Mom, Be Authoritative! Best Mom Ever Series ~ part 4

authoritative

The Golden Rule

Mom, be authoritative. Be a benevolent dictator! Here’s why.

Our culture tends toward two parenting extremes: crass authoritarianism on one end and wimp-dom on the other.. God calls you and me to be neither authoritarian nor permissive but authoritative.

Yes, embrace the role as benevolent dictator.

Your job – which God gave you — is to be THE MOM. God gave you and your husband, if you are married, the authority to direct your children, to shape them, to benevolently dictate to them. You do NOT direct them for your own agenda or convenience but on God’s behalf for their own good and for His glory.

Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6, NIV

In this series on becoming the best mom ever, read the part 1 here and part two here and part three here. Here’s the acronym to remember.

1.    Prepare!

2.    Recognize you’re in a war.

3.   Assume your role as a benevolent dictator.

4.   Yield to God.

Does Your Child Have Too Much Power?

We moms often give our children too much power. It’s one thing to say, “Jarrod, do you want to wear the blue shirt or the red shirt.” That’s OK. It’s quite another thing to say to your four-year-old or your 14-year-old, “It’s time to come to dinner, OK?”

OK?

Mom, are you asking your child permission? As in, do I have your permission to serve you dinner at such and such time? Yikes.

I know when moms tack an “OK?” at the end of their statements rarely do not really mean to hand over this power, that the kid gets to decide, but this is the message.

Your Child Needs You to Be Authoritative!

As Kevin Leman says in Have a New Kid by Friday, kids have a game plan to drive you bonkers. Look around and observe what’s going on in malls, stores, restaurants, and even your own home.

What about the toddler who cries until she wears her mother down and gets to go not only once but three times on the carousel?

The teenager who yells, “Bleep you!” at his dad and stalks off?

The 7-year-old who gives his mom the “I dare you to do anything about it here” steely glare as he pushes the broccoli off his plate and watches it fall to the floor to the floor at the restaurant?

The 14-year-old dressed in all black who has “attitude” written all over her and gives every sign of going the wrong direction?

The 3-year-old who spends his day screaming, to make sure his parents appease his every whim?

In their eyes the world owes them—and owes them big time. But when children rule, a home becomes chaotic.

Yet boundaries give them freedom to mature within the parameters of God’s gives in his Word under the guidance of parents. Then children have true freedom to to learn, explore, and have fun. Boundaries also help you refrain from ripping out your hair! Right?

How to Be Authoritative, not Wimpy

The main thing to remember is this: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Maybe write it on paper and stick it out the fridge. Teach it to your children.

Do unto others what you would have them do unto you. Matthew 7:12

The bible shows that there are consequences for disobedience and blessings for obedience. God’s rules to help parents to nuture children through structured discipline. But our real focus is the heart, especially motivations, beliefs, and desires. God’s rules also help us to admonish children when they make foolish choices and to give encouragement to make wise choices.

The wise and authoritative mom teaches her child what is expected and how to do it. And she emphasizes why obedience matters to God. Doesn’t it follow that parents rejoice when children understand God’s heart for obedience, and obey?

But this takes work, doesn’t it? Your’re right! Motherhood isn’t for sissies!

Next time we’ll finish up the “Becoming the Best Mom Ever Series” with lots of practical ideas. If you have not yet signed up to receives my blog posts in your email, please type in your email address below. Thanks.

Counseling Heart to Hope (and heal),

 

 

Winning the War! The Best Mom Ever ~ part 3

warTo win the war for your child’s heart, you’ll fight three forces. But first, you must recognize you’re in a war!

Winning the war requires you to focus on your child’s heart!

Read the part 1 here and part two here in the Best Mom Ever series, teaching you to–

1.    Prepare!

2.    Recognize you’re in a war.

3.   Assume your role as a benevolent dictator.

4.   Yield to God.

This post calls you to fight once you recognize you are in a war, a war you must win, God willing. . .and he is willing.

3 Battle Forces!

In this battle, you face three strong forces:

First, your child’s natural, selfish nature.

