Raising Christian Kids

Matthew 22:37
Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind.
We are here because of this. Because we love God.
Joshua 24:15
15 But
if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will
serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in
whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
“You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that
you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God” Deut. 4:2
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God. —James 1:5
17 …
the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peaceloving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and
sincere. James 3:13-17
Proverbs 11:14 “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the
multitude of counselors there is safety.”
1] God first.
He created us …He knitted us together….
2] We are what our parents’ genes made us. The human genome determines
our many characteristics. No two persons are identical, …. I dare say even in
identical twins…. Especially identical twins grown up.
3] The genius of God – who made provision through epigenetics. Our
environment, what we eat, our experiences
So although we will canvass and discuss many approaches to child rearing, we
always come back to these 3; that each approach acknowledges the primacy of
God in our journey.
So we are unique because of God-given epigenetics and
resultant neuroplasticity etc.
• Gestational diabetes (animal model)
• Psychological changes
• Treatment neuroplasticity
• Antidepressants may have a neuroprotective effect during depression.
• One study. OFC regional volumes largest in age-matched controls, than in depressed patients
exposed to antidepressants, who in turn are larger volumed compared to the drug-naive
depressed subjects.
How to Grow a Connected Family with Contagious Love and Faith! Parent Workbook
James and Lynne Jackson www.connectedfamilies.org
1. Foundation
2. Connection
3. Proaction
4. Correction
Foundation, Connection, Proaction, Correction
Antecedent –what happened before (your parents, your schooling,
friends, significant others, adolescence, your experiences, what you
Behaviour - what’s happening now
Consequence - how it affects your children/family
Decision, Development - What will you do for the better of all (requires
willpower, not easy to change…for anyone, hardest of all perhaps for
The ABC’s of psychology
Why My Foundations (the A’s) are important
The 3 principals of childhood learning:1. ROTE learning is the strongest, easiest way to learn
Mirroring, parroting, copying, mimicry
2. Do what I say but don’t do what I do
– rarely works
I … but you don’t…
Don’t lie
Don’t smoke
Don’t you yell
3. The reward that never fades is the love/attention of a parent
Who am I? What shapes my ability to relate to my children, to others?
When do we feel confident as parents? What makes us confident?
Ask your children, “Who are we? What are our family’s strengths? What
helps us to be strong?”
Be ready for it to backfire
You have to have strong foundations
The 5 love languages of Children/Teenagers
by Gary Chapman
• Words
• Touch
• Time
• Acts of service
• Gifts: ceremonial, meaningful, one-on-one
Barriers and Boundaries
When there are Barriers to Raising Christian Kids
• What should I do ……..?
• ABC Antecedent = Build Foundations (who am I? my past-times, build
faith/relationships, check insight),
• Build Connections = Languages of love – focus on these, increase
them – think of the BALANCE
• Unconditional love – prodigal son
“I love you, it is the behaviour I don’t like, I love you”
Barriers and Boundaries
What causes barriers:
• THE PARALLEL REALITIES: Cultural and other background differences,
cognitive/thinking styles, strengths and weakness
• Time – think of the leisure of God, He is never in a hurry
• (Negative) attributional bias
• Loss or rhythms, routines, structures
• Sleep loss – affects you and your child in all the above
1 Timothy 1:16
But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ
Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe
in him and receive eternal life.
Implications of Short Sleep Times
problematic behaviours
neurocognitive deficits
increased accidents
Reference examples:
• Touchette E, Cote S, Petit D et al. Short nighttime sleep-duration and hyperactivity
trajectories in early childhood. Pediatrics 2009;124(5):e985-93
• Yokomaku A, Misao K, Omoto F et al. A study of the association between sleep habits
and problematic behaviors in preschool children. Chronobiol Int 25(4):549-64, 2008
• Ayas N. If you weigh too much, maybe you should try sleeping more. Sleep
• Tikotzky, L., De Marcas, G., Har-Toov, J., Dollberg, S., Bar-Haim, Y., & Sadeh, A. (2010).
Sleep and physical growth in infants during the first six months. J Sleep Res14, 89-96
• Patel S, Hu F Short Sleep Duration and Weight Gain: A Systematic Review. Obesity (2008)
16, 643–653.
Good Sleep Hygiene
• Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy.
• If you are not asleep after 20 minutes,
get out of the bed.
• Begin rituals that help you relax each
night before bed.
 Do not drink alcohol within six
• Get up at the same time every morning.
• Get a full night’s sleep on a regular
• Avoid taking naps if you can.
• Keep a regular schedule.
• Don’t read, write, eat, watch TV, talk on
the phone, or play cards in bed.
• No caffeine after lunch.
hours of your bedtime.
Do not have a cigarette or any
other source of nicotine before
Do not go to bed hungry, but don’t
eat a big meal near bedtime either.
Avoid any tough exercise within six
hours of your bedtime.
Avoid sleeping pills, or use them
Try to get rid of or deal with things
that make you worry.
Make your bedroom quiet, dark,
and a little bit cool.
• Avoid media and light emitting devices after sundown
Barriers and Boundaries
When there are Barriers to Raising Christian Kids
• What should I do ……..?
• ABC Antecedents = Build Foundations (who am I? my past-times,
build faith, check insight),
• Build Connections = Languages of love – focus on these, increase
them – think of the BALANCE
• Unconditional love – prodigal son
“I love you, it is the behaviour I don’t like, I love you”
Building FAITH:
1. Pursuing God Uniquely
2 Selecting Activities Wisely
3. Listening Attentively to God
Building FAITH:
1. Pursuing God Uniquely – what habits best help us experience
God’s love?
