Be Their Parent Not Their Friend

Art Credit: Scott Maness

Art Credit: Scott Maness

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6 KJV

Parents, your children need you to be their parents. There is a difference in being their parent and being their peer.

God put you in a special position to bring your children up “in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:1 NIV)

The best time to start this process is while they are young. Many times I have had to imagine an unruly 2 year old doing the same thing as a teenager. No matter how cute and innocent they seem as toddlers they still need their parents to show them what is right and what is wrong.

You can see one such example from a blog post I wrote at The Beginning of 2012. I could very easily let that be today’s blog post. Parents need to be firm and consistent in how they handle their children. You cannot worry about being their friend. You are their parent.

They may not always like you but they will respect you and love you for setting boundaries. Many times parents wonder why their children grow to be so bitter and angry at them when they give them everything they could possibly want.

Children need their parents to be parents. They don’t need you to be their sibling. You need to be their parent and teacher.

That does not mean you don’t listen to them. You do need to listen to them. What they have to say is important. You need to keep this in mind.

Listen to exactly what they are telling you. Ask them questions. If they have a complaint, hear them out.

Show you care but be firm in what is best for them. It’s okay to explain things to them. But don’t apologize for being their parent. Don’t give in to letting them have something you know will not help them.

They don’t need everything their friends have. This will be hard to teach your child when they are a teenager if you have not taught them as a small child. If as a small child you gave them everything they could possibly want then you will find they will resist your telling them “no” now.

If you are now faced with teenagers and have made some of these mistakes, it’s not necessarily too late. It will be harder and you will have to be careful in how you approach each obstacle you will face. Be extra quick to listen and slow to speak.

Explain to them and apologize to them for whatever mistakes you have made in the past. Tell them that now you would like to be a better parent and show them that you care about them and how they feel. They need to know that you want what is best for them and are there to help them reach their full potential.

Help them to find friends that are good influences on them. Take them to church. Don’t just send them. What you want to be important to them, let it be important to you as well.

You are their parent. Teach them to love you.

Do you teach your children? Are you afraid that they will not like you? Do you have any other parenting tips for us? Please share them with us in the comments.

This is Day 22 of 31 Days Building Commitment. These posts are expanding on my book “Don’t Quit: Build a Legacy of Commitment”.  You can download your free copy here.

Sometimes I feel these posts are a bit rushed. That is because I’m trying to get them written quickly in order to get to my other responsibilities in the home. If you see any mistakes, or have any questions about something I might say that is confusing please send me an email or fill out the contact form and I’ll fix the post as soon as I possibly can. If you are reading, this post by email please check the actual blog post first to see if I’ve already made the necessary corrections.

At the end of this series I will be going to a much easier to maintain pace. I will probably give myself 2 Days per post in order to make corrections before posting. Thanks for baring with me and continuing to follow along in this series.

~~ Anastacia ~~

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True Love and Commitment in Marriage

Elisabeth asleep with her hands in my sleeves

Elisabeth asleep with her hands in my sleeves. The picture is a little blurry because it was dark in the room.

I am sure some of you may have missed my posts over the weekend. I decided that if I was going to write about love, marriage, and commitment that I needed to be living it. So this weekend I went ahead and put my writing aside to enjoy my family.

Yes, I could have blogged from my phone. But which is better being in karate class with my family or sitting on the sidelines typing a blog post with my thumbs?

I could have stayed in the car while my family went into the store to buy art supplies, but then I would have missed the chance to offer hospitality to friends we saw in the store.

Saturday night I could have blogged but then I would not have been playing my ukulele while my husband played his viola. And then there was the chess game we played together.

Sunday afternoon, I chose to not worry about writing. Instead, I enjoyed watching our children play with their friends after church. We hadn’t seen our friends in a long while and it was a blessing that they visited us.

We had a Bible Study at our church Sunday night. After we got our children to bed, I chose to sleep instead of write. A well rested mother makes for a much happier family.

This morning I read a book to my 3 youngest children while their siblings were working with some animals on a neighbor’s ranch.

