My neighbor thinks we’re bad people.

I was visiting with a neighbor friend who believes and votes differently than I do, we’re still friends though. He said the neighbor girl told his little girl that they’re bad people because of the way they vote. I know the parents, and they’d be crushed if they knew what was being said. But, as Christians, we need to be careful what we say around our kids because they don’t have that filter. And that can cause insurmountable relationship damage that could prevent us from sharing Christ. When we talk about our faith and why we vote the way we do, remember our kids are watching and listening. Saying things like, “Our faith helps us decide,” or “we want to honor God with our actions,” might be a better way to help our kids with discernment.

My kids aren’t letting me see the grandkids.

I heard a story today on the radio that made me incredibly sad. The woman told the host that because of her religious and political leanings, her daughter wasn’t allowing her to see the grandkids. I thought to myself, what would I do if my kids did that to me? Well, perhaps you find yourself in a similar situation. The first thing we should do is pray that God would soften their heart. Also ask for wisdom. And read the Word. God still does miracles, you know. Secondly, keep communications open—even though they may not like our Christian or political beliefs. Small talk can do wonders to open doors. And then finally, be ready to share when asked. This season of life isn’t easy, but God’s got this.

I sure wish I hadn’t done that.

I remember a time in my life where I was doing something, I wasn’t being a very good example. What made it worse is I thought I was getting away with it, but my kids saw me do it. A situation caused me to get angry and that anger not only came out, but the words weren’t very nice either. A few weeks later, I found one of my kids in a similar situation. In my correction, I said, “Honey why would you say something like that to them?” They said, “Dad, that’s what YOU did.” Ouch. I wish I could tell you I handle it well. At first, I got defensive. Bantered back and forth, and then the Holy Spirit said, “learn from this.” Our sin can be revealed by our kids. Learn from it. Don’t dismiss it.

I can't get my son to do anything.

Kids. They’re frustrating sometimes. They can bring such joy, but also—not so much. It’s frustrating when our kid has the ability to do something, but they won’t even try. They’re smart but, for some reason, they either don’t think they are, or they believe their intelligence will get them out of any problem and they don’t have to work at it. There are lots of verses in scripture about work. Perhaps you can guide them there. Chores, study, and other good deeds in exchange for screen time, maybe? If you go this route, remind them our acts of service should be because we love people. Not to get things. Similarly, we don’t do good things for God to earn our salvation—it’s in response to His amazing gift of grace and mercy that we could never earn.

My kids scream, but they’re just being kids.

I realize that there are a lot of kids who have issues and screaming in a restaurant can’t be helped sometimes. So, if this is you—I’m not talking to you. But this Parent Minute may be for those of us who tend to be a little more “permissive” and you’re okay with a little chaos. Not everybody’s like us. So, we need to make sure our kids CAN be disciplined in public places. Who wants our kids to be rude and unruly, right? Suggestion: take some time to practice being in a public place, like a restaurant. Show them how to put a napkin in their lap, how to use their silverware, say please and thank you. AND, how to control our vocal outbursts. Discipline—even self-discipline—is biblical.

Can’t they control their kids? This is a restaurant.

As we get older and more experienced, it’s easy to look at other families and say things like that. What you may not know is these kids could be autistic or challenged in other ways. Maybe the littles ones are foster kids and they’re struggling. Or, maybe they ARE products of their parent’s unwillingness to discipline. The question is: are you going to be one of THOSE adults who look over, stare, and roll your eyes in disgust? I’ve been one of those. Until I realized I was a parent who was bringing an adopted daughter home from Russia and my daughter was the one throwing a fit because she was scared. Empathy goes a lot further than contempt. Words like, “I’ve been there” or “It’ll get better, be strong” is much more encouraging.

You NEVER believe me.

While working at home writing Parent Minute scripts, I noticed three neighbor kids playing. They were kicking a ball, laughing. And then, all of the sudden, the youngest started SCREAMING. Immediately, mom came out. I’m not sure what happened but I heard, “I DIDN’T. I just kicked the ball. Why don’t you believe me?” How many times have we disciplined the oldest because the youngest was screaming to get their way? I don’t know if that’s what happened here but if we take the screamer’s side each time, we’re encouraging that behavior. Yet, if we always believe the oldest, the youngest feels injustice. Encouraging our kids to work it out without screaming helps keep emotion out of conflict, which shows respect and love. That’ll go a long way when they become adults.

Our kids don’t need friends, they need parents.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this. Frankly, I’m not sure what I think of it. While I need to be a dad who’s willing to discipline my kids, I also want to be approachable. I want to have a loving and kind relationship with my kids, so they feel safe coming to me when they need to. As you can imagine, there are dangers. If we only view ourself as our kid’s friend, parental discipline is avoided because we’re worried they won’t like us. If we don’t care about their feelings and rule with an iron fist, we can push them away. Let’s be like our Heavenly Father as we discipline our kids. Discipline isn’t easy too—it hurts. But it makes us who He wants us to be.

My daughter is just like me. Not. Good.

Kids generally look up to us parents and grandparents. Have you ever noticed one of the kids in our lives have discovered a characteristic that we’re not very proud of, but they’re imitating it? Yep, I have too. I’m pretty outspoken. I’m better than I was, but unfortunately one of my kids took my forthrightness to the “nth” degree. Truth. To the point. Facts. And, lack of apathy and empathy and little love to go with it. As a Christ follower, I had to confess my sin. Point out Scripture describing it. And devised a plan to hold each other accountable. Discipline early can mean less heartbreak and broken testimonies as adults. The good news? As a follower of Christ, we’re forgiven. What better lesson is there?

Will MY kids walk away from the church?

The biggest heartbreak of a Christian parent’s life is watching their kid walk away from the church. A survey by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University found that 52 percent of parents who call themselves Christians believe in a salvation can be earned perspective. I believe most young people walk away from the church because they never really had a relationship with Christ to begin with. If the majority of “Christian” parents are preaching another gospel, how will our young people know the truth? The life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, along with the teaching that “it’s by grace we’re saved through faith and that it’s a gift from God, not by works” should be our message. Parents, let’s teach The Gospel to our kids daily. We have devotional resources to help.

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