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Discovering Your Child's Unique Needs

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
February 10, 2021 5:00 am

Discovering Your Child's Unique Needs

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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February 10, 2021 5:00 am

Counselor Julie Lowe explains that, because every child is unique, the use of parenting formulas won't deliver the results that moms and dads are seeking. She encourages parents to instead get to know each of their children as individuals, and to rely on biblically-based wisdom for raising them.

Get Julie's book "Child Proof: Parenting by Faith, Not Formula" for your donation of any amount: https://donate.focusonthefamily.com/don-daily-broadcast-product-2021-02-10

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Good parents aren't perfect and that's okay but there are ways you can grow every day.

Focus on the Family seven traits of effective parenting assessment gives parents an honest look at their unique strings plus some areas that could use a little help every mom and dad can help raise the next generation of healthy children and responsible children in this assessment will help get you started. Take the assessment of focusonthefamily.com/7 tree that's focusonthefamily.com/7 trade actually has to be at work.

I have a responsibility Harrisburg my child's behavior not responsible for the way I keep Spellcasting actually frees me some great encouragement from author Julie low and she's our guest today on Focus on the Family shall have advice about relying on God's wisdom in your parenting, your host is focused president and Dr. Jim Daly and I John four John if were honest like our parenting journey to be easy right like a formula. If you do your kids to be, then you get see as the outcome sounds great doesn't it. But man it doesn't always work out that way.

I think formulas can be predictive. They can be helpful but we've got this little thing that the Lord struggled with with his teenagers Adam and Eve. It's called free choice and your own will and our kids do tend to demonstrate that and it blows the formulas up for Trenton tribe and their very different people one a little more introverted one little more extroverted in the whole of the hallway.

I would have to approach parenting and Jean two was different and we have learned that in watching their personalities grow. Again, there are no formulas that are tried and true that work every time.

And today were going to talk to special guest about how to put the formulas aside and put biblical truth into action in your parenting so that the outcome is predictive that your children will be following Christ, which is job one Jan and she has wonderful insights on this Julie low is an author and licensed professional counselor and today will be exploring what she's written about in her book childproof parenting by faith, not formula. And of course we have copies of that in the episode notes Julie, welcome to Focus on the Family, thank you for having this great to have you thinking I'm a non-formula person say I love the fact you've written this book about not really pursuing a formula but go for the heart, but I think it's important for listeners or viewers to understand what you and how you define what formula means everything at a different definition. What does a formula and parenting sound like I think it sounds like taking sometimes even good Christian principles and turning them into a formula that this is what a family must look like a marriage must look like.

Our children must look like and act like and we get so busy trying to trying to run after the picture of an ideal family that prevents us from loving and understanding her actual family and taking Scripture really saying what is wisdom look like to let the family cats get let me ask you the difference between that behavioral molding and then deep spiritual understanding. I think there is a difference because you can get kids that young people that the they do the right things that behave the right way they earn their sticker, but then they have underlying relational issues. Maybe with the Lord. Maybe with the parents, etc. where they know how to perform for their parents but it's not who they are.

Underneath that heavy experience that yeah absolutely, and particularly in counseling EC people, parents coming, wanting to counseling because they want behavioral change.

They see problems and indeed problems in their children and their real issues.

They certainly are and they want help sometimes help means just fix the problem and that problem could stand and often distant from what's going on in our hearts right. Let what drives our behavior. What motivates us and so we don't want to just change behavior. We want the hearts to be an expression of love for others and love for the Lord and I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I think we gravitate toward the formulas because they give us a sense of security is parents.

The if then statement right if we do these things, but the caution there is that there's no guarantee right and the disappointment can be quite high. Right good kids come out bad families and that kids cannot get families and what's the danger and that is united initiate our parenting based on outcome rather than based on the cats caught us to do and I don't want to parent based on what my children may or may not become I want to be faithful to look at Scott need it did so success doesn't look like what we imagine.

It's a success is a certain outcome is faithfulness to the task of letting our kids well and then what that does is it frees me learn to care me. I'll obviously do care. The outcome of my children that my jobs to parent well in a godly manner than the outcomes left down and working through the program were to talk about those tools and were to hopefully equip parents to get a taste of what's in your great book childproof and the and will continue that part of the discussion, but the little more set up one of the other things that can be harmful to us as parents is the comparison game you know will you James doing all these things correctly and I'm not and you know speak to the damage of having that over-the-top comparison attitude will pick up myself that I would look at other families and say wow, look at how their kids are in account.

They engage look at this marriage and how well they interact with each other and I take what they're doing and I try to apply it to my marriage.

I assume that my husband and my children are exactly the same as that has been in this children on and that's just faulty thinking. I can look at principles.

