Special Replay | Best Ways To Nurture Relationships With Your Child

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Let’s Talk About the Best Ways To Nurture Relationships With Your Child

Podcast Title: best way to nurture relationships with your child

Special Replay | Podcast # 157

The experts are in the house!

We will learn about the best ways to nurture relationships with your child! S

Whether you have one child or multiple children, we all want a good relationship with our kids. We want children who grow up wonderful, happy, and settled in life – and what better way than beginning their journey at home. In this broadcast, we discuss some tips as well as some ideas.

with Felice Gerwitz and Special Guests – Israel and Brook Wayne ~ Family Renewal … and Hal and Melanie Young ~ Making Biblical Family Life Practical

Special SponsorMedia Angels, Inc. – by homeschool moms for homeschool moms


Show Notes: Best Ways To Nurture Relationships With Your Child

Felice Gerwitz – Tips on the Best Ways To Nurture Relationships with your child

  1. Your relationship with your spouse (single parents – your relationship with the Lord)
  2. Love your kids enough to do what you need to do
  3. Be available
  4. Threatening and repeating parent
  5. Be the type of parent you wish you had

Israel and Brook Wayne – Tips on the Best Ways To Nurture Relationships with your child

Authors of “Pitchin’ A Fit” 

  1. Bring your child close to you when you discuss issues
  2. Correct in a different environment like outdoors on swings (Brook explains this on the audio)

Hal and Melanie Young – Tips on the Best Ways To Nurture Relationships with your child

  1. Little ones are real people
  2. Listen and interact
  3. Show delight
  4. Parenting styles change as they age
  5. Teens – talk them through
  6. Authentic praise
  7. Need to be there for them
  8. God gave us these children – He’ll provide
  9. Pray, repent, and apologize when needed – we all mess up

Photo credit – DepositPhoto.com All Rights Reserved. Copyright Wavebreakmedia

Special Replay | Loving Your Spouse

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Loving Your spouse

Loving Your Spouse

Before we jump in to talk about Loving Your Spouse, be sure to grab our February Organize It! Planner!

Let’s Talk About: Loving Your Spouse – Podcast #121

How do you love your spouse when you don’t feel like it or don’t want to?

For some, it does not come easily. My husband once told me, very early on in our marriage, that he could never make me happy and that true happiness only comes from God.

It was very true because I kept trying to find happiness in him – and as a human, he kept disappointing me. In this episode, we examine love, discuss relationships, self-giving vs. self-serving, and we’ll explore what love looks like to you and how you can be happy in a relationship with some of the right tools.

Show Notes: Loving Your Spouse

Scripture Verses:

  1. 1 Peter 3:1
  2. Colossians 3:18-19

Loving your spouse involves not comparing this person and realizing the following…

  1. We are all human – “news flash” – just in case you didn’t know
  2. We are not married to the hallmark version of what a real man or real woman looks like
  3. If you think there is someone better out there for you – think again
  4. You made a commitment to marriage and a promise to each other – so make it work
  5. There is no such thing as too late.

Keys to Loving your spouse and having a happy marriage:

  1. Grow together spiritually
  2. Know that while walks in the park, romantic dinners, and quiet get-a-ways  are all very nice but not the key to growing.
  3. Be thankful for each other as a gift from God.
  4. Thank God and delve closer into your relationship with Him.
  5. Tell each other, “I love you,” often!
  6. The key to fixing any problem is to fix yourself
  7. Seek forgiveness – if you have offended your spouse, apologize and ask forgiveness – sometimes people don’t even know why their spouse is angry – so find out why

Resources for Loving Your Spouse

25+ Marriage Resources

Additional Podcasts

What To Do When You And Your Spouse Disagree About Discipline




September Ultimate Checklists Freebie

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

September is here, and that means back-to-homeschool is in full swing. The curriculum has been purchased and planned. We’ve moved from the anything-goes schedules and summer vacations of August and Summer to settled into the approach of autumn.  This is a perfect time to pause and reflect on the rhythm of our homes and homeschools. Before you blink, the holiday season will be here. How do we make the most of those introductory months of our homeschool? The September Ultimate Checklist can give you the direction and insight you need.


