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Scripture teaches how important it is that we pass on God's truths to our children. There is no greater gift we can give them. To give them Jesus is to give them all that God's promises hold for us. The Bible says in (Proverbs 22:6), "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." (NIV) Parenting in not an easy job. We all need help and encouragement in this area. We hope these tips will be a blessing as you develop your parenting skills.

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  • Parenthood is not all "neat and tidy". Sometimes it can be a really messy job. In the end, the result is the JOY of knowing that you are affecting a life for eternity by introducting them to Jesus Christ.
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  • The Funny Side of Parenting
  • Enjoy a few riddles with your children or grandchildren.

    Q: What do snowmen eat for breakfast?

    A: Snowflakes.

    Q: What did one snowman say to the other?

    A: Do you smell carrots?

    Q: What do they sing at a snowman’s birthday party?

    A: Freeze a jolly good fellow.

    Q: What do you call a snowman in the tropics?

    A: Lost.

    Q: What do you call a snowman in the summer?

    A: Puddle.

    Q: How do snowmen get around?

    A: They ride an icicle.

    JULY 2017

  • TRAINING vs CORRECTION
  • Most parents use correction as their tool for changing behavior. That’s not wrong. In fact, God uses correction with us, his children, to help us change. But a heart-based approach to parenting is much bigger than that. In fact, many parents move to consequences too quickly.

    A reward/punishment model for changing behavior rarely works for the long-term. In fact, kids with ADHD or who are strong-willed only change temporarily in order to avoid the punishment or gain the reward. Furthermore, the reward has to get bigger and bigger or the punishment worse and worse in order to be effective, often rendering the whole system ineffective.

    A heart-based approach focuses on training. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go.” That one idea is revolutionary for many parents. Some don’t get it. They think that just means use more correction. But training is significantly different. It focuses on practicing doing the right thing, whereas correction focuses simply getting rid of the wrong actions.

    In addition, when children practice doing what’s right then they develop new patterns of thinking and acting. The essence of character has to do with patterns of thinking and acting. A patient person thinks and acts differently than an impatient person. An organized person thinks and acts differently than a disorganized person. Any character quality can be defined this way: A pattern of thinking and acting in response to a challenge.

    But how do you respond rightly when Mom tells you to get off the iPad to set the table and you haven’t arrived at the next level of the video game? Or, how should a child respond to an annoying brother. It’s those kinds of questions that can lead parents into a training mode.

    Too often parents talk about what the child should be doing but don’t teach the child how to do it. “How” is the core of training. When parents move into a training strategy of parenting, kids actually change more effectively.

    (For more information about training routines in your family you might want to check out the Parenting is Heart Work Training Manual with Eight Audio Sessions by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    JUNE 2017

  • Help Children Change TheirHEARTS
  • In parenting, it’s easy to get sucked into the trap of focusing on behavior, getting the right actions down, but not knowing how to address the heart. Jesus criticized the Pharisees, saying that they looked good on the outside but their hearts were still not changed. He said, "First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean."

    But how do you do it? You can't force children to change their hearts. But we can do a lot to motivate them to make the necessary changes. We've identified several tools that, when used properly, address the heart. First, use sorrow instead of anger in the discipline process. Parents who misuse this technique often lay a guilt trip on their children. The key is to be genuine. If you, as a parent, look past your anger for a moment you will see that you truly are sad about what your child has done because you know the long-term consequences of such behavior. Reflect it in a gentle way. It's amazing to see how children will respond.

    Another way to influence a child's heart is to use the scriptures. The Bible has an amazing quality, the ability to pierce through to the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Don't use the Bible in a harsh way. Instead reveal what the Bible has to say about being kind or respectful or obedient. There's a lot of wisdom and conviction that comes through the scriptures.

    Be sure to talk about the heart during times of correction. "I can see you're angry because I said no, I'd like you to take a break for a bit and settle your heart down and when you're ready, come back and we'll talk about it." It will take work and a child may need some long times to settle down at first, but a change of heart is worth it in the end. Resolve the tension by having a Positive Conclusion together. Talk about what went wrong and why it was wrong. Address heart issues, not just behavior and help children see things from a deeper perspective.

    You may think of some other ideas but whatever you do, don't rely on simple behavior modification techniques. They don't go deep enough and often don't address the real issues.

    (To learn more about how to help children change their hearts, consider the book, Good and Angry, Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    MAY 2017

  • When Children React with ANGER
  • The child who doesn't like an instruction or limitation may reveal frustration outwardly, sometimes in a small way and other times with downright revenge. One mom said, "I can tell when my thirteen-year-old son is frustrated and upset. He becomes more abrupt in his actions and words. His roughness sends a message that says, 'I'm not happy with you."

  • It's important to remember TWO rules of engagement when confronted by a child's anger.
  • Rule of Engagement #1: Don't be afraid of your child's emotions. Sometimes children use outbursts as a form of self-protection to prevent parents from challenging them. View the display of emotion as a smoke screen and look past it to the heart of the issue. You may not confront in the heat of emotion but don't let your child's anger prevent you from correcting him or her. Parents too often see the emotion as a personal attack and react to it, losing any real benefit that could come from the interaction. That brings us to…
  • Rule of Engagement #2: Don't' use your own anger to overpower your child's anger. Proverbs 15:1 says, "A gentle answer turns away anger." When you begin to lose it, take a break. Come back later and work on it some more: "I've been thinking about the way you responded to me earlier when I asked you to do your homework. I'd like to share an observation that might be helpful for you. It seems that you believe you ought to be able to wait and do your homework just before bed or in the morning before you go to school. Is that what you're saying? One of the values I'm trying to teach you is that self-discipline often means we work first and play later. That's one of the reasons I require you to do your homework early every day. I'm trying to teach you an important value. I know that you may not agree with me, but I want you to know why I'm asking you to do homework before dinner."
  • Allowing emotions to settle first can bring opportunities for dialogue later, instead of turning the present issue into a battleground. Realize that kids will go away thinking about what you've said, even if their initial response looks as if they haven't heard you. This is especially true for teenagers. Prepare what you're going to say and choose your timing carefully without getting caught up in the emotion of the moment.

    (For more on how to help children deal with emotions, read chapter six in the book, Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller)

    APRIL 2017

  • Building Character in the Small Things
  • There's more to giving instructions than just accomplishing tasks or getting children to do what parents say for the sake of convenience. Valuable lessons for life are hidden within the instruction process. Through instruction, children learn character and skills that will help them to be successful outside the home. They learn things like how to set aside their agenda for someone else, how to complete a job without Mom or Dad reminding them, how to report back when they're done, and how to be responsible when no one is watching.

    Most importantly, children learn to respond to Mom and Dad so that they will have the necessary character to obey God as they grow older. Maybe that's why Solomon talks fifteen times in the book of Proverbs about the importance of listening to instructions. As you concentrate on a routine for giving instructions, you will pave the way for healthy spiritual relationships between your children and God.

    By teaching children to follow directions you help them develop the character they need to listen to God's instructions and obey him. It's a lot of work but the time you invest now has benefits that will last a lifetime. After all, as adults, we must also comply with instructions that we don't particularly like. Sometimes God asks us to do something we don't fully understand or wish we didn't have to do. Obedience usually requires work, self-discipline, and humility, qualities not easily found in society today.

    The instruction process builds character by helping children learn to follow directions without arguing or complaining. When parents give up on giving instructions, they miss valuable teaching opportunities. That doesn't mean parents should just overpower their kids. If you work to implement an instruction routine, both you and your kids will benefit. The ramifications are important because as you do the daily work of parenting, your children are learning how to respond not only to you, but also to their future employers, team leaders, and ultimately to God.

    (For more on how to build a good Instruction Routine with your children, consider the book Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    MARCH 2017

  • Obey First and Then We'll Talk About It
  • When parents give an instruction but children don't want to comply or it's not convenient for them, sometimes they need to learn to "obey first and then we'll talk about it." This emphasizes obedience.

    If little Brian has pulled a chair over to the counter and is climbing onto it, you may say, "Brian, we don’t climb on chairs."

    "But I was just…"

    "No, you need to get down. Obey first and then we'll talk about it." Once he gets down, discuss the problem and find a solution together.

    "Katy, go get your pajamas on."

    "I don't want to go to bed."

    "No, obey first and then we'll talk about it."

    To some parents this may sound like blind obedience. We've all heard stories about people who were led into cultish activity because they couldn't think for themselves. No parent wants a child to fall into a pattern of blindly following a leader's instructions, but evaluating instructions is an advanced skill.

    Many parents have gone too far in the other direction ending up with children who can't follow simple instructions without a dialogue. Parents sometimes believe they have to talk their child into wanting to obey. Inadvertently, these parents teach their children that if you don't like a request then that's enough reason to resist it. These children make poor employees, develop selfish attitudes about following someone else's leadership, and have a difficult time in relationships because they haven't learned how to sacrifice their own agenda for others.

    Talking about it is important but sometimes even we, as adults, must obey first and then understand later. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son without fully understanding and then considered it faith for him to obey. Peter didn't know why he was to go to Cornelius' house but went anyway only to discover that God wanted to bring salvation to the Gentiles. Philip was asked to leave a revival in Samaria and go out into the wilderness, not knowing why, but when he got there he led an Ethiopian man to Christ.

    Evaluating instructions is an advanced skill and will become important later on but children need to learn that sometimes we all must "obey first and then we'll talk about it."

    (This tip comes from the book Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN

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    FEBRUARY 2017

  • Firmness without the Harshness
  • Knowing how and when to discipline can be a challenge for any parent. We find understanding some basic principles can be helpful. One principle to remember is that firmness doesn’t require harshness. Firmness says there is a line here that you cannot cross. Harshness pours emotional intensity into the situation to communicate that you mean business.

    Unfortunately, many dads and moms use anger as a way to demonstrate firmness to train their children. But, anger and harshness get in the way of the learning process for kids. In an attempt to build relationship, some parents spend too much time dialoguing about instructions. They try to defend their words, persuade their children to do what they're told, or logically explain the value of obeying. When children remain unresponsive, then parents resort to anger. This is counterproductive.

    Children must understand that privilege and responsibility go together. The young person who can't do the right thing when Mom isn't watching may lose the privilege of staying at home alone while Mom runs to the store. The child who can't do a job and report back but disappears, leaving the job undone, may lose the privilege of going to a friend's house or going to the mall alone. Firmness is important but it doesn’t require an angry response from the parent.

    Children must understand that if they want to have privileges, they must be willing to abide by the family principles. As often as possible we want to tie those two things together. After all, Jesus said the same thing in a parable to his disciples when he said, "Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities" (Luke 19:17). It's a principle of life, both in the family and out.

    (Find more great tips like this in The Christian Parenting Handbook! 50 short chapters with encouragement and wisdom for your family).

    JANUARY 2017

  • The Wise Appeal
  • When children know how to obey then we can give them the privilege of using a wise appeal. When a child doesn't like a request or instruction, they may use a wise appeal that goes something like this:

  • I understand you want me to…because…
  • I have a problem with that because…
  • So could I please…
  • The first phrase helps the child identify with the concerns and needs of the parent. When parents feel understood they're more likely to listen to alternatives, negotiate, or compromise.

    The second phrase helps the parent to understand the child's predicament and reason for discussion.

    In the third phrase the child offers a creative solution that addresses both the concerns of Mom or Dad and the concerns of the child.

    You may say to your seven-year-old son, "It's time to clean up the playroom now. We have to go run errands." If he's just gotten involved in his train set, he might say, "I understand you want me to clean up because we have to go out, I have a problem with that because I just set up my train track, could I please leave my train out until we get home?"

    Of course, a child in this situation needs to be able to accept "no" as an answer. A child who is unable to accept "no" without having a tantrum isn't ready to use the wise appeal and loses it as a privilege. Sometimes however, the wise appeal can be helpful in family life. It teaches children an honoring way to appeal.