This afternoon I agreed to let my son have a pet rooster. I originally planned to let him start with chickens and eventually have a rooster. However my mothering heart realized he was on a humanitarian mission to rescue a rooster that was destined to possibly be someone’s next meal. A pet rooster might be good for him.

I rocked my baby to sleep for a nap. I do not rock her to sleep at night but for a nap, I do. She is growing up so quickly and I know it won’t be long when she won’t let me rock her anymore. So I rock her with her hands stuck up my sleeves. I haven’t fully figured out why she likes to stick her hands up my sleeves when she is tired but she does. I guess she finds comfort that way.

My husband came home and I listened to how his day went before he left with our son to pick up the rooster. They came back with not only the rooster but a hen as well. I guess they didn’t want the rooster to be lonely all by itself.

And while my husband was gone with our son, he told me I should get this blog post written. So I started this post. I also answered what felt like a million questions.

I then rocked the baby to sleep for the second time. Who was so rudely awakened by a brother coming in asking more questions at the top of his voice.

I can’t stop life from happening around me. Sometimes I have to put what I want aside for my family. I can’t be angry with my children for wanting my attention when I would rather write. My husband needs my attention too. Life cannot be only about me and what I want. I need to also keep in mind others and what they want.

This past weekend I chose to live out building commitment instead of just writing about it. That is what this world needs after all, someone to stand up and set an example of what a committed marriage and family should look like.

Have you ever had to give up something you really wanted in order to show commitment to your family? Please share with me in the comments.

Right now our children are in bed and my husband is washing dishes so I can come in here and finish this post. That is what true love looks like. Doing what we wouldn’t want to do otherwise for the good of the one we love.

This is Day 18 of 31 Days Building Commitment. Tomorrow we will continue the series where we left off Friday with finding commitment after divorce.

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Three Steps Toward a Happy Marriage

sselephantsDuring the early years of our marriage, my husband and I had to learn to work with each other. We also had to learn how to communicate. It wasn’t always easy. I mentioned in my last post that since divorce was not an option we could either learn to live together for life as two miserable individuals or we could work hard to learn how to have a happy marriage.

Today I’m going to share a few steps my husband and I took to build a happy marriage.

1. Don’t give up!

First, we did not give up. This is very important. We may have had moments where we felt like giving up.

“He won’t listen to me!”

“She isn’t paying attention!”

“What is so hard about putting away a simple dish?”

“Why won’t he take out the trash?”

These were all questions we internalized. It would have been pretty easy to keep all those problems internal and not even try to communicate. Neither of us like conflict. If we kept our feelings pent up inside then we wouldn’t have to risk making the other person angry.

But by giving up, are we the only ones truly affected? Will the feelings that I think is being kept on the inside really not affect my relationship with my husband? When I have a problem, I can’t give up and hope it just goes away. I have to be proactive and work with my husband not distance myself from him.

2. Read books on marriage.

This is one thing that my husband and I did a lot of. We really liked self-help books and would read and read. There were some books that I remember really benefiting from. Then there were others that left me crying and feeling hopeless. My husband looked at the ones that made me feel bad and he said not to listen to those. You have to consider the source. Some people are writing from a selfish world view. Even if they are popular books that does not mean they are good.

Some books that helped me were

  1. Wife After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George
  2. Opposites Attract Attack by Jack and Carole Mayhall
  3. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
  4. Making Love Last Forever by Gary Smalley
  5. The Act of Marriage by Tim and Beverly Lahaye

Those are just a few of the books that impacted my life. I may think of more but those are the ones that come immediately to mind.

From these books I learned that it is a good thing to do whatever you can to show your spouse that you love them. Don’t be selfish with your love. Learn their primary love language and find ways to show them you love them not just in your own preferred way but how the way they like to be shown love.

For instance if your spouse loves to be given gifts and your preferred method to show love is quality time. Then find someway to put the two together. Perhaps you can save up your money and invest it in quality time shopping together for something you specifically need or want. It doesn’t have to be an expensive gift to show you care.

3. Show you care about your spouse’s hobbies.

Do things together. Does your spouse like music. Find an instrument you can enjoy playing along on. Art? Find ways to be creative together. Writing? Find ways to help. Exercise? Put aside your pride and sweat a little.

