Babies are so cute! Children are so great! But what about parenting? Are you ready to parent? Are you ready to raise little people who are sinners who need to learn grace and to be gracious to others? What about parenting philosophies? Have you talked about that yet? Homeschool vs public school and why, and who? Parenting involves a lot of questions. The more questions you can answer in advance the better. You will never be ready. No one is ever ready. But, the more you learn about being a parent on the job, the more you learn about God’s patience for you as one of His kids. If you can bridge that gap, if you can translate God’s grace and patience toward you to your own kids, you will be heading in the right direction. Here is our story.
Going In To Parenting
- Corby was a youth ministry intern at a church.
- Jess worked right up to baby time.
- We had some ideas going in.
- We believed that’s what God would have us do, not out of fear. It was for the family experience and relationships. It was a means to an end.
- Ended up that we would move a lot, so that helped.
- Had a kid with Asperger’s it turns out.
- You have to be intentional in raising them to follow Jesus. Even then, they don’t always end up following Jesus.
Parenting was overwhelming for us
- It’s overwhelming for anyone really.
- We had two very strong-willed sons.
- Little kids are sinners. You don’t have to teach children how to be bad, you teach them how to be good.
What we did early on
- The funnel illustration. How you build independence. Restricting permissions.
- You can give kids lots of freedom early on and restrict their behavior as they get older. Bad idea.
- Or you can restrict their freedoms early on and let them learn how to make decisions as they grow older with more freedoms. Good idea.
- We did option two. Kids can’t make good decisions when they are little. Make them for them. Then slowly start to give them more freedom, teaching them how to think.
- When they disobeyed they would lose freedoms.
- We didn’t want to foster a works and rewards system all the time because that can bleed over into a relationship with God and a sense of having to earn.
- Day started with lots of rewards when it was time for free time. But if they were naughty, they would loose those rewards, but they had the ability to get them back by correcting the behavior.
- Clear expectations as to what behavior was right and wrong had to be set, as well as guidance as to how to correct.
- Don’t discipline when you’re mad. In the heat of a moment you’re not going to be able to correct the behavior of a child because your behavior isn’t correct. Walk away, deal with it when you’re calm.
- Discipline is about behavior correction, not punishment only.
- In our best moments we were able to explain the why behind what was going on, the bad and good behavior.
- What we were trying to do but didn’t know it, was to build God’s Kingdom into the kids, and that they will be Kingdom builders.
- Forgiveness. Having the kids genuinely apologize to each other. Also when you as a parent blow it, genuinely apologize to your kids. “Will you forgive me?”
- Learning that there are consequences to actions. Also learning grace. Giving grace to your kids.
- Look for link to “Grace Based Parenting” below.
The problem with mayn Christian parenting books
- At the time, most of them didn’t fit our Asperger’s kid, and sometimes the other.
- Many of the books are “cookie cutter” kid books. “All you gotta do is…” doesn’t always work.
- Jess’ parenting book became prayer and the Bible.
- Kids are wired differently and more variety, patience, and understanding are needed for a good strategy.
The stay-at-home-mom – parenting strategies
- Meet daddy at the door, yay!
- Corby needed a buffer time upon arriving home to reset himself from his day. Needed to change mental gears, couldn’t go right into dealing with home stuff, as good as it is. Kids had free time during this buffer, then Corby had the energy to re-engage.
Child-centric families vs family-centric families.
- Parents needing emotional space as above. It’s best for the family as a whole instead of giving into the emotional demands of the children, that being emotional attention. Can end up being bad.
- It’s a bigger picture issue. Kids can wait, they will get the attention they need. I need to recharge to give them the attention that they need.
- The idea also applies to kids being so busy in activities, be they the activities the kid wants to be in, or the parents want them to be in. Families are burning themselves out and not making room for the Lord or the family in all of this.
- The expectation of the culture, or the individual, is we “have” to do this. Do you really? Have you prayed about it? How does it effect the health of the family as a whole?
- Limits are needed for the sake of the individuals and the family.
Parenting through hard times your kids go through
- It’s heartbreaking watching your kid go through hard things.
- Knowing that the future you had envisioned for your kid is not going to be.
- The character issues that arise in you and in them.
- You have to come back to gospel thinking. Trusting God. Seeking first His kingdom.
- Teaching them how to accept reality, which sucks.
- Accepting how someone else’s reality is going to effect other siblings.
- Very similar to the family dynamics in Finding Nemo which came out during the same season. The journeys that the Marlin and Nemo had to go through.
- Being honest about ourselves and our personalities, and what God says about it, and how to deal with it.
- If you are what you say you are as a follower of Jesus, and you want to be that, this is what you have to do.
- It’s like being a coach with a plan.
- Parenting is an intentional process, just like being a disciple. You aren’t accidentally going to be a good parent.
- The first place we should be followers of Jesus, and the best place, is in our marriages and as parents.
- Featured resource below, “Praying The Scriptures For Your Children.”
Fostering Good Things In Your Kids
- Reading to and praying with your littles.
- Proverbs 22:6 is misunderstood and misapplied to the effect of, if you raise your kids in church to be Christians, they will never fall away from the faith. Wrong. It has more to do with a vocation or trade in that culture and time, not faith.
- We had to use the funnel with our kids faith. We teach and train and raise, but the older they got, the more freedom to express and practice, or not, they needed in order for it to be their own, not living out their parents faith.
- This also means letting your kids have the freedom, as they get older, to start choosing their friends. At some point you have to start letting go.
- You will grow as a couple closer together and closer to the Lord if you are on the same team.
Wearing Hats – Homeschooling
- You have a parent hat and a teacher hat.
- Kids have a child hat and a student hat.
- As a homeschooling family you wear different hats. Be clear about which one you a wearing when.
- “Coming of age” moments will happen and you have to adapt and compromise.
- Above all, the family is the most important relationship. If homeschooling is going to damage or destroy the family relationship, find another way. Preserve and protect the family.
- You can’t be so committed to a thing that it breaks your family.
- As they get older you approach them more like a coach, and then even older, more like friends.
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Others posts from this series
- Week 1 – https://www.corbystephens.com/sweet-love-marriage-doesnt-suck-week-1/
- Week 2 – https://www.corbystephens.com/sweet-love-marriage-doesnt-suck-week-2/
- Week 3 – https://www.corbystephens.com/sweet-love-marriage-doesnt-suck/
- Week 4 – https://www.corbystephens.com/sweet-love-marriage-doesnt-suck-week-4-empty-nest/