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9 Parenting Tips to Avoid

Ben Reed —  February 11, 2013 — 20 Comments

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Let me list my parenting resume

  • I’ve been a parent now for over 4 years.
  • I’ve read a lot of parenting books.
  • I’ve listened to a lot of parenting sermons.
  • I’ve preached about parenting issues.
  • I’ve blogged about being a parent.

Which means I have it all figured out.

Come on, you know that once you’ve written a blog about parenting, you’ve got it all figured out.

In my vast years of experience, I’ve noticed a lot of parenting nuggets being thrown around. And I’ve noticed a lot of things that aren’t shared as nuggets as much as they’re just lived out in the moment.

Things get out of hand, and go sideways in a restaurant, and you default to a certain behavior, whether in the moment you believe that’s what’s best for your child or not. Right?

You don’t really think that yelling back at your child in Wal Mart is what’s best for him, you, or the rest of Wal Mart, do you? You don’t really think that giving in to your child’s temper tantrum is what’s best, do you? But in order to save face, and just “get through” the moment, we make decisions and base our actions on more immediate gratification.

I’ve seen some pretty bad decisions that have been made in the heat of the moment. I’ve committed lots of these. And I’ve noticed a few things that you and I should avoid.

9 Parenting Tips to Avoid

1. Count to 3.

“Timmy, listen to daddy. I’m going to count to 3, and you have to _____. 1…2…2.5…2.75…2.85…2.94…” Don’t expect obedience the first time you ask for it. Give your child a chance to disobey you for a little while longer.

Delayed obedience is disobedience.

2. Always let them decide.

They’re a child. They decide what’s best for themselves. Eating a candy bar before bed? Yes! Oh, you don’t want to go eat there for dinner, like mommy and daddy do? Ok! You want to stay up late because you just don’t want to go to bed? Sure! Thanks for letting me know, you little ball of wisdom!

Children need your wisdom. And they need to know you’re the parent, not them. As a parent, God’s called you to be an authority in your child’s life.

3. Let your world revolve around them.

Get in as many “activities” as possible, because that’s what’s best for your children and your family. Always be doing something. And during the “off” seasons, find something to fill your time. Because “resting” (the Bible calls this “Sabbath”) is something we do when we die.

If you let them, children will make your world completely circle theirs. This isn’t healthy. Good parents help their family find balance between doing and being.

4. Don’t have a discipline plan.

Don’t plan for discipline…because that’s no fun! Just try to figure out in the moment what you’ll do. That way, if you’re really angry, you’ll do something stupid always do the right thing.

Plan out how you’ll discipline. Don’t make it an “in the moment” thing, or you’ll end up disciplining in a way that you regret. Godly discipline is loving, and for our good. (Hebrews 12:5-11)

5. Don’t make them go to church.

What kind of parent would you be if you forced your child to do what you know is best for them? You haven’t been called to shape the way your children grow and mature. Come on…do you even love your child?

Set corporate worship, and healthy relationships, as a weekly standard for your family, because you know you need it…not necessarily because you always wake up every Sunday eager to go. Do what’s best, not just what “feels” right at the time.

6. Always be firm.

Don’t ever let up on your kids. Because if you do, they’ll get out of hand. No grace. No mercy.

Model for your children what the grace of God looks like. Sometimes, when they’ve disobeyed, show them grace, and explain the radical grace of God to them. Don’t exasperate your children. (Ephesians 6:4)

7. Don’t ever play.

You’re the parent. They’re the child. They need to understand that distinction. Don’t ever get on the ground and play with them. Don’t show them your weaknesses. And for goodness sake, don’t ever have fun.

If you don’t play with your child, you rob them of a beautiful gift. And you paint a picture of a boring God to them.

8. When you don’t know what to do, let Google be your guide.

Not sure what to do in this parenting situation? Google it! There’s so much great advice that will always point your children to Jesus, and help your family grow. Use Google, and Google alone.