I had problems with this early in our marriage. I worried over everything. Is taking karate classes with my husband very lady like? There weren’t very many other women in the class. Most just sat on the sidelines. I don’t want to get hurt. I’ll just watch. But just watching and actually taking part are two totally different things. I’ll talk more on this in a future post.

I also had a problem with learning the guitar. My husband was teaching me how to play the guitar. He was impressed with how fast I learned and how well I remembered chords. I was afraid what if I got better than him at guitar? I didn’t want him to feel bad if I was getting that good at it. So I quit trying. I backed off. Then I read, I believe it was in the Opposite’s Attack book, that my husband actually wants me to take part in his activities. He isn’t jealous if I get better at it than him. In fact, he finds it something worth bragging about.

scottstacieocarinasThat little piece of truth had me crying. I told my husband what I read and he said that it was true. He likes it when I take part in what he is doing and isn’t jealous of my learning something faster than him. He is just thrilled that I am willing to join him in the fun.

Now I play chess, take karate class, play various instruments, draw, and write. Any activity that my husband is interested in, I now take an active part. I play games with him. I go outside my comfort zone and take short term mission trips with him. Even shy little ol’ me took a picture with an elephant giving my hair some extra conditioning. (At least I’m not describing what I got in my hair in the above picture. My expression should tell it all.) :)

Right now our biggest project together is my writing. He has been painting some really beautiful pictures to illustrate anything I write. We’re partners and best friends.

Did you find resources that helped you get through the hard times? Do you have a hobby that you enjoy with your spouse? Please share with us in the comments.

This was Day 16 of 31 Days Building Commitment.

Tomorrow, I am honored to share with you a guest post by a childhood friend of mine, Jill Luna. Jill will be telling us how she found love and commitment even after experiencing failed marriages.

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Embracing the In-Between

I had to fight back tears yesterday. My husband and I were talking about possibly letting our 15 year old son ride his bike a mile down the road where he works as an apprentice. There are days that it would be nice for him to have his own transportation. There are days when I can’t take him or pick him up. We talked about the possibilities and like any good father my husband also pointed out some of the risks.

Elisabeth has some big boots to fill.

Elisabeth has some big boots to fill.

I cried… just a little. I mean do I have to let my little boy grow up? He wants to start taking driver’s ed. If I’m afraid of his riding his bike down the road will I be able to handle him driving? 

Then I looked over at my baby that has just started walking this past week. I asked my husband, “Why do we even teach them how to walk? Before you know it they want to drive.” And my heart aches.

I  just read a book entitled “In Between” by Jeff Goins. He talks about treasuring the moments of waiting. The moments in-between now and the next big thing. Then I realized…I am there right now.

This is my “In-Between” moment. I’m in-between milestones. In-between stages of my children’s development. 

One child just started walking. One is about to start driving. And I can only stand here and watch as all this happens around me. 

I cannot slow down time.

My husband tells me that all of this independence and growth is a good thing.

I hear what he says. I know he is right… But… It is so hard to let go. 

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I must let go though. No more worrying over the inevitable growth that must happen. Instead I will embrace these moments in my children’s lives.

I am blessed to be able to watch them turn into the fine young men and women God has designed them to be.

How about you? Are you at an In-Between moment in your life?  Please share with us in the comments.

I highly recommend you read In-Between.  Learn more about it at InBetweenBook.com

 

~♥~ Anastacia ~♥~

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15 Years of Parenting

Our firstborn son turned 15 yesterday.  It was a busy but fulfilling day. 

Today, I want to share a few pictures and memories I have from Joshua’s life.

Joshua's first horse.

Joshua’s got his 1st horse on his 1st Birthday.

 

The months my husband and I were expecting our firstborn child was exciting. We waited until the day he was born to find out whether he was a boy or a girl. When we picked out his name we agreed we wanted to give our children Bible names. We chose a family name for his middle name.

We named him “Joshua” from the Bible and “King” after his father’s middle name. If he had been a girl he would have been named Ruth Ann.

