Archive | Mentoring

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.):

Continue Reading →

How “See Something, Say Something” Parenting Could Revolutionize Your Christian Parenting

How See Something Say Something Could Revolutionize Your Christian Parenting - Parenting Like HannahIf you have lived in or visited a major urban area recently, you may have noticed a sign that read “See Something, Say Something”. Designed to encourage citizens to report information that could help authorities prevent a terrorist attack, the phrase could also be the best Christian parenting advice I can give you.

Years ago when I was a child, we knew without a doubt that if just about any adult saw us doing something we weren’t supposed to do, they would correct us or worse yet, tell our parents. In fact, it wasn’t always misbehavior.

I had gotten carsick on a school field trip four states away. When we stopped for dinner hundreds of miles from home, by coincidence a family from our village had also stopped to eat there. We drove all night, but by the time our bus pulled into the school parking lot, my parents greeted me with “Why didn’t you tell us you got sick?!”

Oh, how times have changed. Most of us are terribly afraid of correcting a child who isn’t ours – even if their life is in danger. We would never think of allowing anyone to tell us anything about our kids – except on a rare occasion their school teachers. In fact, we were in a situation where a teen was making some scary choices and we were honestly afraid of being sued or worse if we let the parents know what was happening.

Continue Reading →

The One Habit All Christian Kids Must Be Taught

The One Habit All Christian Kids Must Be Taught - Parenting Like HannahThe university I attended for my undergraduate degree was actually a part of Colonial Williamsburg. We were seeped in history and most of us loved it, no matter our major. Our library was full of rare documents from people like Thomas Jefferson and other historical figures. As a result, one of the principles we were taught was the idea of researching primary source documents.

A primary source document is considered to be the closest source you can find to an actual event or person. So for example, when I wanted to do a paper on the man who built many of the historical homes on the Appomattox River, I didn’t read a book about him. Instead, I went to the historical society library in Richmond and had them pull everything he had ever personally written – from letters to diaries to inventories and wills. Those documents painted a more accurate picture of the man than one painted by someone else who had their personal interpretation of his life added to the mix.

So what does this have to do with Christian parenting? For Christians, our primary source document is the Bible. (I’m not ignoring the translation aspect, but that’s a more advanced level of this topic.) All other writings on the topic are considered at best a secondary source. Any book on Christianity. Any theology treatise. Any commentary. Any document written by someone and not included in the Bible is a secondary source.

Continue Reading →

8 Tips for Raising Kids Who Make Wise Decisions

8 Tips for Teaching Kids to Make Wise Decisions - Parenting Like HannahEverywhere you turn, it seems some parenting expert is telling us children and teens are basically incapable of making wise decisions. Often they talk about an under-developed pre-frontal cortex or some other “science” to back their theories. What’s interesting to me is that I know plenty of teens and young adults who regularly make wise decisions – my own daughter included. In fact, a quick look at the history of our own country will show teens and young adults were making decisions (and often very mature ones) at much younger ages than do young people today.

So what’s the difference? I have no scientific data to back my theory, but I believe the pre-frontal cortex is like the rest of the brain. It can be trained to do more than it currently does. You don’t refuse to teach your kids to read, because they weren’t born knowing how to read. Yes, different children are capable of learning to read at different ages and speeds, but there are many educators who have shown most kids can actually learn to read earlier than they currently do.

I believe the same theories apply to the part of the brain that helps us make wise decisions. Unless it is damaged, that area can be stimulated and learn wise decision making much earlier than we currently expect of many of our young people. But just like most kids must be taught how to read, most must be actively taught how to make wise – and in our case godly – decisions.

So what can you do to help your kids learn to make wiser decisions at a younger age than many of their peers? Every child is different, but here are some things that should help almost any child begin learning how to make wiser choices:

Continue Reading →

Fun Way to Create Local Extended Family at Church

Fun way to Create Extended Family at Church - Parenting Like HannahYears ago, most people lived their entire lives within a few miles of where they were born. If they did move, often one or more members of their extended family would travel with them. Parents had the support of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and others in raising their children. The important role wasn’t back up child care, but reinforcing family values.

At times, your children are going to internally or externally question something you teach them. They may hear from peers or on social media that others are allowed to do things their Christian parents won’t allow. They might want a second opinion from someone they love and respect. When tensions rise at home, a loving older relative can often smooth the waters. Yet for many of us most or all of our extended family live miles and even states away.

Parents are suffering from the lack of extended family support and yet Christian parents have a great source of substitute extended family right at their fingertips. We often call congregations our church family, but have you ever taken the term seriously? We have with our child (and my parents even go to church with us).

Continue Reading →

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)