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Building a Lifelong Relationship With Your Child

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
February 19, 2021 5:00 am

Building a Lifelong Relationship With Your Child

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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February 19, 2021 5:00 am

Author and speaker Mike Berry discusses four flawed approaches to parenting and how to replace them with healthy patterns so that parents can develop a thriving, long-term relationship with their children.

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Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Focus on the Family
Jim Daly
Focus on the Family
Jim Daly
Focus on the Family
Jim Daly

Good veterans 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 traits that's trade and I think that by decluttering the material stuff also the clutter to what was in the way of really leveraging our influence in our children's lives connecting with building a relationship with them instead of this rat race were I was keeping up with the Joneses, Mike Mary is our guest on Focus on the Family sharing about some of the challenges of being a parent. Guilt ridden as a mom or dad feeling like a failure. Worried about how your kids are going to turn out. Stay with us. This conversation is for you. I'm John Fuller in your house to focus president and Dr. Jim John. I can envision so many parents feel like a failure. I think every healthy parent feels like a failure. From time to time because there's no perfect parenting there are formulas, but I'm in a tight formulas do not guarantee outcomes because God produced independent thinking people.

The other too many leaders very very small years, but it is true we feel like if we give the right inputs we get the right outcome and that I'm here to tell you we hear every day from literally hundreds of parents, if not thousands of parents that are struggling in that manner. You know they're doing all the right things but something is not working, what's wrong with me. What's wrong with my child was. Here's the issue you have incredible influence of your child, but ultimately you cannot control them, you give them boundaries you get them love you do all the right things and then you gotta trust the Lord for the outcome. And through all that you gotta maintain a great healthy relationship and working to talk about all that today with our guest and Mike. Mary has been a parent coach for number of years and is the cofounder, along with his wife Kristen of the award-winning parenting blog called the honestly adopted blog Mike speaks extensively. He writes a great deal and he has a book called winning the heart of your child.

Nine keys to building a positive lifelong relationship with your kids that we've got that at our website and will invite you to stop by and get your copy that's Mike welcome back to Focus on the Family. Yeah, thanks for having me back. I appreciate it. You know you and your wife Kristen. You've adopted eight kids and one of the things that I've learned in Jean and I've been involved in the foster care effort here.

Focus wait no more, which is a tremendous effort. Dr. Sharon Ford had set up here, but one of the things that I learned especially through the late Dr. Karen Purvis is how much those of us who have are natural born children, how much these models apply to us as well. Foster parenting and adoption in the things you learn through that process. Or maybe they have greater intensity but there applicable to all parenting skills right absolutely I would say that what I've learned as an adoptive parent and a parent who has discovered a new approach to parenting through what we would call trust based relational intervention parenting. That's Karen Purvis's model. He went we hear from parents all the time whether their biological parents, foster parents, adoptive parents who say these concepts revolutionized my parenting because I learned that this child's behavior is not it. It comes from a bigger place a deeper place, which is their trauma history so just let me ask you observationally because a lot of parents come to you for coaching your parenting coach, which I think is amazing. We need many more of you and focus tries to do that as well. With all the resources that we have here in counselors, but this idea that you know it's about behavior that week, especially when the Christian community would concentrate heavily on behavior now and that's the report card. If you're behaving properly. We've done a good job but man there is so much more and so many deeper and important things aside from the behavior the behaviors nice because if you have a well behaved child you're not embarrassed to feel right. I am a good parent look at me.

