The Angry Parents and Fighting Siblings

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I’ve learned something over the past few weeks about siblings. They’re always fighting!!! My kids will fight over anything from a banana that has fallen on the floor to a toy they haven’t played with in months.

Deciding on the right way to correct them in the moment can be extremely difficult. I often find myself doing or saying things out of frustration that doesn’t help my kids in the long run.

“Don’t do that because it makes mommy sad.”

“Why? Because I said so!”

How do either of those phrases teach my children the Gospel? They don’t. It’s that simple. Instead you need to be spend quiet time with God and meditate on the word. What does God say about anger? What does He instruct us to do? You need to have a game plan before you get into that situation. Especially when they are on going things your children are struggling with.

Having verses in mind helps a great deal in the middle of the, I’m about to pull my hair out moments. It can also prevent you from making empty threats that make you look silly. “Stop otherwise you can never play with your toys again!” Admit it. We all do it.

Here are a few verses on anger and trying not to sin in your anger.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

-Ephesians 4:32

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

-Philippians 4:13

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.”
-Proverbs 10:12

“For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

-James 1:20

So what should we do when our kids sin?

  1. Take your child to another room. I recommend this because it gives you time to calm down before you talk with your children.
  2. Point out the sin. Explain to your child that he/she was sinning when they did [blank]. It’s very important to teach our children to recognize sin in their own life so they can take it to Christ.
  3. We love our children so we discipline them. God calls all of us to disciple our children and raise them up in the Lord. This is one of the ways we do this.
  4. Pray with your child and have them confess their sin to Christ.
  5. Let them know Christ has forgiven them! Assure your child that through God’s grace, He has saved them and forgiven their sins.
  6. Hugs! Encourage your child! God loves them so much that He has chosen them!
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Grace

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There are so many things I want to teach my children about Christ. I want them to grow close to Him and have a desire deep in their bellies to know more about Him. What’s one way to teach them? Study the word with them daily. Here are a few verses on grace to reflect on as a family. 

Ephesians 2:8-9

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Romans 6:14 

“For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”

Romans 11:6

“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.”

James 4:6 

“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Romans 5:8 

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Hebrews 4:16 

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

John 1:16

“And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”

Romans 3:24 

“And are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus..”

Isaiah 40:31 

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

2 Timothy 4:22 

“The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.”

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Numbers 6:25 

“The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you..”

Would you rather be served or be a servant?

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    Today in School of Theology, we were talking to the kids about the different characteristics of God. They listed off all the different ways the bible describes Him: loving, kind, unchanging in His being, infinite, spirit, and forgiving. As they described Him, they told me it’s impossible to know everything about God, but that they would spend their whole lives learning more about Him. I am challenged to seek after God every time I teach them. They are completely passionate about God and are hungry for more knowledge of Him. 

    Every Sunday morning, I have about 3-5 kids offer to help me set up. They could be playing with their friends, but instead they’re looking for ways to help anyone in need. I am constantly getting caught up in my own to do list rather than signing up for a meal train or taking someone out for coffee. Our kids are little servants and we all need to be challenged by them. 

“Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20:28

When Jesus came, He came to serve. If Jesus himself, lived His life as a servant, what does that tell us? We need to lay our selfishness on the cross and become servants like Him. 

How can we teach our children to become servants in our own lives?

  • Serve in a ministry as a family.
  • Teach your children that we don’t serve in ministries because we are providing someone the honor or time, rather we are sacrificing our time to help others.
  • Make a meal with your child and bring it to a friend.
  • Teach your children to ask others about their day, rather than focusing on themselves.
  • Teach your sons to hold doors open for others. 

How have you taught your children to become a servant like Jesus?

A Grieving Child

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The longer I’m a parent, the more I realize that I can’t protect my child from the pain of this world. I can lock them in a padded room, keep them away from the TV, and conduct background checks, but something will break in–like the death of a family member or friend. Death happens, and we can’t protect them from the pain that ensues.
But we can help them. Here are some of my ideas. Please note that I haven’t researched this extensively. This is advice mainly from my own experience of losing both my father and father-in-law. 