Prayer, Planning, and Pause in Your Home

All good planning begins with prayer. Take the time to seek the Lord for your homeschool. Pray for each of your children, your spouse, and your homeschooling year.

As you pray, note anything the Lord lays on your heart, then pause.

Pausing before planning, especially when you’ve taken the time to pray, allows you to catch your breath. What’s working? Where is the stress coming from? What are our homeschool goals for this year?  Where can we improve? What can we let go of? How is my family? Take the time to reflect and record what you’ve learned.

Planning, when done with prayerful seeking, is more than just a printable; it’s a set of rails to set your homeschool success upon. Truly, the printable is a tool you to use, but the real work in planning is done before you print the first page of the printable.

What is in the September Checklist Freebie?

This month’s checklist has everything you need to wind down summer and enjoy the fall season.

September is the perfect time to pray, reflect, and organize your home and homeschool. Additionally, there are many creative holidays to note and fun field trip ideas, too. So, don’t forget to plan your field trips; winter will be here, and we’ll be hearthside more than outside!

  • Checklists Guide – This is a breakdown of how to use the lists for the month, with suggestions to help you get started.
  • Objectives Worksheet
  • Weekly Planning Worksheet
  • Blank Printable September Calendar
  • Four square planners: Faith, Kids, School, and Household
  • Evaluation Weekly Worksheets
  • Motivational Posters and Scripture Posters
  • Printable September Checklist
  • Fun Things to do in September Printable
  • September Holidays Printable Sheet
  • Field Trip Planning
  • Tips for School Pictures
  • First Day of Fall Party Guide
  • Reading Log
  • Organization Checklist
  • Chore Schedule Blank Sheet
  • Quarterly Planning
  • School Planning Sheets
  • Sample School Schedules to Follow
  • Homeschool Weekly Planning Sheets
  • Meal Planning Helps and Suggestions

Download the monthly checklist sent out in each weekly ezine; these are available to subscribers only.

The planner access information is always located at the bottom of each email. Make sure you are signed up so you don’t miss it.

You can sign up HERE as a subscriber if you are not signed up.

September Ultimate checklists


You Are the RIGHT Parent for Your Homeschooler, Interview with Anita Gibson

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: You Are the RIGHT Parent for Your Homeschooler, Interview with Anita Gibson.

You Are the Right Parent for Your Homeschooler, Interview with Anita Gibson

You Are the RIGHT Parent for Your Homeschooler, Interview with Anita Gibson

Ever have doubts about your ability to parent your homeschool high schoolers? The high school years can be a challenge. After all, we know that we are preparing our teens for life after graduation. We want them to be ready for all they will be facing. What if we do not do enough for them and with them? We can be full of doubt! That’s why we asked our good friend, Anita Gibson, to chat with us. She shares why you are the right parent for your teens.

Anita has homeschooled for over twenty years, and as she says:

It’s been the good, the bad and the ugly! Parenting is the real deal!

Coming out on the other end, Anita says that she is glad she had the homeschool years to get to know her kids well and help them find fulfilling lives.

Anita administrates Simply Homeschool Facebook group, is a director of several local homeschool programs, leads a team of seven high school educational consultants for HSLDA, and has started the website National Homeschool Advocacy.

One of Anita’s God-given gifts is the gift of encouragement. (If you have not yet read her book, StarFinder, you need to do it! You and your teens will be so encouraged!)

So in this episode we are talking about why you are the right parent for your homeschooler!

Why are you the right one to parent your particular teens? Here are some reasons:

God gave you that child

It was not an accident! You were specifically assigned that child by God. He also gave you what you need to do raise that child well. Even on a bad day, when we are doubting ourselves we can recalibrate with the thought:

We can depend on God and the fact He will continue to equip us with what we need to homeschool our teens well.

However, we need to remember that our parenting and homeschooling is not dependent on our strength, but on the strength and wisdom that God will give us (II Corinthians 12:10).