    Some children may try to use the wise appeal in a manipulative way or may not be mature enough to handle it. A child may try to use the wise appeal to get out of doing a job altogether. This is unacceptable. The wise appeal results in a contract between parent and child. This contract requires trust and when a child proves responsible, then the child earns the privilege of more trust.

    The wise appeal is illustrated in Scripture in the lives of Daniel, Esther, and Nehemiah who all had to go to an authority to present a difficult situation. Their success happened, in part, because of the way they made their requests. By teaching the wise appeal, you teach children an adult skill they can use forever.

    (To learn more about how to make the wise appeal work in your family, consider the book, Say Goodbye the Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller RN, BSN).

    DECEMBER 2016

  • What to Do When Kids Are Annoying
  • Dealing with annoying behavior is not like disciplining for defiance or teaching a child to follow instructions. When it comes to impulsivity, the child can't always make changes just by choosing something different. In many cases, kids don't realize that they're being annoying and they don't know what to do to be more appropriate. Furthermore, these patterns often come from habits that have been practiced for a long time. These reasons are not excuses for inappropriate behavior but they're a further indication that the job will take concentrated effort from the child and the parents.

    Part of the issue is immaturity; the child hasn't learned how to pick up on the social cues or restrain behavior as much as we'd like. But these children need more than just time to grow up. They need concentrated work to develop two character qualities: self-control and sensitivity. These qualities not only help children when they're young, but they become tools for success as children get older.

    Here are some working definitions for sensitivity and self-control to get you started with your children in this area:

    Self-control is the ability to control myself so that Mom and Dad don't have to.

    Self-control means to think before I act.

    Self-control is the ability to talk about problems instead of grabbing, pushing, or hitting.

    Self-control means that I limit the noises I make when others are around.

    Self-control means that I focus on one thing until it gets done, before I move to the next.

    Sensitivity means that when I walk into a room I look and listen before I speak.

    Sensitivity is thinking about how my actions are affecting other people.

    Sensitivity means thinking about how I could help someone else.

    Working on these two character qualities can help children become more self aware, and can help your parenting become more positive.

    (This parenting tip comes from the book Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    NOVEMBER 2016

  • Caring for Others
  • One of the great ways to help children think of giving instead of just getting at Christmas is to reach out to others you don't even know. This one activity can do a tremendous amount to help kids focus on others, not just themselves. Here are some ideas:

    Pray for missionaries in other parts of the world. Create a care package for a family and mail it off in time to arrive by Christmas Day.

    Get involved in your church's gift-giving program. Most churches provide ways to give tangible gifts to those in need. Ask around your community for organizations that are providing gifts for others.

    Take some homemade food and crafts to a local rest home or senior citizen center. Sing songs and greet people. Tell them Merry Christmas. Before you go and when you're finished, talk to your kids about the people you are visiting. Sometimes caring for people can be a challenge and a blessing. Discussions help children understand it all in practical terms.

    Make sure that children understand that Christmas is a time when we can share the love of Jesus with others. After all, that's what God did for us.

    (This parenting tip comes from the book Motivate Your Child Action Plan by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller.)

    OCTOBER 2016

  • When Kids Want to Fight
  • When children are unhappy they look for ways to draw their parents into a fight. Kids know just where your buttons are and how to push them to make you angry. "Dad wouldn't do it that way," or "You never let me have fun," might be all that's needed to create the volcano effect. When children get angry and are looking for a fight, it's as if they step into the boxing ring and invite you to join them.

    All too often parents, believing that they are stronger, smarter, and more powerful, are willing to put on the gloves and enter the ring to "teach this kid a lesson" or "put him in his place." The key indicator that says you want to accept the invitation to fight is your harshness. The intensity increases as each party is determined to win the battle. Unfortunately, setting ourselves up as opponents does more damage to the relationship than we expect.

    Instead of getting into the ring with your children, imagine going around the ring to the child's corner and becoming a coach. You might say, "I'm not going to discuss this with you while you're upset. First, you need to settle down and then we'll talk about the problem." Or, "The way you're talking to me sounds like you're trying to provoke me into an argument. I'm not going to fight with you."

    Coaching children out of the boxing ring means that we stop dealing with the issue at hand and instead discuss the way we're relating. Moving our focus from the issue to the process has a dramatic effect on the relationship when things begin to get tense. The parent refuses to become a sparring partner and instead looks for ways to improve the relationship. This doesn't mean that the child will instantly become responsive, but it does mean that the parent chooses a different posture, one that offers healing instead of antagonism, and closeness instead of distance.

    (This parenting tip comes from the book Good and Angry, Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids, by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN).

    SEPTEMBER 2016

  • How Do You Define a Change of Heart?
  • At the National Center for Biblical Parenting we talk a lot about helping children change their hearts. You may be thinking, "My children don't know how to change their hearts." What does that mean anyway, and what can we expect in any given discipline situation?

    When a child has done the wrong thing, it's often helpful to require some alone time with instructions like, "You need to take a break. Come back and we'll talk about this after you change your heart." Children may not understand how it happens but with practice they can learn to change their hearts. A change of heart in children involves four steps:

    1. Stop fighting, calm down, and be willing to talk about the problem

    2. Acknowledge having done something wrong

    3. Be willing to change

    4. Commit to doing right

    These are all steps that a child can do. Ideally we would also like to see two other steps take place:

    5. Feel sorrow for doing wrong

    6. Have a desire to do what's right

    Now, that may sound like a lot, but children grow into this process slowly and we can help them through the steps. If your son has been disrespectful in the way he spoke to you, first he needs to stop and settle down and be willing to work on the problem. Then secondly, he needs to acknowledge that he was wrong. Thirdly, he needs to be willing to respond differently next time. And lastly, he needs to commit to trying to do better.

    Sometimes children may only settle down (Step #1) in the "break." Then they are ready to process the other steps with the parent. Other times, children may be able to work through all four steps and then just report back to the parent. The only prerequisite for coming back from a break is that a child be willing to work on changing the heart.

    Your child may be ready to change without knowing what the right thing is to do next time. Remember, we're looking for heart level changes. Once your child has had a change of heart, then you can help your child learn what was wrong and what he or she can do differently next time.

    Remember, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7) Teaching children to change their hearts is a valuable lesson that they will benefit from for the rest of their lives.

    (This tip was taken from the book, Parenting is Heart Work, by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    AUGUST 2016

  • Is Obedience Old-Fashioned?
  • We live in a society where an emphasis on teaching obedience sounds to some like heavy-handed authoritarianism. Parents don't want to be dictators so they sometimes move far away from anything that looks like being controlling. This is unfortunate since God is the one who gave the instructions for children to learn obedience. Hidden within this quality are the principles that will make children successful as they get older.

    When children learn to obey they learn to give up their own agenda for someone else. They learn to listen to an instruction and follow through with it. They learn how to be responsible, check back, and complete a task. In short, when children learn obedience, they not only make family life easier but they also develop the character that will make them more valuable in the work place, the community, and the world. In fact, learning to obey parents teaches kids what they need in order to obey God.

    We say that obedience is "doing what someone says, right away, without being reminded." Children as young as three years old can memorize this simple definition and understand what it means. Parents sometimes think that obedience is the same as compliance. When a parent says, "I can get my children to obey eventually," that's not obedience. Compliance is only part of obedience. When you say to your son, "It’s time to go to bed now," and he says, "As soon as I'm done with this game," that's not obedience; it's an excuse for disobedience.

    As parents, it's okay to negotiate and compromise with our children sometimes, but too often children aren't mature enough for this. In fact, they may be demanding, unable to give up their agenda for someone else. Cooperation requires that both people give and take. In order to get to that stage, children must first learn how to sacrifice or follow. Once they learn that, true cooperation can take place.

    Teach obedience and you’ll give your children a valuable gift that will be used for the rest of their lives.

    (This tip comes from the book Home Improvement, the Parenting Book You Can Read to Your Kids by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN)

    JULY 2016

  • Stop the Intensity in Conflict
  • Sometimes a child's stubbornness or defiance is obvious. In those moments, stop dealing with the issue at hand and talk about the process of how you're relating. "I can tell you're upset and it's not good for us to continue until you settle down. I'd like you to take a break and come back when you're ready to continue talking about this." Have the child sit in the hall or on the top step or some other boring place. After the child has settled down, then he or she needs to come back to you and talk about the problem.

    If your child comes back without having a heart change, then send the child back again. One dad told the story of seven-year-old Sarah who was yelling at her brother. "I called her upstairs to talk to me about it and she began yelling at me. I told her that was inappropriate and to take a break for a bit and settle down. About a minute later she came back but was obviously not changed. Her head was tilted down, her posture was slumping and her bottom lip was sticking out. I didn't even have to talk with her. I just told her what I saw, "Sarah, I can tell you're not ready yet. The way you're standing and the expression on your face all tell me that you still have a problem in your heart. I want you to go back until you're ready to come out with a changed heart.

    “This time she stayed away for about 20 minutes and when she returned she was obviously different. In fact, I took her head in my hands and looked deep into her eyes and said, 'I can see your heart in there. It looks pretty nice right now. It looks like you're ready to talk about this.' Sarah giggled and then we continued to talk about the problem. I explained to her that she could not yell at her dad. That is disrespectful even if she is angry. We also talked about the right responses she could have if she was angry with her brother."

    By enforcing a break, this dad helped Sarah change her heart. Don't allow conflict to escalate into a battle. Stop the intensity with a break. It will not only help you stay calm but it will help your children develop some maturity about dealing with conflict.

    (This tip was taken from the book, Parenting is Heart Work, by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    JUNE 2016

  • Teaching Children About Anger
  • Anger is a common problem in family life, especially among siblings. Although it’s very frustrating for parents, a wise mom or dad can use anger episodes to teach kids some valuable lessons about anger control and dealing with emotions.

    First, empathize with your child about the offense. "I can see why you’re upset. That makes sense."

    Second, if the offender was wrong, acknowledge that fact. "Your brother was wrong to continue to tease you after you asked him to stop, but that doesn’t mean you can be unkind to him."

    This kind of statement is helpful because children often feel that their anger is justified when the other person is wrong. By agreeing that the other person is wrong, but still correcting for angry response, the parent shows that a wrong action doesn’t justify meanness in return. Children need to understand that even if the other person is wrong, their own response is very important.

    Third, talk about alternative responses. Children need to learn that sometimes they should confront and other times they should let the offense go. Romans 12:18 is a great verse for children caught in relational problems: "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

    You can’t always change the other person, but you can control your response. God gave us anger and other emotions to help us sense things about life. Those who save up anger out of self-protection, however, are making a mistake. By teaching your children how to give and receive forgiveness, you will equip them with tremendous skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.

    (This tip was taken from the book Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    MAY 2016

  • The Most Common Parenting Question of All
  • The question we're probably asked the most often in our parenting seminars and radio interviews is, "What do I do when my kids act out in the grocery store?" We all have stories from our own families and we've observed other children throw tantrums, run away, whine, complain, or disobey in the store. We may write a booklet someday called, "How to Parent in Public." Then we could all carry around these booklets and hand them out to frustrated parents in public places.

    At least part of the answer is that you don't practice your discipline strategies in the grocery store. That's the final exam! You practice in the kitchen, bedroom, laundry room, and backyard. Children need to learn how to handle disappointment at home so they can accept a no answer in the check out line. Our kids need to learn to come when they're called so that they'll respond in public. Children who haven't learned how to accept correction at home without a bad attitude will miserably fail the test when they have an audience.

    Look for ways to reproduce the grocery store situations at home, at the park, and in other places so that children can learn positive routines to use in public. Talk about how to act at the bank, the library, and the store. Teach your children the "No Touch Rule" and the "Don't be Wild Rule" and practice them often. It won't be long before you'll be able to take your young children into the Hallmark store with all those dangerously beautiful things waiting to be broken. If you've practiced then your kids will do fine and people will say, "Oh what nice little kids you have." Of course those people don't realize how much work you've done to help your children develop the character to handle these temptations.

