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Protect your Relationship - Issue 169
September 24, 2010
Hi there! ....

This week One of the things that I am aware of is that I have taught my older two our family values and standards and somehow I subconsciously think that the younger two will glean this by osmosis. Discipleship doesn’t work this way. I have to be just as intentional with my younger children as I was with my older ones. I have to make sure that I have taught them the things that are close to my heart. This week I sat down and made sure that the younger two knew how we, as Letchfords, deal with broken relationships. That they know how to say sorry. That they know how to show forgiveness. This is not a one off lesson; I cannot tick that off now as done. Obviously there will be times of practice but we also need to continue to talk about it in times when there is no conflict. My children need to know, deep in their heart, that this is what needs to happen when a relationship goes sour. It needs to become a part of their own belief system. For this to happen I need to talk about it, help them practice it and make sure they see real life examples (in me).

We need to be intentional with each and every child.

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Protect your Relationship

As a parent we have the responsibility to encourage our children; to encourage them to good works, to encourage them to love the Lord, to encourage them to seek wisdom. If we can encourage, it goes without saying, that we could also discourage.

Fathers [Mothers] provoke not your children,
That they be not discouraged
Col 3:21

We may be more familiar with the translation that says ‘provoke not your children to anger’. Anger, frustration, irritation and aggression are all emotions that will break a relationship. And it seems that we as a parent can do something about this – it seems that I can either provoke or not provoke my child. I want to do all that I can do to strengthen and encourage my parent-child relationship so I’ve thought of some things that I can do as a parent, that would encourage my child:

Be consistent - our children need to know that the standard we expect of them is consistent – the same today, the same tomorrow. When the lines become blurred, driven by expediency and emotions, then anxiety sets in and this is unsettling to children.

Be True – hypocrisy is one of the biggest stumbling blocks in a parent/child relationship. Children as they grow older are particularly tuned in to see us for what we are. We need to be humble in acknowledging our weaknesses but also true to the idea that we too are growing more and more like Christ (not just expecting that of our children.)

Be aware of Context – when children don’t believe they have justice, when they feel isolated from any comeback frustration starts to take root. When we consider the context of the situation, what is really going on and what is really important before we make a judgment call our children will gain a sense of fairness and sense our genuineness. This will foster a response towards the parent’s heart and relationships will be strengthened.

Walk in forgiveness – not only do we need to offer our children full forgiveness (which includes forgetting and moving on) we need to ask for forgiveness from our children when we mess up too. We need to be humble and honest enough to admit we have done wrong by them, and ask their forgiveness and commit ourselves (to them) to changing.

Be realistic – Expectations damage relationships (actually this was the main advice our pastor gave us when we were married – to watch the expectations we had on each other.) We need to watch what expectations we put on our children – remember they are learning. Our expectations need to be based primarily on how much we have taught, practiced and expected. Our children are being moulded – we must give them time.

Be kind – the dictionary definition for ‘kind’ is to be generous, warm-hearted, considerate, forbearing and beneficial. Do our children feel these things from us? We can be so overwhelmed in our role as teacher/trainer that we let these relationship building emotions lag behind. How much easier our training will be if we approach our children with understanding and warmth.

If you haven't any charity in your heart,
you have the worst kind of heart trouble.
~Bob Hope

Sometimes we think that if we show love, gentleness, kindness, mercy etc towards our children that we lose our authority. This is so far from the truth. We don’t have authority in our child’s life because of a tough, bossy, unrelenting attitude. We have authority in our child’s life because God has given it to us. Let us not abuse that authority – let us be gracious, compassionate and yet firm and directive. Let us have our children’s best interests at heart, and let us make choices that assure them of that. We can make a choice today to protect our parent/child relationships by not provoking our children.

Blog Updates this week
Don’t be intimidated by Technology - parents may not fully understand technology but we lay the foundations for our children in this area.
Busy but Calm - what things are distracting your heart today?
Strategies for Reading to Learn – Gaining Context and Purpose
Internet Reading Links
A blog post from my daughter Jessica – about how easy it is to slip behind when we think we are doing well.

Blending Life with Lessons e-book - Does your everyday life challenge your homeschool ideas? This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle.

Heart Focus Parenting - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.

My Sitemap is a quick reference to all you will find on Lifestyle-Homeschool. I encourage you to have a browse around!

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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