The homeschooling parent we are now is not the homeschooling parent we will be at the end of this process

God gave us teenagers to help us grow! We are in the middle of a growth process, just as our teens are growing!

Have you ever noticed that before we started parenting, we were “parenting experts”? At least, that is how Vicki saw herself. There is nothing like real parenting, though, to squash the feelings of expertise! She found out that she needed her homeschool mom-friends as well as God’s help in the parenting process. Therefore, she grew spiritually, emotionally and socially as much as her teens did throughout the homeschool process!

Perfection is not required

The longer you homeschool high schoolers, the more you will notice your imperfections! So, remember:

Perfection is NOT required!

Over time you will become something more but where you are is the perfect place to start. When you are called to parent or homeschool, hold onto the fact that once you start, success (not perfection) is in your future. God plans for you to have success (even though you will have ups and downs, hard days, dark days as well as lots of good days).

God is not requiring perfection. When He gave you the homeschooling high school job, He didn’t expect you to do it perfectly- because none of us could anyway! 

Homeschooling: Perfection is NOT required!

Get used to waiting

It is wise to adopt the “spiritual posture” or mindset of waiting. While you are waiting on God’s direction, strength or wisdom, if you are wise you learn to have peace- even in those challenging moments. It is the kind of peace that does not deny there are stressors going on, but the kind of peace that knows the answers will come.

We Americans often feel we need to have all our skills and wisdom NOW. Instead, remember that God has planned for success. Success is in our future! His version of success might not look like our version of success, but it is a good success anyway!

Be humble in front of your teens

Model praying for your homeschool high schoolers and ask them for their prayers for your own growth and wisdom. That is the fruit of the Spirit: Humility.

Then listen to your teens’ input. For instance, when one of Vicki’s teens had enough of Mom’s attempts at helping him with high school math, they found a mom at our local homeschool umbrella school to teach him instead. This did not mean that Vicki was the wrong homeschool parent for her teen. Rather, it meant that Vicki was becoming a resource manager. After all, as Anita says:

Homeschooling is about teaching your children how to learn!

We parents are not supposed to be the best at everything! Rather, we want them to learn that as adults, they can look for resources to keep learning things they need to know.

No one can homeschool high school better for your teens. You are the right parent for your homeschoolers!

Remember, God will use your strengths, weaknesses and His grace to grow you and your teens. There will be challenges and growth, hard things and good times, teaching and farming out the teaching. It is all good in the long run.

Also, remember not to compare yourself with other homeschooling parents. You are supposed to be growing and intentional in your relationship with God and your family members. You are NOT supposed to be the same as other homeschooling parents!

An example of being the right parent for homeschoolers

Anita’s daughter was born talking. She taught herself to read at a very early age but she still talked all the time. Anita sometimes had to lock herself in the bathroom just for an escape from the chatter. She found it tempting to want to shut the chatter down. Eventually, God showed her these gifts:

  • Her daughter WANTED to share her thoughts with her. That is a privilege!
  • Anita needed to allow God to give her more capacity to attentively listen.
  • She also found ways for her daughter to use her voice in debate and drama. This led to college scholarships in international policy and now a career in the diplomatic corps. Now she gets paid well to do the very things that had once been irritating. In this way, God grew both Anita and her daughter!

Anita found that she was the RIGHT mom for her homeschoolers, by God’s grace.

One last thought from Anita:

Don’t try to change your kids or you from the outside…It’s an INSIDE job! The job that comes from the work of God in you and through you.

Remember God made us the right parent for our kids so we can KNOW, that we and our kids can rest in Him and grow.

Join Vicki and Anita for an encouraging discussion that reminds you that you  are the right parent for your homeschooler! Also check out these other marvelous chats with Anita:


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Helping Kids Deal with Stress – MBFLP 270

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

We adults may feel like we’re under stress all the time, but we can’t overlook the fact that our kids are suffering, too! Last episode we talked about how we respond when we’re confronted with uncertainty and unpleasant news. How can we help our kids deal with the disruptions of life on their level?