    Then the grocery store will be easier. That doesn't mean you won't ever have a problem. In those times you have to do as best as you can, get what you need and get out of there, but the difficult times will be far fewer than the successful ones when you take time to practice at home.

    (This tip is from chapter 24 in the book The Christian Parenting Handbook by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    APRIL 2016

  • Teaching Children To Make Wise Choices
  • If I could do my parenting all over again, I would spend less time on teaching my kids to obey me and spend more time teaching them to make wise choices. Please don’t misunderstand me. It is good for children to obey their parents, but it is better for children to hear directly from God and obey Him because they want to.

    If we make all the decisions for our children, they won’t know how to make decisions for themselves. You might ask, “What type of things should I let my child make decisions on?”

    Start with things that really don’t matter, in other words, things that are not a sin. (Just because the Bible says, “Children obey your parents in the Lord” doesn’t mean that every word that comes out of your mouth is scripture.)

    As your children get older, you need to allow them to say no to you at times. For example: you might want to go to Applebee’s for dinner, but your child doesn’t like Applebee’s. It’s okay to let him or her make some of the decisions as long as it is not rebellion or manipulation.

    Another important aspect of teaching our children to make right choices is allowing them to experience the consequences – good or bad – of their choices.

    Too many times well meaning parents will “rescue” their children from experiencing the negative consequences of wrong choices. When we do this, and we all do, we actually teach our children that it is okay to make a wrong choice because someone will always be there to save them and in the end, we set them up for failure.

    Eli did this with Hophni and Phinehas. He should have fired them because they dishonored the Lord and caused God’s people to transgress, but instead he continued to keep them employed as priests at the temple. The end result was that Eli and his sons died and most likely are in hell. The Bible says, “their sins will never be forgiven.”(Samuel 3:14)

    It’s really hard to do this as a parent, because we don’t want our kids to experience heartache, but if we rescue them we are not allowing the law of sewing and reaping to operate in their lives. (By Mark Harper from Superchruch.com)

    MARCH 2016

  • Should You Give Rewards Equally?
  • Rewards can be helpful at times to encourage growth in character. If you have a daughter who continually interrupts, you may focus on the character quality of thoughtfulness. You may teach her a how to interrupt respectfully so that whenever she feels like interrupting, instead of just talking, she puts her hand on your arm as a signal that she wants to talk. You might then put your hand on her hand indicating that you have "heard" her and that you will allow her to speak in just a moment. It's a great technique to teach thoughtfulness. What if the child is still having a hard time not interrupting? You may try a reward to raise the motivation for your daughter and get her over the initial hump to learn a new pattern.

    Be sure though as you work with habits of behavior like this you're also talking about the heart. "I appreciate the way you're becoming more thoughtful." Or, "We're doing this to help you develop self control.”

    Sometimes parents struggle because when they reward one child, they feel they need to reward all their children. Should you reward one child when you don't reward the other? This thought comes from the belief that fair means equal. Children often point out what they view to be inequity in a situation and call that unfair. But children are all unique. Each child has different strengths and weaknesses, and should be treated uniquely. Parents get into real trouble when they try to treat all their kids equally.

    Teach your children that you don't even try to treat them the same. If a brother sees his sister receiving a reward, and he wants one too, then you might say, "Your sister is working on something in her life and the reward is for her progress and effort. If you want to work on a character quality in your life, let me know and I'll think of a reward for you too." Don't be motivated by the "It's not fair" complaint. That's just an indication that children don't understand what fairness really is.

    Fairness treats all children according to their needs, which usually isn't equal. Each child needs to feel loved and cared for. Each child needs to work on particular issues. Focus on each of your children as individuals and reward them according to their needs.

    (For more information about developing character qualities in your children consider, Motivate Your Child Action Plan by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    FEBRUARY 2016

  • But I Have to Yell to Be Heard
  • Do you find yourself yelling just to be heard? Does the yelling frustrate you but you feel there’s no other way? We find that parents often yell when they don’t have another working plan. Some parents don’t know how to fix a problem with their kids so they become louder, thinking that the intensity created through yelling will have some kind of positive effect. It doesn’t work.

    Motivating with harshness can keep children in line or get them to accomplish a task, but that method damages family relationships. In Jeremiah 10:24, Jeremiah prays, “Correct me, Lord, but only with justice—not in your anger, lest you reduce me to nothing.” In the end, it is closeness that provides parents with teachable moments and the relaxed enjoyment of family life. Yelling and harshness discourage trust, essential to help young people learn valuable principles about life.

    You might be saying, “Wait a minute! My kids won’t obey unless I get angry.” If that’s true, then maybe you’ve trained your children to respond to your anger as a signal that it’s time to obey. Kids are smart. They know they can wait until the last minute before responding. They’ve figured out how many warnings you’ll give and they recognize the tone of voice that says you’re ready to deliver a consequence.

    One solution is to teach children to respond to a different cue. If yelling is the sign that you mean business, then change the cue to a more constructive signal. If you teach your kids that you’ll back up your words sooner, without anger, then your dependency on anger to get things done will decrease.

    (This parenting tip comes from the book, Good and Angry, Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids, by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. )

    JANUARY 2016

  • Can We Teach Kids to have Self Control?
  • The child who whines, the seven-year-old who talks incessantly, the ten-year-old who verbally jabs his brother, and the fourteen-year-old who can't get out of bed in the morning all have one thing in common. They lack self-control. Self-control is the ability to limit behavior rather than give in to present desires. It means that you consider a future benefit more important than your present impulse.

    One of the primary character qualities of children need to learn is self-control. Bed times, cleaning up messes, following instructions, and learning to not interrupt are just a few ways they begin to learn it. But self-control is an important character quality for anyone, adult or child. Most of us wish we could have more of it in our own lives.

    We All Would Benefit from More Self Control

    Whether you're trying to have a daily quiet time, exercise regularly, or cut down on sugar, self-control becomes a determining factor in your success. Self-control helps a person say no to temptation and choose the right course of action in difficult situations. It helps people take a stand for righteousness instead of getting sucked into doing something they shouldn't do.

    Proverbs 25:28 describes it well: "Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control." Self-control enables people to organize themselves and others, think before they act, save money and time, and make right choices even when unwise opportunities look attractive.

    One dad explained self-control to his son this way, "It's irritating when you interrupt me while I'm talking. It's as if you poke me with your finger over and over again. I love you and I try to overlook it but I'm starting to get bruised. As you develop self-control you'll be able to give up the desire to just talk whenever you want so that instead you can love me and care for our relationship. That's what self-control means: choosing to stop yourself and be more sensitive to others."

    Self Control in Practical Terms

    Self control puts off present benefits for future rewards. When kids learn to wait, for example, instead of pushing for what they want immediately, then they start to grow in this important area of the heart. You might require your preschooler to wait five minutes before getting that snack, or you might teach your seven-year-old to not talk for a few minutes. Developing specific strategies with kids to learn to look forward to future benefits can provide them helpful patterns of thinking now when the temptation to demand gets intense.

    Work on self-control with your children now and you'll give them a valuable character quality they'll be able to use for the rest of their lives.

    (This parenting tip comes from the book, Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids.)

    DECEMBER 2015

  • WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR CHILD GETS HURT?
  • Your child is running and all of a sudden falls down with a smack on the sidewalk. What do you do? Do you rush over and pick him up? Or do you say, ““You’’re okay. Get up and try again?”” Or how about just looking away and waiting to see if he recovers on his own?

    All of those are reasonable responses and each might be effective depending on the moment.

    Reaction or Strategy?

    Some parents don’’t take advantage of their choices and react more from their own needs in the moment. But if you stop and consider what your child needs this time, you might try something different. For example, some kids need comfort and your reaction to help might be the best response.

    However, some kids need to develop more independence and self-confidence so allowing them to comfort themselves and move on, might be a demonstration of respect for the child’’s own ability to solve problems. It might be wise to pause in the moment and plan your response accordingly.

    Empathy is Valuable

    It’’s important to show empathy. Even some of the insignificant pain kids experience is an opportunity to connect with them emotionally. No matter how easy children’’s lives are, kids still experience pain. They may not realize how good they have it, or how insignificant their pain is compared to other people, but it’’s still real pain to them.

    A child’’s seemingly small hurt is the practice ground to learn how to deal effectively with deeper hurt that may come later in life. As you tune in to your child’’s pain, you’’ll have the opportunity to help that child learn to process hurt in a healthy way.

    You Can Be Like God

    Some parents tell their kids to ““Stop crying,”” ““Grow up,”” or ““Get over it”” when they’’re sad or physically or emotionally hurt. Sometimes this breeds an angry response. If children are going to learn to receive comfort from God, they must first learn how to receive comfort from Mom or Dad.

    Empathize with your children when they’’re hurt. After all, you’’re modeling the way that God comforts us. In 2 Corinthians 1 we read that our God is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles. We sometimes think of compassion and comfort as female qualities but the passage attributes them to our Heavenly Father. We can develop those qualities in our lives as well.

    You are Modeling

    Parents can model this same response to their children. You might say things like, ““Ouch, I bet that hurts.”” Or, ““I’’d be sad too if my friend did that to me.”” Children need to know that it’’s okay to feel sad and hurt and that getting alone, praying, crying on someone’’s shoulder, thinking about God’’s love, talking about the problem with you, or just allowing you to hold them quietly are all ways to receive comfort to deal with their pain.

    You may need to try all these ideas and more before you find the one that ministers to your child. That’’s okay. Take the time to experiment. In the process you may even learn more about comfort yourself.

    (This parenting tip comes from the book Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN).

    NOVEMBER 2015

  • Look for Positive Qualities Misused
  • All children have good character qualities that, when taken to the extreme, have a negative side. One child may be quite organized, but if not careful, may become inflexible in a less structured situation. It's like the saying, "your strength can be your greatest weakness."

    One mom told about her son who had a genuine sensitivity to others' needs. He was compassionate and cared for others and often felt things deeply. "I remember one time when he was younger, he began to cry when he saw an ambulance speeding down the road because he knew that someone was hurt inside. He's very caring. Unfortunately, sometimes this sensitivity can cause him to become moody or overly emotional, pouting or crying over the least little problem." So the positive quality is sensitivity but it can have a negative side of being moody or being prone to emotional outbursts.

    Another mom saw that her son had the ability to work hard at a task without being distracted. “He focuses intensely, with real determination to succeed.” This quality of being persistent can be a real asset, but sometimes it would show itself as stubbornness.

    As you look at your children's weaknesses, look for a positive character quality they may be misusing. Look for ways to balance it with other character qualities. Give praise for the positive quality and encourage practical ways to bring balance. Envision a positive future for your child based on those qualities. Encourage small steps of adjustment to bring them in line.

    Focusing on character is one of the ways to touch a child's heart and bring about lasting change.

    (This parenting tip is from the book, "Motivate Your Child ACTION PLAN" by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    OCTOBER 2015

  • Explain New Approaches Before You Start
  • When you decide to change your approach to a particular problem you see in your children, explain to them what you're going to do. This may sound obvious but sometimes parents get fed up with a particular problem and then surprise the child with changes.

    Each parent has an action point that determines the rules of the game for both parent and child in the discipline process. If you try to change your action point without explanation, children will often feel hurt and resentful. Although you have never clarified it before, you have encouraged your children to respond the way they do. In order to change the rules, you need to sit down and explain what you're doing.

    If you're now going to give a consequence right away for arguing, explain that first. If you've decided to remove video time for a child who doesn't clean up his room, tell him in advance. If you will now require a child to take a Break when he starts to get angry, explain this to him in advance. These explanations often go a long way to motivate children to change.

    Imagine yourself learning a new game. You're trying to play but the other person knows the rules and takes advantage of you. How do you feel? That's how our children feel when they're trying to play the game of discipline and we keep changing the rules. Make the rules clear and be sure your child understands what you expect and what the consequences are for wrong choices.