Keeping a prayer book
Memory verses
Sensing God in the everyday – comment on it
Building FAITH:
2. Selecting Activities Wisely
Do my time commitments deepen me, or drain and distract
What are the significant activities to which we’ve committed
our children or ourselves?
Do these activities • Refresh or drain our (or our children’s) relationship with God
• Strengthen or weaken family connections
• Match our (or our children’s) gifts and calling
Or do they –
• Distract from God’s purposes
Building FAITH
3. Listening Attentively to God
When have we felt deeply loved by Christ in a discouraging
time? How did we respond?
Kid connection:
Someone’s watching and listening.
1. With our Spouse
2. As a Single Parent
3. In Spite of Parenting Differences
4. With Others of Faith
3. In Spite of Parenting Differences
How can we decrease the stress of parenting together?
1. On what basic parenting principles might we agree? How might I
begin that discussion without prompting a defensive response?
2. How could we each implement in our own way the parenting
principles on which we agree?
3. Build insight
Building our INSIGHT:
Effect of our Core Beliefs
They are most easily identified when we experience
strong emotions in my parenting
Identify False Core Beliefs replace with True Beliefs
Transformed Parenting: Insight + Faith = True Change
A True Belief
Romans 8:1, 37-39 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for
those who are in Christ Jesus, ….
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him
who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor
any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all
creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in
Christ Jesus our Lord.
Building INSIGHT:
You-tube, movie, or TV show – they are a source of strong role models/beliefs.
Before they become your child’s main role models, Take action
In early childhood, didactic teaching is the way to go.
Engage: Talk about what the characters might have been thinking, feeling, and believing
that caused his or her response.
(Also helps teach discernment and values to your children.)
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE: Love No Matter What
The Essence of Connection
How can I know if my love is truly unconditional?
Consider the affection expressed toward the prodigal son - What is a typical
difficult struggle for each of my children that could be a great opportunity to
express unconditional love to that child
The 5 Love Languages…
• Words
• Touch
• Time
• Acts of service
• Words
• Gifts: ceremonial, meaningful, one-on-one
Of what you say…..
Non-verbal communication is 90% of the message
Hand on the hip. Work stress. Tired out. You have the flu.
Your face and body language says – I am not interested in you, go away,
you upset me.
 Facial and body language
Take the words: “I’m off to work.”
Eye to Eye, Heart to Heart
•Face!! .. and body
•The magic touch
•Silly and playful
•Our voice (vs words) Fast or slow, Tone
Thinking back to the last few times my children entered the room I was in, what were the first messages communicated to
them by my facial expressions, my body language, and my tone of voice?
Read My Lips – “I Love You!”
Connection through WORDS
How can I be sure my child receives my words of love?
What is the balance between your affirmative and
negative communication?
Affirmative communication.
• Avoid emotionally weighted/judgemental wording
Who in the world would put the plates in the drawer?
• State the facts
The plates go on the shelf.
Enjoying My Teens
How can I strengthen the joy we share?
Children are an extension of us till about 10-15 years;
then they are individuals who have their own
interests, dress code, language…
We are parents… and then we are friends. But we
can easily become strangers.
Ask each of your children, “What makes you feel the most loved?”
Helpful Bible Verses
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them
diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when
you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deut 6:4-7, cf. Deut 4:9-10, 11:18-19)
Do not be fearful but with … present your requests to God and the peace of God which transcends all
understanding will guard your hearts and Your minds in Christ Jesus.Fathers, do not provoke your
children, lest they become discouraged. (Col 3:21)
Teenagers have many uncertainties and life is like the ocean on a windy day – there are huge swells and
ebbs. We don’t always have answers for them. That can come across as despondency and desperation;
hopelessness. But the great thing is that we can always come up with a verse from the bible, and
everything is allright, because it is in God’s hands.
“He can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Eph.3:20) – there is no assurance of how the
problem or issues will be fixed but it will be in a way that is immeasurably more than all we ask or
imagine. …. Which is why we don’t have the answer right now.
Helpful Bible Verses (2)
Praising God and giving thanks to Him frequently – do it in a way that
shows your genuine thankfulness; just like if you were indebtedly grateful
to someone who has just provided you with something valuable; that you
needed; far above your expectations
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not
depart from it. (Prov 22:6)
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the
discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Eph 6:4)
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly
believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you
have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make
you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Tim 3:14-15)
The Strength to Connect with Teens
What can I do to help besides “just try harder”?
Analogies and hypothetical stories
Laugh at yourself – silly playfulness
Bible verses – say them, send them, post-it them, mean them
Prayer – pray frequently, pray together
Luke 3:22, “You are my son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
In Christ we have been given the Father’s love and pleasure.
Bring closure (Proaction) Review and affirm – catch the smallest successes
• ―Nice work! Even though you started to get upset again, you didn‘t do any name calling!‖
• ―I noticed you stopped interrupting when your sister asked you to. Good on you.
• ― Thumbs up. Wink.
Not only is conflict inevitable, it provides a powerful opportunity to teach reconciliation and
forgiveness in relationships.
• ―When we reconcile with each other, it also helps us understand God better. God loves
reconciliation or ‗reconnection;‘ that‘s why he sent Jesus, to reconnect us to God when we
• ―When you forgive each other, you act like Jesus‖
We forgive because He first forgave us. 100:100
Practical Conclusions
1. Acknowledgement that we are not wise by our own making that our
wisdom comes from God. We are on a journey together, many here are
well experienced.
2. Ask God to move among us tonight so that we may learn from each
other the wisdom that comes from God.
3. We haven't got a degree in theology so if anyone can find a verse
from the bible for some of the things we talk about, please pipe up.

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