Always be wary of what you read on the internet. Find a parent (or two or three) and ask them to speak in to your life as a parent. Surround yourself with people wiser than you, and bounce ideas off of them, growing from their wisdom and experience. 

9. As long as they’re not bothering me…

They’re watching something that may be a bit inappropriate for their age? Playing with something they shouldn’t? Spending too long on Facebook? Well, at least they’re out of your hair for a couple of hours.

Do. Not. Disengage. Know what is influencing your child. Set boundaries, and stick to them. Media shapes your children’s minds in powerful ways.

Anything you’d add?

 

 

 

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Have you ever read the childrens book, Where the Wild Things Are? I loved that book when I was a kid! I recently heard about the movie that’s coming out this Fall (update: Released October, 2009), and I’m already getting excited about it. I’ve posted the trailer below, but thought I’d give a few thoughts on the book first.

I never realized how weird the book is. Honestly, it’s a bit strange on first reading. If you haven’t read it in a while, here’s a video of a reading of Where the Wild Things Are:

Here is my take from the book.

The pros:

1. It paints quite an accurate picture of the mind of boys. Boys long for adventure. They long for something bigger than themselves. Max’s imagination runs wild as he sails across the sea, meets monsters, and rules over these mean, dangerous beasts. What boy doesn’t want to rule over dangerous creatures? Boys don’t want to be subdued by them!

2. The book shows that there is punishment for misbehavior. However you choose to discipline your children, you must discipline them!

3. Max’s parents show him love when they put a hot plate of food in his room. Discipline must be followed up by love (though I would argue that discipline is a loving act, I’ll do that in another post). At the time that I am writing this post, my son is almost 6 months old. He would not quite understand discipline yet. However, when he does, rest assured that we will discipline him. Each and every time we discipline him, though, we will end with hugging him and affirming our love for him. We never want him to equate discipline with only punishment. We discipline because we love, and want him to be 100% certain that we love him even though discipline is painful.

4. The artwork is fantastic. This is one thing that I loved when I was a child, and continue to appreciate today. There are many pages of monsters romping through the forest (Ok, I know…even as I write this, I feel silly talking about how I like to see monsters romping through the forest, but hang with me…), who, though they’re monsters, aren’t overly scary for children. The unique artwork is definitely a strength of the book.

The cautions:

1. First of all, be careful what you allow your children to read. Introduce material to your children with caution. Just because a book, or a movie, or a TV show, is for “children” does not mean that it’s appropriate for your child. Be discerning when it comes to stories you share with your children.

2. Is withholding food from your children the best form of punishment? I’m just saying…

3. I know that this may be a stretch, but we never see Max’s parents explain to him why he was punished, or why they gave in after some time. It’s important that children fully understand why they are being disciplined, both before and after. Max showed a heart of rebellion and pride, both in the home and in his imagination. He is disciplined because of this, but it’s important for him to understand why this is a problem, that his parents are the ones with the authority (though not in a smothering, exasperating kind of way (Ephesians 6:4)), and that his words and actions reveal deeper problems (Luke 6:45 says, “Out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”).

4. Max is never required to obey. His parents give in after a while (they really have to give in, so that Max eats, which furthers my point…is withholding food the best form of punishment, especially if you have to give in?). Max does not obey, yet the punishment eases. Is that how real life works? If you steal money at work, and are punished for it, does the punishment simply go away after a short period of time? No! There are steps of reconciliation you must make. Proverbs 29:15 tells us, “A child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.” Does Max truly regret rebelling against his parent’s authority?

In conclusion, I recommend reading the book, and doing so with discernment. It is a fun read for your children, and a good way to talk about deeper life issues.

Here’s the trailer for the new movie:

Have you seen the movie?  What do you think?