Lest We Forget

Parents have had to make a lot of adjustments the past two years. Our kids are dealing with some of the same issues, from their own perspective. That may be school closures or other changes in their educational routines. It may be uncertainty over adult issues, like lost of employment, quarantines, or restrictions on travel or social gatherings. Even if everything comes from the same root cause, like the pandemic, its impact will be felt differently from one family to the next — and from one family member to the next.

Over the years, we’ve had a share of uncertainty and unhappy events — medical emergencies, job changes, relocations, disrupted plans. With a large family, and one that travels with us most of the time, we had to realize that we couldn’t hide much from the kids. It seemed better to us to share our concerns, in child-sized portions, so they could understand why things were “wrong” right then.

Our kids are not clones

We need to remember that our kids are individuals – maybe with a lot of commonalities, but still with their own approach to the world around them. A quiet child may be full of turmoil inside, while the noisy one may actually be calmer after venting all his drama. Consider that, as you answer and counsel the outspoken child, other siblings may be listening and learning without asking. Just don’t overlook the ones who aren’t “in your face”!

Younger kids need reassurance. Are Mom and Dad going to be here for me? Do they have a plan to deal with things? Are they safely in charge still?

Teenagers can often step into some adult roles. We found that in moments of crisis, our teens were able to pick up some of their parents’ concerns — running errands, doing more household tasks, taking more responsibility for themselves and their younger brothers and sisters.

Watch out for the middle kids, though. Often they are old enough to understand some of the needs, but too young to do much to help. It can be very frustrating for them! Look for tasks they can do, even if they’re not major burdens to the adults. Your middle school kids are likely to be much more capable than you think (check out our book No Longer Little for more ideas and encouragement!).


But what about the conclusion?

What happens when the pressure’s relieved? Count on it – family members which have “held it together” for the team while the crisis is underway, will often come unglued when the emergency is over. It’s best to plan on some time to re-adjust to “normal” when you’ve been through a time of stress. Give yourself and everyone around you an extra measure of grace – a heaping serving of it, in fact. If you expect there to be a time of transition, you can move into it with some care – rather than experiencing “explosive decompression” that causes problems for everyone!

Passages We Referenced

Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Matthew 10:29-31 (Jesus)“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Galatians 6:2Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

James 1:2-4My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Resources You Might Appreciate

No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope by Hal and Melanie Young

Eleanor Porter’s Pollyanna and Pollyanna Grows Up – audiobooks narrated by Melanie Young




A Special Thank You to Our Network Sponsor:  Courageous Movie


From the Kendrick Brothers, creators of the No. 1 box-office movie WAR ROOM and OVERCOMER, comes the remastered re-release of COURAGEOUS Legacy, in theaters September 24. Celebrating 10 years of impact on families and fathers, this updated version of the film includes new scenes and an enhanced look and sound.

Filled with action-packed drama, COURAGEOUS Legacy will once again have viewers laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children. Protecting the streets is second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That’s courageous.

Check out the trailer here!

Teens, Preteens, and Social Anxiety – MBFLP 263

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

One of the hallmarks of adolescent behavior is social awkwardness, often to the point of anxiety. That’s true in the best of times! Yet here we are after a year of pandemic alarms, mandates, and “abundance of caution,” and you may be finding your young people are not eager to begin seeing people outside the family again. What can we do to help our teens and preteens resume normal, healthy interactions?

Resources We Reference

Our episode reviewing Dr. Jean Twenge’s book iGen about characteristics of our children’s generation

“How the Pandemic has Impacted Teen Mental Health,” Mott Poll Report, 3/15/21

Craftsman Crate by subscription, individual boxes, or party packs

Upcoming Events (May-June 2021)

We’ll be speaking at the Thrive! Conference (North Carolinians for Home Education) in Winston-Salem, N.C., on May 27-29, 2021. We’re speaking four times on Thursday and Friday, on parenting pre-teens, helping your struggling learners in high school and college, the challenges of boys and media, and what you can achieve academically with a more relaxed homeschooling approach. And our booth is in the usual spot on the upper level of the book fair!