I get an A+. Look how my kids is please and thank you write whatever it might be but speak to that issue between the heart and the behavioral outputs and what we need to concentrate on is inherent you know if the thing that I have realized personally as a parent is that and also through sitting at the feet of world-renowned medical therapeutic child psychology experts is that behaviors are an indicator of something greater. All behavior, all human behavior has an origin so it's symptomatic right so it's not like if I wake up in the morning and I feel happy that it just comes out of nowhere. You know doesn't just ask appear out of thin air. There's a reason why I'm happy there's a reason why am regulated. Same thing with anger with frustration. All of it is an indicator of something bigger and I think that one of the things that we struggle with his parents is that we look at the behavior and we think this is just a bad kid who wants to ruin my day or who wants to just behave badly. This is just a front. This is an indicator of something greater that's going on and if we can shift our approach and stop targeting the behavior but start asking bigger questions on what's going on behind the behavior it allows us to respond differently and respond with compassion and we talk about winning the heart of our children when we can harness that response and change a response. That's when you begin connecting with the heart, and I think it's important before we get into the. The Ford parenting types that you described in the book everybody's at a different stage or a different phase in their parenting and so I I'm sure some parents are listening going were in a great place.

Our kids are. You know they're connected to their doing well. Debbie why aging plow that compliant behavior modification then there's good to be the the other parent. That's really struggling with that 1516-year-old that's going in an independent way so we recognize that and again we want to give you kind of general themes here today sure that'll help you in your parenting. So let's get to the war different parenting types that are unhealthy. Let's describe each one. So in the book I talk about four-week icon parenting approaches you have the dreamer the BFF best friend forever. I think that's what the kids say parenting type.

Yet parenting is indicative that you have to say.

I think that's with you. I don't know anymore.

It it it it changes it may have general description of the dreamer was your let's yeah adjectives the goat the dreamer pencil the dreamer parent is the parent who kind of latches onto this idea that this child is going to be amazing were to have this amazing relationship there and arising call me blessed every mornings.

I think that's wonderful and great sounds great yeah it's okay that Satan seems like it's okay. There's portions of this there okay but the dreamer parent is I equate them to Laura lie Gilmore and Roy Gilmore from the Gilmore girls heading on most people seen that where it's this idealistic relationship. You know these his mother and his daughter have his best friend relationship and even when they fight they work it all out in a couple of episodes and and it it's just this idealistic view like red have this witty banter, no matter what stage they ran their move in the preteen there in a love me teenage were to be best friends forever right and then very closely related that you have the BFF approach and I equate that to Buddy the elf from Alfie. Nobody else never wants to. He always wanted to please people.

He liked smiling smiling his favorite and he doesn't want to disappoint anybody so he takes on this BFF approach. This would be the parent who they considered themselves, their child's best friend right now.

So, the child may be making all of these bad mistakes in the mom or the data saying hey it's cool launch dude in the house you know her or something like that or as long as I'm the one that purchases you know things like that. They're the best friend like we on disappoint you and then you move to more the negatives that will they're all for negative but this is we get into the darker approach the commander and the instructor.

The commander I relate to Gen. Patton. It's control you know it's behavior modification behavior control. It's the my way or the highway rules rules rules you're not participate in this are not able to do that you can't be friends with him confront her iron fist ruling then you have the instructor who is much like Mr. Strickland I use obviously you guys can see them a movie genre throughout the book I use movie quotes Mr. Strickland from back to the future, you know, the principal, everything is a lesson so your child may have gone 445 on the softball diamond and instead of celebrating the four hits that she had you spin the drive home telling her how she could have gone five for five and honing in on that one mistake. Everything's a life lesson. Everything's a lesson, even if the child isn't asking to be taught what was your relationship like with your dad. My relationship with my dad was very interesting. My dad had a a gift of being able to take current curse words and create new cuss words that nobody ever knew had heard while it was a gift right so I heard a lot of things growing up, but he was a very, very angry.

We spent my sister and I spent a lot of time especially in our older years when we would late elementary years preteen high school hiding in and here's what I mean by that he would work from 5 o'clock in the morning until 5 o'clock at night musical a phone lineman for the phone company and so art my relationship with him would look like this, we would be playing we would be creative. We would be building things most the time with his tools and things that he did not want us using or leaving our yard and then all of a sudden there would be this moment where we would look at the clock it was 4 o'clock and we were like on no debts and be home.