1. Be patient with them —even more patient than normal. It is common for children who are hurting emotionally to act out. They don’t know what to do with their inner turmoil and it can come out in bouts of hitting, yelling, name-calling, door-slamming, or general disobedience.

2. Give a lot of affection. Grief is not a visible “boo-boo,” but it is a wound nonetheless and requires the same care that you give after your child scrapes her knee. You need to be perceptive and know what type of affection your child needs. My son needed extra physical affection, but felt he was too old to cuddle, so he would instigate wrestling matches. Now, I don’t enjoy wrestling, but it was what he needed. And so I wrestled. It also helped him exert that pent-up energy. 

3. Show them it’s okay to cry but don’t let them see you despair. You can cry in front of your child (at least I hope you can, because I’ve done it A LOT), but reassure them that it’s because you miss and love the one who is gone and not because you’re in despair. Even when I tried to hide my tears, my oldest one could tell I was crying. It was to the point that whenever I sniffed my nose, he asked, “Mommy, are you crying? Do you miss grandpa?” Children are perceptive and they might worry if they know you’re crying and you don’t tell them why. It’s healthy for them to see you dealing with your own pain. It encourages them to do so and lets them know it’s okay to be sad. Of course, I might be wrong and if I am, my children might be scarred for life.

4. Always point them to the One who is the answer to the problem of death and offers us hope beyond the grave. When my oldest son would catch me crying and after stating that I missed my loved one, I would follow with something like, “But he’s in heaven with Jesus and Jesus died so we can all be together with him in the end. We were made to live forever with God, but we sinned and so death now happens. We weren’t made to be separated, so that’s another reason this hurts. But Jesus will kill death in the end.” In fact, use this as a chance to talk about eternity and the new heaven and earth. My son and I talk about what method we think God will use to bring us to him after we die or when He returns. I’m hoping for a rainbow-colored hot air balloon and he a steam engine whose track leads into the sky. I’ve found that these discussions have helped to ground me and remind me of the Hope I have in Jesus.

5. Find something that you can do together that allows them to think about their loved one and their death but doesn’t dwell too much on the sadness of it all and isn’t too didactic. For us, it’s been the picture book Invisible Thread. There is only one page about missing a loved one, but it’s there and the message is hopeful—that we’re still connected to that person by an “invisible thread” of love. There are many resources out there for helping children cope with loss. Post a comment below if you know of another good resource because some are definitely better than others and not every resource comes from a Christian perspective. And of course think about age appropriateness as well.

6. Be patient with them (again). This time I mean, be patient with their style and path of grieving. Everyone grieves differently. There aren’t really clear steps or stages of grieving. Let them do it their way, helping them to deal with their pain and pointing them to Christ.
A grieving child is a grievous thing indeed. At times it can double your own pain, but it can also help you heal as you walk the “valley of the shadow of death” holding the hand of your loving Shepherd and your beloved child.

I will end with one encouraging story. Two years after my dad died, we went on vacation with my mother. My oldest son, Levi, was just over two years old at the time. My mom and Levi shared a room. When my mom came to bed one evening, Levi had already fallen asleep, but he rolled over and said sweetly and clearly, “Don’t be sad, Grammie; Jesus loves you.” Our children not only help us to see that life continues after the death of a loved one, but they can minister to us in tangible ways reminding us of the hope we have in our Savior Jesus Christ.

Training Children on Sunday Mornings

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One thing I love about Sunday mornings is looking around to see all of the families!

We have all made a commitment as a church body. When we watch our pastors baptize our children, they ask us to make a commitment in standing alongside parents in raising their children as men and women in Christ.

Do you as a congregation undertake the responsibility of assisting the parents in the Christian nurture of this child?”