    (This parenting tip is from the book, "Motivate Your Child Action Plan" by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    SEPTEMBER 2015

  • The Real Issues are Harder to See
  • Parents who only focus on behavior change are devastated when their children reveal unresolved issues of the heart as they grow older. The child who is found stealing from the family, the teenager who gets caught drinking with friends, or the young person who starts using drugs have one thing in common: a heart problem that has developed over time.

    The heart consists of thoughts, intentions, motivations, desires, and fantasies. Children play out foolishness in their hearts long before it comes out in their actions. Jesus tells us in Mark 7 of the evils that start in the heart before coming out in behavior. Many parents discipline with a two-step process. First, they see wrong behavior and second, they use a number of techniques to get their child to do what's right. Behavior is changed, but the heart isn't addressed. A better discipline process requires two more steps, making four altogether.

    First, identify the wrong behavior. For example, your daughter begins to complain when you ask her to help with the dishes. Second, identify the dishonoring heart issue. Maybe it’s selfishness with her time, or a disrespect for authority. Third, identify the honoring heart issue needed. She could develop flexibility or thoughtfulness of others. Then, fourth, the right behavior grows out of the honoring heart issue. She could help with the dishes without complaining, or respectfully discuss an alternative. With these four steps, instead of two, you can address what's going on below the surface—a more complete discipline that teaches children about their hearts.

    Giving a consequence isn’t the end of the parent's responsibility. Sometimes a consequence just gets the child's attention, allowing the parent then to address deeper heart-related issues. Talk about the underlying motivations and the deeper issues. Helping children change their hearts is harder, but that's where the lasting change takes place.

    (This parenting tip is from the book, Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes, In You and Your Kids by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller.)

    AUGUST 2015

  • How Can I Get My Children to Take Initiative?
  • Prodding kids along to get things done drains family life. We all know it. If only kids could see what needs to be done and take some initiative! Is it possible to train children to act without the continual pushing and prodding from parents? We say Yes! It is possible but it doesn’t typically happen without some intentional work.

    In the preschool classroom a four-year-old learns to get out a mat, then a toy to play with on that mat. When he’s done playing, he puts the toy away and then puts the mat away before he gets out another toy. Yet the same child leaves messes all over the house at home. Why? It has to do with training and in our new book entitled Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent's Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told we’ve provided the roadmap you can use to teach your kids to be internally motivated in most any area.

    Here’s how it works. First, parents need to move away from the reward/punishment model that stifles initiative in kids. Offering a reward gets kids asking about the minimum they need to do to get the reward. “Clean up your mess and you can play on the computer.” That approach, used over time, breeds selfishness in kids because they continually want to know what you’re going to give them if they do what you say. Children wait to be told what to do, and then evaluate the reward for obeying.

    What’s the reason that a child should have for cleaning up a mess? Is it so the child can play on the computer, or because it’s the right thing to do? With the right plan, parents can train their kids to manage themselves more and rely less on parents to prompt them along.

    Here’s Becky’s story. “I was frustrated with my kids in the morning. It seemed that they would wait around for me to tell them what to do next. ‘Get dressed… comb your hair… put your breakfast bowl in the sink… get your coat… find your shoes… and on and on it went. Then we made a change. I used the plan in Motivate Your Child to have my kids each create a list of the things they need to do in the morning from the time they get up until the time they get out the door. Then we broke up the list of tasks to do before and after breakfast. They each took their list and began to work independently. One of my children needed more training than the other, but now things run much better in the mornings and I do a lot less prompting. Even when I do have to give reminders I do it differently. I say, ‘Give me a report,’ or ‘What’s next on the list,’ further drawing my kids to their lists instead of relying on me. I’m eager to try this in some other areas of our family life too.”

    Internal motivation relies on promptings from the inside to take action in four areas: Do what’s right, Deal with wrongs, Be honest, and Care about others. One of the signs of maturity at any age is demonstrated when a child takes initiative. Of course, it warms a parent’s heart when a child thinks maturely, or cares for someone else, or takes a stand for what’s right.

    (This parenting tip is from the book, Motivate Your Child, A Christian Parent’s Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    JULY 2015

  • Be Careful of Behavior Modification
  • Sandra is four years old. You can often hear her mom make statements like this. “Sandra, clean up your toys so you can have a snack.” “Finish getting dressed so you can go out and play.” Mom has learned that if she tells Sandra that she’ll get a reward, then Sandra is more likely to do the task. The problem is that Mom is appealing to Sandra’s selfishness in order to get things done.

    It may be easy to get a preschooler to do what you want by giving some kind of reward but as she gets older you have to increase the value of the reward to get the same response. You can motivate a preschooler with a quarter, but you’ll need a dollar by the time she’s seven, and five dollars by the time she’s ten, and you’ll be paying her $20 at thirteen. If you continue to use the same system, by the time she’s in high school you’ll have to promise her a car to get her to graduate.

    The reason is clear. Behavior Modification requires that you give a reward that’s greater than the desire to do something different. You’re simply creating an incentive that motivates kids to do something they’d rather not do because of something that they want instead. Behavior Modification works because it appeals to the selfishness in a child’s heart. But, unfortunately, kids grow up asking the wrong questions, “What’s in it for me?” “Are you going to pay me for this?”

    Check your words. If you tend to overemphasize rewards and punishment in your parenting, you might want to make a change. Kids need to learn that we do what’s right because it’s the right thing to do, not just to get a reward.

    (By Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller)

    JUNE 2015

  • A Heart Approach is Different
  • Many parents use a simple behavior modification approach to raise their children. “If you get your homework done, then you can go out and play.” “If you clean your room, then you can watch a video.”

    Unfortunately children trained this way often develop a “What's in it for me?” mentality. “If I don't get something out of it, why should I obey?”

    God is concerned with more than behavior. He's interested in the heart. The heart contains motivations, emotions, convictions, and values. A heart-based approach to parenting looks deeper. Parents still require children to finish their homework and clean up their rooms but the way they give the instructions is different.

    Instead of just getting things done, parents look for long-term change in their kids. Sometimes children aren't ready to change on a heart level and parents must work to address the heart. That may mean more relationship to open the heart or it may involve more boundaries to show kids that they way they're living just isn't going to work.

    A heart-based approach shares values and reasons behind rules. It focuses on character development, not just correct behaviors. It requires more dialogue, helping children understand how their hearts are resistant and need to develop cooperation. A heart-based approach is firm but also relational. It's a mindset on the part of parents that looks to develop heart qualities that then bring about significant change.

    As you consider your kids remember the words that God said to Samuel in 1 Samuel 16, “Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart.”

    (This parenting tip is from the book, Parenting is Heart Work, by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    MAY 2015

  • The Heart is Where We Feel Close
  • As parents, we long to connect with our children in meaningful ways. Those connections often provide opportunities to teach because feeling closeness softens the heart. When children are young, those special feelings of closeness happen regularly, even daily. You read a book to your four-year-old, he leans on your arm, and you cherish the time of connection. You correct your six-year-old, and she cries that repentant cry and wants a hug—and tears come to your eyes, too, because you know you’ve connected with her heart.

    The closeness you and your children feel is a function of the heart. In Acts 4:32 we read the early disciples “were one in heart and mind,” a statement of their unity. The heart is where we build the close relationships that help us to teach our kids in ways that will have a lasting impact. Closeness allows us to work with our children rather than against them as they develop the valuable character qualities they need to succeed in life.

    These special moments of heart connection also happen with older children, but, in many families, they come less often. Connecting with an older child’s heart often takes deliberate actions on the part of the parent. Moms and Dads need to be watching for opportunities and then take advantage of them when they come.

    A fourteen-year-old gets a positive school report, giving her dad an opportunity to affirm her hard work. Her smile confirms he made the heart connection he’d hoped for.

    Mom makes herself available when her son gets home in the evening because that’s often the time he likes to talk.

    Be on the lookout for opportunities to connect with your kids on a heart level, affirming their successes and sympathizing with their hurts. The relationships you build with your children are an essential foundation for helping them to grow. In those moments of closeness you may have opportunities for significant conversations or you may simply want to enjoy the heart connection.

    (This parenting tip comes from the book, Parenting is Heart Work by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN)

    APRIL 2015

  • You Be The Leader Game
  • One activity that fosters cooperation in family life is the "You be the Leader" game. This game has three parts. In the first part, choose an activity and someone to lead. The activity might be cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, washing the car, raking the leaves, organizing the playroom, shopping for groceries, or some other household chore. The leader could be Dad or Mom or one of the children. It's best to play this several times and change the leader.

    In the second part of the activity the leader leads the family to complete the task. This is often a challenge when a seven-year-old or fifteen-year-old is leading, but that's all part of the lesson. Don't break roles and take over the leadership.

    When Dad isn't the leader, he might begin to argue and then catch himself and say, "Oh, I'm sorry. That wasn't honoring." When Mom isn't leading, she may begin to complain in a whiny voice. Actions like these add to the fun and become visual examples of problems that followers experience.

    The third part of the game is the most important. Sit down and discuss the experience. Ask questions like, "What did you find difficult about leading?" "What did you find difficult about following?" "Do you prefer to lead or follow?" "Why?" "What makes leading easy?" "What makes following easy?" Use these questions to talk about your specific experience, but also discuss leading and following in general. Be transparent and share some of the struggles you face.

    After doing this activity, one mom shared that she would prefer to follow but is often thrown into a leadership role. Dad, on the other hand, would prefer to lead in some situations but he must follow because Mom is regularly involved in that area of family life. The young daughter shared how leading is made more difficult when followers complain or are uncooperative. Dad also talked about being a follower at work. Sometimes he needs to be a helpful participant, and look for opportunities to encourage others to reach their goals.

    (This parenting tip comes from the book Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes, In You and Your Kids, the book about Honor by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    MARCH 2015

  • Some Tips for Helping Kids Deal with Anger
  • Anger damages relationships. We help parents every week in our office deal with anger in their families. Here are several guidelines we've found helpful for anger management in a home. When parents and kids work on these things, anger episodes are reduced. Make these a regular part of your routine and you'll see tremendous progress.

    1. Never argue with children who are angry. Have them take a break and continue the conversation later.

    2. Identify the anger cues that reveal your child is about to lose control. Point them out early and stop the interaction. Don’t wait for explosions before you intervene.

    3. Help children recognize anger in its various disguises like a bad attitude, grumbling, glaring, or a harsh tone of voice.

    4. Debrief after the child has settled down. Talk about how to handle the situation differently next time.

    5. Teach children constructive responses. They could get help, talk about it, or walk away. These kinds of suggestions help children to have a plan for what they should do, not just what they shouldn't do.

    6. When angry words or actions hurt others, individuals should apologize and seek forgiveness.

    By doing these things you will teach your children to do what James 1:19 says, " be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."

    (This parenting tip comes from a chapter on sibling conflict in the book, "Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes, In You and Your Kids" by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller. We call it The Honor Book.)

    FEBRUARY 2015

  • The Good Side of Anger
  • We’ve worked with many families, helping them deal with anger, both in children and adults. One of the first truths that we try to communicate is that anger is good for identifying problems but not good for solving them. Unfortunately, too many people don't understand anger's benefit and, as a result, end up feeling guilty about being angry, further complicating the emotional picture.

    It's important to understand that anger is not good as a response to problems. It usually builds walls, increases tension, and contributes to distance in relationships. But we do believe that anger is good for identifying problems. Once you understand anger, you'll be able to use it to your advantage to point out problems in life. Then you must move into another mode or plan to solve those problems.

    Ephesians 4:26 says, "In your anger do not sin." This verse is just one that tells us that there is an anger that isn't sinful.

    One dad told us that when he began thinking about anger this way his anger became less intense, he was angry less often, and when he did get angry, he knew what to do about it. That is exactly what we're saying.

