On parenting...

I told you some time back that I was reading some new parenting books (Grace Based Parenting and How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk) and that those books turned my parenting strategy on its head. 

I thought I would elaborate just a little in case it would be beneficial to anyone else out there. 

Grace Based Parenting is such an excellent read.  SO very good and wonderful.  It's like before reading this book, I had the right tools and ideas, but no idea how to use them and this book taught me how to do that. 

Some points that changed me the most:

Encouragement to parent my kids the way God parents us.  Are they any less worthy to be held to God's standards?  Should I be any less forgiving of wrongs or mess-ups than God is with me?   Think forgiveness over and over and over and over.  Or having to say the same things over and over and over and over...we aren't so different than our kids really.

It's helped us to aim the majority of our parenting energies on things that are of MORAL issue.  Allowing them to express themselves in ways that make them happy but have no moral wrongness is OK.  These actions include things like wearing what they want to church and school(thankfully I have boys otherwise this would be trickier), whatever random things they want to do with their hair, things they do that may be embarrassing to US or just plain weird to US but aren't morally BAD.  Allowing these things to take place in a safe, secure environment where they are loved, opens up doors of communication, sets them up to be secure in themselves and who they really are (NOT who we want them to be) and will hopefully help them to find their acceptance with the Lord rather than with people. 

In other words we pay more attention to the HEART issues and less on behavior.  With that said, our boys are not allowed to run crazy, there are standards of behavior in certain settings (NOT with certain PEOPLE-meaning I will not be teaching my kids that they have to act certain ways around certain people) but those issues are simply redirected in appropriate ways.  Being respectful and obedient is a HEART issue.  :)

My friend Aaron said something to me the last time I saw him.  Aaron and his wife Joanna are in the top ten of people I look up to, respect and admire and his words summed up the heart of the book and our new(ish) parenting direction: discipline ATTITUDES and not ACTIONS.  

Any issues that come up will brought to the Word.  If an action or behavior is in question we take it there and see what God says about it.  While the worlds standards of what is OK changes by the hour Gods word NEVER changes and we want that to be their rudder in life and NOT what the world tells us is acceptable.

For example, some may claim that dressing up for church is a Biblical and moral MUST but where in the Bible does it say that?  I say, God cares more that you are there than if you are wearing a suit and tie or dress.  Of course some occasions deem a dressy attire more appropriate and consideration should be shown to those who would be affected...therefore making it a HEART issue, in love, dressing in a way that may make grandma a little more happy on that special occasion is more important because you are showing love and respect for grandma.  Now if you went to church with grandma every week and she tried to insist it was necessary all the time...that would be a different issue.  (Also, not OUR grandma just "grandma" in general. :)   

In general we are teaching our kids to be loving, respectful, authentic, kind people who are NOT tolerant of moral issues but who from experience with their parents, can deal with those issues in a loving, godly way.  We are teaching them to be loving to all but not accepting of all sin.  We are teaching them to let others and themselves BE themselves but to love them in a way that can address sin if needed in an appropriate way.  We are teaching them to go to God if there is a question they don't know the answer to or a standard that has been presented as morally OK but the Bible says otherwise. 

I'm so glad to have found this book at this stage of our parenting, in a time where we are just past the baby stage and are really starting to see them become the people they will be.

Somehow this book has helped me to be more grace-FULL with my kids, more patient, more loving, less stressed and more focused on the important things. 

If your parenting goals are in the same range as mine I would highly recommend taking the time to read it. :) I would love to hear what you think!

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