Forgot”.

Are you frustrated with the response "I forgot" when your kids have been asked to do something? Me too and here is how I have learned to manage the forgetful ones. For Christian parenting. When Your Child Says "I Forgot"

As busy moms…and let’s face it, we are all busy moms…it is difficult enough for us to remember everything on our own lists let alone someone else’s!  Right?  So, when my son keeps saying “I forgot” after I give him instruction, I can get pretty miffed.  I say things I probably shouldn’t say and we both end up in tears.  This post is more of a reminder for myself than for my readers.  I need this!  Today, I need this!  Here is what Pam says to do…and if you know any of Pam’s work you’ll know she is so full of Godly wisdom and insight! Read More

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5 Ways To Set A Good Example For Your Kids

I sat there and wept.  My heart was broken…again.  The same person trampled my soul with her cruel words and careless actions for the umpteenth time.  Does she not see what she is doing?  Does she really not care?  Is she not aware of how she continues to crush my spirit?  I only wish she had taken the time to truly know my heart…but she never did.  And here I am again, broken.  My daughter, Sarah, has witnessed such accounts more than I ever wished she had.  And I know it breaks her heart as well, to see her mommy so sad and wounded.  She embraces me and hands me a piece of paper.  I look at what she has written and my tears fall afresh.  I know this is the fruit of what I have encouraged and cultivated within my kids.  I know this is His faithfulness to me.  This piece of paper begins the healing of my shattered heart.  How did I get this treasure of a daughter?  What did I ever do?  Yes, I know a huge part is God’s grace.  But it also has to do with the intentions and purposefulness of my husband and me.  Here are 5 Ways To Set A Good Example For Your Kids. 
Are you setting a good example for your children? How do you know if you are? This post explores some questions that will help you determine of you are a Godly role model for your kids...and what you may need to work on (and we all need to work on something!). I pray this post helps you in your Christian parenting. 5 Ways To Set A Good Example For Your Kids.

In The Beginning

I had no clue how to be a Godly mother when my first child was born.  I look back on those days and I am so thankful for God’s grace.  I’d get frustrated (still do) when life got hard.  I’d feel discouraged as a mom (still do sometimes).  I’d wonder if my kids would end up in therapy or on Jerry Springer (not anymore 😉 ).  I was on my own to figure out how to be a Godly mother.  Well, I suppose not truly alone since I had the Holy Spirit, but you know what I mean.   Read More

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How To Get Your Kids To Obey

When I was younger, obedience was doing what I was told no matter what.  As I reflect on my obedience as a child, I don’t believe that it was true obedience.  Not really.  I obeyed out of fear, not love.  At least, that is the way it was for the most part.  For parenting my own children, I desired for them to obey in a biblical sense.  I wanted to have obedient children who were joyful in their obedience.  This is what I have learned about How To Get Your Kids To Obey.  

Do you struggle to make your kids obey? Are you at your wits end with disobedient children? I want to offer you some encouragement...and possibly some conviction in your Christian parenting. How To get Your Kids To Obey.

Parenting is hard and it seems that a new philosophy on how to parent arises every few years.  We want to raise our kids well.  We want to do good by them.  And we want them to ‘turn out’ better than we did.

Demanding Obedience

And because we know about many of the pitfalls of childhood and adolescence, we want to impart our wisdom to our precious children. 

However, our children aren’t always receptive to our counsel of good judgment.  They just seem to want to find out the hard way. Read More

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5 Ways We Can Fight A Spiritual Battle

Fighting for our freedom will cost us something.  When we fight, we are trying to reclaim a piece of territory in our hearts that was stolen from our enemy.  He will not just hand over what he stole when he sees that we are prepared for battle.  He staked his claim and he will do whatever it takes to prevent us from fighting for freedom.  But, there are things that we can do to help us in combat.  Here are 5 ways we can fight a spiritual battle.
Have you ever started to reclaim some stolen territory in your spiritual life only to be met with serious resistance? This is what happened to me recently and I discovered 5 key ways to help me in my battle.

Prepared To Fight Alongside Our Children

Last week, I wrote a post in honour of my oldest daughter.  She has been asked to read the scripture passage (Hebrews 10:15-25) in front of our new church.  At first, she was hesitant due to some past wounding.  I advised her that this invitation was an opportunity for her to receive deeper healing in her heart.  I was leading my daughter into fighting for her freedom…and I was fighting alongside her. 

However, the enemy of her soul was not about to let her have what was rightfully hers without a fight.  He will use whatever means necessary to try and prevent our victory – although Jesus already has the victory.  Our enemy’s tactics include people who are willing to do his dirty work; even family members.  Read More

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