    There are plenty of books on the market about managing anger and you can do a lot to calm your emotions but the anger control books don't solve the real problem – your kids keep doing the wrong things! If you begin to use anger to identify the problems and then develop healthy solutions to address them, you'll be using anger in a positive way.

    Many parents have given up hope, believing that they have lost the battle with anger. They’re plagued with guilt about their emotions. Before you can improve your anger management or your children’s, you must first think rightly about anger. Anger is good for identifying problems but not good for solving them.

    (This parenting tip comes from the book Good and Angry, Exchanging Frustration for Character In You and Your Kids by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    JANUARY 2015

  • Some Kids Drain Energy Out of Family Life
  • Some children have the ability to suck the energy right out of family life. These children are demanding of your time, need a lot of correction, and seem to be magnets for conflict. They are often emotionally explosive but almost always drain the energy out of parents and other family members. Unfortunately then, these children develop a negative view of themselves based on the high amount of negative feedback they receive.

    One solution is to teach them to add energy back into family life. We use the term "honor" to describe the process of thinking of others above yourself. If Jack seems to get people riled up each afternoon before dinner, set an appointment with him at 4:00 pm for several days in a row and ask him to look for three things he can do to add to family life. He may decorate the dinner table, encourage his brother, or prepare something nice for Dad's arrival home.

    If Jack continually antagonizes his sister, tell him that he needs to think of three nice things to do for her before he can go on with family life. Don’t tell him exactly what he needs to do. If you decide what Jack needs to do and tell him to do it, that's obedience. When Jack chooses, that's honor. Honor treats people as special and does more than what's expected. Jack needs to learn how to add energy to family life instead of taking it away. Challenging children in this way helps them to think differently.

    Teens need to learn honor because it will make them more effective in life. Hidden within honor are the secret ingredients that make people more successful in relationships. Teaching honor is worth the work, because honor changes people.

    (This idea comes from the 13-week children's program called, The Kids Honor Club, by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller.)

    JULY 2014

  • Use Generosity to Teach Honor
  • Honor means treating people as special, doing more than what's expected, and having a good attitude. We work hard to develop honor in family life and are continually looking for new ways to teach it.

    One helpful way to teach honor is to be generous as a family. Generosity opens our hearts as well as the hearts of the people who receive from us. Giving doesn't just focus on money. In fact, money is one of the easier things to give. A harder gift is that of time, attention, loyalty, or commitment to others.

    Giving can be exciting. Planning the surprise, delivering it, watching the person's response, and enjoying the personal satisfaction of giving all add joy to family life. When a family works together to be generous, something happens in the members who participate. They feel a sense of teamwork. They enjoy the satisfaction of giving, not just individually, but the good sense of family pride.

    Giving is fun and doing it in secret can make it even more exciting. Be on the lookout for honor opportunities for your family. Sometimes families will plan an anonymous gift. Hannah, age thirteen, reported that she overheard Mrs. Robertson talk about losing all her encyclopedias when her basement flooded. Knowing that the Robertson family didn't have a lot of money, Hannah's family decided to replace them. They went to several libraries asking for a used set. They paid a small price for a set that was newer than the one Mrs. Robertson had lost. They decided to give the set anonymously, which meant more planning and careful strategy.

    Seeing a need and meeting it through an anonymous gift became a meaningful experience for Hannah's family. In fact, Hannah herself saw that her own observation contributed to the family's decision.

    (This parenting tip is taken from the book, "Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes, In You and Your Kids" by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller.)

    JUNE 2014

  • Where a Bad Attitude Comes From
  • Sometimes children obey but they do it with a bad attitude. Honor is the solution. It's important to teach children what honor looks like in very practical terms. One mom defined attitude as "the heart of how you do something." Obedience is revealed in actions. Honor is revealed in the attitude that goes along with those actions.

    Often a bad attitude comes from an angry heart. Imagine an onion with various layers. As you peel off one layer you see another and another until you get to the center of the onion. Anger is like that. The most obvious signs of anger are physical violence. Hitting, slamming, kicking, and biting are all ways that anger is demonstrated.

    As children learn to control their physical reactions, they peel off that layer revealing the next one: hurtful words through sarcasm, teasing, and cynical remarks. These less physical but deadly weapons are another symptom of anger.

    Layer after layer of angry responses can be removed until you come to a very significant one: the bad attitude. Children don't want to go to bed, clean up their rooms, leave the computer, or get on their shoes. You’re interrupting their lives by giving an instruction or by correcting or by saying no. Thus you get anger revealed in a bad attitude.

    By recognizing this you will take the first important step toward change—you'll see the problem. You won't be content to get a job done with a bad attitude because now you'll see the importance of addressing the attitude as well as the behavior. You might say to your son, "Wait a minute. Your attitude here is a problem. I'd like you to sit down for a bit and settle down and then let's look for a better way to respond. When you're ready to try a different response then we'll continue."

    Explain to your children the value of a good attitude and the danger of a negative attitude on the job or at school. A good attitude is important and your interaction at home is a great place to start working on it.

    (This parenting tip comes from the book "Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes, In You and Your Kids" by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    MAY 2014

  • Helping Kids Deal with Emotions
  • Many families ignore emotions or view them as a nuisance. But emotions affect children more than they realize. One of the keys to helping children understand emotions is to teach them the difference between the feeling and the response. It’s okay to feel sad, but that doesn't justify treating people unkindly.

    When Joel was thirteen, his dog, Skippy, died. Joel had raised Skippy from a puppy. They played together, slept together, and Joel had taken care of Skippy when he was sick. Now his beloved friend was gone. Joel’s heart was broken. The pain was intense. He spent the next few days bouncing between lashing out at those around him and withdrawing into himself. His heart was working hard to absorb this unwanted new experience: life without his loyal friend.

    Mom was patient with Joel, giving him space to grieve and work things out. She initiated conversation with him often and looked for ways to comfort him. Sometimes Joel used his sadness as an excuse for being unkind or disrespectful, but Mom made it clear that grieving was okay; meanness was not. Over time, Joel adjusted to life without Skippy. Mom’s approach was successful because she considered Joel’s heart during that time.

    Romans 12:15 tells us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Emotions are a part of life. Children often need help recognizing and dealing with their emotions. They haven’t learned yet how to process all the feelings their hearts experience.

    Teaching children about their emotions and the appropriate ways to deal with them will prepare kids for experiencing even deeper joys and sadness in the future. Helping children separate what they feel from how they treat you and others is an important part of that process.

    (This parenting tip comes from the book Parenting is Heart Work by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    APRIL 2014

  • Emotional Cues
  • Since the heart is where decisions are formed, commitments made, and beliefs established, your child’s emotions become an opportunity for parenting. Look for ways to use your children's emotions to help you understand their hearts.

    Many parents are afraid of their children’s emotions and try to minimize them. It’s true that one parental responsibility is to help our children manage their feelings effectively. But, contrary to popular belief, emotions aren’t an enemy. They reveal valuable information about what’s going on in the heart.

    Children may express their emotions freely, giving parents obvious cues to guide their teaching and correction in this area. Some children, however, are more reserved, processing emotions internally without outbursts, tantrums, or crying episodes. Parents of these children must be even more aware of small cues, engage their children in conversation more often, and look for ways to help their children work through life’s challenges without clogging their hearts with unresolved emotional residue.

    Excitement uncovers what your children get passionate about. Joy reveals what your kids like. Anxiety discloses where your children feel weak or lack control. Sadness pinpoints pain in a child’s life. And anger reveals unmet desires, a hurtful experience, or a violation of what they believe is right.

    Don’t back away from your child’s emotional intensity. Instead, figure out what else is going on in the heart. Kids long to connect with others, but many don’t know how. Emotions are an essential tool for understanding and building relationships. Teach your children how to see, understand, control, and relate to emotions and you’ll give them a gift they’ll use for the rest of their lives.

    (This parenting tip is from the book, Parenting is Heart Work by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    MARCH 2014

  • Be Firm Without Being Harsh
  • Some parents believe that the only way to be firm is to be harsh. Firmness says that a boundary is secure and won't be crossed without a consequence. Harshness uses angry words and increased volume to make children believe that parents mean what they say. Some parents have assumed that firmness and harshness must go together. One mom said, "The thought of separating the two is like listening to a foreign language—it sounds nice but doesn't make any sense."

    How do you make the change? Two things will help you remove harshness from your interaction with your children: Dialogue less and show less emotion.

    In an attempt to build relationship, some parents spend too much time dialoguing about instructions. They try to defend their words, persuade their children to do what they're told, or logically explain the value of obeying. This is often counterproductive. Parents then resort to anger to end the discussion, complicating matters further.

    "But," one mom said, "I thought talking and showing emotion are signs of a healthy family, leading to closeness in family life." And that is true when they are used in the right way. Unfortunately, when added to the instruction process, these two ingredients confuse children and don't give them the clear boundaries they need. These are two good things, just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Firmness requires action, not anger. Having a toolbox of consequences is important to help move children along in life. It's not optional. Some parents use anger as their consequence. These parents need more tools that will help their children make lasting changes.

    If you find yourself being harsh, take time to reevaluate your response. More action, less yelling can go a long way to bring about significant change.

    (This parenting tip is from the book, Say Goodbye the Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    FEBRUARY 2014

  • Dealing with Morning Dawdling
  • Mornings can be a stressful time for families. One single mom told how she addressed this for her children, ages 9, 10, and 11. "I didn't like what I was seeing in me. I heard myself nagging and prodding them along, yelling, "You're going to be late. You better hurry and brush your hair." "Get your shoes on." So she gathered the children together one evening to introduce a new plan.

    "You three are getting older. Tomorrow begins a new system in which you're going to manage yourselves. I've been doing a lot of yelling in the morning and I don't want to do that anymore. So here's the plan. I'm not going to wake you up in the morning. Here is a new alarm clock for each of you. You can decide what time you want to get up and it will wake you.

    "It's about here in the conversation that they're asking, 'What's the catch?' They knew something was coming.

    "You're right, we're going to have check points each morning. At 7:15 am you need to be down for breakfast, all dressed with shoes on, and your bed made. By 7:50 am you need to have completed your chores and have combed your hair. Those are the checkpoints.

    "To help you be motivated to meet these check points, I have something positive and something negative. Let's start with the positive. First, if you meet your two check points each morning for five mornings then I will allow you to watch a video on the weekend. However, if you miss one check point on a morning you will have to go to bed a half hour earlier that evening, since you must need more sleep in order to get up and get yourself ready." They ended the meeting positively as the mom taught the children how to set their alarms. They felt in control and eager to manage themselves the next morning.

    The following day she was in bed and heard alarms going off and feet shuffling. She wasn't quite ready to get up and began having second thoughts about her great plan. In the end though, it worked. Her children were successful at getting ready and Mom didn't have to nag or be harsh. She replaced yelling and nagging with firmness and a clear plan with clear consequences, all in a positive atmosphere of cooperation.

    (This parenting tip is from the book, Say Goodbye the Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    JANUARY 2014

  • Is there a Difference Between Honor and Respect?
  • When families think about honor, they often restrict their thinking to respectful behavior, being polite, courteous, and having good manners. This is a rather narrow understanding and is only a small portion of what honor actually is.

    Respectful behavior, although a subset of honor, is incomplete in and of itself. Susie learned manners at an early age. "What a nice girl," people would say. Susie learned acceptable behavior but as she grew older she rebelled against the rules, finding them empty and overly restrictive. Teaching respect is not enough.

    Honor is different. It comes when you recognize a person's worth or value. Respect focuses on behavior, doing the appropriate thing, whereas honor comes from the heart. Respect acknowledges a person's position, while honor attaches worth to that person. Respect teaches manners and proper behavior in the presence of others. Honor teaches something deeper, an appreciation of that person. Respect can become an outward technique to make a family look good to others, but honor builds the hidden bonds that provide great strength and long-lasting unity. It's one thing to obey the crossing guard out of respect for his position. It's yet another to show honor to him because you know him as a friend.

