Archive | Discipline

6 Top Tips for Handling “Sassy” Kids

6 Top Tips for Handling "Sassy" Kids - Parenting Like HannahWith the amount of constant conflict in our society, it’s no surprise our children believe they can say whatever comes into their heads to anyone at any time. “Good” kids probably won’t say things that will have them labeled as bullies, but often the things they say (which in their minds are smart and funny) are actually very rude and disrespectful.

The problem is there is no real societal standard the way there was several decades ago. Chances are if your child says something “sassy” or disrespectful, it is just as likely to be given positive labels as negative ones. Yet, as Christians, we are held to God’s standard – not society’s. We know God wants our children to speak in ways that are loving, kind and respectful. How can we train them to speak the way God wants them to speak to others?

It’s definitely easier to train or disciple your child in any godly behavior when you can count on other adults to reinforce what you are teaching them. Even if you don’t have that support system though, there are things you can do at home to move your child towards more godly speech.

Here are my six favorite tips:

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Christian Kids and Rewards

Christian Kids and Rewards - Parenting Like HannahWhen I teach kids, I will sometimes challenge them to accomplish something or allow them to compete in some way. Inevitably, one of them will ask “What do we get?”. Parents, schools, even extra-curricular activities give awards for anything and everything. Some even reward children for doing the bare minimum of what used to be considered common good behavior.

While this is not an article on entitlement, too many rewards can create children who expect to be rewarded for everything they do. It can create laziness, because why bother to do your best if you are rewarded for any minimal effort at all. It can create pride and destroy realistic expectations of what one can achieve with one’s current skills and knowledge. They can even create an attitude that doing what is right or expected will only be done when the reward is present – remove the reward and the behavior disappears.

In short, too many rewards cause more problems than they solve. Yet, rewards persist in our society. There are actually some good things that can come from using limited rewards. In fact, whether you realize it or not, the Bible addresses the subject of rewards – especially in the New Testament. What can the Bible teach Christian parents about using rewards in healthy ways?

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Mother’s Intuition: Fact or Fiction

Mother's Intuition: Fact or Fiction - Parenting Like HannahWhen my daughter was getting ready to enter kindergarten, I asked her doctor if she should get the flu shot. He was an older doctor at a time when flu shots for kids were considered optional. He counseled she should go without, because catching the flu would strengthen her immune system. It felt wrong, but I gave into what I thought was the doctor’s wisdom.

Fast forward a few months, and neither my daughter nor I will forget the week long fever followed by several weeks of iffy health when she of course caught the flu. As I watched helplessly while she suffered, I was angry with myself for ignoring “my gut”. If only I had listened to my mother’s intuition, my child would not have gotten sick.

Was that my mother’s intuition which would have saved the day? Perhaps. But what about the many times I have probably long since forgotten when my mother’s intuition didn’t prove to be quite so accurate? Is a mother’s intuition really always right? Should our parenting decisions always follow our gut?

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Is your Child Giving Excuses or Reasons (And Why It Matters)

Is your Child Giving Excuses or Reasons (And Why It Matters) - Parenting Like HannahEver asked your child why, he punched his sister or didn’t clean up his toys as asked? What often follows is a litany of sentences along the lines of “It was her fault.”, “He made me do it”, “She hit me first.”, “I didn’t know you meant those toys.” Some are silly, some are frustrating, but often they all have something in common.

Many times, when faced with the possible wrath of a parent, a child resorts to excuses. Excuses are your children’s attempt to escape responsibility for their words or actions and the consequences of them. Often excuses are an effort to shift the blame onto someone else. Excuses may also contain partial or absolute lies within them. Nothing good has ever come from an excuse.

On the other hand, reasons can be helpful – both for your child and you. Realizing they failed the test, because they didn’t study enough or ask for help with material they didn’t understand, can lead to productive changes. Reasons differ from excuses in that the person is taking full responsibility for the mistake and sharing what they will do differently next time. Reasons can and often do produce change and growth. Often sentences containing reasons begin with the words, “I’m sorry I shouldn’t have done/said that”, followed by the mistake that was made and what will change.

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Fun Activity to Teach Kids About Lies

Fun Activity to Teach Kids About Lies - Parenting Like HannahLies are often like potato chips. It’s hard to tell just one. Children often think telling “one little lie” will keep them from getting in trouble and receiving consequences. What they don’t realize is that it is very difficult to cover up something that happened with just one lie. Often, the first lie leads to many others being told to back up the original deception.

There is a fun activity you can do to help your kids realize how difficult it is to tell “just one lie”. Start by telling your kids the story of Jacob tricking Isaac found in Genesis 27. Ask your kids how many lies and “tricks” Jacob had to tell/do to get Esau’s blessing for himself. Ask them why Jacob couldn’t get the blessing from Isaac just by telling the one lie that he was Esau.

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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)