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What Your Kids Need Most to Grow Up Well (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
August 19, 2020 6:00 am

What Your Kids Need Most to Grow Up Well (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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August 19, 2020 6:00 am

Danny Huerta offers insights from his counseling experience, research, and Biblical knowledge to outline the parenting strategies that have proven to be the most effective, including steadfast love and boundaries, respect, grace, and more. (Part 2 of 2)

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Respect is about self-awareness. It's really a lot about that. And I'll tell parents, take. Give yourself three, four, five time outs a day. Go mark it off. If you're one of those screamers that loses control. But this is about reflection and learning. We get new sunrises, new sunsets every day. It's never too late to really become more aware of how you're impacting your kids. And you can start today.

That's Danny whereto describing some really practical ways that you can be more effective as a parent and give your kids what they need the most. You'll learn more today on Focus on the Family with your host focused presidents and author Jim Daly. And I'm John Fuller.

John. Every parent I know wants to raise good, responsible kids who are healthy, happy, holy. That's what we're aiming for. I don't know a single parent that has ever said to me, I just hope I raise horrible. I mean, it's not in our heart. But how do we get our kids on that right path? And is there more of a broad highway that we need to aim for than this narrow no direction? And you heard last time from Danny Wert, our guest. It starts with us. I mean, we model this as parents. And if you're not seeing what you like in your kids, then maybe it might be starting with you. Right. That's a great place to start. We went over seven traits of parenting and we're gonna cover some of those today. There's a classic verse in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy six five through seven, which tells us to diligently teach God's commands to our children. And when we're sitting at home or walking together, just do it when we go to bed and when we get up in the morning, it's not much of a list of rules to impart to them, but a lifestyle that we model for them every day. And I'm telling you, I wake up with that attitude. I mean, I've been trying to train my youngest Troy, to drive a clutch.

That'll to your parents. Let me tell you. Yeah, I think we only dumped it three times yesterday. And I was like, just trying to be so positive. It's OK if you break the clutch. I'll just get it. Thanks. No problem.

I'm patting myself on the back, but it's important they can't fear you. They want to love and emulate you. That's what we're aiming for.

Yeah. And what I so appreciate about Danny and this great book, he's written, seven traits of effective parenting is that it's not a formula for the output. It's a matter of looking at yourself and modeling certain traits and approaching your kids with these traits. And I think you're gonna find this really a great conversation if you miss the conversation last time. Make sure you contact us or go online to find it. It really was great. And Danny is a colleague. He's our vice president of parenting and youth here at Focus. And we do have that book available when you get in touch. Our number is 800. The letter A and the word family or the link is in the episode notes.

Danny, welcome back to the program. Hey, it's an honor and privilege to be here with you. Ed, before we start, let's give a quick recap of what we discussed last time. And it's three research and counseling experience with families. You've identified these seven. I would say core traits that can help parents be more effective. Let's Sharim again, then we'll pick up where we left off last time.

That's adaptability, respect, intentionality, steadfast love, its boundaries, grace, forgiveness and then gratitude.

That all sounds so good that you've got to be a student of each of those. That could be at least give the impression that it could be exhausting. But you're not saying that. You're saying just be aware of it in your everyday interaction with your children.

Right. It's natural that we have these traits if we're really wanting the best for our kids. These are natural traits that can play out. And what's interesting is the research scientifically backs all this up.

This is Diana Bomber.

Yeah, I'm laughing just because so often Christians are chided for not writing research. We do, folks. This is it. What's really amazing is how often research backs up scripture.

So there's been so much research on parenting styles and a lot of parents probably know and have heard about the parenting styles, authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, neglectful parenting. And the goal is authoritative parenting. That's over and over and over again. And what's interesting is in culture, recently, research has been saying permissive parenting is the way to go, and that is so damaging. That's a message out there that some parents are getting. Now, if you've done these seven traits and you've done the authoritative side where you have boundaries, limits, warmth and in Cairns sensitivity, then maybe towards the end there's more permissiveness. And so that's a weakness within that research that they tested. Families that we're kind of towards the end of their parenting. And most likely they did really well up here. Your 17 year old is treated different than your seven year old. Right. And so it's interesting how research kind of twists things around. So this. These are all biblical traits. If we're following Deuteronomy six. But then also science backs it up. And in my counseling practice, if parents have done this, their relationship is good. Their.