We’ll also be part of the Homeschooling With Confidence: Unstoppable online event hosted by Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV.org). This is going to be a different sort of online event with more interaction with the speakers and with other attendees – we’re looking forward something special with this one!

Effective Discipline for Teens – MBFLP 261

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.


A reader writes, “I need suggestions how to discipline my 14-year-old son.” She’s finding out what we all discover – if you try to discipline your 14-year-old like he was still six, you’re likely to have a fight on your hands! So what do you do with this young person who’s growing so tall, but still needs a lot of guidance and discipleship?

It’s more than behavior management

With younger kids, a great deal of our training is behavior – “Don’t tease the cat,” “Don’t touch the stove,” “Stop hitting your brother!” Tedd Tripp points out that Ephesians 6:1 is fundamental for the younger set: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

And external behavior is important – that’s what hurts others and damages things! But as they move into the early teen years, our children need more coaching and discipleship to reach their deepest need – the condition of their heart. They need to be confronted with Right and Wrong in a larger sense than, “Honor your father and your mother.” When they realize their failing and sin, they are more likely to grasp their need for a Savior!

And when we recognize that their behavior is more than “You’re on my nerves!” but something rooted on their human fallenness … maybe we can be a little more compassionate and not as quick to react.

As they change, we should too

A lot of parent-teen relationships are strained or broken because parents don’t adapt to their young person’s changes. When they reach adolescence, they’re not kids any more! We need to understand they aren’t the little ones we’ve raised so far, but young adults-in-training. We can’t just continue the old discipline models and expect the same response. Appropriate correction for a four-year-old is humiliating, at best, to a 14-year-old.

More and more, we need to move our discipline to adult responses. What does that look like?

Well, consider what happens when we make a mistake or cause an offense as an adult. Are we sent to stand with our nose in the corner until we say we’re sorry? Does our boss or pastor or neighbor give us a sharp swat on the hand? Of course not. Instead, we are likely to experience “natural consequences.”

Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operetta The Mikado includes the chorus, “Let the punishment fit the crime!” Humor aside, that’s actually quite Biblical. Over and over again in Scripture, you see principles of repentance followed by restitution. We use this as a guide with our teens – if you break it, you fix it – whether it’s a broken toy or a damaged relationship. It’s a hard lesson, but we impress on them that being an adult sometimes means we accept responsibility for things that aren’t strictly our fault. Maybe something happened by accident, or someone took offense by misunderstanding – we still need to step up and try to make things right.

Occasionally the problem isn’t actual sin but rather just high spirits or too much energy. Maybe they really are on your nerves, and that’s most of the problem!

How did Coach handle it?

Sometimes the best correction is just to work it off. How did your high school coach handle it if you were goofing off during practice? What did your drill instructor do at boot camp if you weren’t putting your back into the job?

A bit of strenuous exertion can be a lifesaver here! “Drop and give me ten!” – a call for some push-ups is a good manly punishment for a minor but irritating infraction. You can have them run up and down the stairs, or laps around the back yard. Ask Dad for advice, since he’s probably received similar correction in his time! It’s not offensive or demeaning, but it can use up some energy and help your son focus again.

It’s not supposed to be easy or fun. Hebrews 12:11 says,

Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.


(continue …)

The most important part

But the most critical thing to remember is the foundation you’re laying for the long term. What sort of relationship are you building with your teenager?

Our relationship with God is more than just crime-and-punishment – that’s part of it and unavoidable, but it’s not the full relationship. If that’s all we know of our heavenly Father, there’s a lot that’s missing!

Likewise with our kids. Of course we’ll have times of conflict or confrontation, but the question will remain – what sort of relationship do we have now, and what sort are we building for tomorrow? … Tune in for practical applications! 


FREE Character Counts: Self-Control Character Study Planner

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Does anyone else feel like they are living in an out of control world? So many changes, so many unknowns, and things to worry about. Just turn on the news, listen to talk radio, or spend more than a few minutes on social media. Your head will spin with things that can cause stress and emotional outbursts. It takes patience to sit back and trust God. To think before you speak, or type frantically on your keyboard. It takes extreme self control most days.

