Friday, July 25, 2008

Official Blogging and Article Writing Has Begun!

I have now officially started blogging!  I've read that having a blog is a great way to get your feet wet if you want to eventually put together a more complex website.  So this is a place where I will throw my thoughts down, try my hand at writing articles that may some day be submitted in an article group, and just write about things that are really important to me.  So thank you for coming by! And God bless!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

10 Important Ways To Stay Connected With Your Children Before Puberty Hits

Raising children is full of blessings for sure! But it is not without heartaches along the way. As a mom of 5, some who have entered adulthood and are starting their own brood, I believe there are some valuable tips I can pass on to others starting on this journey. This is certainly not an exhausted list but it will be a good start in keeping the connection going through the rough times of puberty in particular. Are you ready? Here we go!
1. Lots of hugs! - Children need lots of hugs, especially the prickly ones. I had a good friend in college who said we needed 8 hugs a day. I've never forgotten that. I've tried to remember this all important tip with my kids. When things get stressful around the house a hug seems to let down the walls and calm the atmosphere.
2. Find 5 positive things to say about them each day - It seems that we go through periods when everything our child does is annoying! It's usually when they are going through an awkward stage or puberty in particular. It's at those times when purposely finding something positive to say about them keeps the boat steady. They are probably finding it hard to feel good about themselves at the same time. Trying to notice the little things helps build them up.
3. Don't humiliate them in public and especially not in front of their friends - So many times I've seen parents tear into their young teens in public and you can just see the walls of anger and resentment come up. Save a "talk" for a private time.
4. Mutual respect - This tip is the flip side of the one above. Parents definitely have a God given authority and they should train their children to obey, but if you want your child to respect you and grow to have a healthy respect for others, you need to return the favor.
5. Listen - Being a good listener is so valuable in the parent-child relationship. Let them share their thoughts without interrupting them. Whether they are angry, upset about something, or just have a thought or incident they want to tell you about, let them talk. This will GREATLY pay off when they go through puberty and seem like they're from Mars.
6. Find a common taste in music - It's easy to fuss and complain about the music they listen to but if you are patient and open you can be greatly rewarded. I'm now a big fan of the Dave Matthews Band because of one of my children.
7. Choose your battles - Although there may be many things you'd like to "change", we need to zero in on what's most important. What's more important, that your son cut his hair or... you fill in the blank. This goes hand in hand with the next point.
8. Find areas where you can give them freedom and independence - If we hold on tightly and try to control everything in their lives it could really backfire. Look for ways to show you Trust them. Usually, they will rise to this challenge and prove they are trustworthy.
9. Pray for them - This is probably the most important thing you can do. Pray daily and thank God for them .
10. Enjoy something in common - I consider this to be one of the most important things you can do for your relationship with your child. Here is an example from my own life. Way before puberty, my son fell in love with the Braves baseball team. He would tell me about Chipper Jones, Tom Glavin, Andres Gallarraga and many more. Before I knew it we were sitting down watching the Braves games together . We would talk about the different players and he would explain things to me. I had never been a baseball fan before. Then when puberty and high school hit I wondered where my sweet son went. Who was this scowling person from another planet? I was so thankful for the Braves baseball connection we had built earlier because no matter what struggles we were going through, we could always find a mutual pleasure in watching a game together or talking about the players. Even now that he is 22 he text messaged me the other night from the city he lives in and asked me if I was watching the All Star game! I thank God often for that connection. That is why I think it is so important to find something, anything, you can enjoy together while they are young.

I know there are many more ways to stay connect but here are 10 great things you can do to build a strong bond with your kids before the rocky roads of adolescence hits.