Super Practical Tips! Best Mom Ever ~ part 5

super practicalMom, let’s get SUPER practical. Here’s HOW to be THE best MOM ever. 

Your goal: changing the way you relate to your kid so your little monster saint learns to submit to God’s rule over them and, as a result, experience change their thoughts, emotions, and behavior. The heart is always the place to begin.

But first, I want to introduce you to the Y of P.R.A.Y.

Yield to God!

In this series on becoming the best mom ever, I’ve use the P.R.A.Y acronym.

1.    Prepare!

2.    Recognize you’re in a war.

3.   Assume your role as a benevolent dictator.

4.   Yield to God.

As you yield to God, wanting what God desires for you and your family, you will become best mom ever! Believe God can handle your problems, and guess what? Your faith will increase, and you’ll become calm and confident as a mom, and as a woman of God.

And just as you yield to God, your child must yield to you.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3

So are you ready for super practical tips?

Super Practical Day 1

Be a student of your child, even kids as young as age 2. Watch the attitude and the behavior (both good and bad). Your child’s behavior and words reveal what’s going on in the heart. Biblically speaking, the heart is called the inner person. And be sure to confirm in your mind and heart that you are THE MOM.

You’re about to shake things up in your home. So expect great things. And pray.

Super Practical Day 2

Each time your child (again, even as young as age 2) cops an attitude (including mouthing off, pouting, rolling eyes, and so on) OR misbehaves, choose one of these two approaches:

1. State your expectations once. Not twice or 10 times. ONCE.

Then get busy doing something, anything, like. . .email a friend, paint your toenails, or capture dust bunnies.

2. Let reality be the teacher.

For instance, if your Emma doesn’t set the table after you said it once (remember, only once), then she loses an hour or more of electronics (TV, computer, phone) even if she says she is sorry and will remember next time. Expect her to her chore with no reminders. If she forgets, well, bye-bye TV/computer/phone for an hour or more.

Why These 2 Super Practical Tips?

For one thing, you are looking for a teachable moment. You want to look happily to the privilege of sharing gospel truth with your child. Her disobedience lets you discipline in love, just as God disciplines you and me and every believer in Jesus.

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid. Proverbs 12:1

And you also get to show your child how to handle conflict biblically. When you correct him, calmly say, “You didn’t follow through on your responsibility so I must obey God and discipline you.” This show that just as you are under God’s authority and must obey him, your child is under your authority and must obey you.

As you may have guessed, the hardest part is changing how you parent. It takes work. It requires consistency. The choice is yours: You can be a pushover (and irritated and sad) or you can BE THE MOM.

Friend, if you need support in parenting a difficult child, feel free to contact me. I offer biblical counseling in person and by Skype. And, exciting news, it looks like I’m expanding to a secord office, God willing.

Counseling Hearts to Hope,

lucy-signature-blue

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),

 

 

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!)

. . .

 

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,

Do Smart Women Need Counseling?

Is Counseling for You-
Every smart woman know that sometimes needs help, right? 

From hot flashes to nudging young adults out the nest, from broken dreams to emotional crazies, what woman doesn’t need help and hope at some point in her life? 

But is it smart to chat with a friend (or husband, if you’re married)? Or a counselor?

These are important questions. Let’s see if we can figure them out together.

It’s Smart to Seek a Counselor When. . .

. . .life seems overwhelming or confusing. Or, you feel sad, angry, bitter, or fearfu. Or, you have unresolved hurts from your past that interfere with your present. The answer is probably yes.

For an insider’s look, listen to these descriptions of a few former counselees. (Identifying details have been changed.)

  • Susie’s mom is deeply troubled. The teen is cutting her arms and says she hates herself. In counseling she opens up and shares that a family member had sexually molested.
  • Hannah has anxiety and it’s making mothering difficult. A decade ago, she attended a Christian college and graduated with honors. Now she is terribly fearful of storms and a few other things that make no sense to her.
  • Mara kicked her husband out of the bedroom a year ago. He’s not a bad guy but the zest is gone. And he sometimes looks a porn, which she hates. She is considering divorce.

These smart women sought biblical counseling because they wanted change. And, as Christians, they each wanted godly couseling, hoping to grow spiritually. As God changes them into the likeness of Jesus, more and more each day, they hope to have inner peace and contentment, no matter their circumstances.

What Effects Heart Change?

In a few words, biblical counseling is compassionate, effective soul care leading to life change through heart change. It is motivated by love and deep concern, and has at four underlying beliefs. Biblical counseling is. . .

  1. Rooted in God, deriving its motivations, objectives, verbal content, methods and power from God and according to his Word.
  2. Exalts Jesus Christ.
  3. Is empowered by the Holy Spirit.
  4. Is loving.

It’s Smart to Chat with a Caring Person When. . .

. . .you discern that a caring person of the same gender would be a good listener and offer good counsel and that you are not a danger to yourself or to others and do not need medical attention from a physician.

Here are 7 traits of a caring friend:

  • Listens well. James 1:19
  • Has knowledge of the Bible. 2 Corinthians 6:3-10
  • Possesses genuine compassion. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
  • Depends of the Holy Spirit. John 14:16-26
  • Recognizes that one’s heart condition overflows into everything in life. Proverbs 4:23
  • Is humble. James 4:10
  • Loves the Lord. Matthew 22:37

What trait would you add to this list?

About Lucy and Counseling

I’m a certified biblical counselor on staff at Biblical Counseling Center in greater Chicago, and I meet with women, couples, children, and families in person and by Skype worldwide.

I am finishing my Doctorate of Ministry in Biblical Counseling and also have training in pastoral care to women at Western Seminary, Portland, Ore. and from the Association of Biblical Counselors, Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, and Biblical Counseling Center. Go to this page on my website for questions you have about biblical counseling.

Would you like a free initial consultation by phone? Contact me and let’s Then we can decide your counseling needs and develop a plan unique to you. To learn more, click HERE.

Counseling Hearts to Hope, 

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Blessed, Daughter, Saint, and more!

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