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Making Parenting Fun (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
January 31, 2023 5:00 am

Making Parenting Fun (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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January 31, 2023 5:00 am

Pastor Doug Fields shares humorous stories about his own parenting journey, and offers nuts-and-bolts ideas on how to raise children who display confidence, good moral character and convictions, compassion, and competence. (Part 2 of 2)

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Mike, children don't need me to be the perfect dad. Here's what they need. They need me to follow Jesus. They need me to love their mom deeply.

And they need me to be crazy about them and want to spend time with them. That is quite a recipe for a healthy family, don't you think? We'll hear more today with Focus on the Family president, Jim Daly, and I'm John Fuller. Well, today we're continuing a message from Pastor Doug Fields, and he is giving us great parenting advice based on his experience as a father of three and also as a youth pastor working with teens and tweens for over 30 years.

And if you missed part one, please get in touch with us. We can send you the entire message on CD, and also you can download the app for your smartphone, the Focus on the Family broadcast app, another great way to listen. You can get Doug's book, Intentional and Parenting, co-authored with his wife, Kathy, and we'll include all of the free audio content of the entire presentation. And we have additional resources for you just by the website.

The links are in the show notes. And Doug is working through a list of six things all children need. Last time we heard the first one, encouraging words. We all need encouragement on a regular basis.

And here now with the rest of that list is Pastor Doug Fields speaking at Mariners Church in Irvine, California, where he's on the teaching team on today's episode of Focus on the Family. They also need what I call genuine affection, genuine affection. From the moment we're born, social scientists tell us that we have something called skin hunger, meaning we need touch, we need affection. And that affection must be fed in appropriate ways or else we're going to seek it out in inappropriate ways. Ladies, you're much better at this with children than men are, especially when it comes to affection. Kids know that moms are more affectionate. That's why never in the recorded history of humanity has a child been hurt in the front yard, run into the house and yelled, dad. Why don't kids yell for dad when they need affection? Because dads don't care, right? I mean, my dad, I'd be running in crying. I need to be like, shake it off. My dad, the bone is sticking out of my skin. I can't rub some dirt on it. You'll be fine. You're blocking the TV.

Go get me some ice cream. You know, dads, we got to, we got to figure this one out because if you're not affectionate to your child, what unaffectionate fathers can produce is boys who don't know how to express themselves emotionally and girls who may express themselves sexually. You look at promiscuous teens. Oftentimes promiscuous teens points back to an unaffectionate father or a father who's there, but just the affection lights aren't on. Affection is one of the things that emotionally healthy kids have in common. They've been given proper affection and they've been given a lot of it. And I know some of you are going like, well, you don't know my, you know, my kid is in that junior high stage where they don't even want to be around.

That's when you pour it on. Okay. Even when they don't hug back, you be the parent, you pour it on. When you sit next to them, throw your leg over them. When you're watching TV, put your arm around them. Okay. If you can't do that, trip and fall on them just so they get some affection. And here's the deal. Hey, start somewhere. Don't feel guilty about what you're not doing.

Start somewhere regardless of the age of your children. An intentional parent is also someone who figures out how to provide serious fun. And some of you don't like this because you, how did this make your top 10 list really that of all the things that parents need to have kids experience serious fun makes the top 10 list.

Yes. And here's why. Because today's generation of kids are totally stressed out. They're totally, totally stressed out.

Why? Well, one because we live in a faster culture and two is because they're for many of them, their parents are driven, especially in this area. The parents are driven and parents put a lot of pressure on them to perform and succeed and be quote unquote successful kids because successful kids makes insecure parents feel better about themselves. And by the way, shooting straight to some of you that are doing this, maybe you don't even know you're doing it. You need to get counseling before your kids have to get counseling that you should have got.

Okay. That if you were parenting in order to make yourself look good friends, that is so damaging to your child. They can't live up to those expectations when it's all about you.

So deal with those issues. So why does serious fun make this list? Because kids are stressed out and when they experience a degree of fun, and laughter, what it does is it releases their anxieties, it diminishes their fears, and it lessens their hostility and their anger.

They have to have some fun release in their life. The scriptures say it like this in Proverbs 17, a cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength. I happen to believe that those of us who are followers of Jesus, I think we're the ones who need to be leading the way in leaking fun because we've been given life. We've been given eternal life. We've been given the presence and the power of Jesus. We ought to be the ones leaking fun. But somewhere in this Christian bubble, we've come to believe that as Christians, the more serious you are, the more spiritually mature you are.

That's not true. The more serious you are, the more boring you are. How many of you know some boring Christians?

Yeah, absolutely. See, the opposite of funny is not serious. The opposite of funny is unfunny. And I prove that a lot. Because I use humor when I teach.