Kids aren't perfect. You know, it's interesting, Danny, as I was setting that up a moment ago, I did make that statement. I don't know parents who get up saying I want to ruin my kids. I don't want my kids to be healthy. But our own family of origin, our own buttons, our own temperaments can work against us, even unconsciously at times. We don't even know we're doing damage.

Yeah, many times we're allowing things to go thinking that that's loving to just let them. They're just kids. They're just teens. And we let it go. And all of a sudden there's an explosion and a frustration where a parent is completely stressed. That's one of the most common patterns I see. And parents that they want their kids to to do well. They want better for them later on down the road in their assumption is if I just let them kind of learn as they go, they'll figure it out. But then they do certain things that they're not supposed to and it's not clear what they're not supposed to do. And Allison, a parent, explodes and it damages the relationship. And there's not much relationship is it's not very loving to just let your kid do whatever they want when that takes us right into number four, steadfast love.

I mean, what a great place to break in. And again, if you missed last time, get the smartphone app or go to the website. As John said, you can hear the discussion last time, but let's pick up their steadfast love. Parents need to love their children, obviously. But I tend to be more lenient. You know, it's kind of interesting, Gene and I Gene's a little more a toe the line boundaries oriented. I tend to be. You know what? The kids that they'll figure it out. And so I confess, but speak to all of us in addressing steadfast love.

And that is so that makeup is very common, right?

Yes, it is. That's where I'm at home. Right.

But not always in that direction. Dads could be the boundary people. I mean it. But usually couples are attracted. And these are attributes in your marriage. One is a little more easygoing than the other sometimes, which means we have a workout plan.

Both of us. Right.

So moms, whoever's much more rules focus needs to learn about the warmth and and playfulness of the other. And the playful one that is more permissive learns from the real person. We get to learn from one another and have kind of a workout together, not irritate each other. That's right. And we will. Right. But I love this quote from Dallas Willard. He's one of my favorite authors. And it's the strongest human will is always the one that is surrender to God's will and acts with it. This is the Ministry of Christ. To follow his will and his will is that we're going to love one another. And what was the depth of his love? He died four centers. He had compassion on those who hated him. And so in our homes, we need not just love that that froufrou love. The hallmark love. This is steadfast, unwavering love that reaches into the dark moments and goes through seasons with our kids where they need somebody to bring some light.

To bring prayer. To bring a listening ear. To bring guidance in places that are very confusing. The culture with our kids right now is very confusing. There's so many micro influencers, influencers, so much that claims to be truth when it's not so many different pressures on their time and then demands on performance that it's overwhelming for kids. Right now, suicide is at such a high level, depression, anxiety. Mental health is really a concern right now with our kids. And as parents, if we enter with mercy to our kids and really take the time to invest in them, even if it's 60 seconds. And that's something I love to do with my daughter, she asked a few years back, she goes, Dad, can we have 60 seconds? And I said, Of course, let's do that. And she said, Can you hold me? I said, Yes, I can. I can hold you. And that was powerful to me because it gave me a picture, an invitation from God to say, I want to hold you. I want 60 seconds. Let's have that together. Do you want 60 seconds? So I've had those moments with God. 60 seconds can just hold me for a moment. And I've a with my daughter now. She's extended that to. Can we do 15 minutes? Can we do. Can we do 180 seconds. And we love having that time together. Jim, one of the amazing things for parents is when there are difficult times in the home and there's a reconnection that's steadfast love. That is one of the most powerful relationships moving forward. We're not going to have homes that are not going to be under attack. Since the beginning, Satan has been attacking the family. And it will continue. And that requires a steadfast, deep rooted love because the storms are going to come, the winds are going to come in. That's whereas a parent you stand and you stand for your home. You're a leader as a mom and as a dad. And as you guys show that steadfast love towards one another, it creates a. Foundation that's unshakable. And it gives you the opportunity to connect with your kids at a level that Christ has provided for your family. And this is not about the the love let's hug is be happy. These are sad moments and the happy moments in its foundational to all the other traits. And that's that steadfast love that God talks about all throughout scripture to us at Danny.

In fact, you wear an unusual ring that wraps around two of your fingers and your family kind of created this maybe as the family ring. I don't know. But tell us the story about the ring.