Second, a spiritual undertow.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

And third, our increasingly wacked-out, confusing, chaotic culture.

Our culture says the best kids are happy and successful kids. This is a lie. The best kids are not the ones who seem happy and successful, who look good on the outside. Rather, the best kids are GOD-honoring KIDS.

Ground Zero: The Heart

As I’ve mentioned, your Number One goal is to shepherd your child’s heart. Scripture teaches that the heart is the control center for life. A person’s life is a reflection of the heart.

Proverbs 4:23 puts it this way:

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

From the heart flows your behavior.  What you say and do and think expresses your heart. That goes for your child, too.

So when your child misbehaves, he is revealing his selfish nature, his battle-weary soul, or his bent toward a sin-city culture.

OR ALL THREE!

You may be thinking, “No, not my little Ethan, not my little Emma.” The truth is, every child is selfish and foolish.

The heart is deceitful above all things
    and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

Even kids who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ miss the mark, as do their parents.

We all mess up. Our intentions may be good but, well, our own desire to please our little darlings can get the best of us. Here’s one of my many “what-were-we-thinking?” stories.

What Were We Thinking?

Laura was about 2.

And sneaky.

She knew my weak spot.

At bedtime after I laid her in her crib with five — yes, five —  pacifiers — I said a sweet good night, gave her an equally sweet kiss on her chubby cheek, and tip-toed out the door.

By the time I made it down the stairs, I heard:

CLUNK. . .CLUNK. . .CLUNK!

Three pluggies down. Two to go.

CLUNK. . .CLUNK!

Yes, my sweet, sweet Laura had a good arm. She had whipped her pluggies at the door, knowing I’d come back. She was barely 2 and she was telling us who was in charge. And what was I thinking? Doesn’t scripture say kids must obey their parents? Yes, it’s right there in black and white.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6:1

Winning Your Child’s Heart

We were in a war. And so are you, Mom. The only way to win: Look past my child’s behavior and see what was going on in her heart. To win the battle for her heart, my husband and I needed to show that, with God’s help, we were in charge.

God gave us the job of effecting godly attitudes, behavior, and character in our adorable child. In the next post, we’ll look at assuming your role as a benevolent dictator. 🙂

Let’s Talk

  1. What behavior problems do you see in your child?
  2. What have you done about them? 
  3. How does focusing on the heart help your child glorfy God?

Be sure to read the next post on assuming the rightful role as the mom. To make sure you get it in your email, subscribe to blog. The subscription box is below.

Counseling heart to hope (and heal!)

 

 

Prepartion: Step 1 for the Best Mom Ever ~ part 2

preparationPreparation is a first step in becoming the best mom ever. God shows you the way. He guides your steps.

Becoming the best mom ever is within your reach. This doesn’t demand perfection. Not at all. If it did, we’d all fail! But it may require a shift in your approach as you. . .

focus on your child’s heart!

Read the first post in my “Becoming the Best Mom Ever” series. There are four more to come. 🙂

First P.R.A.Y.

To become the best mom ever who shepherds her child’s heart, you need to:

1. Prepare!

2. Recognize you’re in a war.

3. Assume your role as a benevolent dictator.

4. Yield to God.

P Is Preparation!

My preparation for motherhood lasted nine months, but my labor was a different sort: paperwork! Nine months is EXACTLY how long it took from from finishing adoption paperwork until precious, newborn Laura snuggled in our arms.So far, so good. Right?

But when Laura turned 3 weeks old, she screamed out of no where. I checked her diaper. Nothing. I offered her her bottle. Not interested. I gently bounced her. She screamed louder. When she finally fell asleep, I read every book I could get my hands on.

The diagnosis: Colick!

Four months later she outgrew this stage, and I learned the value of preparation, big time. I began reading AHEAD to the next stage of child development so I could handle it better.

Preparation doesn’t solve every parenting dilemma but it helps immensely. Your two most important preparation tools: knowledge and wisdom.

