The purpose of discipline is not to punish your children because you are ticked at them. True discipline aims to change the heart of a child so he or she understands what they did wrong, why they did it, and why they should never do it again. Change the way your child is thinking and the rest is gravy.
A poll was done of female employees of a Christian organization to find out their thoughts on what they think girls need from their dad. Their first response? “She needs you to be involved.” A daughter needs her father to be actively interested in her life. “Actively interested” does not refer to the second-long conversation that sometimes happens between a father and daughter when he asks how her day went and she replies with one word. A father should participate in his daughter’s hobbies and activities by displaying interest. For example, if she is interested in collecting coins, he takes her to coin shows. Uses the Internet to learn about rare coins and talk about them. Or, if his daughter is athletically talented, he enjoys watching the games and becomes an enthusiastic fan! You get the idea. Just be there, wherever your daughter feels called to go.
One of the hardest things about being a father is effectively communicating with your kids on important topics. As awkward as some conversations may be, it is necessary that your children feel they can come to you. Unfortunately, sometimes we can approach subjects in a way that cause our child to shut down or make them feel uncomfortable.
To really engage in a dialogue with your son or daughter, take note of the topics that are toughest for him or her to bring to you. Consider those topics that were most important to you at their age. I narrowed these subjects down to 5, though there are countless more: dating, sex, friends, faith, and divorce. How about taking advantage of this month as kids are more focused on summer events to start a heart-felt conversation?
On this Memorial Day, let’s think about building memories for our kids. Our children need us to build lasting monuments in their lives. I call them “memorable monuments.” Memorable monuments are things you do with your kids that create lasting, loving memories. Discover what he/she most likes to do with you and then do that together on a weekly or monthly basis. Your child’s favorite thing may be photography, working on engines, jogging, biking, cooking, or gardening.
When teens are out of school they spend more time behind the wheel. That’s why they’re at greater risk during summer break. What can you do to help protect them? Start by reminding them of the rules for driving and riding in a car. Insist that they wear their seatbelt. Let them know that driving is a privilege. Make sure they understand the dangers of speeding, drinking or texting while driving. Encourage them to avoid getting distracted by friends in their car, not using their cell phone while driving, not eating or putting on makeup while driving, and listen to music at low levels.
Sometimes life gets so bad that there is only one thing left to do: laugh. When your dishwasher floods the kitchen, when you accidentally delete a day’s work on the computer, or when you score the winning goal for the wrong team, you’ll find the situation much easier to handle if you can respond to it with a smile instead of a scream.
As we hurry through our days, it’s easy to let life’s problems and stresses distort our perspective. That may be one of the reasons why God gave us laughter…and sunsets…and ice cream…and music…and children.
The child-raising years are filled with some of life’s biggest challenges, yet they pass by so quickly. Soon, by God’s grace, your family will be together in a new, eternal home—a joyous place called heaven. That knowledge should help you keep the temporary pitfalls of daily life in proper perspective.
You thought you had all the right conversations. You thought you were on top of things as a parent. You thought you could trust your child. Then it happens. What do you do? First, don’t react in anger. Second, when you’re calm, sit down with your teen and ask open-ended questions to determine why they were drinking. Maybe it was curiosity, peer pressure, or a means of escape. Third, talk about the consequences and your future expectations. Signing a teen driving contract (available on the web) is a great place to start. The goal is to discover where their heart really is and to show your teen what they need to do to earn your trust again.