In life there are many ups and downs and there are things that happen that are out of our control. We have seen this in our own world in just one short year. It sure has been difficult to have no control over what is going on and to just sit and wait on God’s timing. It is not easy to model to our children. One thing we can do is to recognize that we are not able to control what happens in our world. That we can not control what others say or think, but we can control our own feelings.

We can use these tough times to teach our children that having self control is a key to a happy life. If we model this behavior for our children and talk openly to them about controlling their emotions, you will see great improvement in not only yourself, and your children, but your entire family. A great way to do this is by doing a character study with your children. We offer a FREE Character Study planner each month to our email subscribers. I love how timely these are. Each month, when a new study comes out, it seems to fit perfectly with what is going on in our lives and the lives of our children.

This month’s subscriber freebie is on the character trait of self-control.

Why our Character Counts Planners are special:

Our Character Counts planners are special because all of the work of planning out a character study is done for you! They will help you to plan out a 4-week study on the specific character trait for that month. This month you will teach on Self-Control. You will love how open and go our planners are. All you need to do is open them up and follow the instructions and print the pages out for your children.

They are also customizable so you can pick and choose what you would like to print out from the planner. There are lots of pages to choose from. Maybe you have a child that doesn’t like to write, but enjoys looking at posters. You could print out the motivational posters and Bible verses on self-control. Other children may enjoy deep thoughts, and journaling through what they are working on.

Our planners are not dated and can be used  anytime of the year.  Many families like to create a character training binder to keep them in. Do you enjoy morning time in your homeschool?  Character training is a great addition to a family morning or Bible time. The activity suggestions are geared for all ages in your family, including the parents.

Let’s take a look at what’s inside:

  • Character Quality Family Checklist Worksheet
  • 4 Week Study Guide on Self Control
  • Analyze and Evaluation Sheets
  • Character Trait Planning Worksheets
  • Self Control Journaling Sheets
  • Self Control Study Worksheets for Kids
  • Activity Sheets
  • Self Control Personal Goals Sheets
  • Printable Motivation Posters
  • Certificate of Completion

Each week we send the free access to download your Character Counts Planner in our ezine. The planner access information is always located at the bottom of each email. There is a new planner every single month. If you are not signed up, you can sign up HERE.

MBFLP 260 – Accident-Prone Kids

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

A reader asked, “What can you do about accident-prone kids who always seem to be breaking things?”


“Uh oh …”

We’ve all heard the dreadful sound from the next room – or the sharp crash of breaking glass – or the muffled whump in another part of the house. All kids will have moments of clumsiness, carelessness, or foolishness, that result in something getting broken or someone getting hurt – that’s just normal childhood. But some kids seem to leave a path of destruction in their wake – what do you do about them?

Let’s say up front that we’re not talking about kids who are suffering from trauma, illness, or developmental conditions that lead to destructive behavior – that’s a different situation altogether. We have friends who deal with these things on a daily basis, and they are walking a different path.

But what about your average, healthy, otherwise normal kid who you’d think would know better? How do you deal with them?

First thing …

One of our basic rules of parenting is Don’t Freak Out. We don’t respond at our best when we leap to reaction. It may help to remind ourselves that this world is not our ultimate home and all its things are passing away (1 Corinthians 7:31). All our stuff is actually God’s stuff, and we are just stewards and managers of it for Him (Psalm 24:1).

That’s not easy advice, but it’s true – right? Take a breath, and pray for perspective.

Next step, Triage the situation. Not only answering the question, “What just broke here?” but rather, “Why did something just happen?”