I think there's a wonderful principle to say they are doing this really well and I need to figure out what they're doing well and what the principles are behind client learn how to apply that to my marriage and my children so we certainly can grow from watching how the families do things in have creative ideas for parenting and living life, however, is the biblical principles behind it in a week.

I contextualize it tomorrow. Yeah I like that because really if comparison is leading you to bitterness, or resentment. It's it's fueling the rotten fruit of your flesh.

You got a problem. But if it's urging you on to something better that your observing good habits.

Another parents that something to really look at. I like that differentiation that you're referring to the you and your son Ajay again this is a good example. I think you're very different people, according to what you wrote in the book. I'm sure it's true but you're a quieter spirit and he was a more verbose child. What happened in that relationship and how did you get a hold of it. From the time and your Ajay's leg is bye-bye tiny when he was little and he just talks nonstop.

I could walk around the house and he would just follow me talking the rim back and he was still talking and answering his own question. I like this guy got a kid's temperament has not changed and it was really interesting because I am an introvert heart and I would be counseling working people all day long I can, and I have this right here on Nightline unite say McGinnis he's driving me insane but I had to look at it and I realize you know what love means I am willing to let him talk and let him process and that's who he is and I don't want to make him into me when I let him be God's condom to be on the flipside of that is.

He also talks so much that nobody else can get a word in edge wise and I have to say honey you need it be slow to speak and quick to listen, you need to be willing to let other people answer their questions you answer for that which is notorious for doing the ask the question and answer for his siblings so it was both right, it was me learning to love him the way he need to be loved.

Not the way I prefer to was also me speaking into his life and challenging him to ground to to be more Christlike. Again, that's a good example of learning your child right now don't all children to be that way. Others are to be wired differently in different temperaments.

In fact, that you discovered kind of many attributes of your children, how many children do you have. We have five currently five toys changing yeah but the but in that environment. Your I think you had a house fire or something, and you observe how your kids were reacting to that explain what happened as selling 2013 at house fire lost the whole house of our pets very tragic in that sense and thankfully nobody was home but we all agree very differently. I grieved a time, but our children were all under the age of 12.

At the time and it was very interesting to watch them all process it and it was so key that we were already trying to be in tune with our kids and would ask them questions and we say things like how you thinking today when you think about what's happening loudly. These people gave you guys bikes after the fire. And what a blessing that God allow that reprocessing that is always trying to check in with them and figure out how they were internalizing and they were all very different.

One was emotional and crying all the time. Another was over the noon about all the attention she's getting from people around her.

Just thriving on another got really quiet and silent, then yeah Andrew again where he he was really interesting to not angry kid. But one day I asked him how are you making sense out of this ratty think everybody's responding since I was angry so they're all having a different response of people. Parents are hearing this obviously and there.

So I will get Julie's train counselor.

What a great mom to have, but what about the average person, but you can learn these observation skills you can learn to understand your child. You can learn to respond in their language, so to speak.

Emotional language doesn't take with all due respect, it doesn't take a rocket scientist.

It takes intentionality, speak to that. You need to want to). I tell parents, you are the expert on your child. I'm just can help draw out what you already know, and I say that plucking out parents instinctively to see when their kids are lying when they're upset when they're angry it would take me months to learn that by getting to know the child let parents instinctively know from years of hundreds and thousands of observations about their kids and I will work myself out of a job. I want to teach parents to be our children's wise counselor.

Any quick then many times they instinctively know their kids better than I do. One of the one of the I guess disasters of modern family life.

It's true in marriage extreme parenting is the busyness of our lives. You talk to many experts will say the hectic pace for marriage or for families really destroying relationships in the family and the normal course of just being family together because kids are off to 1400 things in parents of work responsibilities plus home in that context. Have you guys managed to family five pretty big. So how do you guys keep things relational to get so many time demands on its it's an intentional decision is not easy and I could get sucked up in it and I think occasionally I do get sucked up and busy life is a work but I would argue every parent makes the decision to make this a priority and where will I sacrifice, and where will I be more intentional or likely down the electronics in my own phone to say I would pursue my child yeah now that brings us to the other phase of parenting you're recognizing you need to engage some summers left visits or fix our kids this last night with Rick to was on a fairly long trip and I missed in the last for five days I wasn't home so I really want to engage and talk with him. Hey, let's go sit down and get together okay so we got there at the couch and it was like how you doing good right what would you do I've got you homework okay.

Good luck. I know Mark geography can be kind of difficult to engage. I'm glad you said that because a lot of parents was able they just don't want to say so you still perceive you keep going and love moves towards people it's persevering and engages in, and you demonstrate it by pursuing that. And so I get that reaction on my kids or they'll roll their eyes like sorry you are stuck with this mom you feel at that that is it's important that we want to pursue our kids and don't let their own resistance deter you know there's been survey work that shown when they do the research on these children, teenagers, particularly they'll say although kind of. Although I give that standoffish thing. I love when my mom or dad talk right. It does seem to show that but there just in this awkward stage of learning independence and but we as parents can take that stuff to. Personally I think were reading the fact that they're not verbose with this means we don't want to talk to this. Not necessarily true.

