The greatest gift you can give to your child
is a parent who is ready to face the challenges of life
with a plan. So before we can offer parenting solutions,
we want to help you get back to a place where you can use
them. Please stop for just a moment and do the following
things to help yourself get back on track.
by taking a deep breath or two, or three. Then pause,
close your eyes and talk to God. He is your heavenly
Father and he promises to give you wisdom. James 1:5
says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault, and
it will be given to him." A few deep breaths and a
prayer time can help you regain emotional composure.
You might want to read some Bible
promises for encouragement.
2) The next
thing to do is to regain hope. When hope
is lost, parents often resort to all kinds of unhelpful
parenting strategies. There are a lot of bad ways to
parent. You want to avoid them. Keep in mind, though
that there are a lot of good ways to parent too. Likely
some of the strategies you've used in the past are good
but just aren't working right now. You need a different
plan. We're going to help you find that new plan and
develop it. The fact that you're reading this page
is a good indicator that you have what it takes to move
forward. You're eager to get help. That help is available.
3) In order
to create a new plan, we first have to define the problem.
If you have more than one child, it's important to focus
on one child at a time. Even if the problem has to do
with how those children relate to each other, each of
your children need to learn how to deal with his or her
own part of the problem.
To help you define the issues, take out
a clean sheet of paper. In a column on the left hand
side begin to write down all the behaviors that your
child exhibits that are creating a problem for you and
your family. This isn't a list you'll show to your
child. It's just preparation to move forward. First
list the behaviors because they're symptoms of an underlying
problem. Just list things your child does that are unhelpful
or wrong; be as specific as possible. This task may take
a couple hours or even a couple of days but defining
the problem is an important part of the solution.
look over your list and group the negative behaviors
around negative heart issues. You're looking for patterns
of behaviors and common themes. A child who is demanding
about food is likely also demanding about bedtime, transitions,
and about what to wear in the morning. As you group the
various behaviors you'll see that your child has several
heart quality weaknesses that need to be addressed. The
heart quality list is shorter though and may include
things like dishonesty, lack of cooperation, anger, or
selfishness. You may have 50 negative behaviors on the
list, but they boil down to five negative heart qualities.
5) Once you
have your list of negative heart qualities, using a new
piece of paper, identify the positive heart qualities
that need to be developed. You will likely have 3-5 positive
heart qualities that your child needs right now. That's
normal. You might include cooperation, responsiveness
to authority, kindness, or self-control. Most children
have several heart qualities that need work and when
you focus on them you'll see some positive change.
But not so fast. We have some more work to do first.
6) Stop again
right here and pray. Thank God for revealing these things
to you. Commit your heart to God now, even before you
have the solutions you need. Ask God to provide you with
strength, hope, and the courage to address these issues
on a deeper level. You'll need some significant wisdom
in the next steps so make sure your heart is right with
God and that you're asking him for direction. Remember
the words of Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart."
7) Now it's
time for some solutions. Having 3-5 qualities is still
too much to work on at one time. So choose one heart
quality you'd like to see your child develop first.
Next, choose an arena or area where you'd like to see
the new heart quality demonstrated. For example, "kindness
with brothers and sisters" or "thoroughness with
homework" or "unselfishness with friends" or "cooperation
when given an instruction." The heart quality and the
arena need to be specific so that you have something
identify some specific steps you can require of your
child to get from where you are now to where you know
your child needs to be. Look for ways to involve other
leaders and authorities in your child's life. Think about
how to explain the how and why to your child so he or
she catches a vision and is equipped to move forward.
As you implement your new plan, remember that firmness
doesn't mean harshness. You want to communicate that
change is necessary, but you don't need anger in your
9) Next ask
yourself this question, "How will the development of
this quality help my child be more successful in life
both now and in the future?" Once you have that question
answered you'll be ready to have a meeting with your
10) Sit down
with your child at a peaceful moment and explain several
things. Start with a few qualities you appreciate about
your child emphasizing good reports you're hearing from
teachers, friends, or other leaders, steps of maturity
you're seeing, and positive growth your child is demonstrating.
Then say, "But there's one area that I think is holding
you back. That is..." and the name that heart quality
that's lacking. "So, we're going to be working
on this quality in the next several weeks." Sometimes
just raising the awareness level or pointing out the
new direction in a positive way is all that's needed
to prompt progress. So avoid threats or bribes. Explain
clearly what you're seeing and what progress will look
like. Talk about the benefits of developing this quality
in life, both now and for the future. You'll be revisiting
the problem and evaluating progress over the next few
days and weeks so stay positive at this point. As time
goes on you'll be able to further develop the plan
and add consequences if necessary.
the next several hours and days point out the issue that
you're looking to see changed. Raise the awareness level
with observations and reminders. Coach your child to
success with ideas and encouragement to move forward.
Offer affirmation for steps of progress as small as they
to meet regularly to discuss progress. This may be daily
or weekly, whatever is appropriate for the situation.
Your intent is to affirm progress, encourage the child
to continue on, and keep the issue forefront in your
child's mind. Depending on how things go you may have
to confront, remind, or implement a consequence in order
to show your child that you intend to help him or her
to move forward and that you're not content to stay
where you are. We're moving forward.
The above plan will need to be filled out
with more strategies and tools. You'll find a lot of suggestions
for making your plan work as you browse the resources we
offer. The purpose of this page is to provide you with
hope and direction. You need a plan. There are solutions
to the challenges you face. Don't give up. Your child
needs you. If you need further support, get it. Schedule a phone
coaching session with Dr. Turansky. Always
remember that there is hope and that God is building your
heart too, not just your child's. Spend a lot of time
with your heavenly Father and ask regularly for his grace.
He will provide you with the necessary wisdom and perseverance
to hang in there to do the most difficult job in the world
May God richly bless you and your family. Please send
us an email and let us know how God is working.