How to Listen So Your Kids Will Talk

How to Listen So Your Kids Will Talk - Parenting Like HannahOne of the most important parenting skills is to be a great listener. Why? Because, if you listen well, your kids will talk. The more they talk, the more they will reveal of what they are thinking and feeling. As Christian parents, what they say is even more vital, because it gives us clues how to strengthen their faith foundation and help mold their hearts towards God.

Yet, communication is one of the biggest struggles most parents face. Most of us have developed communication skills which are sloppy at best. In our defense, this is often because we had very little actual training in communication and default to what we picked up somehow along the way. Often these poor habits cause issues as we parent our children. The rifts they cause can become even greater as our kids reach their teen years.

So, I was really interested when offered the opportunity to review the new book How to Listen So People Will Talk by Becky Harling. This isn’t the first book on the topic. In fact, Amazon is filled with books with similar sounding titles and topics. I can’t speak to the others, but I loved this volume.

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6 Important Things to Teach Your Kids About Loving their Enemies

6 Important Things to Teach Your Kids About Loving their Enemies - Parenting Like HannahWho knows when it really starts. Maybe it’s after that first kid on the playground bops them on the head or the first child takes their toy away without asking. At some point though, kids begin to learn that not everyone is as big of a fan as their parents and grandparents. In fact, pretty early on most kids realize that some kids are really mean and will do and say ugly things to them for no apparent reason at all.

It’s human nature to want to avoid pain and that includes the emotional, mental and sometimes physical pain another person can cause us. Your kids are no different. Unfortunately, often the people that are mean to them are unavoidable because they have to sit next to them all day in school or play with the same kids in the neighborhood. Over time, your kids’ natural inclination at avoidance will probably turn into dislike as they are constantly exposed to the ugly words and actions of the person who is mean to them.

If the negative interactions continue, the dislike can become very strong indeed and even border on hatred. As parents we would love nothing more than to protect our kids from all of this pain and ugliness, but in reality we can’t for very long. As Christians, we are expected by God to love our enemies. Yet, I imagine if we were all extremely honest with each other, it’s one of the biggest struggles many of us have – and we are adults!

As with many of the things we teach as parents, God may ask us to train our kids in godly behaviors and heart attitudes we still haven’t mastered ourselves. Often, parents shy away from those topics entirely. I would encourage you though to step up to the challenge. Admit to your kids you are still working on loving your enemies like God would – even as an adult. Encourage each other as you tackle these 6 important actions and attitudes.

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Top Tips For Encouraging Your Kids to Read the Bible

Top Tips For Encouraging Your Kids to Read the Bible - Parenting Like HannahHopefully, one of your top priorities as a Christian parent is getting your kids to not only read the Bible independently, but to enjoy and value it, too. In the past, this was so difficult to do. Most of us found the vocabulary in the Bible challenging to understand. Many of us had started reading from the Bible in Genesis, only to lose interest and quit around Numbers. How can we encourage our kids to do something we struggled with ourselves?

First the good news. The reason you probably struggled (and may still struggle) with your Bible reading is that the adults who introduced you to the concept of independent Bible reading, probably made a few common mistakes. Which meant reading the Bible independently when you were younger probably felt like you were reading something written in another language. It was really difficult to understand and was too hard to be enjoyable. You learned to dread reading it and probably have depended on teachers, preachers and Christian authors to point out what you hoped were important verses.

Sadly, this means you have probably missed out on the entire richness and fullness a more intimate and personal reading of the entire Bible can give your spiritual life. You may have missed out on important truths God wanted you to know. You may have even believed false teachings, because your unfamiliarity with scripture allowed you to accept anything taught as truth. You can change that for yourself though and make sure your kids start out with a different attitude about independent Bible reading.

Try these tips and see what happens:

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Becoming a Resilient Christian Mom

Becoming a Resilient Christian Mom - Parenting Like HannahLife in this fallen world can be hard. Bad things happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes these things are so hard, people can become stuck swirling in the negativity of the event for the rest of their lives.

Unfortunately, Christian moms don’t really have the option to become stuck. To help your kids grow, thrive and develop a strong spiritual foundation, you have to be moving forward with them.

So if something has happened in your life that has you stuck, what can you do? How can you become resilient and help yourself move forward so you can parent your kids as effectively as possible? It’s not always easy, but it is possible and a new book may give you the extra help you need.

Becoming Resilient by Donna Gibbs aims to help the reader learn how to “move through suffering and come back stronger.” She gives sound, practical advice through the lens of a Christian worldview.

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5 Important Facial Expressions for Parents

5 Important Facial Expressions for Parents - Parenting Like HannahIf you were told the only food you could eat for the next week is your least favorite food, what expression would be on your face? You almost don’t need to think through the process of how to show the disgust you are feeling. After years of practice, it comes naturally when faced with an unpleasant situation.

Unfortunately, children often see expressions on the faces of their parents that can cause them unnecessary pain. Over the course of their childhood, these parental facial expressions can also mold your child’s character and self-image in positive or negative ways.

It is crucial for you to realize what expressions your face makes in certain situations and intentionally work to send the appropriate messages to your kids with your facial expressions as well as your words.

Here are five important facial expressions to use intentionally  when interacting with your kids:

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Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NIV)