And let me tell you why. I've never told you this before. But here's why I use humor when I teach. Because it's effective. And while you're laughing, I'm jamming truth down your throat, hard, and it doesn't feel... I just got told I was an idiot. This is great. That's why I use it.

Because it's effective. Not because I'm funny. Alright? So when people meet me, and some of you have done this in airports or wherever around the community, you're like, oh. I mean, first thing people say, you're taller in person, which I don't know what for some reason the stage doesn't communicate that I'm 6'8".

And here's what they either say, because they've said this to me, or they're thinking or they've told other people. He's not really funny in person. And people have actually said, oh, I thought you'd be funnier.

And I don't know. I mean, it's just my day off. And depending on what mood I'm in, sometimes I say, oh, it's funny. I've seen you in the audience, and up close, I thought you'd be better looking. So don't say that. Fink it, but I don't say anything.

So here's what I'm saying. I'm just like you. I had to figure out as a dad, how can I infuse fun into our family so that my kids would laugh and have fun and giggle and play and be adventurous? So the question is, what are you doing so that they can have some fun in their family?

Grandparents, what do you do when they come to your house so there's some fun? And this might seem like a shallow idea, but I encourage you to give it some serious consideration because it can redirect the course of a child's life. An intentional parent also provides what we call delicate discipline. We live in a culture today where a lot of kids aren't experiencing discipline. And our feeling is that you can't really love your kids if they don't experience discipline.

But the key word, delicate. Here's how I would describe biblical discipline. Okay, biblical discipline is guidance with love, not punishment and anger. And if you want a text for that, read Hebrews chapter 12 on your own, and you'll see that's what biblical discipline is. It's guidance with love, not punishment and anger. In Proverbs chapter three, it says this for my children, don't reject the Lord's discipline and don't be upset when he corrects you for the Lord corrects those he loves just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. And if you were to study this text, you'd see that discipline is an act of love. So when I see kids that are out of control, lack of discipline, I don't think, what an awful kid. You know what I think?

Probably the same as you. What? Where's the parent? I mean, where's the love?

Is this person totally absent? And then when it comes to discipline, the word delicate, we put the word delicate in there because bodies are fragile, but spirits are even more fragile. To be delicate with this. Again, in Ephesians six, it says this, now word to you parents, don't keep on scolding and nagging your children, making them angry and resentful. Rather bring them up with the loving discipline the Lord himself approves with suggestions and godly advice. What is loving discipline? Loving discipline is not discipline and anger. Let me say it again. Loving discipline is not discipline and anger. I live in the real world. I'm not saying you'll never get angry.

That would be insane for me to say that. Yes, you will get angry. But there's a difference between being angry and discipline in anger. You don't have to discipline in anger. The type of discipline that I see isn't discipline as an act of love. It's discipline for the sake of compliance.

Big difference. An act of love, the sake of compliance. Compliance is a quick fix.

Compliance is a scream, a yell, a slap, a scare, a shame, something like that. Yelling is quick fix. And those of you who yell, you obviously can tell I'm an advocate for children. Those of you who are yelling, it doesn't work. It's quick fix parenting, but it's not good long term healthy.

It doesn't work. You've got to figure out another way that doesn't shame and intimidate and threaten and wound your kids. Research reveals that yelling doesn't work. It just increases humiliation and violence and embarrassment. And it actually creates more angry kids. Because kids don't hear what you're yelling at them anyway.

They hear your spirit. And when kids see you lose control, they actually lose respect. So please stop yelling.

It's not working. But let me give you a little tip. You don't have to discipline right in that moment. You're not a cop. You're a parent.

You don't have to give out a ticket immediately. I learned this lesson from my dad. So when I was growing up, my dad, when he would get mad at me, he would call me three things.

Douglas Montgomery Fields yelling at them. And then he would say, go get me something to hit you with. Yeah. And so what I realized, I wasn't a bright kid, but I figured this out. The longer I took, the easier it would go on me. Because I gave him time to cool off.

And so when I would return, three days later, with a large pillow, things just went better. So parents, you've got to figure out what does it look like for you to put yourself in a time out to cool down before you provide discipline. And Kathy and I, what we write about when we talk about is the discipline we call discipline by choice. And here's the definition of discipline by choice. It's a fair consequence that's clearly communicated ahead of time that is connected to the offense.

Now you have to figure out what this means age appropriate for you. But when you connect actions to consequences, what it does is it teaches children that they have a choice. And actually they need to experience consequences in order to be healthy. Consequences, as odd as this sounds, it builds self esteem because it gives kids power that they realize that, oh, my actions actually have a consequence and I had the power of choice in that.

So that when they get a little bit older and they can reason with that, that's why I said it needs to be age appropriate. When they can reason with it, they go, ultimately they chose their consequence. And what that does is it keeps you from being a foolish parent.