    Although we're making a contrast between respect and honor, don't assume that honor is good and respect is bad. Both have their place. When children are young, they learn respectful behavior, but as they grow older, they can develop a heart response of honor as well. It's good to teach respectful behavior but it's important that you not stop there. Honor adds a deeper dimension to relationships.

    Honor helps address meanness in relationships. Honor does a job thoroughly and with a good attitude. Honor looks for what needs to be done before being asked. All children (and adults) need to learn honor. Teaching it makes a big difference in family life.

    (For more practical ideas on developing honor in your family consider the book, Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes, In You and Your Kids by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    DECEMBER 2013

  • The Gratefulness Principle
  • Gratitude increases closeness in relationships. As you parent your children, look for opportunities to take advantage of gratefulness to draw closer to your kids. Give your children small gifts of love day after day. Be careful, though, that you don’t confuse the gratefulness principle with the overindulgence trap.

    Some parents, wanting their children to like them, recognize giving gifts opens the heart, so they overdo it by giving them too many things. Giving to your kids must be tied into relationship, or the gifts feed selfishness instead of gratefulness.

    Overindulgence is giving your children more than their character can handle. When children lack gratitude, then the more you give them, the less they appreciate. Parents must restrain themselves or they’ll exceed their child’s ability to manage the blessings.

    Overindulged children rarely become grateful when you give them more things. They grow to be more demanding and selfish. Parents then feel unappreciated and become resentful. The hearts of both parents and children harden toward each other, and closeness becomes a thing of the past.

    If your children become overindulged rather than grateful, then pull back on the area where you’re giving too much. Look for creative ways to give differently to your child. Giving gifts of time rather than physical gifts can be one idea. Giving the gift of affirmation rather than advice can be another. Teaching the heart gratefulness can be a challenge. Having a child say thank you is just behavior. Gratefulness comes from the heart.

    Monitor your child’s response to gifts of love to determine if you’re growing gratitude or overindulgence. As gratefulness increases, you can slowly give blessings in a way that will produce more gratefulness. You’ll know if you’re moving too quickly by your child’s response.

    (This tip comes from the book, Parenting is Heart Work by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    NOVEMBER 2013

  • Missed Opportunities
  • Every day parents have opportunities to touch the hearts of their children. Sometimes it's through a story or a hug, or an apology, but often it's through the daily correction that children need.

    Addressing the heart is important. Unfortunately some parents respond to their children in ways that miss the heart. One of the mistakes parents make is that they make excuses for their children. We've all heard them.

    He'll grow out of it.

    She's so cute.

    At least she's doing what I asked.

    He's tired.

    He's just going through a stage.

    At least she's better than other kids her age.

    That's the way kids are.

    She's a teenager.

    He's a two-year-old.

    He's a boy.

    She could be a lot worse.

    Each of these is an excuse for not disciplining and often represents a missed opportunity to teach or direct a child on a deeper level. Remember, we aren't just trying to help children change on the outside to develop appropriate behavior. We're trying to help them change their hearts.

    Since these statements might have truths behind them, we may choose to discipline a little differently, postpone a consequence, or redirect children. There's nothing wrong with that, but we must be careful not to ignore heart issues in the process.

    Look for ways to challenge your children on a heart level this week. You'll be surprised at how many opportunities are out there.

    (This parenting tip comes from the book, Home Improvement, The Parenting Book You Can Read to Your Kids, by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    OCTOBER 2013

  • Desire and Temptation
  • We all wish our children would desire the right things in life and avoid tempting situations. Desires reside in the heart and can be good or bad. Psalm 37:4 tells us “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Knowing the difference between a healthy desire and a temptation, however, can be a challenge at times, especially for kids.

    A great tool in this area is your own transparency. You encounter desires and temptations every day. By talking with your children about how you deal with those situations, you can provide your kids with examples that will help them learn what to do with their own desires and temptations.

    Twelve-year-old Sean asked his mom why she didn’t get angry when she was cut off on the road, giving Mom a perfect opportunity to talk about how she lets it go so she doesn’t have to harbor the anger. Mom knew that Sean needed that message because he’d been treated unfairly at school and was tempted to act out his own anger. Sean listened and pondered what his mom said. Mom watched the wheels turn in his head and knew she had just connected somewhere deep inside her son.

    Don’t miss the opportunities provided by day-to-day life to point out to your children appropriate ways to deal with desires. Explain to your kids why you pursue some desires and let others go, and help your children see how those principles apply to their own lives as well. Your transparency can be a valuable guide as your children wrestle with desires.

    (This parenting tip comes from the the book, Parenting is Heart Work by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    SEPTEMBER 2013

  • Giving Instructions
  • The word "instruction" comes from the words "in" and "structure" and basically means "to put structure into." When someone comes on the scene and gives instructions, that person brings structure to the situation and helps people know what to do. Dad or Mom sees the need to clean up around the house or get ready to go out and begins giving instructions to move the family in a positive direction.

    The parent adds the structure needed at the moment to make family life work. Unfortunately, because of the well-worn relationship between parent and child, kids may react with resistance. At that point parents often become more intense in their instruction or just give up. What was meant to be a move toward order and structure has turned relationships into chaos.

    Remember that you're not giving instructions just to make your life easier. You're bringing the much-needed structure into the situation. If you don't provide the structure, who will? Of course, the way you give instructions affects the strength of your relationships with others, but don't let resistance keep you from your job. Without instruction, family life falls apart.

    "But they don't appreciate me," is an excuse parents sometimes tell themselves that motivates them to want to give up. The fact is, that whether your kids appreciate you or not, they need you! So, continue to work on your own attitude and frustration level, but hang in there and keep giving the much-needed structure to your family.

    Proverbs 19:16 says, "He who obeys instructions guards his life."

    (This parenting tip comes from the book, Good and Angry, Exchanging Frustration for Character In You and Your Kids by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    AUGUST 2013

  • “That’s Not Fair!”
  • Competition between siblings is often demonstrated by the statement, "That's not fair" or "What about him?" Competition stems from comparison and often creates conflict in relationships between brothers and sisters.

    Here's an idea that will go a long way to reduce the comparison and competition between your children. Treat each child uniquely and don't try to treat all your kids the same. Intentionally give them different privileges, assignments, and responsibilities. Avoid grouping the children by saying things like, "Kids, it's time to eat" or "Boys, let's get in the car." Instead, use each child’s name and give separate instructions. "Bill, please wash your hands and come to dinner." "Karen, come join us now for dinner?"

    When children compare themselves to each other they say they want equality, but that's not really true. What each child wants is to feel special. When you treat them uniquely, and focus on each child individually, you'll be surprised how much comparison and competition are reduced in your family.

    After all, God doesn't treat us all the same. He treats us each uniquely. John 21:15-23 contains a fascinating story that often happens in families today. Jesus is telling Peter how he is going to die. Peter turns and looks at another disciple and says, "What about him?" Jesus answers, "What is that to you? You follow me." In essence Jesus was saying, "I treat each person uniquely. You worry about yourself." What a great lesson to apply to our families. Treat people uniquely and special instead of trying to treat them all equally or the same.

    (This parenting tip comes from the honor curriculum entitled, Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes, In You and Your Kids, by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    JULY 2013

  • Sad Instead of Mad
  • Often parents have a poor repertoire of discipline techniques so they do what comes naturally—they use anger as a consequence. Anger becomes the punishment that children learn to fear and the result is distance in relationships. Parents want to express disapproval for misbehavior and anger becomes the vehicle for showing it.

    Imagine this scenario: You're making dinner and your six-year-old daughter, Amy, comes into the room complaining that she’s hungry. You tell her that you're making dinner and that she needs to wait. She persists and complains that she hasn't eaten all day. You remind her that she had a snack a few hours ago and then encourage her to leave the room. Instead of leaving, she begins to whine, "I’m starving." Finally you sigh and offer her a banana or an apple. "I don’t like bananas! I don’t want an apple!" Okay, you give in. You offer her some milk and a cookie. Amy is so excited she jumps up…and knocks over the milk! You’ve had it! That was the last straw. Now you're really angry and yell, "What's the matter with you? Now look what you've done!!"

    Think a minute. What caused you to lose control? Was it the spilled milk, or was it the fifteen minutes of whining and complaining? If we wait until we become angry to discipline, then we end up responding like a time bomb. Our children can never be sure when we’ll explode.

    In this situation, Mom needed to take action earlier. "Amy, it makes me sad that you keep asking after I said No. You need to go play in your room until I call you for dinner."

    In honor-based parenting, anger and its accompanying distance are not appropriate consequences. Instead, parents learn to reflect sorrow. Some parents may feel like hypocrites because they don't feel sad, they feel mad. But it doesn't take long for a parent to recognize that the sorrow is there. It's just masked by the anger. If you peel away the anger you will genuinely feel sad that your child is acting out or choosing to disobey. You see that the misbehavior will lead to an unhappy and unsuccessful life. Reflecting sadness is much more beneficial to the child and to the relationship.

    Try it; you may be surprised. Children often open up in response to sadness and you may end up with a productive conversation. Sadness opens relationships; anger shuts them down. It may take some practice, and self-control, but your relationships with your kids will benefit in the end.

    (This parenting tip comes from the book on honor entitled, Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes, In You and Your Kids, by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    JUNE 2013

  • The Conscience Needs Training
  • In 1 Corinthians 4:4 Paul says, “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.” The reality is that just because the conscience prompts a person, doesn’t mean that it’s right. Children need to be careful to obey God first in everything they do.

    The conscience looks for convictions in order to prompt a person to do what’s right. Most children already have convictions, but many of those convictions are inappropriate or need some adjustment. For example, some children believe that if they're playing with a video game and Mom tells them to do something, they should be able to wait until they get to the next level to obey. Your daughter may believe that she has the right to hit her annoying brother. After all, he deserves it.

    You have convictions too. Part of your God-given responsibility is to pass those convictions on to your child. One of the greatest ways to do that is by considering your family rules. Each rule, whether it’s written down or just understood, has a conviction behind it.

    Spend some time evaluating the convictions behind your rules and then talking with your kids about them. Children may be tempted to rebel against rules but sharing them as convictions makes them easier to accept. “Son, we don’t allow that kind of movie in our home. The reason is because we have a conviction that what goes into our minds affects our hearts. We’re Christians. That’s who we are and this movie isn’t consistent with the conviction we have. So, we have to say no. I’m sorry.”

    As much as possible, tie your convictions to God’s Word. After all, you can’t let your conscience be your guide. God’s Word is our guide. It’s the scriptures that are our authority in life. The determining factor as to whether something is right or wrong rests on the authority of God’s Word.

    (Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller introduce Hero Training Camp)

    MAY 2013

  • When Addressing Sibling Conflict
  • One of the most challenging aspects of family life is sibling conflict. You want your children to have close relationships but differing personalities, competitiveness, and immaturity often get in the way.

    Conflict between brothers and sisters is a child’s first class in relationship school. Your home is the classroom, you are the teacher, and a healthy plan for working on conflict is the curriculum. Each conflict situation becomes an opportunity for teaching children how to relate more effectively.

    One of the most important strategies for addressing sibling conflict is to discipline the children separately, not together. Kids have an amazing way of deflecting discipline when they’re together.

    When two children are fighting, call one out of the room and talk about how to deal with the conflict. Some parents feel like they must stop everything and administer consequences to both kids in order to parent effectively. A better response is to train them in the moment. By removing just one of the kids you’re able to help that child develop a plan for the situation. When your son complains that you’re only disciplining him and not his sister, explain to him that he and his sister need help in different ways, and right now you’re helping him.

