In the Know – Building a Bridge to Your Child’s Heart – WINNER!
I wanted to announce the winner from yesterday’s give away:
* Melaine McKinley won the book – Royal by Blood by Jennifer Johnson
* Mandy A won my teaching CD “Building a Bridge to Your Child’s Heart”
Melaine and Mandy, please be sure to email me at Lynn@LynnCowell.com and let me know the address you would like me to ship your prizes to!
I have so enjoyed reading all of your ideas on how we can spend quality time with our kids…you have so much wisdom. I am going to leave yesterday’s post up for today as my normal “In the Know” post is on Wednesdays. I hope you’ll come back again for our time together on Friday!
If you are joining me here today from Encouragement for Today through Proverbs 31 Ministries, welcome! I am so glad you stopped by! If you’d like to read my devotion, Divine Design, click here.
Recently Dannah Gresh shared on Focus on the Family information from her new book, “How to Keep the Little in Your Little Girl”. Dannah shared statistics pointing to parent/child connectiveness as the number one way to destructive behaviors prevention in our children. This is all the reason I need to motivate me to build a bridge to my child’s heart.
Maybe like you, I’m right smack in the tail end of child raising. With one in college, one in high school and one in middle school, I shuffle many times during the day between life coach, listener and law bringer. I am sure many of you juggle similiar roles. While I am on this journey, I have found a few ways to reach that parent/child connectiveness that we do want.
1. Be informed
Care enough about your child to know what is going on in their culture. Ask open ended questions about their friends. Sit and watch their tv programs with them. Be aware of what music they are listening to and listen yourself; know what they are putting in their hearts and minds. Follow blogs such as my own; every Wednesday I write post concerning today’s teen and their culture. To receive these informative posts each Wednesday, just add your email to the subscription box in the right hand corner and they will start coming right away!
2. Be approachable
Respond; don’t react.Our kids often feel that we will pass judgement or just give advice if they open up. Learn to listen only when they talk. If they need guidance, choose a time when they are not angry or upset. Consider their feelings at that moment and just listen.
3. Be available
With a list in hand, I am all about getting it done. Can you relate? So often, when my kids start chatting I am knee deep in writing or washing. More than once, they have said, “Can you stop just a minute so I can talk to you?”. Wow is that convicting!
When they talk, our kids need 100% of us; with no distractions. No phone. No text. Just us. Unfortunately, they also open up at the most inopportune times! (I head to bed at 9:00 p.m. They don’t start talking until 11:00 p.m.!). If we want to connect, we have to be there.
4. Be vulnerable
Do our children have the opinion that our growing up years were free of trip ups? Have we shared with them that we understand because we’ve been there? Not only do they need to know that we struggled then, they also need to know we struggle now. By sharing some of our trials, it helps them to know we are real in our faith as well. It can give us a place to meet.
5. Be their discipler
Too often, we want to hand over the responsibility of discipling our children to the church. No one, though, is going to take interest and invest in the lives of our children like we, their parents. As they get older, we need to continue to invest in them. One great way is by doing a Bible study with your student. (This spring I will be releasing “His Revolutionary Love; Jesus’ Radical Pursuit of You” – a great study for you and your daughter to do together!)
Click “comments” below (or go to www.LynnCowell.com if you are reading this on FaceBook or as an email subscriber) and give one idea of how we can spend valuable with our children. I can’t wait to hear your ideas!
Also be together…
Satans structure in our western world is for families not being together anymore.
Family time when children are free from school and we are from work are disturbed by the hobby's, sports and clubs we all attend.
My rule, Yes we do sports but within limits and it is not going to control our family time!
Our schedule is so busy, we spend some nights in the kitchen cooking dinner, but many in a restaurant waiting to eat. Both are opportunities to talk and open up. Whether cooking a meal together after band practice or eating chips and salsa while waiting on dinner, opportunity is there to talk and get to know each other – Dad included! Meal time has always been a blessing and opportunity in our home.
Lynn, thank you. These were the EXACT words I needed to hear today. I have some work to do today on realigning my heart and watching my mouth.
Wendelijn – You are so right about the family being robbed of time together. This summer, my family took a day a couple of times and drove to the mountains. Once we tubbed down the New River; another we biked in the valley. It was so good to be away from cell service and tv's!
Cindy – I love dinner time too! My family tries to eat most nights together; and you are so right! It doesn't really matter if you are all together at a restaurant or at a home table; the key is being together and talking!
Michelle – We all need to watch the words we say; myself included! We can become our kids' greatest cheerleaders with the help of the Holy Spirit!
Go somewhere they love, like an ice cream shop, for a mother daughter "date" and just talk. No phone on, nothing to distract you. so they know they are number one with you. Ask them what they dream about, how they would change the world, what they are afraid of. Truly LISTEN! I pray that I will slow down and listen more!