That's enough in our midst can be home in an hour and half and we get the five clients like dads can it would stare at the clock. Debts can get off work at 530 move would roll around and if dad didn't pull in the driveway. We start to find relief and then forgot to be 545 six clock were like okay he's gone to the bar with friends for the evening won't see until after bet he won't be home till after bedtime and there was relief for us because we knew that there would be an all-out verbal attack on us as children for our creativity or our exploration are adventurous children or did or maybe just because it was a bad day, and so that was really the definition of my relationship with him, probably from age 78 all the way until the night I left for college. Actually the Medela for college was a major blow up and I left basically in tears while were you ever able to reconcile that at we were. That's the beauty of the story know we talk about family talk. He said earlier about the perfection you know we get in this idea. This trap thing has to be perfect. My family story is messy and yet today I could leave the studio right now call my dad and we have a a great conversation, you know, and he would tell me he loves me before you phone so there was reconciliation. It took several years I went all the way through college and it was still up and down Rocky but years after then to my adult life. There was reconciliation, and now we have a friendship and I love my dad. My dad loves me and he lets me he'll say he loves me before I say that to him and so I think that is the hope as well as the reality, incidentally, hope for his parents at Dennis Yang with our imperfections absolute.

I hope you are hearing the heart here that no matter what type of parent you are. There is a redemptive possibility, even if you blown it. I so appreciate the insights that Mike Berry is offering us today on Focus on the Family in his book winning the heart of your child. Nine keys to building a positive lifelong relationship with your kids. What a goal that is get a copy of this book from us. It's available when you call 800 the letter a and the word family or stop by our website got details in the episode notes Mike you you said you're a dreamer and I appreciate that. I think I tend to lean in that direction. I'm kinda confused. I'm not sure I'm parts of all of this, but the but in that dreamer capacity you describe your own family as a counterfeit. I'm curious about that.

What does that mean to you and how did you correct being a counterfeit well I will I will say this, I'm a dreamer, mixed with BFF because I never want to disappoint people and maternal people pleasers that that's been a big struggle for me back in 2014 we we were living in a way to really really good job. I was living in a really nice big suburban home, and yet while we had all of these things. All of this material is material possessions in the room.

We were really living that the so-called American dream. Our kids were falling apart as I often discredit when I'm speaking on this topic in particular with a lot of clutter in our lives. Material possessions mixed up priorities and yet we realize that our kids were just floundering. They were drowning. Part of that had to do with were parenting children who had significant trauma history as foster and adoptive parents.

So that was a big contributive factor, but then at the heart of it.

We had just lost connection with our kids and in the middle of this there was a couple other controlling factors.

But in the middle.

This we decided to do something that was very counterculture to the upscale suburban culture. We lived in, and that was we just decided to sell this big suburban house and moved to this.

I think the house was like 4500 ft.² with a finished basement is very sweet that our kids are still to this day are like understand what we had to move from that house, but there better for it. And the reason for that is that we decide to sell it and downsize to a 1500 square-foot house, which is insane so we literally just about sold or gave away all of our possessions.

All of our's. The material things because we could not fit it in house. We also did have a garage nor finished basement in his house. We discovered of a lot of this clutter that we had and I think that by decluttering the material stuff. We also de-cluttered. What was in the way of really leveraging our influence in our children's lives connecting with them, building a relationship with them instead of this rat race were I was keeping up with that the Joneses and always stressed out and anxious about that. Making sure my lawn looked perfect or making sure that I leave the trash cans out too long and got a letter from the HOA. You know, in stressing out all those things. I was now able to focus on my kids and I also was able in the process. My job change I lost my job just downturn and finances is over dislike that and that also gave me this time where all I had to do was be with my family and say that like it was a sentence or anything, but that was a gift to change. It was a change in it was a needed change and I finally had this time it really led me to this place where thought, I'm never going back to the way life was on there was so much we were in such a rat race that our kids were exhausted.