It’s easy to say yes when they ask us Sunday morning, but it means something much more when we actually walk out our commitment.

As a church body, we can look around and see new Christians, mature Christians, grandparents, parents, singles, kids, and friends. We all have something to offer within the body.

One thing we do at our church is teach and train parents to have their children attend services. Let’s stand together as a church and disciple our children so they can attend services, hear God’s word, and grow in their relationship with Him.

Here are a few things parents can do to disciple their children.

  1. BEFORE CHURCH: Sit your kiddos down before or on the way to church. Explain to them what their behavior should look like during service: using a whisper voice when the leaders are talking, standing during worship, praying together, taking notes, etc. This helps immensely because our kids know what’s expected beforehand.
  2. SERMON NOTES: As soon as you get to service, set your kiddo up with a bible and or sermon notes. This helps keep your children’s hands busy and helps them to follow along during service.
  3. TEACH: Take time throughout the service to explain what the different parts of worship are for and why we do it. During the call to worship, you can teach your children that God has invited us to be with him and to enjoy him. You can also pray silently with your children during confession and confess your sins together.
  4. REMINDER: Now that our kids know what we expect, we can hold them to it. If they start whining, talking to loudly, standing up, etc., we can remind them what they need to be going.
  5. STEP OUT OF THE SITUATION: If our kiddos continue to disobey, take them into the foyer. This shows your child, I’m serious and it breaks them away from the situation, which helps to make sure they are fully listening.
  6. DISCIPLINE: When our kiddos disobey, their needs to be a consequence.

It always helps to have a plan. It helps our kids to know what’s expected and it allows us to bring consistency when we already know what we need to do.

Here are a few things the church body can do to disciple children during service.

  1. GREET THEM: Children get excited to see their friends and family at church, just like we do! Make sure say hello to the kids before service and go find a few kiddos during our greeting time. This shows our kids they are a part of the church body and we love them.
  2. PARTNER WITH PARENTS: As you well know, kids are easily distracted. They are learning a lot of self-discipline by joining their parents in service. Partner with their parents by refraining to play with the kiddos next to you. It’s extremely tempting to tickle and make silly faces at little Johnny to your right; however, we need to allow them to focus on Jesus during service.
  3. PLAY: When service is over, play with the kids! Let’s reinforce them! They did great during service, tried hard to keep a quiet voice, and now it’s time to play!

We are excited, as a church body, to join with families and disciple our children!

Object Lessons

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We’ve talked before on the Christ Church Kid’s Blog about teaching kids with hands on activities. Kid’s learn and maintain information much better when they can get their hands dirty! Here are a few object lessons you and your family can use to teach your kids about Jesus!

 

Nothing is impossible with God
Honesty
Armor of God
Jesus’ blood washes away our sins
Jesus’ blood
Truth
God uses all things for His good
Gentleness
Burden of sin
The trinity

Do you have any good object lessons you and your family have used? If so share them in the comment section!

 

Teaching the Bible!

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One of the new resources we are using in our children’s classrooms is Songs for Saplings. It’s a great CD for kids that puts bible verses to song! Our kiddos are starting to sing them back to the teachers! This got me thinking… Kids are way more receptive to learn while having fun!

I am always racking my brain on how I can teach my kiddos the bible. As I have mentioned earlier in my posts, it’s easy to put it off thinking, “Well, they don’t understand yet.” They can understand a lot more than you think! Here are a few resources you can to teach your little ones.

1. Bible verse CDs. If you’re feeling creative, sit down for a family worship night and make up your own! Try Seeds of Faith or Songs for Saplings

2. Practice. Check out this mama’s blog and find fun ways for kids to practice their verses! There are worksheets, matching games, and other fun printables.

3. Free hand! Give your kiddo a piece of paper. Have them write the verse on the top/bottom or write it for them. Talk to them about the verse and answer any questions they might have and then tell them to draw it! This is a great way to see how they are interpreting it.