My kids love to play cards. I try to play with each one individually while the other kids are doing something else. They usually never turn me down and it helps them relax so that they are more open to talking about what is gong on in their life.
This topic is spot on! Even though I feel that I there for my daughter, your words today have highlighted where I'm going off the path. I need to STOP what I am doing and let my daughter see AND feel that I am listening. God is great! He hears our prayers, knows our needs, and today He has spoken to me personally through your message. Thank you for working His plan.
I love being a mom, but it's not without its challenges. Ever since my children have left my home daily to venture to school we stop at the front door to pray. The world is a scary place and I want my kids to remember that Christ is with them, that Mom & Dad will be praying, that Satan cannot have power over them. As they got older we have prayed for opportunities to be a part of God's plan for our day. I wouldn't miss that few minutes of prayer for anything…my kids either! It's a bonding time for the whole family.
"I'm in". Thank for the great reminders!
Im In! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂
Thanks so much for the reminders today. As a homeschooling mom, it is so easy to focus on my "to do" list and snap off short answers because I feel that they are interrupting "me"!! It really hit home today in the P31 devotion, that I need to focus on my kids and not let my "list" cause me to respond in frustration at them.
I'm in – just what I needed to hear
We choice to be a family who does most everything together. Because we all have busy schedules, serve full time in ministry, husband who on top of that works full time..five kids from 9-15 and one of which is special needs..it would be easy to not have time..so we just decided we would make the most of every oppurtunity..we grocery shop together, we serve at church together, we run errands together, we pray together, we support each others outside activities by going together..band concerts, award ceremonies, buying homecoming dresses all 7 of us go and we laugh and we talk and we share in each others lives..the extra times of walking through he park as leaves are changing, movie nights, family vacations are icing on the cake!!!
Each child is a unique individual. Sometimes it requires one on one time individually to allow them the opportunity to share privately. This will also help creates a close knit bound and fond memories.
Thanks for your words of wisdom. Another mother and I are starting a girls only Bible study at our church. I know it's not one on one, but sometimes my girl opens up more with a group and I can sit back and listen.
I'm in! – Thanks for your encouraging words.
Being intentional with these precious kids
is so important!
I'm sooooo in!!
I'm in!! Thanks for the reminder.
Allow your schedule to be interupted…if you have soccer practice, and piano lessons planned for the afternoon and your daughter asks "can we just stay home and hang out?"…SAY YES!!! We get so caught up in keeping our commitment to the activity/schedule that we lose our commitment to each other as a family and our relationships with each other.
With 3 teens on 3 different schedules keeps us busy, but often allows one on one time in the car. Take advantage of the captive audience and do more listening than talking.
I'm in! I read some of these previous comments and they all remind me we are all dealing with a lot of the same things. Thank you for encouraging all of us with your words today! Yesterday, my son was crying from a frustrating piano lesson after we got home and instead of asking him a bunch of questions (like I really wanted to do) I took him out to our porch swing and just let him sit there with me for as long as he wanted to cry, sit, and pray (even though I really needed to start dinner). I pray I see those opportunities more in the future and choose to take them with both of my children. Lord I pray each of us hear your Spirit in the good, bad, and normal happenings in life – we need Your help Lord daily!
I'm in!!!! Thanks!
I'm in! Thanks!
I have 4 children, 2 are in middle school and 2 in elementary school – it's hard to find things we can all do together that each child enjoys! We have come up with a silly game that we play while eating dinner – sometimes it's a version of '20 questions' or 'would you rather' and we all have fun and learn more about each other while playing it.
I've also recently decided that I would start reading the books that my middle schoolers are reading, not only does it make me aware of what they are reading, it's also a great conversation starter for the 3 of us! I love when my son comes to me asking what's going to happen next 🙂 I've definitely found that the sillier I can be with my kids, the more likely they are to open up about bigger things.
Meal times definitely for our family of 6 is where we can connect. We always do a devotional at dinner time, which gives everyone a chance to relate it to their day. With 4 kids, our schedules are hectic so some nights we don't sit down to 7 or 8…but the important thing is having that family time. (even when our 15 yr old rolls her eyes about it, I have to believe in the long run it's something she will treasure).
Thanks for the devotion. It's a great reminder how important it is to really listen to our kids and not criticize….which is where I need lots of work!!
I am the mother of a mentally and physically challenged 16 year old and a 6 year old. I find that often my time is taken up by caring for my son with special needs. I have to remember to take time out for my other son and set aside time to do something that is solely related to his interests. Even if that means sitting on the floor and playing with cars. I find if I spend one on one time with him it connects us, and I am less likely to react negatively to his bad behavior.