Yeah, my daughter came to me with a silicone bracelet that she'd gotten at school, and it was pink. It was small. She said, Dad, I'm giving you. Is it. You have to wear this forever. And I looked at her that she had intensity. And I said, well, it doesn't fit. So I wrapped around two fingers and something we had said in our home as you and me together forever.

And the idea of heaven, no matter what happens today, we'll be together forever. Because you love Christ. I love Christ. We're going to be in heaven together. And then she said, Dad, I wish parents and kids could have rings like that. And to said they're gonna be together forever. And I said, You have me too. She said, Can we make them? And I said, why do I don't do that?

Let's go on this journey.

And we ended up making the rings is quite an experience. Taken these young kids six and eight through this journey of inventing something and creating it and having a manufacturer.

And then she said, Dad, I think we need to say you and me together for definitely ever. And the idea that we can have reassurance that we will be in heaven forever. And a lot of people ask me about these rings. Where do those come from? What do they mean? And it's my commitment to Christ and the idea that I have a hope that I will be in heaven forever with my family and with those those I love. And this just gives me a good perspective on what my priorities are here on Earth. And that is my family, my kids, my relationship with Christ and what he has me to do.

Yeah, that's a beautiful picture. And what a great thing to do for your daughter and your son. Let's move to the next trait, boundaries. It's insightful. You didn't start there. You no boundaries are rules. I think a lot of parents want to start there because it's more easily controlled by us. Right. That may be one of the key factors. We can control what the boundaries are. Do this. Don't do that. And if you don't do the right thing, here's the consequence. It seems very controlling that we consider this. But they're important. They play a role. Like you said in the research shows that kids that have boundaries tend to do better, but they need that offsetting love and affirmation, too. So speak to boundaries and the importance of boundaries.

Yeah. This is the boundaries. Begin with yourself. I really. How do you manage you with your boundaries and model that with your kids? If you say it's a value and the phone one is the big one right now for a lot of parents and kids. I just had a counseling session with the teen and his mom and he said, well, when my mom starts to put the phone down, I'll put it down, too. And sure, she was saying that he was on the phone too much in the car. He said, well, my mom's texting while she's driving. And so that's not good. And so really, the boundaries begin with us. This is the hardest one across the board. We have a parenting assessment that Focus on the Family. And you can take it for free and focus on Famicom slash seven traits. The number seven traits and most commonly parents score lower on boundaries and limits, including me. And I would say that it's challenging because we want our kids to have some autonomy, some independence and really explore. And yet at the same time, put some some limits. And so as they're growing older, we're adjusting those. And in certain situations, you're adjusting your limits and boundaries and with different personalities. If you have an impulsive child, you may have different boundaries and limits than a child. That is very compliant, but that's not fair.

That's right. And that's that's it. I can hear that, in fact, right now. Yes. Why you treat me different? Because you're compulsive.

And this what this is what creates conflict between moms and dads. Many, too. Oh, yeah. Yes. Big ones. Yeah. And and it it lowers the respect towards one another because of this. So we want to watch this. And this is really about being on a trajectory towards something really good for your kids.

I say this tongue in cheek, but I have said I, Jean and I, we'd have a perfect marriage if we didn't have teenagers.

They do tend to put stress right on the weak points in your relationship.

How you problem solve as mom and dad. But you your wife, actually, to give an example of that, your son, Alex, you've set up some dating boundaries just to give somebody a practical idea. What did that look like?

This is funny, Jim. We are. We came to our son with a contract, and it was the outlining of being ready to be a contributor in a young woman's life in the. Dating and taking this very seriously. We said you need to ask the dad for permission. You need to take this seriously. You're contributing to her story. And I want you both to have a history you want. That's a great way to say that that really is good because we enter dating as a consumer. It's damaging. Correct. If we entered as contributors, it is a very powerful thanks. We sedate him. I'm going to be a contributor. And he filled out the contract and we talked about it and it's still there. And sometimes that's a great place to check in. So how are you treating her? How are you being a contributor? Tell me some of the ways you're being a contributor to her story, because someday she may be a wife to someone else and it's going to be great if you help them out. By the way, you treat her. No way, Dad. We're going to get married. And they've been dating for a long time. What's interesting is before that, some girls were wanting to date. And I said, tell me you're on the bench.

You're not you're not coming in. They're not good. You're not coming in and out of the gate. That's right out of the game.