4.  Token charts. Go out and buy some poster board and stickers. Every time your kiddo can recite a bible verse to you (without cheating of course!) they get one sticker. They put their stickers on the poster board and when they get a certain amount (make sure it’s an attainable amount) they can earn something big! It can be a special dinner, toy, date night with mommy or daddy, a park day, etc. Make it fun!

How To Help Your Kids With Separation Anxiety

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1. Be Consistent: Kid’s thrive on routines! They feel safe and confident when they know the routine of the day; it’s the same with Sunday school. When things change in a child’s routine, they can quickly get thrown off and their nerves start going. It is much easier for a child to relax and have fun when they know what is going to happen.

How we do this: One thing our teachers try and maintain is a routine schedule during class. The schedule remains the same no matter what teacher is serving.

How you can do this: Try and attend service regularly and have your kids consistently attend Sunday school (nursery, toddler room, and kids class).

2. Help Ease the Transition:Do you know a few things that help your kiddo calm down at home? Such as a special blankey, their Batman toy, a snack…? If they have something that helps them to calm down, let the teacher know. We are a team so we need to make sure teachers and parents are partnering together.

How we do this: We will write this down on our sign in sheet so all volunteers will know in the future what works at home. We will also write down things that volunteers have done that have made the kiddos happy and the transition easier.

How you do this: Experiment. Try bringing different items from home each week and see what works. You can also try having the teachers give extra attention or no attention while they are crying. Let the volunteers know what you would like them to try.

3. Trust the Volunteers: It’s hard to drop your child off when you see their crocodile tears; however, it is harder for other kiddos when they see other parents coming and going repeatedly. Trust the volunteers. When you drop your kiddo off, give them a big hug and kiss, tell the volunteer to call you after a specified time if they don’t stop crying, and go to service. When you linger, it makes it difficult to allow the volunteers to do their thing and try to redirect them. Sometimes all your child needs is to be redirected and see how much fun they can have in class.

How we do this: Our teachers will honor their agreement with you. If you ask them to call you after ten minutes, they will do so.

How you can do this: If you want to check in on your kiddo, please do not walk to the building and do so. Ask the volunteer for their number and you can text them and they can let you know or send you a picture!

The Self-Esteem Culture

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My family recently had an exchange student from France stay with them for about three weeks. He was surprised by many things here in the states. One thing that shocked him was our self-esteem movement. Nowadays adults are so worried about children’s self-esteem they always make sure everyone feels equally important no matter now much effort they have put into anything.

Kid’s play soccer and are all greeted with a medal at the end to make sure no one feels like a loser.

One child sits idly by while his friend works diligently on a school project. In order to protect both children’s feelings, they both get an “A.”

What are we teaching our kids? We are teaching our children to be lazy and self-obsessed.

“‘The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually’ (Genesis 6:5).

We long to be told, “You are good!” but only Jesus Christ and those clothed in his goodness deserve to hear it.”

I love this quote from Elise Fitzpatrick’s book Give Them Grace. She hits it right on the nose. In reality, no one deserves to hear “You are good!” Instead of teaching our kids how amazing they are, we need to be reminding them how rotten they are aside from Christ.

The more we teach our children of their own greatness, the further we pull them away from Christ.

Now what? How do we apply this with our children?

  • When our children disobey or do something they shouldn’t you can sit them down for a talk. Explain to them that we all fall short of the standard Christ has called us to, but He always forgives and we merely need to go to him and ask for help.
  • Show your children what it means to depend on Christ. When you fail or fall short, bring it to light in front of your kids. Allow them to pray with you.
  • Stories are a great way to show children the consequence of living a life depending only on yourself. The Jesus Story Book Bible is a great tool for this because the whole point in EVERY story is that Jesus is the hero, not the men and women in the bible.

Challenge: Comment on this post and share ways you have taught your children to depend on Christ rather than themselves.