Getting Knowledge and Wisdom

King Solomon wrote in Proverbs,

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

You’ll find knowledge and wisdom in the pages of Scripture. So read the Bible, soak in the truth, pay attention to the moms and dads in the Bible, what they did right, and what they did wrong. This prepares you for shepherding your child’s heart.

You can get wisdom from other sources too, such as parenting books from Ted Tripp and Lou Priolo. I highly recommend these five books:

Shepherding a Child’s Heart

Instructing a Child’s Heart

The Heart of Anger

Getting a Grip (for teens)

I use these books often in counseling hope to moms (in person and by Skype). Plus, another helpful tool I incorporate in counseling is this Thought Journal..

Around the time I inhaled Tripp’s and Piolo’s books, I was facing backtalk from my eldest and craziness other kinds from my two youngest. The middle child argued. And the youngest whined! (And I’m a biblical counselor, for crying out loud. . .I was crying!)

It’s little wonder I prayed  and prepared, and prepared and prayed, and read parenting books more times than I care to admit. Now my children are adults. We survived! If I can, you can. We moms must stick together, right?

My next post in this series at my website centers on recognizing that you’re in a war.

Join the Conversation

How have you prepared to shepherd your child’s heart? What help do you need?

Counseling Heart to Hope (and Healing!)

. . .

 

Becoming the Best Mom Ever ~ part 1

heartYou can become the best mom ever. God shows you the way by focusing on the heart. 

Becoming the best mom ever doesn’t demand perfection. Not at all. If it did, we’d all fail! But it may require a shift in focus, specifically. . .

a focus on your child’s heart!

So many of us moms — me, included — tend to major on the externals: In other words, the child’s behavior, whatever his or her age. God, however, emphasizes the heart.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

Good Heart or Bad Yardstick?

Did you know that what your little angel or smart-aleck ruffian thinks, says, and does comes straight from their heart? We moms (and grandmas, dads, teachers, and so on) often  measure our “success” based on the child’s behavior but what a faulty yardstick!

I imagine you may know a kid who had everything going for her from the outside, from excellent grades to great performance in sports or music (or both) to a 20-hour-a week, after-school job. I do. I’ll call her Leah.

Leah received mostly As in her honors classes. On her ACT test for college, she scored just a few points from perfect.

She also was a captain of the dance team.

And she played flute.

She had lots of friends from school and work. Her mom and dad praised her every accomplishment and demanded a photo-ready bedroom and designer outfits, and she regularly wrote thank-you notes with a reminder!

Then she went to college and things, well, you’ll have to read more of Leah story in my next post.

Becoming the Best Mom: P.R.A.Y.

Let me leave you with this encouragement: you can become the best mom ever by shepherding your child’s heart. To become the best mom ever who’s attentive to her child’s heart, you’ll need to:

1.    Prepare!

2.    Recognize you’re in a war.

3.   Assume your role as a benevolent dictator.

4.   Yield to God.

The next posts in the “Becoming the Best Mom Ever” series zero in to each of these heart-attentive topics.

P.S. It’s NEVER to late to start. 🙂

Counseling Hope to Your Heart,

SUICIDE: Ways to Help Prevent Tragedy

Suicide. It’s nearly impossible to understand, but there are ways to help prevent it. This article, written by Sherry Allchin, MA, and listed on Heart2Heart Counselor Directory, gives hope to any counselor or a family member who provides care to a suicidal person. This article appeared first on Biblcal Counselor Center’s website and is used with permission. 

NOTE: Always dial 911 immediately if you suspect

someone has attempted suicide or plans to attempt suicide!

hope icon

Prevention strategies don’t always work. Someone who’s determined to die sometimes is “successful” and dies. It’s sad, tragic. 

A while back,, I talked with a parent whose teen is struggling. Her 15-year-old friend killed himself after several years of bullying by other teens at school.

Could his death been prevented?

Why would a person we love want to end their life?

And what is our responsibility to help and how can we?