And he got to use that. And then the day of when he turned 16 and they started to ask and I said, you need to have mentors in place for you outside of our home and then hear the scriptures of why it's important to be a contributor in a young woman's life. And this is the ownership as you're honoring your own wife down the road. And on the whole physicality thing, I said this is an opportunity to learn intimacy to different levels of emotional connection with someone else, conversational. So that mental connection, relational, having experiences with another person. And you've been learning that already with your friends in the final one is physical and in dating, the physicality is about doing activities together and learning from one another, but learning all these other intimacies, because someday you're going to be able to give a gift to your wife. And she has to. And you guys are taking care of that. And that's what this contract is about. And each family can can develop their very own. There's an a magical formula to a dating contract. It's what are you wanting for your child as they're contributing within this opportunity today? There's so many temptations with it. Let's set it up with vision and then it can go well.

This is Focus on the Family. And you're hearing from Danny Whereto, one of our colleagues here at the ministry, and he's written a great book, Seven Traits of Effective Parenting. We've got that. And the parenting assessment he mentioned all at Focus on the Family dot com slash broadcast or call 800, the letter A and the word family.

Danny next would be grace and forgiveness. And parents, you know, we tend to think of our children meeting these traits more than ourselves.

Isn't that humor? That's true. Always pointing the finger at the other person. In this case, it's our kids.

But grace and forgiveness starts with the Lord. But then we as parents need to extend that to our children. It could be one of the toughest things to do. Why is that? Then how do we reorient ourselves to extend grace and forgiveness in a genuine way?

Yes, Jim, it is. Our emotions come into parenting and emotions can take us places we weren't intending to go. Yes. And most of the things that happen with our kids are inconvenient times because our schedules, our lives are so packed with so many things that it's never convenient to have to repair or to have forgiveness towards a child that has done something that is damaging to himself or to the family. And so you have to press pause. And I've told parents, hey, press pause and have pause buttons all over your house for a little while. To remind you of the need to pause and repair where it's needed. Because I love to use the analogy of cities, Jim, and the idea that each of us are cities. We have rough areas in our lives that have been built over time. We've had multiple connections that are either maybe severed over time, but some that are big highways towards us. But over time, we've built this big city and now we married another big city and we have highways there to maintain and then we have friendships and highways towards those other cities. But then we form little towns, little kids, and they had little cities. And over time there were dirt roads and those have expanded to highways, but they're constantly under construction. And if we don't pay attention to them over time, those roads will be impassable. You will not be able to go between each other and get to know each other city. And you can't control the development of that city. Over time, they develop other connections and influences come into their city and the it's built over time and that's healthy. You want to teach them how to form and discern healthy connections in grace. And forgiveness is about regaining emotional and spiritual safety. We're so obsessed with physical safety. Yet God says that emotional and spiritual safety are key for our relationships and our development and for life to go the way it needs to go within God's. Those so focused on this need for physical safety that we miss out on those. And grace and forgiveness is a regaining of that spiritual safety far home so that Satan doesn't have any room to play. And then it's also the emotional safety that you're safe enough to admit when you've done wrong and you're safe enough to forgive me when I've done something wrong. And now our highways can have the bridge building that it needs instead of fence building.

So we like to hold our guests to accountability.

So you have some story about a slow cooker and I'll tell Mad Venture Button.

Oh, yeah, I was I was working on the big paper for the PHC program. I mean, and I was deep into it and my daughter had her friend over and they just decided on a win to make some soap and make some other things in the kitchen. And they put the the slow cooker on top of the burner and forgot they turned the burner underneath the crock pot, a crock pot.

That's not how it works. That's how it works.

And they had forgotten they did that. Said I smell burning. And then in the other room I hear, oh, in. And then I said, Hey. Whoa. Oh, yeah. What happened in the whole crock pot was just melted it create a mess on the burner. It was just a desert and it was the least convenient time.

This paper was the only happens the end.

And I looked at her and I could see her really feeling bad.

And I went over the sink and just stared out the window for a bit and just got a drink of water. And I'm just breathing for this stormy ride. And I felt that.

I felt the emotion. I said, OK, I need to regroup. What am I going to say? What's going to be helpful? She could tell I was not happy. And I turned around and I said, hey, can we just get some pictures of that? That's quite a work of art, you guys.