We were exhausted. Her kids were fighting all the time we were fighting all the time and we realize that it was because we were we were immersing ourselves in a culture that number one we didn't fit in and with in our kids also didn't fit in with it. Subsequently, we ended up moving from that 1500 square-foot farmhouse that was in the suburbs out to a farm in the middle the country that surrounded by commercial farmland and we realized that our kids were drowning from a culture that prided itself on material possessions and how much money you made will come to pick cars your parents drove in this and that, in our kids were.

They were exhausted so we we made this change because we knew that our kids needed that freedom away from that they needed that freedom from those voices that they couldn't keep up with and we couldn't keep up with it. So now is the outcome.

The outcome is not perfection.

I don't want anybody to think that we've perfected it, but the outcome is peace. There's a lot of peace there's a lot of reasons for that, but emotionally and psychologically speaking were just were much more peaceful people because there is no competition. There is no competition for our time for our our possessions are, you know, we it, if that makes sense. Height of just adamant we found a whole lot of peace by by making that change. We often tell people especially foster adoptive parents were coaching them are working with them. If you find yourself in a situation where you're in a school district that is not providing what your child needs are.

You're in a community that or you're in a church that's not understanding what you're going through is a parent or what your children actually need, then consider making a change you can do that. Maybe not everybody can do that. Maybe their financial situation would prevent them from that, but I find that most people can say you know what this isn't working for my family. This isn't working for the betterment of my children so it's time for us to make a change. You also speak about three big principles for winning your child's heart and I don't want to let the time pass today without touching on that which from my own conviction I think is the quarter parenting good parenting is how to maintain that relationship with your child so that no matter what storm comes along. You're gonna be able to weather it together and get through it we seen so many good testimonies. John people that if the young adult children and parents had been at these microphones talking about those valleys, but how it led them to a mountaintop now, spiritually and in their own relationship. So what are those three core principles to winning your child's heart. Yeah. So in the book I talk about understanding your influence then shifting your perspective on your role and then also fighting for what matters most and this is what each of those principles looks like it isn't that the core issue for parenting we get foggy about what matters most is behavior. It's what is happening today right and that in part is true, but in the larger part is going to take you down a path that may not be helpful. That's very true.

I think what helps is that when you have a bigger picture in mind that when you realize that your parenting is not just these 18 years or so that it's beyond that so you know I look at it this way we can.

I could dominate my child in a verbal altercation right. I could list all of my points or I could just simply cut off by saying I'm the parent it's my way.

That's it right and I could step back and say I have one but what's the cost in winning that because now my child walks away and they think dad doesn't want to hear my my perspective anyways and what begins to happen is this chasm begins to forge between my child and me. How may times to receive the adult child who says I don't have a relationship with my dad. You know and II think that that's what happens when we take on this approach of I have to make sure that my child knows I'm in control right you are the parent you are the authority, but to fight with this perspective I must win in the my child must adhere to this and agree with me. Yeah it forges this chasm between us and I think that we lose so much and so a better approach is to it. I said earlier enter into a discussion a dialogue right. Listen to your child's perspective, especially if their teenagers be willing to hear their side of what they believe and not just look at it like I've got. Now you may have to say this is the boundary and that's on about, or we can cross.

But I think that's really where it starts listening. You also need to take a different perspective on your role.

I think that we as parents going back to that dreamer that BFF approach. I think that we get into the trap of thinking that's going to be the whole journey and all of a sudden you wake up one day and it's like you're not the number one person on your child's list anymore. You're not the person that your teenage daughters like old daddy. I'm so glad you're home from work shift. Mostly it's like thumbs on a screen staring at a screen and then leaving knowledge your your existence right. I think we we feel hopeless, reflective lost touch but you have to realize that your role as a parent just shifts during the season right you may not be you are the primary voice of influence, but you're not the only voice of influence. You've got a hold space for your child to have friendships and listen to the culture around them in and in some regards right and you also need to open up for other people, other adults, to be an influence in your child's life. You know, Mike. So often we can go through these discussions and not get God's perspective and I don't want to miss that in this case you know God created Adam and Eve that he obviously was the perfect parent but he had imperfect children totally and I often think about that. It is the little humorous and then maybe God did it that way so that we might relax a little bit yeah, but in that context, what is God's view in the parenting role. How do you think he sees this. Was he want from us as sober minded thinking followers of Christ. What is he saying to our heart about being a parent you know I had a person say to us a couple say to me a couple's many many years ago.