It keeps you from yelling and posturing and shaming and screaming when they walk in the door late. No, they chose the consequence. Now as a parent, you have to enforce it, which is difficult to do. And when you enforce it, let me just tell you from my own experience of three kids, they won't thank you for it.

My kids never said, oh, what a loving, wise dad you are. I accept the consequence because I knew it ahead of time. And ultimately my behavior chose this consequence. So it's really my fault. And thank you for having wisdom.

And you should write a book someday called Intentional Parent. They never said that. Okay. They're still mad and angry and think you're foolish, but it saves you from screaming and shaming. They chose it. And by the way, responsibility is not genetic.

It's not. You're not born with a sense of responsibility. You have to learn responsibility.

So for those of you parents with little kids, they're never going to learn to be responsible if you never get to three. You know what I'm talking about, right? Those of you that play the counting game, don't let me get to three. One, two.

Did you not hear me? Do not let me get, you almost let me get to three and I'm going to do it again. Don't let one, two. Okay.

Cause here's what's going to happen. If I get to three, a cyclone of fury is going to come out and you were, you have one, 1.1, one, you know, and you begin inventing fractions. Parents get to three. Okay.

Get to three and let them experience a consequence because that's how they become responsible. But in this area, we've got all these helicopter parents who are hovering around that don't want our kids to experience anything. When your, when your school calls and says, Betty forgot her lunch. Okay. I picked on dads. Let me pick on moms.

Cause moms, you're more likely to do this. Oh, she forgot. Okay. Okay. Great. Great.

I'll just, I'll run it right over to the school. Okay. I'll be there.

I'll be there in a few minutes. Okay. Because moms, and I know you're loving, you're caring, you're nurturing, but if she doesn't have her lunch, she will what starve, right? She will starve to death.

I know she will. Right. And so you got to get there fast with that lunch. Now, let me just let you know, I've done a lot of research on death by starvation.

Okay. And it takes 65 days to die from starvation. Now if she skips her lunch, she might go a little hungry, but she'll come home and realize, this was my responsibility.

Wasn't it? And you're helping shape her to be a responsible human. Does all this make sense? Are you dragging with me? Okay, good. Cause you're getting a little quiet on me. I'm feeling sad.

But what I want to recognize base, and I didn't say this last night because when I was out there talking to people last night, this is what came up. Guilt. People are like, oh, I'm just not doing it. I mean, I just, you know, sweetheart, maybe if we, if we really loved her kids, we'd put them up for adoption.

You know, that type of thing. Hey, we all have regrets. Every parent has regret.

There's no such thing as regret-free parenting. But start now. Start now with something.

And here's what I want you to hear more than anything else. To be a caring adult in the life of a child, here's what you have to do. You've got to get the right relationships right.

If you forget everything I've said, remember this, to get the right relationships right. See, maybe the most loving thing you can do for your kid is to get your relationship right with Jesus. That may be the most loving thing you can do as a parent is to follow Jesus because for me, the closer I get to Jesus, the more I experienced that love from him, the more I'm able to be loving to them because on my own, I don't have it. On my own power, I don't have the depth or reservoir of wisdom, of grace, of forgiveness, of patience. But when you make Jesus the center of your life, here's what happens. When you follow Jesus, he promises his presence. And when you have his presence, he promises his power.

And then he also makes another promise that you will become a person of peace. Kids today need to grow up in a peace-filled home. And there can't be a peace-filled home if there's not a peace-filled parent. Because kids are in combat all day long. They're battling pressures, they're battling bullies, they're battling comparison, body image, all this stuff. But if a kid knows that soon he's going to go to his home, and that home is a peace-filled home, he can better temper the pressures and the temptation that he or she is going through throughout the day because pretty soon they're going to be home.

And home is safe and peaceful. Your kids, they don't need a perfect parent. There's no such thing as a perfect parent.

Even the illusion that some of you are trying to create of being the perfect parent, it creates intimidation and insecurity in kids. My children don't need me to be the perfect dad. Here's what they need.

They need me to follow Jesus. They need me to love their mom deeply. And they need me to be crazy about them and want to spend time with them. Because in the child's life, time and presence is the equity in which they understand. They need that time and presence from adults. And those of you who are single parents, I know, I know you don't have the time.

You're working. I've talked to a lot of single parents and as I said, you're my heroes. And I really believe in God's sovereignty and the way that I think God will reward you for your hard work as a single parent to keep your family alive and there will be a time when your kids will call you blessed. But what kids don't appreciate is those of us who are not working just to survive, we're overworking to drive a nicer car, to live in a better house, and to stroke our own ego. What kids want is your your presence.

And all of this starts when I get my act together with Jesus. And then part of getting the right relationships right, there's another part of parenting and it's this. It's getting other people around your kids in addition to yourself.