I had just learned to crochet and taught my husband. Scott was so excited that he crocheted a baby blanket that started off small (because babies are small) and then got tighter and tighter toward the top. It looked like a bell. We decided it would make a beautiful wall decoration for the baby’s room. 

The day before Joshua was born I walked through the freshly cut woods on my parents’ property.  They had sold the trees to build an addition onto the house my dad had built for us. I was already 2 days overdue. Yet I was climbing over trees and limbs. 

That night my husband had gotten home late from working the night shift. We sat in the kitchen looking up at the clock. We just laughed at my irregular contractions. I had decided I was going to be pregnant forever.

My husband headed on to bed. I went to use the restroom when… My waterbroke!

I hollered for my husband. He was in a far bigger hurry than I was. I had heard that a first time mother could take 8 hours to have her first child. My husband grabbed my things and rushed me to the car.

We arrived at the hospital. My husband joked with the attendants, “Help! My wife swallowed a watermelon!”  

Joshua riding a pony when he was about 3 years old.

Joshua riding a pony when he was about 3 years old.

While the doctor was getting ready to deliver my baby she was telling the nurse of her dream that night that she delivered a cow with no skin. My only thought was that my baby had better have skin. That was also the start of my groaning to my husband, “Why did Eve eat the forbidden fruit?” Yes, we humans are prone to blame someone for our trials. I blamed Eve during the birth of Joshua’s younger siblings as well. 

After 4 hours of labor Joshua was born. Red faced and angry. We knew his lungs were healthy. 

Joshua riding a horse that he is training. He'll be teaching Hannah to ride on this horse.

Joshua riding a horse that he is training. He’ll be teaching Hannah to ride on this horse.

Many things have happened in these 15 years. He went from riding a toy horse, to riding a pony, riding horses, and now he is learning to train horses. 

For his 15th birthday we had a full day. I had a doctor’s appointment for Elisabeth. We came back home about the same time Joshua got off work. We fixed lunch, baked a cake, and then I took them all to the Library. Joshua and Ruth got to participate in some games and activities for the teens at the library, while I walked around, and chased the younger siblings. (That is a whole ‘nother blog post. Let’s just say I got a work out.)

We arrived home where their daddy was waiting to take us to the cook out with our neighbors and Joshua’s employers down the road. They have a pond that the kids have been anxiously waiting to swim in all summer.  There were other friends that had come as well making Joshua’s day even more fun. 

At the end of the day, as the mosquitoes were just coming out, we all loaded up into their Gator and Mule and helped feed and take horses out to pasture. 

We all had so much fun. But the time had come to go home.

15 Candles on Joshua's German Chocolate Cake

15 Candles on Joshua’s German Chocolate Cake

Joshua hadn’t opened any presents at this point. I had wrapped his presents in plastic bags and hid them inside a big cereal box. We asked him to clear a spot for his cake. He started moving the box and we told him to make sure it wasn’t trash in the box. I’m not sure at what point he figured out we had hid his presents. He laughed though.

We got him a new Cowboy hat to wear places other than work. His work hat had gotten quite dirty and we started having to request he not where it anywhere besides his work. He was very happy to receive a new hat.

I had been having my good coffee cups disappear. One day they all reappeared in my kitchen sink. He had been taking them in the mornings to work and kept forgetting to bring them back. So his next birthday present was a large mug. He’ll be able to take coffee in it and then fill it with water while he is working. It’s so big he shouldn’t forget it too often. 

The next thing he received was a Action Bible Story book. It is Bible stories done in Comic Book format. We also got him a book on how to write comics. He loves to draw and enjoys writing and drawing comic book characters. So both these books were right up his alley.

We want to encourage our children to use their interests and talents to improve their surroundings and bring honor to God. We got the Action Bible for him so that he can see what a Christian can do with that talent.

In what ways have you encouraged your children to use their talents? Do you have any special traditions were started with your firstborn? Feel free to share with me in the comments.

I am richly blessed to have such a wonderful son.

And to my son…  

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage;

be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed:

for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

-Joshua 1:9

I love you, Joshua! I pray your 15th year will be a blessed one.