    Teach children how to confront, ignore, negotiate, compromise, talk about problems, and be peacemakers. And when they’ve reached a point of frustration, rather than lash out, they need to get help, typically from you. Counsel the child and then send him or her back into the situation to try again. You may call the same child out of an activity five or ten times in an hour to continue to point out the change that needs to take place. Help children know what right actions are appropriate, and as long as they’re willing to try to do the right thing, send them back into the situation to practice. If necessary, call the second child out and give helpful suggestions to that child as well.

    Recognizing that sibling conflict is an opportunity for relationship training gives the conflict a whole new perspective. As you listen to your children’s interaction you’ll be able to identify specific skills they need, buttons that are easily pushed, and relating weaknesses that need to be addressed.

    (This parenting tip is from The Christian Parenting Handbook by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    APRIL 2013

  • Parenting Insight You Can Use Now
  • Some children have a rather narrow repertoire of emotional tools. They tend to express anger whenever they experience any negative emotion. When they’re sad, they get angry. When they’re afraid, they show anger. When they’re disappointed, they take it out on others by getting mad. These children need to learn healthier ways of expressing their emotions, but first they need help learning to recognize the feelings they’re really experiencing.

    A child’s heart can be a confusing place. Many different things are all happening at the same time, baffling even the most healthy or intelligent children. Children often don’t understand what’s going on in their hearts.

    With young children, you might start teaching about three basic emotions: sad, mad, and glad. Ask kids, “How can you tell when a person is sad?” Let them talk about the visual cues we receive from others that tell us they’re upset. Raising their awareness in this way gives children a greater emotional vocabulary. They’ll be able to recognize these emotions in themselves, and the greater understanding will help them process what they’re feeling.

    When children begin to understand their own emotions, they develop greater sensitivity to others, learn to see how they’re feeling, and then respond in helpful ways. The emotionally illiterate person tends to react poorly to others’ emotions, taking the cues as a personal attack. So when Mom is disappointed, her daughter starts defending herself. When Dad is grumpy, his son retaliates. Teach your children to see emotions in others, and they’ll develop a greater empathy and relational maturity.

    (This parenting insight comes from the book, Parenting is Heart Work by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    MARCH 2013

  • Be a Coach to Your Children
  • I'm sure that as you look around you see other families who have rather interesting relationships with their kids. Some parents seem to have a boss/servant relationship with their children, as if the parents own their kids. They order them around as if they were slaves, being demanding about obedience and respect. Others act like a policeman allowing children to do anything they want within boundaries. When the children move outside the boundaries then the parent blows the whistle to get them back in line. Other parents have a little prince relationship with their children. These parents go out of their way to make their children happy, sometimes trying to make up for their own unhappiness as a child.

    A better analogy is the one that views the parent as a coach. Your children need training every day, involving teaching, correcting, firmness, and encouragement. A coach builds a relationship with the child, recognizes weaknesses and equips the child to succeed. When a runner falls down, a good coach doesn't condemn but motivates to excellence through support and encouragement. The coach and the athlete are both on the same side, working to make that young person successful.

    Don't let childish problems like anger, impulsiveness, or meanness motivate you to become an opponent to your children, allowing the problem to come between you. Instead, partner with your children, moving the problem to the side, with you and your child working together to conquer it. Your attitude in conflict will mean all the difference for a child who needs to be coached out of immaturity. Children need to know that their parents believe in them. It helps them in the deepest areas of their hearts.

    (This parenting tip comes from the book Home Improvement, the Parenting Book You Can Read to Your Kids by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    FEBRUARY 2013

  • The Stop Rule
  • Teasing and playing around can be amusing, but usually one person wants to stop before the other. Angry words and tears often bring an end to what started out as fun. Incorporating a "Stop Rule" in your family will help children, and parents too for that matter, know when to quit.

    The Stop Rule is simply this: When a child wants to be done with a teasing or tickling game, that child just says, "Stop" and the other child must stop the game. Even parents need to stop when a child doesn't want to be teased anymore. In fact, a good way to teach this rule is for a parent to tickle a child and stop immediately when the child says, “Stop.”

    Of course, to make this work, you as a parent need to be available to enforce the rule. When you hear one child say, "Stop," watch and see if you’re needed to step in to enforce the rule.

    One mom told us, "I thought this idea was too simple, but one day I was so frustrated, I decided to teach it to my children. They liked the idea…and it worked! Now it has become a regular part of our family life."

    The Stop Rule teaches children the value of their words. When someone is relentlessly teasing, your child will know that his or her personal boundaries are being violated and want to seek help. This is a helpful rule for creating boundaries in relationships between siblings or playmates and it teaches children adult solutions for solving problems.

    (This parenting tip comes from the book Home Improvement, the Parenting Book You Can Read to Your Kids by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    JANUARY 2013

  • Parenting Insight You Can Use Now
  • We all wish our children would desire the right things in life and avoid tempting situations. Knowing the difference between a healthy desire and a temptation, however, can be a challenge at times, especially for kids. Desires aren’t always bad; in fact, of our longings are good. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

    As parents, we have a responsibility to guide our children in the right direction. We encounter desires and temptations every day. By talking with our children about how we deal with those situations, we can provide them with examples that will help them learn what to do with their own desires and temptations.

    One twelve-year-old asked his mom why she didn’t get angry when she was cut off by another driver on the road, giving Mom a perfect opportunity to talk about how she lets offenses go so she doesn’t have to harbor the anger. Mom knew her son needed that message, because he’d been treated unfairly at school and was tempted to act out his own anger. He listened and pondered what she said. Mom watched the wheels turn in his head and knew she had just connected somewhere deep inside her son.

    Don’t miss the opportunities provided by day-to-day life to point out to your kids appropriate ways to deal with desires. Explain to them why you pursue some desires and let others go, and help them see how those principles apply to their own lives. Your experience can be a valuable guide for your children.

    (This parenting insight comes from the book, Parenting is Heart Work by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    DECEMBER 2012

  • Help Children Change Their Hearts
  • "Too often parents focus only on behavior, getting the right actions down, but they don't address the heart. Jesus criticized the Pharisees, saying that they looked good on the outside but their hearts were still not changed. He said, "First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean."

    Focusing on behavior change is not enough. Many parents work hard to help their children look good on the outside. Inadvertently, these parents teach their children "image management" the ability to appear good, clean, and nice. A change of heart is what children really need though.

    Unfortunately, you can't force children to change their hearts. But we can do a lot to motivate them to make the necessary changes. We've identified several tools that, when used properly, address the heart. First, use sorrow instead of anger in the discipline process. Parents who misuse this technique often lay a guilt trip on their children. The key is to be genuine. If you, as a parent, look past your anger for a moment you will see that you truly are sad about what your child has done because you know the long-term consequences of such behavior. Reflect it in a gentle way. It's amazing to see how children will respond.

    Another way to influence a child's heart is to use the scriptures. The Bible has an amazing quality, the ability to pierce through to the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Don't use the Bible in a harsh way. Instead reveal what the Bible has to say about being kind or respectful or obedient. There's a lot of wisdom and conviction that comes through the scriptures.

    Be sure to talk about the heart during times of correction. "I can see you're angry because I said no, you need to take a break for a bit and settle your heart down and when you're ready, come back and we'll talk about it." It'll take work and a child may need some long times to settle down at first, but a change of heart is worth it in the end. Resolve the tension by having a Positive Conclusion together. Talk about what went wrong and why it was wrong. Address heart issues, not just behavior and help children see things from a deeper perspective.

    You may think of some other ideas but whatever you do, don't rely on simple behavior modification techniques. They don't go deep enough and often don't address the real issues."

    (Home Improvement by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    NOVEMBER 2012

  • Dealing With Sarcasm
  • Communication is like sitting at a table and passing messages back and forth. Anyone can take a piece of paper and a pencil, write down a message, and give it to anyone else across the table. A sarcastic remark, however, is like handing one piece of paper over the table and another one under the table. It sends mixed signals as the word message is inconsistent with the tone of voice. Family communication may sound like this:

    "Yeah, you're too tired to take out the trash but just wait until your phone rings, then we'll see how tired you are." Or "I worked hard today. I didn't just sit around the house like some other people I know." Or "Sit around the house! I can't believe you. How come you're so smart with a computer but you can't seem to figure out how to work the vacuum cleaner?"

    Some people are pretty quick when it comes to cutting others with their mouth. Bad communication habits become ingrained quickly so watch out for the sarcasm trap. A wise parent will hear sarcasm and gently ask questions about the hidden message. "The way you said that communicates that you're angry or frustrated with me?" or "You said 'right' as if you agreed, but I can tell by your tone of voice that you don't believe what I'm saying is true. Is that correct?"

    Sarcasm isn't always wrong. Sometimes it's just a way of having fun. Many times, however, sarcasm is a way of stabbing someone in the back. Learn to recognize it and challenge it when it's used inappropriately. Some children and even adults have a lifestyle of using sarcasm. Those patterns can be hard to change, but challenging sarcasm can be a healthy step toward honest communication.

    (This parenting tip comes from the book Parenting is Heart Work by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    OCTOBER 2012

  • Make Mealtimes Fun
  • In many homes, dinnertime is the only time when the family actually gets together. This becomes more pronounced as children get older and schedules become more complicated. It's unfortunate that many parents overemphasize manners or food choices or even use the table talk as a time to go over the offenses of the day or to further discipline children.

    All of these things may be necessary or helpful at times but be careful not to develop a negative pattern. We say that more meals are ruined at the dinner table than at the stove. Instead, use mealtimes to share about the day. Talk about things you've learned and ask children to talk about their experiences. Children will learn valuable relationship skills like listening, asking questions, talking, and telling stories. Gentle reminders about listening, not interrupting, or letting someone else speak, can go a long way to teach children how to carry on conversations and enjoy others in the process.

    Children learn from stories. As you share ways you're growing or incidents that made an impression on your day, children apply them to their own lives. Laughing and being silly can add to a positive sense of family life. When appropriate, share how you have applied God's Word in practical situations by the way you think or act. This helps children see that spirituality is not just a technique; it’s a lifestyle.

    Some children make mealtimes a challenge. Hyperactivity or overly talkative youngsters can make civilized conversations difficult. Sibling conflict issues spill over into what might otherwise be pleasant conversations. Try to gently move things back on track. Redirect conversation and distract children by your enthusiasm and energy.

    (This parenting tip comes from the book , Parenting is Heart Work, by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    SEPTEMBER 2012

  • Be Careful of Reverse Psychology
  • Parents continue to look for ways to get their young children to cooperate. One of the methods some parents use is called "reverse psychology." It often works, but can have dangerous side effects.

    When the two-year-old doesn't want to eat his sandwich, Mom may say in a playful voice, "Don't take a bite of your sandwich while I'm gone." When she returns and finds that her son is chewing a bite and smiling." Mom reacts in mock surprise and then says it again. The good news is that Mom just achieved a goal of getting her son to eat his sandwich.

    But what is Mom teaching her son? Reverse psychology uses playfulness to teach children to disobey. Teasing can be fun in family life, but sometimes the teasing has underlying principles that we need to be careful about.

    Reverse psychology is rarely helpful in the long run. Although little Billy may get into the bathtub when Dad says playfully, "Don't put your foot in that bathtub," he's inadvertently encouraging Billy to go against Dad's better judgment.

    Playfulness is good with children. You might play a game with bath time or eating a sandwich, but be careful that you don't make jokes about things like disobedience.

    (This parenting tip comes from the book Preschool Explorers by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN with Diane Snyder.)

    AUGUST 2012

  • What Your Child Treasures
  • What is your child interested in? What does he think about? Where does she spend her money? What do your kids like to do? Jesus said, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).

    Most of the time the activities our children choose indicate what they treasure. Because the heart and behavior are closely linked, parents can look for things their kids can do that will encourage healthy heart change. Look for ways to guide your children into constructive and helpful activities, hobbies, and relationships.

    Sometimes you’ll have to limit certain activities, but look for positive ones to replace those you’re taking away. Try to attract your children to good choices by providing opportunities they’d enjoy. By adjusting what your children do, you can influence what they enjoy and eventually what they treasure.

