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When their Struggle is not Yours - Issue 311
August 16, 2013
Hi there! ....

My favourite part about this week has been that I have had friends staying with us. We’ve enjoyed evening meals together, going out for coffee, going dress shopping, scrapbooking together in the evenings and a morning out at a water hole / creek. It has been great having them here. I think Daniel’s favourite part of the week has been that Mr S (our friend) has managed to get a go-cart working – Daniel has spent time in the shed working on that with him. As Daniel zooms around the farm, I have had to still my mother heart and trust that he will be a responsible driver – though I know full well it is all about risks!! On the homeschool front we are working on Nomi and Daniel writing up their daily ‘to-do’ list in their diary, helping them to be more responsible for their studies and how they spend their time.

Live life with your kids!

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When their Struggle is not Yours

What our children find hard will differ to what we find hard. They struggle in math, numbers are your thing; they hate writing, you find using words easy; you love sport, and they are not interested; you can say no easily, they always want to say yes; you love being with people and they are shy. Each person in our family is unique – we will bring different personalities, quirks, habits and abilities to the family dynamic. But how do we help our children when our strengths are their weaknesses?

  • Accept them. Anything that we say to help our children needs to come from a position of accepting them regardless of their struggles. Our love doesn’t come from them getting it right – our love just is. They need to know that.

  • Find strategies. We can easily fall into the trap of thinking that our role is to ‘fix’ our kids, but really our role is to help our kids reach their full potential. We need to accept their differences, and yet help them find strategies when their weaknesses are going to impact their potential. Just this morning I spoke with one of my kids about their need to find strategies to help them be more organised. Forgetting things, being in a rush, losing things will be a distraction to their success. My encouragement needs to be because I want them to be successful, not because I find it irritating!

  • Keep calm. Reacting when someone is struggling will never help anyone. We need to be careful to watch our tone and our body language. No sarcasm, frustration, impatience. Of course this is really hard – but it is very important. These expressions (either verbal or physical) communicate a lack of acceptance and can damage our relationship, and close a window to actually help and encourage our child.

  • Keep the standard the same – the journey differs. Our standard is to love God and love others. How our kids get there will differ for each one. What one finds easy the other will find hard, and vice versa. We need to keep our eye on our objective – and then be creative, resourceful, flexible on how we teach and encourage our kids as they walk towards that.

  • Listen and show empathy. When we find something easy, it is very hard to find empathy with the person who finds it hard. We need to stop thinking about the task or action, and start thinking about the person. Listen to their struggle, and show empathy. We may not understand, we may not agree, but we need to show compassion as they struggle. The opposite would be indifference; which tells the kids we don’t care about them, or we become legalistic and demanding regardless of where our child is at, we ignore their personal journey.

  • Work as a team. Your spouse may have the answers, the experience, the empathy necessary in this situation. We need to parent as partners. Always keep each other up to date with the things you are struggling with – and allow them to step in to a situation you may have with a child.

  • Pray. We need to pray before, during and after a struggle. When we know our children, we know their strengths and their weaknesses, we can be continually talking to God about these things. Not only can we pray for peace to fill our heart in regards to our child’s struggles, but we can ask for wisdom to know how to address it. Most of all we need to give thanks for our child – this alone can change our attitude towards them, and their struggles.

One thing I’ve noticed over the years that to each weakness there is a corresponding strength. Someone maybe so flexible that they appear unreliable or uncommitted (and we’d see that as a negative) but, it also means they are completely available to people (which is a positive). Sometimes it will help us to really focus on what our child’s strengths are – and rejoice in that. When we continually deal with their struggles we lose perspective.

When I get frustrated with my kids inability (apparently) to ‘get it’ I like pause and reflect on my own life. There are still things that I struggle with, my head can be full of useful strategies to help me overcome my weakness, but I still find some things hard to do. This then becomes the basis of acceptance for my kids. I need to be gracious, helpful, kind. Some issues may well be with them for the rest of their lives – will I be okay with that? I need to be.

During the week I blog at Live Life with Your Kids! I haven't actually written this week but I did post over at Aussie Homeschool: Scrapbooking for the Reluctant Writer.

Or maybe you'd like to read something from my website:

Check out other homeschool and parenting issues over at my website, Lifestyle Homeschool

My Bookshop

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 book/e-book - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.

Restoring the Heart, Mind and Soul of Christmas Do your Christmas celebrations line up with what you believe? Do your celebrations help your children learn more about Jesus?

This e-book is based on a workshop I held for a couple of years to help families see that Christmas can be a significant tradition in our family life. If we are intentional about how our family celebrates we have the opportunity to use this time to teach our children about Jesus, and his love for each one of us.

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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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter

Live life with your Kids newsletter is about being a deliberate parent, about enjoying family life and using the opportunities that happen to teach and train your children in righteousness (right living with God). I hope that you will find regular encouragement as you live life with your kids!

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