We find there are three basic profiles – (continued … )

Three scenarios

  1. The angry child who acts from rage or malice. This is the one who intentionally hurts someone or damages something, or the one who fails to control his temper and lashes out blindly. This is upsetting but it’s rooted in clear sinful behavior, and you can respond along those lines. Repentance and restitution are the goals here.
  2. The truly innocent child. This one honestly didn’t intend any trouble, and wasn’t inviting it by foolish or careless behavior. In other words, they aren’t to blame – something they did may have triggered a problem, but they didn’t cause it by neglect or malice.  He needs to express sympathy and concern, and even apologize; you may need to convince him that an apology isn’t always an admission of guilt! We try to see this as a multi-victim event – both the one who was injured, and the one who stumbled and caused it. Mercy is our first reaction, and then training in responsibility – if you knock it over, you need to pick it up, even if you didn’t do it on purpose.
  3. The careless child. This is the child who loses school books, forgets to close the gate, or leaves his brother’s bike out in the rain. They aren’t malicious but they are inattentive! It’s important to remember that irresponsible behavior is not the same as rebellion – our response needs to be different. Irresponsibility should bring natural consequences – like replacing a lost book with his own money. It’s appropriate to use these events to remind them to concentrate and pay attention (even while we privately admit they aren’t very good at this at the moment).

And then …

Once we understand what’s motivated the incident, we can respond in a way that will be just and will protect our relationship with the child. Our children are not cookies, so a cookie-cutter approach won’t respect their individual needs, fears, weaknesses, and strengths!

If you have a middle school student and you’re wondering why they are the way they are (you know what we mean), check out our book No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope. You can find it on our website here. 


Helping Dad Connect With The Kids – MBFLP 259

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

A reader asks: “How can we help dads connect with their kids?”

Moms seem to naturally connect with little ones – even before they’re born! It’s not so easy for dads, though. More than one has said, “I can’t communicate with this baby – I’ll let Mama handle it until he’s six or seven, and can understand me.”

That may be common but it’s unnecessary and really, it’s giving up precious time in your child’s life. It’s true, you’ll have a different relationship when they reach that age, but that’s true for every age – and the longer you put off your child, the harder it might become to build bridges later.

So what can be done about it?

First off, don’t let it become a source of contention between husband and wife. If she raises the issue, he needs to step back a bit and ask, “Lord, is it true?” rather than getting defensive.

Recognize that “connecting” isn’t magic and mystical – it’s just a matter of spending time and interacting with your kids.

Train yourself to be intentional about “dad time.” Hal used to de-compress on the commute home, trying to mentally close the office door behind him and re-focus his mind on his roles of husband and father when he got home. That’s not obvious when you’re working from home, though – you have to remind yourself to step away from work and notice your family around you.

Practice some self-denial. The world really plays on our natural desire for our own needs and interests. Certainly there’s a need for some rest and recuperation just to keep yourself healthy and strong! But being available for your children’s needs means your own will have to wait sometimes. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit – it should not surprise us that we don’t naturally abound in it! (continued … )

Disciple Like Jesus Did

Take your kids along when you can. The American theologian Jonathan Edwards had eleven kids and responsibility for several churches in colonial New England. Whenever he traveled to another village, he took a child along. Even when they’re very little, Dad can bring along the baby or the toddler when he runs an errand. Take the opportunity to talk with them about what you’re doing – even if they can’t talk back, they’ll grow accustomed to your voice and they’ll learn more than you realize!

Invite your kids into your work. Men seem to communicate better shoulder-to-shoulder – working together on some project. Whatever task comes to hand, ask one of your kids to join you – “Come on, let’s change the oil on the car,” or “Let me show you how to unstop a toilet.” Allow for additional time and distraction; it won’t be as efficient as doing the job solo, but it’s important time for training and relationship. What if they’re not interested? Keep asking, and sometimes, don’t give them the option – just bring them.

Jesus trained His disciples this way – He lived and worked with them, and He explained and asked and answered questions as they came alongside Him in ministry.

And don’t be shy about inviting yourself into their world, either. “Hey there – whatcha building?” “I haven’t read that book – what do you think about it?” Initiate conversations! Ask open ended questions. Assume that they can understand and respond, and see if you can draw them out.

Remember that you can’t schedule a heart’s opening – you have to be there when they’re ready to share. That means the time you invest simply being with your children and interacting with them will open doors and opportunities for deeper conversation and counsel.


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