Archive for parenthood

Healing the heart is not a science or a linear process but an inward journey of discovery, reflection, and emotional consciousness that leads to deep healing. It does, however, require a significant mental decision and commitment. Why? It takes time, personal transparency, and a willingness to discover the suppressed reality that lies within.

This discovery process is not easy and often uncovers pain that we inherently like to avoid which is likely why we stuffed it originally. When pain accumulates, it causes us to deep six our hearts and shut them down, in effect sealing the hatch to the submarine to avoid the storm within. Read More →

This is a topic many parents and kids struggle with…how do we get our kids to help clean up around the house. Over the years of parenting four kids, here is what we found is better to make “clean up” fun and a team sport.

We found that chore charts and expectations supported by lectures or consequences lead to tension between the kids as some things were easier than others, as well as motivation issues with getting the tasks done. Read More →

One of the keys for family connection that builds a sense of togetherness is TALK, simple on its face, but complex in its execution. Our challenge as parents and grand parents is establishing a culture of communication that builds and encourages open communication and togetherness.  We desire to be together but pools of pain within, unsolved issues, and poor communication habits can rob us of what we truly desire.

The kids that helped coin the five “Ts” at our family camp wanted to talk deeply, transparently and on an emotional level with their parents which was something their parents neither believed nor understood coming into the week. Many adults did not have open and emotional conversation with their parents, which was the case with this family setting them up to miss having a deeper connection with their own kids. Read More →

The Vital Nature of Transparency

The family that came for Revive’s family camp could not have anticipated the change that would begin with just one week of time, fun and transparency.  The importance of transparency cannot be overstated when it comes to family connection and togetherness.

Transparency is a delicate topic and can strike fear into the hearts of adults. Yet it is vital and must be encouraged, guarded and protected within our homes.  For me becoming transparent required pursuing healing in my own heart because prior to this to there were just too many sensitive spots that led to pain that people could trigger in me without meaning anything. I had a strong sense that I needed to protect myself, which of course meant I could share little or nothing about my real life, thoughts or feelings. Unfortunately this is the position I find far too many kids in today with their parents and siblings.

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Unresolved issues are one of the leading factors that cause kids to react like the 4th of July; a period of calm is followed by a spectacular reaction triggered by what seems to be very small sparks.

When we see such explosive behavior in our kids, it is natural for us to think that they are just trying to get their way.  What about our kids are doing something they should not be doing or are being ridiculous because what was said or done is so minor in comparison to their response?

Parent/Kid Disconnect

After 12 years of talking with kids about their lives, decisions and direction, one thing is crystal clear. The vast majority of kids fear bringing up their frustrations, issues or hurts with their parents.  They are convinced their parents will be defensive, overreact or dismiss their perspective altogether.

As a result many kids carry with in them a growing list of issues/hurts with their parents.  As they hold this hurt within, each area of hurt develops into figurative fireworks just waiting to be ignited.  When our kids are in this position, it does not take much to light their fuse. Read More →

Kids emotions are even more confusing as they approach and enter the changes of the adolescent brain.  By age nine many of our kids will be in the midst of this. We as parents, thankfully, are able to help them navigate through this challenging change.
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We say that we will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. The statement makes me take a step back to think. Are we applying this to how we care for our kids?

After years of running this organization, even a dad like me who focuses on a completely different approach to parenting has to be honest with himself and admit that there are times when I am better with the vinegar than honey. This tends to happen when I am concerned or seeing a pattern of behavior that is troubling.  Sometimes I slip back to interfering with my oldest son’s potential or allowing negative thoughts to come through what I say to him. Taking time to dig deeper and identify the root fills our kids with honey. Read More →

When our children reach adolescents, they become more emotional as a result of the changes occurring within their brain development.  Children age nine to eighteen become more sensitive to the things we say and do. This is the reason I recommend that parents begin to ask emotionally focused questions with their children beginning at age six, in order to establish this level of communication before brain development begins to change.

Here are three questions I recommend parents to ask their children periodically leading up to and to revisit throughout adolescence, especially when parents notice changes in their routine and or volatility. Read More →

Summer presents an amazing opportunity to move our kids towards self -management.  In my time working on a college campus and from the research I conducted concerning the college transition, it was clear that students were not prepared for the stress, change and responsibility of managing their own lives when they left home.

This outcome stems from an underlying shift in the priority of parents. In the 1800’s and early 1900’s the predominant goal of parents was to raise self-reliant kids, which was

Our Kids are less prepared for Life on their own

vital. This is the reason I believe self-management is one of the most important skills for our kids to develop. Self-managing kids have more confidence, resilience and ability to handle adversity as they move towards and into adulthood. I am convinced that today more than ever we need to stop focusing on raising children and start focusing on raising the days of exploration, wilderness and family farms. Today the priority has become protecting our kids, which has led to adults managing more and more of their kids’ lives, success and decisions.  As a result, kids are less prepared for life on their own and many are relying on their parents into and throughout college leading to the growing reality of delayed adolescence in our society. Read More →

Summer provides parents a great opportunity to move kids towards understanding themselves and the responsibility needed to help them mature and succeed.

As parents we can make summer a season of development with our kids because they have more free time and are not consumed with school, activities and sports.  To accomplish this we need to view our kids and our role differently.

We can Make Summer a Season of Development and Responsibility

For some parents, like Deedee and me with our oldest at age nine, it may mean you need to do some things to reconnect with your kids at a deeper level.  This was a level that was missing with our kids. Even though they knew we cared deeply for them, they saw that our focus was on their performance and behavior. This caused our oldest daughter to avoid us, hide things and give one word answers rather than entering into conversations with us.  Our focus on performance caused our kids to retreat from responsibility because they knew we would harp on how they under-performed rather than encourage them in their effort and learning. Read More →