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How do my husband and I stay on the same page when it comes to the kids?

Several times each week conversation should occur apart from the kids (they should be in bed or in their rooms at reasonable times so that the end of the day can be used purposefully for the welfare of the family). It is unrealistic to think that spiritual connection will happen without intentionality.

Spiritual connection is really quite simple. If a wife is connecting with God through her own prayer and reading life, she will have spiritual things to contribute to her husband. The same is true of a man. When God is the “third person” in a relationship, everyone flourishes. Giving daily/weekly attention to the spiritual dimension of the caretakers of a family can be huge.

Selfishness robs us of this – and humility is the key to disarming self-centered paradigms. We are easily trapped, however, into competing rather than strengthening. What does it take for you to be on the same page? How can we make this less important than screen time, hobbies, or relaxing pursuits.

Day #22 in the Work Book: Family Action Planning
This can help you as you work at being on the same page.

How we keep on top of what is happening with our multiple children? Everything moves so fast.

One thing about family life is that things are always changing. In order to be proactive rather than reactive, we must be intentional about assessing where each family member is on the growth continuum. We are not just talking about physical growth, but emotional and spiritual growth as well. This sheet can be helpful in defining individualized strategies for helping each child to the next level.

Day #17 in the Work Book: Your Child’s Changing Needs/page 49/Day Seventeen)

How do we maintain some sanity (and quality) in our time together as a family?

There are so many activities sending us so many directions – and it is only getting worse!

Dad and Mom and the dinner table.
As often as possible (at least 5 out of 7 days) you should expect your family share a meal together.

Meal time should be more about connecting than eating. Train your kids to plan on 45-60 minutes for the process. Ask each child to tell one story from their day, helping variant ages engage and be patient with the entire family (this can be particularly challenging with preteens/teens) .

We talked to someone the other day who has a “tech hour” that follows homework and chores and precedes dinner. Then – all devices are put away – for everyone! You can use the tech hour as a reward for dinner participation – but make sure you are consistent in administrating it!

Tell your stories – and then Mom and Dad can each share one way they saw God in their day – including scripture where appropriate. We used the book of Proverbs and selected a chapter depending upon the day of the month (31 chapters – 31 or so days in a month). Over a period of years we each had our favorites – and it gave us lots of ammo for values/beliefs/world view conversations.

With young children (1-6 years or so) – regular reading with Dad (of age appropriate spiritual books) can be huge in making spiritual connections for the family.

How do we bring spiritual disciplines into our home?

Great question! This is something best worked on early in a relationship. Remember – the way each of you submit personally to God is the spiritual discipline your children will “catch” from you! Not always what we SAY but what we DO! Being on the SAME PAGE takes discussion, prayer, and intentionality.

What do you want the spiritual outcomes in your family to be?
The atmosphere of how you treat each other?
The core values of your home?

Some resources:
Day #19 in the Work Book: Teaching self-control and family values
Day #20 in the Work Book: Developing Character
Day #21 in the Work Book: Developing Love

Sometimes I get so angry with my kids. What can I do?

And when it comes to being angry – righteous anger is not wrong – unrighteous anger is useless/and can be harmful. James 1:20 should always guide your motivation/actions for disciplining your kids. Burney adds: affection, affection, affection. God’s discipline will always come from love – not from frustration!

The best strategy is to NEVER indulge anger born from frustration. Always take a moment, take a breath, and give a measured response to your child(ren) – even when you feel everything is spinning out of control!

Send a child to their room (or separate yourself to gather perspective) – gain control over your emotions – and then deal with whatever situation. Getting good at this is a huge part of parenting in a way that teaches your kids self-control – and doesn’t feed an example of your own bad self-control.

We suggest to parents that putting a simple chart on the fridge where you can give a child a red star (bad behavior) and a silver star (good behavior) can then be visited when Dad gets home. This allows for relief for the daytime caregiver and instils a greater sense of responsibility in your child(ren) as they grow.

What do we do when bedtime is an ordeal?

I (dad) had showdowns with all of my kids on this. Here is the full discipline cycle: Explain – spank – leave for minute(s) – return to comfort – reiterate the standard/then repeat the process as many times as you need to. It is important for children not to win – even when they are small. This can be a heart-wrenching process – but you are doing what is best for your child.

Remember – we do the best we can to discipline our children so that they can rule themselves, not just to control them or have them not embarrass us in front of others (both very bad reasons for discipline). The pattern comes from God – who has perfect reasons to discipline us – whereas as parents we do the best we can (Hebrews 12 is probably the most instructive passage on right discipline – read it!).

What strategies work for a whining child (or family – or spouse!)?

Proverbs 16.32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.

If you discipline consistently and in an instructive manner you should be done spanking by the time a child is 4 or 5. We rarely spanked after this age – and if it was needed We NEVER recommend spanking for kids over 10 – there are plenty of things to take away at that age for bad behavior. The goal of all discipline is for our kids to learn to “rule their own spirit.” We actually are being merciful by disciplining and even spanking. No-one likes a brat – and if you take one out in public or send one to school – THEY (your child) will be the one who pays for your lack of self-control as a parent.

When should we begin to address our child’s behavior?

As soon as a child is old enough to push limits (being told no and reaching in to pull dirt out of a plant) they are old enough to learn consequences for getting in another’s space (yours). We began with slapping little hands – then moved to spanking for obvious acts of rebellion (your Proverbs passages you listed – Proverbs 13:24 and 23:12-14).

Strong Home Course Preview Video

The 12 Principles for a Spiritual Paradigm is a course of short videos you can use as a catalyst for family conversations at home or with your neighbors and friends. With this course you can download our entire Strong Homes workbook, and then choose topics and videos from the Strong Home Seminar that most fit the current stage of your home.