Love,

~♥~ Mom ~♥~

 

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The Cat Who Writes

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In my latest homeschool co-op creative writing class, I taught my students about perspective. Who better to help me teach perspective than Pooh Hodges, The Cat Who Writes.

When I first introduced Pooh’s blog to my children, Hannah, my 8 year old was a bit skeptical that a cat could write. I explained that he dictates to Mrs. Hodges and that she types for him but Hannah wanted proof. I told Hannah she could ask Pooh how he does it.

Pooh not only answered Hannah’s letter, he featured it on his blog.  You can just click on the words “Hannah’s Letter” to read that post.

Pooh dictates to his typist Pamela Hodges who has her own blog at “i paint. i write.”  In fact that Bold Blue Toilet seat you may have noticed in the side bar of my post is a link to her site as well. When your done checking out Pooh’s blog, you should really check her’s out as well.

I brought our pet fish, Peachy, to co-op and Peachy’s presence really opened up both classes to some great discussions. I had the older class write on their own what they thought Peachy was thinking. The younger class I had tell me what they thought he was thinking. Then we had Peachy write a letter to Pooh. Peachy was in a strange environment and was a bit nervous of his surroundings as you can see in his letter. 2013-04-22 11.12.30

“Dear Pooh,

What’s going on here? I am scared in this strange place.

I am hungry. Thankfully my people brought food for me.

If you were to visit our class, please don’t eat me.

I want to be friends. Will you send me a letter too?

Have you ever eaten a fish? You wouldn’t eat me, right?

Thank you for sharing your story with us.

Love,

Peachy”

I hadn’t shared this letter with Pooh yet. You may want to follow his blog to see if he decides to write Peachy back.

Now I want to hear from you. 

Do you understand your pet? Do you find yourself putting words in your pet’s mouth? If you don’t have a pet do you find yourself talking for any other animals?

Please share. I’m curious how many of my friends do that too.

Check out both Pooh’s blog the cat who writes and Pamela’s blog i paint. i write..

And you can find out more about why I have a blue toilet seat on my blog by clicking on this picture.  the blue toilet seat

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Freedom to Enjoy Life

Co-op was canceled this week. I get an extra week to make my lessons even better. So instead of highlighting a fellow writer today, I decided to share a few pictures and tell about some of what we’ve been doing.

dirt

This past month, I’ve been making sure my children have ample opportunity to just be children. One of their favorite places to play is over at the nearby ranch where our oldest son works as an apprentice.

The day after Hannah’s birthday we all went over to visit the animals. Of course they had high hopes of getting to ride a horse too.

But while they waited to ride a horse their imaginations took over.

Jonathan

Jonathan and his invisible horse

 

 

Hannah

Hannah found a saddle on a stand she could ride.

Ruth

Ruth just loves any horse she can hug. Especially the babies.

 

 

Joshua

Joshua has been learning a lot while working as an apprentice. He was proud to be able to show us how to put a saddle on a horse.

Elijah

Elijah’s favorite part seemed to be watching the pigeons and chickens that were in their coop.

 

 

Elisabeth

Elisabeth didn’t let all the excitement get in the way of a good nap.

siblings

Ruth leads her younger siblings to find water to drink

 
I love to see my children growing and learning. 

They need these opportunities to be free to learn on their own and in their own way within the eyesight of a loving parent that won’t let them get hurt.

Ah, yes! I can learn something from my children.

Maybe I could use to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Let my hair down. Enjoy freedom under the steady watch of my loving Heavenly Father who is always with me. He’s always within reach. Any time I fall down God’s right there to lift me up and dust me off.

What do you plan to do to enjoy life today? I’d love to hear your ideas.

 

I may just forget chores this afternoon and go play outside barefoot with my kids. The dishes will still be here when I get back.

 

barefoot

 

 

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Here For My Children

photo (1)I am linking up again at Lisa-Jo’s for another Five Minute Friday.

The rules are

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Today’s word prompt is “Here”. 

My timer is set.

GO!

Here I am with a baby in my lap. Wondering if I can have a few extra minutes for typing a little encumbered. But I won’t I’m sitting here thinking about why I am here.