Thanks for sharing. I am also a mother of a son in college, a son in high school and a daughter in middle school.
LOVE the comments. Being a mom is hard work!! We are a busy family of 7 (15 years to 18 mos.). Dinner time seems to be the best time for us all to connect together and catch up with what happened during the day. I also try to be intentional with finding some one on one time with each of them. Ideally it would be an outing together but realistically I try for even just a few minutes to sit together and talk. Having time to just listen is invaluable!
Read: It's so important to know the personalities and Love Languages of your children that way we can give them exactly what they need, not just something that works for us personally, but really communicates love in the way God designed them. All kids are different and need to be shown love, affection, appreciation etc in different ways to really know they are valued and loved unconditionally. Knowing what each child needs will make the time we can spend with them all that more special and effective!
Thanks for your wonderful inspirational words. My daughter spend time together reading our bible or she will read her bible and if she has concerns we will discuss. I love seeing her read her bible and be writing in her journal. GOD is GOOD!
I need to work on building up and eliminate the tearing down. Feeling Him working on my heart. Thanks!
While reviewing homework at night, my 8 year old daughter and I often talk about all sorts of things. This continues thru reading time, teeth brushing and prayers.
Thank your words today! They were just what I needed to hear.
Thanks for the reminder to focus on my children when they are talking to me and to build my home, rather than tear it down. My girls love to spend time together polishing our nails. My son likes to joke and wrestle with me. Please enter me in the giveaway. Thank you!
I'm in! Thanks so much for the encouraging posts!
I'm so in!! I find spending individual time with each gives them the opportunity to talk without interruption from everyday stuff. Enjoy your writing, Lynn – Thank you.
I'm in…. Thanks for all of the encouraging and inspiring words!
I found having raised my son and now my two girls that it does take a vested effort on a mothers part to sometimes find the time to spend. However, the reward is far greater!! I would get up earlier than usual and meet my then teenage son for breakfast and chat. We would also pile up on the bed with a word search book or truck magazine and spend some lazy time together. My girls and I like to walk, bake and draw together. Also video games are a great way to connect.
I am a stepmother in a blended family and have been trying to bond with and reach my stepchildren. I often feel rejected by them even though I do EVERYTHING for them. There were times when I felt so discouraged by this. Thanks for these helpful tools. I'll pray and make more time to spend one on one time with them and listen to them. This must be the answer!!
We always sit and eat dinner together. Now it may not be at a conventional time but we are always around the table together. It's our time to connect as a family.
We always have dinner together. It may not be at a normal conventional dinner time but we sit as a family. It's our time to connect as a whole. Even in busy times (sports, school, etc).
I'm in. This has been on my heart lately. My oldest is 19 and a sophomore in college, but the other two are 9 and 5 – all girls. I have always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but finances have never allowed it. I used to work part-time, but lately have had to increase to keep up with basic needs like heat and food; and sometimes I feel so upset because I fear my children are being shortchanged – especially the youngest one, who has never had some of the relaxing time with mom that the other two were fortunate to have. I take my responsibility to parent my girls very seriously, as they are a gift from God and I desire so much for them to be close to Him.
To ensure we spend time together as a family unit daily, we have at least one meal together, usually dinner. My little ones are still young enough that they love for Mom and Dad to read to them, so I try to read at least one story each night before bed. They also love cooking and/or baking with Mom and/or Dad. Both my husband and I let them help with dinner if they want.
I feel family meals are very imporatant. We talk about their day, who did what, who they sat with at lunch, etc… We spend a lot of time together as a family doing many different things and it doesn't have to cost money. If one child has something going on that can be attended, we all try to go. As the kids get older, it is a little more of a challenge but we still try when possible.
Thanks for your encouraging words. We all need to be reminded…with busy schedules we can loose focus and time slips away…but we can pick up where we've left off and start again. Family is so important…we need to protect it by spending time together on a regular basis in the best of times and worst of times…Family is Family nothing can replace God's design.
I'm in! Our five children were so spread out in ages that we had children in Christian school for 27 years! Schedules were busy and many times I was alone with parental duties since my husband was in the military for 23 yrs. Patience is essential. Take time to enjoy these moments. They go by so quickly.
It gets harder to have time with our kids as they get older and start to have a 'social' life. I find it a challenge to know when to say no to things they want to do with friends, etc, so that we can have time together as a family. I also have a husband who has a very demanding job, so it's a challenge to find that time to connect with each other. The devotion really hit home for me that we need to make more of an effort to make time for each other. They will be grown and gone before I know it!!