That is huge. That's why good coaches are so important. Teachers and mentors and youth workers and small group leaders because all studies reveal that healthy kids, listen to this, regardless of where they come from, Cambodian refugee camps, housing projects in New York City, or upper middle class, Orange County, all these kids what they have in common if they're healthy kids, in addition to parents, there were other people involved in their lives who were significant. That's why being a part of a faith community like this is so important.

Why should you care about kids? Because Jesus said, whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me. Jesus, may we be different because we were here. I pray that you would relieve the guilt that we feel, the mistakes that we've made in parenting, and replace it with the wisdom of how we can better love and direct our lives to be encouraging, to give affection, to care deeply about the kids that you've entrusted to our lives, whether we're parents or grandparents, coaches, teachers, neighbors, friends, aunts, uncles, give us a vision of what it looks like to impact the next generation.

We ask this in your Holy Name. Amen. Doug Fields has been our guest for the past two episodes of Focus on the Family, speaking at Mariners Church in Southern California. Jim, I so appreciate what he had to say and how he delivered that message, especially the reminder that it's never too late to have a positive influence on our kids.

Yeah, me too, Jon. Of course, we try to do a lot of the things Doug mentioned, like having fun together as a family, but it's always great to get a little tune up as a parent and find some new ideas to try. Yeah, and you mentioned family fun.

We used to go camping together a lot. I got to say, it's been hard with different ages and our kids being so active right now, but we need to be together to get away from those everyday stresses and really just reconnect as a family. Yeah, and I love those camping days with the boys and Jean because it's just so kickback and we can do a little fishing and do a lot of talking on those trips. There's no distractions and no pressure, really. Yeah, the only pressure I ever felt, Jim, was one of my kids might wander off into the wilderness. So I'm glad that they're older and things as we've camped in more recent years have been a little more relaxed.

Yeah, and it gets so much easier. You know, the best times we had is when it was raining. We'd be forced inside and we'd sit and play board game, play Uno, something like that, just around that little kitchen table in the RV. While the rain was cascading down and we'd be nice and warm and cozy with the heater. It was a lot nicer than tent camping, let me tell you. Well, and we tent camped and so my memories of rain aren't quite so fun. They were dramatic and great stories, but not always so warm and cozy.

Yeah, man, Jean was so far beyond the tent camping, we had to get an RV. And I'm thankful that she was insistent. Yeah, that's kind of glamping, right?

Yes. But the bottom line is it's so important to build those great memories with your children. These are precious and few days. I mean, they really are. They go by so fast. And, you know, there's an old saying, especially for parents of younger kids, the days are long, but the years are short.

And it's so true. And here at Focus on the Family, we want to come alongside all parents to say, we're here for you, to help you at any stage in your parenting journey. Every day, hundreds of people reach out to Focus on the Family for help by phone, mail, email.

Many of those parents are like Jesse. I was married with little kids and feeling overwhelmed by life and just went onto a podcast, the general podcast thing and search for parenting. And the first thing I found was Focus on the Family. And I gave it a whirl a couple of times and I just I found amazing truth and inspiration and help for the situation that I was in. God definitely used all of the people that came onto your show to speak truth into my life and to revive it. I love all the different ways that we can share this program from our broadcast app to podcasts and various websites, satellite radio, even all the Internet streaming and of course, a couple thousand great radio stations that feature the broadcast here in this country and thousands more outside of the US. And if you're more of a visual type, I'm going to encourage you to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you can watch these conversations.

That's right, John. And hats off to you and the broadcast department for expanding our reach in all these newer forms of media. And let me take this opportunity to remind our friends we need your financial support to get this program out to listeners like John said around the world.

Please make a generous donation today. And when you make a donation of any amount, we'll say thank you by sending you a copy of Intentional Parenting written by Doug Fields and his wife, Kathy. And I know you're going to get a lot out of it. Yeah, the book jacket says intentional parenting means you've got more than good intentions.

You've got a plan. And so get your copy of Intentional Parenting. It really is a great resource. It's got a free code to access 10 video sessions plus a study guide. So get a copy of that from us when you call 800, the letter A in the word family.

That's 800-232-6459. Or look for the links in the show notes. And when you're online with us, look for our free parenting assessment.

It takes just five to 10 minutes of your time and it'll shine a light on what's going well in your work as a parent and as you journey ahead, it'll offer some tips on improvement points. Next time, you're going to hear how God rescued a marriage from infidelity. She admitted before I got the text that it was a full on affair. I'd never felt such betrayal ever.

I was so blindsided. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening to this Focus on the Family podcast. If you can please take just a few moments and leave us a rating in your podcast app that increases the searchability and the discoverability of this great show and share this episode with a friend. I'm John Fuller inviting you back next time as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-31 05:18:12 / 2023-01-31 05:28:40 / 10

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