Right now, you're absolutely right. And again it's if I focus on the outcome.

Look what they're doing and I get discouraged I get angry and frustrated at night. I approach them that way if I just look at Mike's I called to be faithful to love them. Well that doesn't matter how they respond to Julie. You also mentioned the book this idea about role-playing which I think is great. I think what I need to learn from years of age and stage. So when there 5678 and then maybe when their 10 1112 role-playing at 15 1617 get tricky.

Hey, let's role-play this, but how would you dress code was three segments of your parenting experience will give you an example how we do it in our home. Families can do it however is helpful that we run our table. We have meals together and will say agree disagree role-playing that it's agree, disagree, secrets are good and everybody goes around the table and has to say why they agree or disagree, so they state they agree or disagree that they have to say why that's role-playing for several reasons were teaching and skill of thinking and debating out why they agree or disagree with something, were also getting a picture into how they are thinking and whether we should be concerned or not.

Now now learning from each other there learning from assembly really value that so role-playing can take on lots of forms and our teenagers will still do it will still ask questions. We have a little talk out box on her dining table that the kids will still say hey can I pull the card tonight not ask the question why because they actually enjoy sharing their opinion and it fosters communication. It gives us a window into how their thinking about like a member having lunch with Chuck Colson courses passed away and the yeti came out and have lunch with me several times right as I was stepping on the role. I cherish those times. But one thing that he said if you looking at the research when it comes to parenting. He said it's pretty clear that the child's moral compass is pretty much formed by 10 years old and then from Jen on it's trying to keep them.

You know the bumper guards and they learn through experience those lessons of good and wrong, you know, I've always thought about that. So, again, that idea that you role-playing even at an early age, 5678.

Don't diminish the impact it's actually having profound impact on the formation of your child's moral compass what would be some of those role-playing questions for teenagers again were a lot of parents struggle. This is where formulas break down right teen years. Yeah, well, there's tons of resources I was taught.

Future allow coming up with your own questions I can use all these resources, their apps, there's wonderful things out there to ask you teenagers questions and say what would you do in a situation whether it's from here pressure or drugs or bullying or in college. What kind of things could happen in college and I think the more I model this is safe to talk about the more my kids will be comfortable talking to me about that. I think they're always honest.

I think sometimes give me the right answer versus what they really believe sometimes the constant communication means and asking them what would you do if you are in a situation is a counsel.

Sometimes I situation you say to the person. What I'm really trying to do is find out what they think about the and it's interesting to don't be surprised when your teenagers go pretty deep with you. They at that age they can think much deeper than I think we as parents anticipate and I would dig for and when the hesitate to share about what they think and feel. There certainly share with their friends and peers are doing and thinking. So that's the way it window into figuring out how their thinking to Julie Waters you use that word, safe and with teens. There has to be some bridge building that goes beyond the instructions. So part of safe is not saying too much to instruct them but to give them room to express themselves.

What else goes on in a safe home with teens, I think.

Ask really good questions so our tendencies to lecture to tell them where I'd rather be. I want to proactively shape my children's is rather than have to go back and debunking accurate views, proactive means I can just be really thoughtful of drawing them out and asking questions as I think we need any better at getting very true, Julie. We've kind of alluded to this a bit in terms of your fluctuating family. The kind of thing. But you have been an active foster parent you before you're married and then when you get married you and your husband them adopted foster kids that you were actually taken care of.

But why did you get involved in foster care, something that I think is probably naturally my temperament.

I go for the underdog. My parents was at a young age. I hate just like to care for people and I think some of that is naturally my temperament, my heart, I believe very deeply God calls us to care for the orphan to and that's how my husband would answer if he were sitting here is interesting how some people going to because of their their own natural desire to help people and help the orphan others going to because they feel they see very firmly that calling Scripture and I think both were true in our case. Was there any hesitation if I could get a little personal in that regard with you and your fiancé at the time when your talk about getting married and then what do you have one or two kids at that point you already give us a picture of the conversation with your husband wish you all and or did you have concerns or in order to get married. Be nice to have time to know each other get to know each other honeymoon. But with foster kids that would be to add some complexity to your own relationship. Yeah it it certainly did that has been Greg was very equipped for the task. He was all in right away and that was my little things that brought us together and dating as he had a heart for the experience as a teenager becoming a Christian and seeing how God adopted him and the value that is so right away.

He was on board.

Of course we did it come in the unconventional way and I had two children going into marriage, which were my children and me for some funny introductions and churches. Some days when we walk in need of us were married and we had two kids with us in trying to explain that I got myself in a couple of funny situations so and within the first year Mary so we stopped at the girls within the first year of marriage.