My daughter just recently started High School and I've realized how close I have become to losing my little girl. She is in sports, has a lot of new friends, and comes home and stays in her room doing homework and is constantly on her cell phone. My husband and I have had marital problems, and nearly became divorced. Although we had been working keep our family together, we had neglected to spend family time with our little girl. Although I can say I'm close to my daughter and she shares a lot with me, I know I have not given her 100% of my attention when she shares with me. Thank you for all the suggestions. I'M SOOOO IN!!!!!!
I'm In.. Thank you for this messages, it is really helpful. I want to be the best mother ever for my children, long before they were born, long before I even met my husband, I decided that my children would always feel safe, welcome and happy at our home. That they would always be sure that no matter what they think or do, their mother (father also, but at that point there was no man as such in my life) would always be there for them. I pictured myself full of love and so on and so on. Now I am blessed with two precious children and I discovered that although the love is there and will always be there, it is not easy to be "the best mother ever". To really be there for the children the way THEY need it and not only the way I think they need mee. Spending time with them is indeed very important, undivided time, no telephone when reading to them, no interruption when playing a game, no doing laundry while watching a (disney)movie togehter…. I am always looking for imformation about how to enrich my life as being a mother to the children and these kinds of messages really help me a lot. Thank you very much.
Saskia from Germany
I' m in for sure. So need this right now.
My girls are 15 and 17.. I have found the best way to get them to open up and talk, is going for individual walks with them.. They love it and even my silent 17 year old, just seems to talk on and on!!It is great way to get in shape too… Also the dogs have fun! Blessings kathy
Thank you for this timely word. I subscribed to your emails last week, after I read another teen oriented posting on Facebook. I am praying that my husband will also be receptive to your words. God Bless you!
One way that my preteen and myself like to spend time together is to take a shopping trip! We hang out together and eat somewhere special after shopping!
Thank you so much for your devotion today! I just signed up for the Encouragement for Today email and boy, did I need to read your words! I have two boys – 3 years and 8 months – and there are days I feel incredibly overwhelmed and unprepared for the task of motherhood. I so want to reach my boys for Christ and to build up a home where His name is praised. It is my prayer that I can grow into that wise woman who builds up her home!!
I'm in also!! Thank you!
Thank you for this, I really needed this to realign my heart and watch my mouth to let inspiration come out instead of irritation. I need to break away from my past in a bad way! I know God is great and working within me and my family. I couldn't do it without Him or the continous devotionals and books to help me grow to be the best mom I can be. I love hearing all the suggestions and look forward to your encouragement! 🙂
I second what Saskia from Germany said to a T!! 🙂
the car ride to and from school is my perfect time with my son who is 7, his undivided attention is on me and we listen to praise music and sing or just talk….either way we both look forward to that quality time. sometimes we have his sisters with us and they join in but they know its time for gabe to talk and surprisingly let him 😛
I have 2 middle school boys. Do you have a suggestion for a Bible study for moms and sons? I could use one.
We are busy in our family and the time goes so fast. We like to meet in the living room in the evening and hang out together. Also, I have found that being the "mom taxi" has it's advantages in more conversation.
I just finish reading your blog. It is really a refreshing time for me ( after a having a hard time dscipline one of our kids)to focus in what is more important in the lives of them. These strategies surely will help to be a better mom.Thank you. Know that is not in vain.
play a board game or card game
I've got four little kids (7,5,4 years old and 3 months old) so most times I just struggle to keep the house in bearable state. I used to tell my children to go away and don't disturb ne while I was cleaning but one day I realised that cleaning, cooking and other housework takes most of my day so there was no time left for kids so I've started changing. Especially that if you ask my kids "how was your day?" after they come home from school or kindergarten they'll just say "fine" but they like to come when I'm doing something and start talking and if I listen they'll tell me all about their day. So I'm changing my habits even though that means that I do less work and my house is not as clean as I would like it to be. Another way I discovered is to help them in their little problems. m For me it's so simple to solve but I've notice that instead of telling them solution to their problem I go and solve it with them – there is bond growing between us. God is so good because he knows our hearts so well and he shares that knowledge with us – so often he helped me see things in my children, features of character, unique abilities I didn't see before which helped me change the way I looked at my children and treat them with love and respect. I can do everything through him who gives me strength…
Lynn, just read your P31 Devotion.
"The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." Proverbs 14:1 (NIV)
Powerful verse and truth. Praying I will make wise choices today to restore some places that need repair before walls do crumble.
Love ya my friend. God has used you to speak into my heart this morning,
I'm in. Thank you for your thoughts and devotionals. I teach a women's Bible study and use thoughts from your articles sometimes. God bless you.
My daughter and I use sports to bring us closer together. I was grateful for them because it took me out of the house(work) and into her life.
I'm in. Thanks for your articles. God bless you.
i am in!!!!