 

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Me, Rex, and memories

Ben Reed —  April 13, 2009 — 2 Comments

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I posted some “Grandpa-isms” last week here. One of my favorites is, “There are 4 P’s that I do for my family: provide, procreate, protect…and make memories.” I have had many laughs as I try to figure out why he continues to call them the 4 P’s. However, I think that the final one, making memories, is an important piece for dads.

I have lots of memories from childhood. Things that will stick with me forever. I still remember Mom and Dad picking me up from school and taking me and my brother to the Smoky Mountains for the weekend. Or spending every Christmas Eve with my whole family at my aunt and uncle’s house eating lasagna. Or throwing the baseball with my dad for hours on end until my arm felt like it was going to fall off. Or my dad teaching how to swing a golf club with an old cut-off, duck-taped driver he constructed for me. Or having to go to sleep early the night before a big trip to Florida so that we could wake up and get on the road before God turned the lights on, only to have to change a tire that exploded while we were pumping it up after the sun rose. These were wonderful family-building times, and memories that I cherish dearly.

I want to make memories that Rex will cherish. I want him to look back on his childhood and have fond memories of the things we did as a family. I don’t want us to be a family who is so tied up with work and ministry that we don’t carve out time daily, and extended time regularly, to be with each other. I don’t have a naive view of life that says that everything will be rosy. But I’m confident that if I invest time in my son and “bring him up in the training and instruction of the Lord,” not “exasperating him,” and work to love him, be patient with him, and encourage him daily, the Lord will shape him into a godly man. I don’t have that hope because I’m some kind of super dad. Instead, I have that hope because I serve a God who changes hearts (Ezekiel 36:26), who loves despite our failings, and ultimately works all things for our redemption (Romans 8:28-29).

 

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One year of being a parent

Ben Reed —  April 1, 2009 — 2 Comments

dsc_0107One year ago today, I shared with the GCC staff that my wife and I were pregnant with our first child. I remember this exact day because it was April Fool’s day, and there were some who thought I was playing a mean joke on them. Well, turns out I wasn’t. Now, one year later, I have a 5 month old son, Rex, of whom I am incredibly proud. This last year has been unbelievable, experiencing 8 months of pregnancy with my wife (well, I can’t take much credit for that, but thought I’d throw that in there), paying hospitals and doctors SO much money, going through the stressful event of my son 4 weeks before his due date, then having to have surgery before he was 3 months old, finding out what it means to be a parent and not get more than 3 hours of sleep per night for months on end, experiencing joy like nothing else at coming home and having my son smile at me, and falling in love with my wife all over again as I see her growing into a God-honoring mother.

I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our family. I’m confident, though, that if we continue to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and founder of our faith, God will work all things for our good (Hebrews 12:2, Romans 8:28-29). My prayer is that our marriage and parenting might point others to the life-transforming power and love of the Gospel.

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Rex cheering for the greatest college, UT!

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Rex and his friend, Story Vaden, hanging out

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Forward thinking parenting

Ben Reed —  December 15, 2008 — 2 Comments

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Should we plan for the future? It seems that the Israelites did:

Deuteronomy 6:20-21, “In the future, when your son asks you, ‘What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?’ tell him: ‘We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.’”

There was the assumption that children would ask their parents in the future, thus the need for planning. That verse strikes me especially sharply now that I’m a father. I want to be prepared to answer the questions of life that my son will ask. I want to be able to point him to the Scriptures as the source for life. I want my answers to always paint a picture of the big God that we serve. I don’t want to answer the question, “Why are you disciplining me?” with “Because I said so.” Rather, I want to point my son back to the biblical responsibility I have as a parent to honor God and love him (my son). See Hebrews 12:7-11. I have a mere 18 years with my son at home to influence him and point him to the gospel. I want to take full advantage of every opportunity to weave in the grand news of God’s offer of salvation.

How might I do that? Here’s where my plan starts (I’ll be using the RSS feed). What’s your plan for answering the spiritual questions your children will (or are) going to ask in 2009?

 

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