Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it Proverbs 22:6
When it comes to parenting there are no guarantees! But wait, you say, didn’t God give this “promise” that if I raise my child up right, then he/she won’t turn from it later in life? First, this is not exactly a promise. The writer of Proverbs made some astute observations that children who are raised in a certain way will maintain that character later in life. It is a principle and there are many layers to it. In this upcoming series I hope to give you some principles that will help you in parenting your kids for more connection and joy in your family. There are no promises except, perhaps that if you reflect on these principles, engage God in your life and care for you kids with respect and regard, then life will be better for you and your kids. The four main subjects I will highlight in the next 4 sessions will be: The Parent; The Child; Discipline; and Launching. Hoping this will be dynamic and helpful to you and the life of your family.
Reflection - How am I showing up and what is important for me?
The first step to becoming a healthy parent is to reflect on what is going on inside your own heart, mind and soul. How are you showing up? What was it like to be with “ME” today? Family Patterns are deeply ingrained into the fabric of a family’s life. Each person brings a family system (or pattern) into the marriage and we establish a unique family system in our home that our children will live and breathe by until they break free and establish their own. These patterns can be healthy or unhealthy; beneficial or destructive An example of a family system or pattern would be how people in the family respond or react to conflict. Is conflict feared or avoided? Does everyone run when Dad or Mom is upset? Is yelling and screaming the norm? Are people allowed to berate and criticize each other? OR is there a pattern of working things out with respect and regard for each other. Is talking, listening and caring exhibited when folks are upset or have a problem to work out with each other? These patterns all begin with the parent or parents. Reflecting on the patterns that you grew up with will help you become aware and, if necessary, be a conduit of change for a healthier pattern in the family in which you have the role of Parent.
Here are some beginning questions to begin your reflection:
What’s my motivation? To raise a Perfect Kid? To make up for my own losses in childhood?. Keep Order and Peace? Control and Manipulate others (Have Power)? To look good? Impress others? To enjoy each other and raise kids who can thrive?
How do I show up? Angry, busy, calm, wise, connected to my own self?
What is one word that describes how you showed up today or yesterday?
What Family Patterns do I bring? How did your family of origin do life together?
Talk or yell?
Work through problems/conflict and Emotions- Fight? Flight? Freeze?
What un-written rules do you still hold to?
What Roles do we play?
Redemption -What is it that God needs to do in my heart for me to show up with Grace and genuine Love for my child(ren)?
Every person and every family needs redemption. None of us are perfect. We all have places of healing and growth to acquire. As we think about redemption the first place to look is inward. When Jesus was teaching His disciples how to help others he said, “first get the log out of your own eye, so then you can see clearly to help the other.” Again, think about this: How did I show up today? How would I like to show up instead? Some options? I like to reach for these: Joyful, Calm, peaceful, Curious, wise…
Sometimes we will be walking down the hall, our child will do something…not too bad, just perhaps mildly annoying and SHAZAAM! Your mother or your own monster spews from your mouth! Your eyes bulge, your stomach tenses, you are tempted to toss the little one right out the backdoor into the kiddy pool! Well, maybe I am exaggerating, but you may relate to the reaction that does not quite fit with the offense. These reactions can come from what The Genesis Process© calls a Protective Personality. These “protective personalities” flare up to protect us from being hurt and many times show up in ways that exert unnecessary negative power over our little loved one. Protective personalities are based on false belief’s that lurk deep in our thinking and our soul. These false beliefs are common lies about life, about God, about Self, and about Others. Here are some common phrases that Protective Personalities are produced around: I’m not good enough, I am not worth anything, I will never measure up, God doesn’t care, no-one loves me, no one cares, I have to avoid people, I have to control people (to be safe)…
If these false beliefs run in the hard drive tapes of your heart and mind you may need to seek and get help and healing to resolve them. Professional counseling, help groups, spiritual formation counselors and the like can help you heal from wounds, forgive those who have hurt you, repent and resolve your own offenses. It is only through deep reflection and healing that we can be a present and genuine loving parent to our children. This kind of deep healing usually only comes as we engage others in the healing process.
In the New Testament scriptures James, Jesus’s brother, offers us this advice: Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)
Resolve - What step(s) do I need to begin to relate with my child(ren) in a healthier more connected way?
In conclusion, children need a healthy, emotionally mature parent who loves them and likes them. The parent needs to be grounded enough to absorb the storms of emotions that children are likely to have. Developing a consistent and clear message that I am the parent is anchored in love and grace. The clear message that “I can be here for you” needs to be communicated in word and deed--and tone of voice-- for children to thrive in a family.
It takes RESOLVE to get the help you need to be healthier emotionally, relationally, spiritually. What is one small step toward growth in this area for you?
Sometimes our “good” parenting is highjacked because we did not receive what we needed from our own parents/caregivers-
It has been said that children interpret 2 emotions when they are young: JOY or DISGUST. What are you reflecting to your children? Hopefully with reflection, redemption and resolve this can be: I see you… I hear you…I understand that you…. I can help you AND I am GLAD TO BE WITH YOU!
Perhaps you would like to pray this Prayer: Lord, you have gifted me with a child (children) to care for, to nurture in love and to help him/her grow in wisdom and in truth. Help me to have the courage to admit my own brokenness, to bring my failures and my hurts to you so that I can be healed and redeemed. Form me into the loving, mature parent that my child(ren) need. By your grace I will commit to growing and becoming the person you are calling me to be for this special season of parenting. Amen
Questions for Reflection:
What thoughts are stirred up?
What Shifts are you making in thinking?
What will you commit to exploring more?
This Parenting Topic is an excerpt from ReaLife Coaching parenting workshop:
Parenting with Connection and Confidence©. Each month I will cover one of the four topics from this workshop to help you enjoy your family more and be the parent you would like to be, so your kids can thrive in relationships and life.
*Please contact me if you would like to offer this as a workshop in your church or parenting group.*
Watch for Next month’s Topic: THE CHILD- What Children need to Thrive.
God Attachment, Why you believe, Act, and Feel the Way you Do about God, by Drs. Tim Clinton and Joshua Straub;
Parenting from the Inside Out, by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., and Mary Hartzell, M.Ed ;
13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do, by Amy Morin · March 6, 2019. Article from Forbes Magazine and HomeWord Ministries,
Protective Personalities worksheet.www.genesisprocess.org