I am here for a reason. There is a reason I choose to type. God gave me my beautiful family. I have many friends online and in real life.

I am happy here. I have my baby here sleeping in my arms. I like having my children here with me. Even when they try to distract or draw my attention from what I am doing here. I know they are the reason I am doing this. I remind myself of that and I stop and listen. If I am doing this for them then I can stop typing for them too.

But here in this moment I have five minutes of quiet granted to me by 5 of my 6 children and I type.

Stop

This is my second time to do Five Minute Friday. I did it in one take this time.

Now your turn. What are you doing “here”? 

Please share with us in the comments. If you participated in today’s Five Minute Friday, let me know and I’d love to check out your post.
Five Minute Friday

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Adventures with 6 Kids at the Dentist’s

I received a call from our Family dentist Wednesday afternoon confirming our appointment for the next day.

I didn’t even pretend to hide my shock. I forgot!

The kind receptionist just laughed and said that she was glad she called. I assured her we would be there.

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Elisabeth is playing peek-a-boo while Jonathan is putting his big brother’s hat on my head.

Yes. Living in Plan B a second time this week. What were my original plans for Thursday? I don’t know anymore.

I do know that my plan wasn’t driving 5 hours round trip with 6 children for their 4 hour dentist appointment.

This is not my kids’ first dentist appointment. It’s just the first one I forgot about.

Then I got a call from my dad saying the Dentist office just called to confirm his appointment and told him, he was going to see some grandchildren.

A squeal of excitement arose throughout the house as the kids realized Papa had a dentist appointment too.

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Jonathan sat in Nana’s chair. He told her she could sit on his lap.

Something good happened with Plan B. My dad told me that he was just as excited as the kids.

Entertaining the kids wasn’t nearly as challenging with Papa and Nana in the waiting room.

You know…That surprise was a gift from God. He knew I was a bit apprehensive about the long drive and the long hours of waiting with my kids.

It’s like He gave me a hug and told me that it’s all going to be okay.

This is how the 3 youngest and I looked by the end of the wait.

This is how the 3 youngest and I looked by the end of the wait.

Have you ever felt that way?On those days, weeks, or even months when nothing seems to go as planned. Have you ever had a surprise that made you feel loved despite all your shortcomings?

As always feel free to share with me in the comments. Or send me an email.

Joshua and Ruth with their nice, clean smiles.

Joshua and Ruth with their nice, clean smiles.

Oh, and as an added plus to my day. My husband installed a new calendar app for me. Now to just start using it. :-)

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How to Baby Proof Your Kitchen in 8 “Easy” Steps

You may remember a recent post I did on How to Maintain a Clean Kitchen in 6 “Easy” Steps. Well, the more mobile your youngest becomes your methods sometimes have to adjust. Especially when your oldest young’ns are away.

I now present you with my latest method of baby proofing the kitchen with less helpers.

Are you ready?

Step 1: Hold your baby out in front of you. Take a good look at her. Pay close attention to her size. Smile real big and coo before continuing on to Step 2.

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Step 2: Position your baby on your hip and hold her with one arm. Grab a broom with the other.

Step 3: Sweep a spot on the floor at least two baby lengths square. (May need 3 baby lengths if your baby is a fast crawler.)

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Step 4: Keeping broom in close reach set baby down on the floor.

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Step 5: Quick! Grab broom. Immediately start sweeping the area your baby heads toward.

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Step 6: Throw a pan lid and spoon in her path to slow her down a bit.

(WARNING: Pan lid and spoon are no match for the Cheerios clear across the floor in keeping your baby’s attention.)

20130221-233757.jpg(But having a big brother with a matching lid and spoon helps.)

Step 7: Grab dust pan. Sweep it all into dust pan before baby sees the dust pan. (Dust pans are even more attractive than Cheerios!)

Step 8: When baby gets fussy because you took all the “fun” stuff away give her a nice big carrot to teeth on.

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How about you? Do you have any great baby proofing tips you’ve learned along the way? Please share them with us in the comments.

I have so many things to write about. The hard part is deciding what to write about first. I’m also contemplating a few book ideas. Be watching for more on that.

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Let me know what you think!

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