You know when I was struggling as a young parent know well look at the Bible for your example and not my response was really because the families in the Bible were a mess know if you think about the parents in the Bible. It's like they were broken. Mistake ridden human beings but what I love about the story of Noah and Abraham and Mary and Joseph and all these parents we see that we now refer to as the pillars of faith, David.

You know all of them is that God still used them in powerful ways.

Even in the midst of their mistakes and I think what if God could speak to us audibly as parents.

I think what he would say is is I am still using you even through your mistakes willing irony is, he uses all of that in the shaping of that person right for his mission ahead of them right know the that look at yourself and the poor relationship you had with your father, totally immune, it turned you toward being a parenting coach if they had out. It and I know my dad and we talked earlier about that redemption.

My dad going about seven years ago heard me speak publicly for the first time in a church I was serving with and later on after that was over you not.

I never know what my dad's thinking about those kind of things because he's not a person of faith and became up to me and he said the whole time you were you were giving that sermon.

I kept thinking that's my son up there and I am so proud of him and that was that coming full circle. You know, and I think that God looks at us like that. The idea of grace is that you get back up and you keep moving forward.

You gave and given him. Even with mistakes, even with the limp right and we talk about being foster parents and adoptive parents. One of the greatest forms of solidarity is when you realize that I'm not limping alone that their other parents innocent parenting in general. I struggle through this right. My kid did this and you feel like I'm a failure as a parent on the only one who has a kid that has screwed up like that and then I sit across the table from somebody who says yeah I mimed doing the same thing. It doesn't fix our problems, but their solidarity and knowing that I don't live alone and I think that God wants us to know that when it comes to grace that you aren't. You want limping alone. I'm with you I am for you and I'm walking with you Mike. In that context.

The last question is really, I messed up.

You know my kids 1819 25, whatever it might be. It's never too late. We always talk about that, but what do I do as a debtor as a mom who was that commander or that instructor or the BFF or the dreamer. What can I do to correct the relationship how I go about it.

You know I'm a big believer in owning our mistakes and use you mentioned earlier self-awareness. When we become aware of our mistakes, but I think that ownership goes a long way when we can look at another human being and say I messed up and it's nobody else's fault but mine. I own this. I'm sorry I love you and II want to have a good relationship with you. But the beauty of it is that me know. My dad, he took steps to repair our relationship and I took steps to repair what I needed to repair and I think that that's really what parenting to do own it, seek forgiveness move forward and it's so good Mike.

It's helpful and I am grateful that you know we are a limited time to have you come to the studio and talk about these concepts when you look at it and what's going on the culture today broadly man at the core is your relationship with Jesus Christ. That's the foundation. Then it's your relationship in your marriage with your spouse then it's your parenting role.

If you are blessed to have children in the home and those of the core things that are so important. Vocation comes after all that, and I know we get those things that order our life tends to be in disorder but that's why were here Focus on the Family meant get a copy of Mike Berry's book winning the heart of your child. Nine keys to building a positive lifelong relationship with your kids. I climb yeah I'm ready for that, and you can get a copy here Focus on the Family by really just making a gift of any amount and will say thank you by sending you a copy of Mike's book for that gift. Yet a great resource and we do rely on your generosity to keep reaching people through these broadcasts and podcasts and so much more. So please call us and donate as you can and will send as Jim said that both winning the heart of your child are number 800 K and the word family or check the episode notes.

Please note that the website will have some additional conversation with Mike. He offers solutions to parents who are categories of dreamers or commanders will include that extra content as well. On the CD on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family and plan out to be with us next time.

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