The Why of Suicide

When someone attempts suicide, it is not really that they want to die, but rather that they just don’t know how to live and have lost all hope that life will get any better. They have chosen to take matters into their own hands to end the pain they feel.

We as family and friends, or as counselors, can make a world of difference by our responses to their struggles and by knowing the warning signs. We may not save everyone from suicide, but if we can save even one, it’s worth finishing this blog post. Share it with your friends and family.

Grim Suicide Statistics

Did you know that suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States? That’s one death by suicide every 15 minutes! It is the third leading cause of death between the ages of 15 to 24 years, with half a million teenagers attempting suicide. More than 5,000 seniors kill themselves annually.

What Are Some Warning Signs?

A person considering suicide often shows several (though not all) of these warning signs.

  • Talking about dying. Giving away valued items. When a person talks about suicide or death or makes statements like “I wish I had never been born,” and starts to give away things they have valued, or planning for the care of pets or dependents, be alert and ask more questions.
  • Changes in habits. Burst of energy. Withdrawal. Recklessness. Another clue is a change in eating, sleeping or grooming habits, or a sudden burst of energy and joy from someone who has been depressed for a long time. This energy burst may indicate that a suicide decision has been made and a calm before the storm). Also be alert to the withdrawal from favorite people or activities, or being reckless with dangerous activities.
  • Other warning signs. Other high-risk indicators includes a history of drug or alcohol use, physical or sexual abuse, or being in some kind of trouble. When there is a history of depression and antidepressant drugs are given, some people have the side effect of suicidal desires. Also, those who have previously attempted suicide or who have a close friend or relative that has committed suicide are more likely to try.

How to Help Prevent Suicide

Encourage the person to talk to you and really listen (James 1:19, 20) to determine suicidal intent. The more detailed their plan and the more access they have to their method of choice, the more likely they will follow through. Be compassionate as you hear their pain and suffering (Lamentations 3:22-24).

The faithful love of the Lord never ends![b]
    His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
    therefore, I will hope in him!” Lamentations 3:23

Remember suicide is not so much about wanting to die as it is not knowing how to live with the problem. So they must gain a sense of hope, a reason to live, a hope that there is a solution to what to them seems unsolvable (1 Corinthians 10:13).

If you don’t know how to help them, take them to someone who can help find that solution. A pastor, school guidance counselor, a biblical counselor, and a doctor or the hospital ER are a few who can often help.

The book of Ecclesiastes shows us that life apart of God is not worth living. Each one of us must ultimately come to a place of trusting Christ as their personal savior and starting to grow in their trusting God’s Word for answers to their life problems. Help them see that suffering is a part of God’s will to refine us in Christ, with the goal to change their focus from escape to godly contentment (Philippians 4:11-13).

As they begin to change, they will find their place of service among God’s people, helping others to realize that suicide is the ultimate act of self-love to avoid painful consequences (2 Timothy 3:1-2) and sharing the hope they have found in Christ.

Must I Get Involved?

Talking to someone about their suicidal intent does not encourage them to attempt suicide. Instead, it typically communicates interest and hope because you cared enough to ask.

Jesus commanded us to get involved with our neighbors (Luke 10:25-37, Matthew 22:36-40) and to restore a struggling brother to usefulness (Galatians 6:1-5). Trust God to use you as His instrument of hope to someone who needs help!

As righteousness leads to life, so he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death. Proverbs 11:19, ESV

Now What?

Foremost, if you suspect that someone is suicidal, call 911.

If he or she shares with you feelings of hopelessness, encourage them to talk. As mentioned, talking to someone about suicide communicates hope because you cared to ask, to notice, to help. This doesn’t encourage suicide.

If you don’t know what to say, bring the person to a pastor, biblical counselor, school guidance counselor, doctor, or the hospital ER. Tragically, someone intent of killing himself or herself will find a way to be “successful” and die.

When someone attempts suicide, it is not really that they want to die, but rather that they just don’t know how to live and have lost all hope that life will get any better.

Be a hope giver. Stand in the gap.

Counseling Heart to Hope and Healing,

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