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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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Fun Activity to Teach Your Kids About Peer Pressure and God

Fun Activity to Teach Your Kids About Peer Pressure and God - Parenting Like HannahWant a fun family devotional that will also give your kids some tools to stand up to negative peer pressure? Grab some large sheets of white paper, some paper lunch bags and markers. Gather your family and tell the story of Joseph and his brothers found in Genesis 37:12-36 or the story of Samson found in Judges. Discuss the times in the story when someone wanted to do something, but was pressured into making a different decision by someone else.

Ask your children if they know the term for when you are pressured by others to say or do something you don’t want to do. See if they can give you examples of positive and negative peer pressure. The story of Joseph, for example, would have ended in his death instead of being sold into slavery if Reuben had not pressured them into changing their minds.

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Teens, Alcohol and God

Teens, Alcohol and God - Parenting Like HannahFor some teens, the most exciting things they learn in the Bible are that Jesus turned water into wine and the Bible calls drunkenness a sin – not drinking. What your teen may not realize is that just because something is permitted, doesn’t mean it is wise to do it. (I Corinthians 10:23 and 6:12) In fact, many Christians have decided to avoid all alcohol for a variety of vary valid reasons.

The problem is parents rarely share those reasons with their kids. In fact, some parents are still experiencing “Iwannabepopular” syndrome and may have not resolved their own issues with alcohol. It’s difficult to help someone navigate an issue with which you are still struggling.

For topics like alcohol, most teens need real, honest discussion beyond the “It’s a sin. You could go to Hell. End of discussion.” lecture common when I was younger (FYI – not from my parents.). It’s not that drunkenness isn’t a sin. Or that your kids shouldn’t make obeying God their top priority. It’s just that they are still spiritually immature and may need additional information and/or motivation before making a wise spiritual choice.

So what bits of information does your child need to know about drinking, drunkenness and God? There are a lot of things you can share, but here are a few that seem to resonate with teens.

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Fun Activity For Teaching Christian Kids About Self-Image

Fun Activity For Teaching Christian Kids About Self-Image - Parenting Like HannahAbsalom is a great example of someone in the Bible who thought they were “all that and a bag of chips.” It’s easy to see why. “In the whole land of Israel there wasn’t any man as handsome as Absalom was. That’s why everyone praised him. From the top of his head to the bottom of his feet he didn’t have any flaws.” (2 Samuel 14:25 NIrV)

Evidently, Absalom believed all of this praise and decided he was so very awesome, he should be King. Did I mention he was willing to overthrow his own father in the process? Things didn’t end well for Absalom, because unlike his father, he was not a man after God’s own heart.

Whether your children are physically beautiful to everyone who sees them or only to you, it’s too easy to believe our looks define who we are. Society doesn’t do much to contradict this faulty reasoning. A quick flip through a magazine will help anyone who wondered, realize physical beauty is highly valued.

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Christian Kids and Loneliness

Christian Kids and Loneliness - Parenting Like HannahIt seems like every day another young person commits suicide. There are many different reasons some children choose such a drastic route to end their pain. One reason that is often cited is an intense feeling of loneliness, sometimes caused by the rejection of peers and others. Young people can be surrounded by peers, live in an urban area with millions of people and still feel as if they are all alone.

Assuming the young person does not have an underlying mental health issue though, there are some things parents can do to help their children prepare for loneliness, being alone and solitude.  You can’t solve all of their social issues – especially as they reach the teen years, but you can give them extra layers of protection from severe loneliness.

The best time to help your children be ready to prevent or handle loneliness is before they become lonely. Studies have shown that not only is the need to feel like they belong a basic need, but also when they are lonely, it only increases their sense of needing to feel like they belong somewhere. (Making them more susceptible to the temptations of peers to do ungodly things in order to belong.)

So what can you do as a parent to help your kids be prepared to handle the loneliness we all feel on occasion? Here are some of my favorites (Please note: These may not work for young people who have underlying mental health issues. Please have your child checked by a doctor for loneliness that seems to last more than a few days.):

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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)