How does birth order affect kids?

You might be the youngest child . .  or the oldest . . . or maybe you’re right in the middle. And, what about your children? Your oldest child may be a natural-born leader.  Your middle child might be a good negotiator.  And, yes, your “baby” is likely the entertainer of the family.  You may even have a very mature “only” child at home.  And, even though you can’t change the birth order of your kids, it’s still good to know the ways birth order affects your children.  Knowing your kids’ birth order can also help you adjust your parenting tactics.

An interesting read on this can be found at: https://www.parents.com/baby/development/social/birth-order-and-personality/

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Developing character

It’s easy for moms and dads to come up with reasons for taking a “character vacation.” You may think, for instance, “Everyone else cheats on their taxes, so why shouldn’t I? Or, No one will care if I take a few things from the office (or factory) to use at home.” But once you start your slide into the pit of rationalization, it’s very difficult to climb back out—and equally tough to keep your children from joining you.

In the first days of the Christian church, a man named Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, thought they could fool God by appearing to be generous. First they sold a piece of property. Then Ananias, with his wife’s knowledge, kept some of the money and presented the rest to the apostles, pretending that it was the full amount from the sale. Peter confronted him: “What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” Ananias immediately fell down and died. When Sapphira arrived later, also pretending that they had given the full amount, she too died at Peter’s feet (Acts 5:1–10).

Our kids are watching our character closely. God is watching, too. He knows when our actions are forthright and when we distort the truth: “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity” (Proverbs 11:3). We must remember—and teach our children—that God’s desire for us is to keep our character intact.

Dealing with difficult times

Losing a job. . . marriage problems . . . health issues… kid issues.  Experiencing hardship in your life is like driving on a dark, winding mountain road.  You can’t see what’s around the next curve.  You’re scared and confused.  But, when the darkness finally turns to light, and the winding road becomes straight, you may look back and see some good in the journey. So, the next time you experience hardship, try to focus on the tried and true adage that “experience is life’s greatest teacher”.

Teaching integrity

Lucille Lind Arnell tells a story about her mother, who raised nine children in Chicago during the thirties and forties. To get her family out of the house, “Mama” often took them on streetcar trips. When they lined up to get on board, the conductor sometimes let kids pass who were old enough to pay. Mama, who knew she could use every penny, never objected.

Years later, Mama began thinking about all those times her kids rode free on the trolley. She decided she’d been wrong to not pay their fares. So she sat down and composed a letter to the Chicago Transit Authority, then mailed it along with a ten-dollar bill (this was 1951, when ten dollars could have fed her family for two weeks). The transit authority responded with a note thanking Mama for her honesty. That letter, a tribute to one woman’s sense of integrity, now hangs in a place of honor in the home of one of her daughters.

Another aspect of character is the fervent desire to be found “blameless” before God. Though no one else may be aware of our transgressions, He knows where we stand—and He is always ready to forgive. Let’s show our children that it is never too late to do what is right.

Are your kids playing sports this spring?

If they are, remember your position.  You’re there to be an encourager, not to be overbearing.  No child wants to be embarrassed by a parent who’s screaming and yelling uncontrollably.  I watched a team’s coach  a few years ago who got frustrated with the umpire’s calls and threw his hat on the ground and walked off the field. Youth sports can bring out the best…or the worst in us. Let’s keep the focus on developing new skills, having fun, and learning to compete—the right way.

Do you tell your child that “everyone is a winner”?

Parents often tell their children: “Everyone’s a winner.”  As much as society may try to tell our children otherwise, the truth is that everybody is not a winner.  Sure, everyone likes to win the game or get a trophy, but your kids need to know playing has value even when you don’t win.  Defeat can motivate you to do better the next time.  When everybody wins, nobody wins.

Sometimes you wonder if it is worth it…

The other night, after a string of tough days, my wife and I fell into bed, both of us almost asleep before our heads hit the pillows.  But in the stillness, as I tried to quiet my mind, all I could think about was how hard her day must have been with all she had on her plate.  I realized I’d spent my whole day taking great care of my to-do list, but not taking great care of her. Yes, you understand that too.

I reached over, took her hand, and gave her a little squeeze.  ‘How are you holding up?’

Tears welled in her eyes, and she said, ‘I’m okay… It’s just a lot, you know?’  I gently squeezed her hand again.  Then the tears came.  ‘Sometimes I just wish we could move to the middle of nowhere and get a cow.’”

Yes, those times will come, but persevere.  Each day is a new day and has its’ blessings to get your through.