4 Questions to Ask When Your Child Needs Correcting

January 31, 2019
Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.  Proverbs 22:6 Divide and conquer is not only the modus operandiof warfare, but it is also the strategy of kids who know that if they can play parents against each other, or pit weariness against the single parent, they have won the battle.  Our English word disciplinecomes from a Latin word, discere,which means to know, or, in the broader sense, to discern.             Yet the fact remains, providing discipline for children is one of the most distasteful things in the whole spectrum of parenting.  Regardless of how tired or stressed out a parent may be, enforcing the teaching-learning process is one of the most important contributions a parent makes to the future of his children.             When a child’s behavior deteriorates to the place where a corrective course is necessary, you as parents need to ask some important questions.             Question #1:  Ask, "Why has discipline become an issue?"  Kids have an amazing radar system.  When you are under stress, automatically kids pick up on that fact, but they don't understand the pressure you are under.  They just sense that Mom or Dad is really edgy, and quite often their behavior is an attempt to get your attention.  A child who has been deprived of his sleep is going to be fussy--that's not an issue which requires discipline.  But an eight-year-old who tells his mother to shut up because he's talking on the telephone, is a boy headed for real trouble as a teen.             Almost always, improper behavior is a red flag that says, "You need to spend more time with me!"  Or, "I want your attention, and I want it so badly that I am willing to risk getting into trouble to get it."             Question #2:  Ask, "Have I made it clear that certain behaviors are unacceptable in our family, and there are consequences to choosing those behaviors? A parent who takes out his anger on his child treats the child unfairly, but the parent who teaches his child that some things aren't going to be allowed, does his child a great favor; he or she is equipping the child for life, which is a far sterner taskmaster than the parent who, out of his love for his child, insists that the child learn to do right.             When behavior becomes a problem, you need to go one step further by asking--             Question #3: "Am I consistent in what I expect?" Let's say bedtime is 9:00 o'clock. But you aren't consistent.  And then when you are tired and stressed you yell at your kids because it is after ten and they still aren't in bed.  You are sending conflicting messages which create insecurity.  Being consistent is tough, but it's important.             One little guy knew that his dad meant what he said and said what he meant. After the little boy went to bed, he called out, "Daddy, can I have a drink of water?"  "No, son, go to sleep."  Five minutes later another plea, "Please, daddy, can I have a drink of water."  "No, son, and if you ask one more time, I'm coming in there."  For five minutes there was absolute silence, and then a resigned little voice says, "Daddy, when you come in here, can I have a glass of water?"             Finally, there is one more question.             Question #4:  Ask, "What is the best way to deal with this situation?"  How you do it has so much to do with its effectiveness. Anger creates anger, but correction administered with love produces well-adjusted children who know the differences between right and wrong and chose to do right.             Well does the book of Hebrews say, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:11). Resource reading:  Ephesians 6:1-11

Discover the Most Important Thing in Your Teens Life

January 18, 2019
Speaker: Bonnie Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6   Ask any teen: What’s the biggest influence in your life and you might expect them to answer “friends” or “social media!”  And the parents of those teens might tell you the same thing. It is true, in cultures throughout the world, cellphones and internet connectivity are radically changing the fabric of a teen’s life. But results from one of the most comprehensive studies of teenagers ever done say otherwise.  Parent-family connectedness and parental expectations were the greatest factor in protecting against every behavior that posed health risks as well as school achievement. It’s still true:  parents, not other teenagers, are actually the most significant force in the lives of teens. The National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health involved some 90,000 children, beginning in 1994, with the latest data reported in 2016.  Three factors emerged from this seminal study. These three factors are universal. They are just as true today as when the study was done. They help combat emotional distress, suicidal thoughts and actions, violence, the use of alcohol, tobacco or marijuana, and sexual activity.  And what are those three factors? Factor #1: Family cohesiveness.  This involves a feeling of belonging, of being cared for, the realization that a youngster is wanted, loved, and a valued member of the family.  This, of course, means that parents have to be there for their children.  The myth of enough quality time compensating for long periods of absence just doesn’t work.  Family cohesiveness means a child grows up with a sense of belonging to a tribe, and all the child care workers and government programs combined can’t replace the importance of parents being there. Factor #2: Parental expectations. Parental expectations become prophesies of future behavior.  When kids know that parents believe in them and encourage them to avoid drugs, alcohol, and promiscuity, and parents themselves live by their own expectations, teens are far more apt to avoid behavior that parents condemn. A side note:  This, of course, implies that parents have definite ideas of right and wrong and are actually living out their own expectations for their kids. The truly effective parent is willing to own his or her own failures and model course corrections.  Teens need to know what to do in times of failure because they’ve watched their parents model the behavior. Factor #3: Parental involvement in the life of a child.  The hard fact remains that when a parent isn’t present in a home after school, at the dinner table and at bedtime, something important is missing, and something else—media or another teenager—will become a significant influence.  All of us long for a tribe to belong to.  This was God’s idea in the first place; as the Psalmist wrote, “God sets the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:6). So, research has done it again.  It’s certified the obvious.  The Bible laid the foundation for the data almost 3000 years ago when it said, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6).  In one sentence, the writer of Proverbs summarized what was true then, is true today, and will be true in the next generation:  Parents are still the most important force in the life of a child. When teens feel connected to their families and when parents are involved in their children's lives, teens are protected and they are free to grow and develop as God intended them to. Being the parent of a teenager can be tremendously frustrating. But you only have a few years to pack their suitcase, then they’re gone.  So, do a good job of it.  May God give us His grace to model walking out our faith in this life with Him for our kids. Resource reading: Proverbs 22: 1-16

Praying for Your Grown-Up Kids

October 15, 2018
Speaker: Darlene Sala | Series: Encouraging Words Whoever thinks parenting ends when a son or daughter turns 21 doesn’t understand that a parent never quits caring. I always feel a heart-tug when I read the apostle Paul’s words: “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 1:19 (NIV). Isn’t that a good description of your concern for your kids’ spiritual welfare--it’s like childbirth. If you have a personal relationship with Jesus, you long for each of your kids to make progress on their journey into grace too. Once you are a parent, you are always a parent. No one ever has to remind you to pray for a son or daughter. He or she is #1 on your prayer list. Prayer is the most important ministry parents can have for their adult children. Lecturing them certainly isn’t effective. Criticism only pushes them away. The beautiful thing about praying for your kids is that you are enlisting the Holy Spirit to work in their lives as only He can. We try to help from the outside of their hearts. God the Holy Spirit works on the inside. How encouraging is that! Paul recorded several prayers that I like to apply to my children and grandchildren. You can look them up in the first chapter of Ephesians and the first chapter of Philippians: Ephesians says, “I keep asking that…God…may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” (Ephesians 1:17 NIV). Philippians say, “It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent” (Philippians 1:9-10).   How about taking one of these scriptures--either Ephesians 1 or Philippians 1--and begin today praying it back to God for your kids? Then watch what the Holy Spirit will do in their lives.

Whose Children Are They?

Debbi Smoot tells about a conversation she had with her neighbor Fran, the mother of six children. Fran’s children all had a natural self-confidence. They were achievers but weren’t obnoxious…
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