We were asked to take two little boys biological brother. So the first year of marriage, my poor husband went for the bachelor. The homeowner husband and a father of four suspects elect to his care and yours to be honest both of you doing that together and just having a heart for the orphan, you're living the book of James, which I admire so much. Being that former foster child. Thank you. On their behalf there to be so much better in their spiritual journey and the emotional journey because of you and Greg so have satellite they will no doubt, but this is an area and I think a lot of mom struggle, particularly with this site. I have a book title I'd love woman to write because I can't write. It's called the curse of Eve fear and control, and I think mom of teenagers, particularly what my observation with teen boys is one of mom's fear level rises that our children are not behaving the way we want them to then control goes way up and it's really in those teen years when that mom or dad starts exerting that kind of control. You get the disaster because they're trying to gain independence there trying to stand on their own 2 feet sort speak and you're now trying to control the phone whatever might be so speak to that dynamic of faith-based parenting in the context of letting go, which is the goal, letting God take care of the rest. Right now will think about a formula feel so much easier because I just punch in and I do the right thing in the outcome should be there right when the outcome isn't there that we start scrambling for right what's gonna work Nellies is done all kinds of unproductive and sometimes treacherous past when I let go for pragmatism, but when I say Lord I need you my child needs you and I am looking for the Lord to intervene looking for the spirit to be at work in my child's life and realizing actually always the Lord has to be at work. I have a responsibility hi respond to my child's behavior.

I am not responsible for the outcome. And when I keep that focus then actually frees me.

It is a greater responsibility as I have to be wise myself. I have to be biblical and godly and Lamb responding to is harder when advocating for so much harder in a formula that so much more freeing and liberating realm executed June because she learned to let go and assume she did like the kids turn toward beautiful to watch.

Like the right outcome have because the heart hearts were correct Julie in that regard. Parents can be really self-critical, you know, if we don't see again the behavior that we thought we would get etc. where did we miss it. How did it go wrong. Why am I such a bad dad why my such a bad mom. It's really not beneficial to go there. It's really how do we look forward and do the right things and I want you to speak to the importance of relationship, especially in your own family context how relationships have been strengthened because in the end that's what's can be critical.

Having a relationship with your child and I know that they're going to be many people listening that they were so hard on the rules that the kids have run once I turned 18 and there's not a healthy relationship any longer.

So I guess at the end here speaking to both parts of that. How to give yourself some grace and then try to find forgiveness with the kids that maybe you took a different approach and it wasn't the best approach. It's not about me or it shouldn't be right as I make my caring about me when I get upset that my kids mistreat me and there's a place relationally to say hey that really hurt me and I will say that to my kids because I want to understand human life.

This is a back-and-forth that's part of modeling relationship. I also have to say this isn't about me. They're not the mature ones in the situation I need to be the mature one here so so hard for is yeah and NI the danger of comparison comparing ourselves to other people and the fear of what other people think of me and here I am. I read a book about it with all my children are out there doing crazy stuff and I have to say what they are. I have to look honest. Parenting looks at myself and say, is there something I need to fax then I let Kevin say Lord's help me to love them through their their failures in their sin and their struggle specifically even. I think you mentioned the book with your son, Andrew the banks that you had in the realization that God has given you the son, and your other children given to other people and you know the word where you have children.

He chose you and that way you have these kids how do we learn to take comfort in the fact that were the best parents are children who have that's why God is given to us.

Yeah well when things we say in our home and we are a foster adoptive home, but I think this is true in every family we say guys we have always said Lord you bring into our family who you want in our family help us to trust you and that's taken us a long way because then is the Lord who is at work is not as trying to force her own agenda and nine ways.

So if the Lord wanted you in our company – trust that 82 imperfect broken parents to love you and help you week. I trust that he gave you us to sharpen us to, and there's all ground is even at the foot of the cross will need the Lord. We all make mistakes, a rather model humility than perfection, so good.

I hope people are exhaling right now it's okay.

There's still hope. Thank you for capturing this because there really is too little expressed in this area.

Julie, thanks for being with us today. Again, Julie's book is childproof parenting by faith, not formula, and if you can send a donation of any amount to Focus on the Family today. Will send you a copy of this great book that's our way of saying thank you for supporting the work of the ministry together we can help equip more parents who want to raise godly children, so please be generous in your giving today. We do look forward to hearing from you.

So donate to get your copy of Julie's book by giving us a call today 800 K in the word family we can donate online links are in the episode notes and Jim we should also mention our free parenting assessment.

It's an online tool to give a quick overview of what's working well in your family and your suggestion or two of the areas in which you can improve. You'll find that free assessment and more in the episode and 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.

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