Oh, that's nice. That must've been a long drink. Oh, I was. Yeah, the whole glass stared out the window. Yeah. You're using every tool and you're all the way to the top.

Let's take a picture now. Response. I think that sets up gratitude just the next and last trade that we're going to have time to cover.

It's probably a good one, right? Gratitude is a great thing if people have more gratitude. I think it reflects so beautifully God's heart. Oh, yeah. And so get into gratitude. Explain how today's social media, for example, is contributing, I think, to a lack of gratitude.

It's just I think it's the opposite of gratitude. It has that contributor's in God's kingdom being thankful to being in that. And his parents, we get to have that. It's a reset of our mind. It's an opportunity to find peace in Colossians three, which I love putting on the new self in 312. First, he says all the things that could go wrong and which is reality. And our humanity, he says, put on the new self and he ends it with envy and do these things with thankfulness. It's a good wrapping of everything where if we wake up and we're thankful it makes a difference in how we see things, it opens up our eyes to a God is doing. And that's what he wants from us. I remember recently when I saw my children sleeping, I just walked in the room and I said, Lord, thank you for these two kids you've given me. Now watch toward my wife and saw her sleeping. And I said, thank you for the wife you've given me. And just in that thankfulness, going out for the day, God has given us so much opportunity in our relationships. I'm grateful for the invitations he gives me. I will be imperfect. And some of those invitations. And again, this is a gratitude where God is giving us opportunities to grow. And if we tell our kids ham grateful for you and look into their eyes, that means a ton to our kids. Take that moment of just five seconds to say I'm thankful for you and looking into their eyes and you'll see the response you'll get from them.

Yeah, it's a good place to close. I want you to share a story because it's so poignant and I think it makes all the points that you're making. This was a story about a teen boy that you counseled. He'd attempted suicide but failed. And the idea and the characteristic that gratitude played in his recovery. So many parents and so many teens need to hear this story.

Yes. In this this family, this was a powerful moment for them. I remember getting the phone call that this young man needed to to come in. They said he used to see you. He many months later decided to attempt suicide. And so this is when I got the call. They said he's in the hospital and is recovering and needs to see you after. Can he come in? And I said, absolutely. And so he came in and he said, Mr. Wertheim, so thankful that I wasn't successful taking my life, my. Life is so different, just two weeks. Things have changed, things have changed in my home. The parents were showing tremendous gratitude for his life. It reset that home completely in this moment of crisis. And he has continued he fired, made from counseling. And that's the goal in counseling. Fire me as soon as you can because you've reached the goal. It's just can be a temporary road together. And that's what happened as a young man. And that was a moment of gratitude for his own life. And I hope that continues into when he becomes a parent and with his parents, this change their perspective as well towards their child's life, that they're thankful that he's alive.

Yeah, I mean, and we don't want your family to have to go to that tragic event to change where you're at. And that's why we're here everyday. Focus on the Family. Dan, it's why you walk in the door every day, every day as a vice president of parenting. And you've done such a great job with this book, Seven Traits of Effective Parenting. I think you can hear Danny's heart. This is a wonderful resource for you as a parent. And I want to encourage you to get a copy if you can help support the ministry through a monthly pledge or through a single one time, give whatever you can do. I will send you a copy of Danny's book to say thank you for partnering with us. And I know it's gonna be a treasure.

A parenting resource for you to be able to, again, not do things perfectly, but do things better. And that's the goal. So do that.

Get a copy of the book today by giving a gift to focus and will really just ask for that gift to be monthly if you're at all able to do that. If you can't commit to a monthly pledge, a One-Time gift will make a difference, of course. But that monthly commitment to support the ministry really helps us to balance out our budget throughout the year. Keep things even. And Jim and Jean, Dena and I, we we contribute in that way. And I'll encourage you to do that. When you make a contribution of any amount to focus either monthly or one time, we'll say thanks, as Jim said, by sending seven traits of effective parenting.

We want you to have this book. If for some reason you're not in position to support the ministry at all, let us know. And as Jim has said time and again, others will cover the cost for that we trust. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word family 800 two, three, two six four five nine. Or check the episode notes. For more, we do have that parenting assessment that Danny mentioned earlier as well, and a lot of great resources to help you in your role as a mom or a dad. So we'll stop by the Web site or give us a call today on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family.

I'm John Fuller, inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thriving. Kreiss.

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