    Sometimes simply providing different choices guides a child into more healthy heart situations, but other children seem to have a bent towards treasuring the wrong things. Or they may want to spend hours in activities that aren’t necessarily bad, but you know they don’t contribute to maturity and growth.

    You may have to use a combination of approaches, including setting some firm limits to guide your child in the right direction. That’s part of the hard work of parenting, but it’s not optional. Be creative and look for alternatives, but recognize that, if a child isn’t responding, you may have to provide parental control. Don’t be afraid to take a stand to redirect your child into more healthy choices. After all, too much of a particular thing can have an unhelpful affect on the heart.

    (This parenting tip comes from the book Parenting is Heart Work by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    JULY 2012

  • Bad Attitudes Come In Three Arenas
  • A bad attitude is a challenge to family life and frustrates many a parent. Furthermore, if children don't learn how to deal with their attitude, they grow up to be adults with bad attitudes. One way to help children overcome a bad attitude is to take it apart and help them deal with it in smaller pieces.

    Children are tempted to have a bad attitude in three prominent areas: when given an instruction, when corrected, and when given a "no" answer. One mom put a sign up in her kitchen listing those three areas with the heading, "Three opportunities for a good attitude."

    Take time to talk about attitude with your children. Discuss the importance and benefits of a good attitude. Help your children understand these three areas and even warn your child when one of them is coming. Coach your children to have a better response.

    The next time your child demonstrates a bad attitude, don’t just point out the negative but teach how to respond rightly. When given an instruction, a child might say, "Okay Mom," in a pleasant tone of voice. When corrected, it would be helpful to say, "I'm sorry." When receiving a "no" answer, children might say to themselves, "Okay, maybe another time."

    A bad attitude is often a sign of an angry heart and the groaning, rolled eyes, sarcasm, stomping feet, or disgusted look are all attempts to communicate unhappiness with the situation. Gently point out these bad habits and help your children to practice better responses. Be careful of your own harshness in the process and look for ways to break the problem down into manageable pieces.

    (This parenting tip comes from the book Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes In You and Your Kids by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. Now that's a fancy title, but we call it The Honor Book.)

    JUNE 2012

  • Why do you do what’s right?”
  • It’s fun to ask this question of children. When you ask, “Why do you do what’s right?” the common answer from kids is, “So I don’t get in trouble.” That’s when you can take them to Romans 13:5 which says, “Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.”

    Punishment is external. Conscience is internal. So what does that mean for parents?

    Good news. God has created inside the heart of your child a piece of standard operating equipment that helps you do your job as a parent. Of course, the conscience isn’t a lot of help until it’s trained. But daily life regularly provides the opportunities to train the conscience.

    Look for ways to get kids thinking about the conscience in their own lives. You can do that in part by talking about their motivations for doing what’s right. After all, if they only do what’s right to avoid punishment or to get a reward then they’re missing out on the benefits of the internal prompting of the conscience.

    The reality is that maturity and responsibility require that a person do what’s right when no one is watching and when no apparent reward is available. The child just does it because it’s right. Now, children have the key to growing up and being responsible, and that's to do what’s right even without external prompters.

    Of course children still need parents to help them know what’s right in any given situation but as parents work along with the God-given equipment in a child’s heart, they transfer the responsibility to the child. That’s great news and something we all look forward to.

    (This parenting tip comes from the children’s program curriculum Hero Training Camp by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    MAY 2012

  • The Wise Appeal
  • When children know how to obey then we can give them the privilege of using a wise appeal. When a child doesn't like a request or instruction, they may use a wise appeal that goes something like this:

    I understand you want me to…because…

    I have a problem with that because…

    So could I please…

    The first phrase helps the child identify with the concerns and needs of the parent. When parents feel understood they're more likely to listen to alternatives, negotiate, or compromise.

    The second phrase helps the parent to understand the child's predicament and reason for discussion.

    In the third phrase the child offers a creative solution that addresses both the concerns of Mom or Dad and the concerns of the child.

    You may say to your seven-year-old son, "It's time to clean up the playroom now. We have to go run errands." If he's just gotten involved in his train set, he might say, "I understand you want me to clean up because we have to go out, I have a problem with that because I just set up my train track, could I please leave my train out until we get home?"

    Of course, a child in this situation needs to be able to accept "no" as an answer. A child who is unable to accept "no" without having a tantrum isn't ready to use the wise appeal and loses it as a privilege. Sometimes however, the wise appeal can be helpful in family life. It teaches children an honoring way to appeal.

    Some children may try to use the wise appeal in a manipulative way or may not be mature enough to handle it. A child may try to use the wise appeal to get out of doing a job altogether. This is unacceptable. The wise appeal results in a contract between parent and child. This contract requires trust and when a child proves responsible, then the child earns the privilege of more trust.

    The wise appeal is illustrated in Scripture in the lives of Daniel, Esther, and Nehemiah who all had to go to an authority to present a difficult situation. Their success happened, in part, because of the way they made their requests. By teaching the wise appeal, you teach children an adult skill they can use forever.

    (This tip comes from the book Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes In You and Your Kids by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    APRIL 2012

  • Privilege Goes With Responsibility
  • Jesus told a parable about a landowner who returned to find two stewards who had been responsible and one that hadn't been. The landowner said to the responsible stewards, "You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things." Jesus was teaching his disciples that those who are responsible will receive more.

    This principle that privilege and responsibility go together is the primary way that parents can discipline their teens. Too often parents give privileges to teens who aren't responsible enough to handle them. Just because a child is fourteen years old doesn't mean that he is mature enough to go to a friend's house without supervision. Don't give privileges based on age, use responsibility as a guide instead.

    One mom was asked by her thirteen-year-old daughter, "How old do I have to be before I can babysit?"

    Mom was wise enough to respond, "The answer doesn't have to do with age. It has to do with responsibility."

    Her daughter continued, "How will you know when I'm responsible enough?"

    "I'll see signs of responsibility at home. I can tell if you are responsible by how you take care of your room and what kind of choices you make when I'm not around."

    Parents sometimes give privileges to children who aren't responsible enough to handle them. Privileges are things like being home alone, having an email account, carrying a cell phone, going to the mall with friends, or being able to stay up later.

    Children want privileges and often pressure their parents to give them. You can use privileges to teach responsibility. "Before I can give you access to the Internet, I have to see that you can take a stand for righteousness, be honest under pressure, and do the right thing when no one is watching." Or, "I'd like to allow you to stay up later but it means that you have to demonstrate a good attitude during the day. I'm not sure we're there yet."

    Responsibility can be demonstrated in children in many ways and honor is at the heart of it. Cleaning up after a snack, taking initiative to help clear the table, being honest in a difficult situation, responding to correction without blaming an offense on someone else, and handling disappointment with a good attitude are all ways that children can demonstrate responsibility.

    (This tip comes from the book Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes In You and Your Kids by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    MARCH 2012

  • Teaching Resource about Easter
  • Hey Families! - I wanted to share this super cool resource with any moms of young children (2-6 ish maybe even a little older) .... Easter is such a rich time, but it seems to get so clouded with what we will wear- what cute thing our child will wear. Baskets, Bunnies (my personal fav- peeps!) that it's hard to pull our kids into the "real meaning" much like at Christmas. Last year I took Ty and Gabe to Wal-mart and we went on a "hunt" for Jesus in the Easter isles. It was a spur of the moment thing as I saw there little eyes grow huge as they took in all the colors, candy and well crap really- that was all over the shelves. They went up and down looking for Jesus and by the end Ty found one little strange figure of Christ - but it was more frightening than anything. He said, "Mostly mama - He's not here." - Out of the mouths of babes! So this year at Christmas we used this super fun advent calendar thing from Heart Felt Truths and it was SUPER! Even Gabe who is my (I could care less kid) was able to say that Jesus was GREAT! and basically say the Christmas story! So now these wonderful people have the Easter week done in a similar way. It is SO COOL! you can even put Jesus in the tomb on Friday - get up early and take him out before the kids get up! (way cooler than elf mischief!). So I haven't used it yet - but I am excited - we'll see how this season goes! Praying for all of us to train our children in the way they should go!

    Bethany Irvin Clark

    FEBRUARY 2012

  • The Good Side of Anger
  • Anger is good for identifying problems but not good for solving them. Unfortunately, too many people don't understand anger's benefit and, as a result, end up feeling guilty about being angry, further complicating the emotional picture.

    It's important to understand that anger is not good as a response to problems. It usually builds walls, increases tension, and contributes to distance in relationships. But we do believe that anger is good for identifying problems. Once you understand anger, you'll be able to use it to your advantage to point out problems in life. Then you must move into another mode or plan to solve those problems.

    Ephesians 4:26 says, "In your anger do not sin." This verse is just one that tells us that there is an anger that isn't sinful.

    One dad told us that when he began thinking about anger this way his anger became less intense, he was angry less often, and when he did get angry, he knew what to do about it. That is exactly what we're saying.

    There are plenty of books on the market about managing anger and you can do a lot to calm your emotions but the anger control books don't solve the real problem – your kids keep doing the wrong things! If you begin to use anger to identify the problems and then develop healthy solutions to address them, you'll be using anger in a positive way.

    Many parents have given up hope, believing that they have lost the battle with anger. They’re plagued with guilt about their emotions. Before you can improve your anger management or your child’s, you must first think rightly about anger. Anger is good for identifying problems but not good for solving them.

    (This tip comes from the book Good and Angry, Exchanging Frustration for Character In You and Your Kids by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    JANUARY 2012

  • Punishment vs Discipline
  • Have you ever thought about the difference between punishment and discipline? There’s really quite a difference. Punishment gives a negative consequence, but discipline means to teach. Punishment is negative; discipline is positive. Punishment focuses on past misdeeds. Discipline focuses on future good deeds. Punishment is often motivated by anger. Discipline is motivated by love. Punishment focuses on justice to balance the scales. Discipline focuses on teaching, to prepare for next time.

    The child who teases relentlessly, the child who whines for a snack, and the child who bickers with his brother all have one thing in common: a need to change patterns of behavior and a need to change the heart. Some parents only use punishment or anger to motivate their children to act differently. This attitude says, "If I just point out the problem enough times, he'll eventually change."

    What these kids really need is firm correction with a positive focus. Be sure to tell your children what they should do in place of the unwanted behavior. Teach them right responses to replace the negative ones. Have them practice doing the right thing before they are free to go. It takes more work to discipline instead of punish but the rewards are certainly worth it. Children grow and develop new patterns of healthy responses.

    (This tip comes from the book Home Improvement by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.)

    DECEMBER 2011

  • The Real Meaning of Christmas
  • With so much advertising and emphasis on presents, programs, and parties, take some time to teach your children about the real meaning of Christmas. It's so easy to get distracted by the celebration that one discussion or Christmas program isn't enough to help your children catch the meaning and significance of what Christmas is really all about. Here are some suggestions.

    Have a daily or weekly reminder of the Christmas story. Use an advent calendar or read through the Christmas story in the next few weeks.

    Tell children what the first Christmas was really like. Did you know that a manger is a cow's eating dish? How far is it from Nazareth to Bethlehem anyway? That would be like walking all the way from our home to _____. What was an Inn like? What were the shepherds doing out with the sheep at night? Did you know that the Bible doesn't say that there were three wise men? Maybe there were ten. Help children think about the story differently than they have before.

    Write to a missionary family and find out how they are celebrating Christmas. Talk to your children about how cultures have different traditions but the real meaning of Christmas is the same.

    And talk about God's gift of salvation. Why did God start Christmas in the first place? How does his gift change who we are? Keep in mind that this may be time that your child dedicates himself or herself to the Lord in a new and special way.

    Christmas is a special time where memories are created that last a lifetime. Take some time to plan your Christmas season carefully to make sure the things you do and say have lasting value.

    (This tip was sent from www.biblicalparenting.org)

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