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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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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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Kids, Ecology and God

Kids, Ecology and God - Parenting Like HannahGlobal warming. Pollution. Renewable energy. Recycling. If you are like many, those words create a strong reaction in you. It may be positive or negative, but what does God have to say on the subject of ecology? What should you be teaching your kids? What, if anything, should you be doing with your kids to care for the earth?

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:26 (NIV) Inevitably, when talking to Christians about ecology, this is the verse that is first quoted. Ironically, I have heard it interpreted in two basically opposite ways – “dominion/rule also implies caring for something” OR “rule means we can do whatever we want – use it up/destroy it, etc”.

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Tips for Teaching Kids and Teens How to Sort “Wisdom”

Tips for Teaching Kids and Teens How to Sort "Wisdom" - Parenting Like Hannah“Just because you are right, does not mean I am wrong. You just haven’t seen life from my side.” Anon. “Always go with your passions. Never ask yourself if it’s realistic or not.” Deepak Chopra. That’s just a tiny sample of the “wisdom” I found on my social media today.

Young people are exposed to so many bits of “wisdom” from so many people. Some of it sounds really great – until you think about what it actually means. Or your kids may have been told by peers or teachers that someone like Chopra is just amazing and they should do whatever he says. Worse yet, much of this “wisdom” is totally anonymous. Unless you know for sure, it could be a quote from the Bible or something the mass murderer in Cell Block C said. Yet often teens will soak it in and pass it on to their peers.

That’s why it’s so vitally important we teach young people how to filter wisdom before they accept it, and especially before they pass it on to others. A great way is to encourage them to ask themselves these important questions before they accept anything as wisdom.

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Teaching Christian Kids About Cause and Effect

Teaching Christian Kids About Cause and Effect - Parenting Like HannahWhen you read through secular research on young people and decision making, one thing is mentioned repeatedly. Young people have a tough time making consistently good choices. The causes behind it are many and vary some from child to child. What is problematic for Christian parents is that these bad choices can have not just long term, but eternal consequences.

There is a developmental aspect to making good choices, which is probably why God requires baptism of young people only at the age of accountability. As your kids approach that age, it’s important to really focus on decision making skills – especially in relation to what God wants our decisions to be. You can and probably should, start some early training with even very young children. The earlier you start training them, the easier making good choices will be for most 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)