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Effective Habits to Embrace in Parenting

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
May 13, 2024 6:05 am

Effective Habits to Embrace in Parenting

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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That's what parenting is all about, is helping a child succeed without parents. So the more decisions a parent gives a child at home, because we know that once they hit the teen years, there's going to be some major decisions going on. Dr. Randy Schrader joins us today on Focus on the Family.

I'm John Fuller and your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly. You know John, parenting is close to the heart of Focus on the Family. I think in many ways that's how we were built to help equip parents to be the best parents they could be. And man, we want to love our children, guide our children, and most of all we want our children to have a deep faith in Christ as we launch them into a world that will tug at that all the time. It's one reason we try to cover a number of parenting topics here on this program. And sometimes we like to examine I guess what we'll call the nuts and bolts of parenting.

And we're going to do that today with our great guest. So sit back, get a cup of something, tea, coffee, whatever, and let's get into some great parenting content. Dr. Randy Schrader is a former educator and now has a successful counseling practice in Carmel, Indiana where he lives with his wife Jenny. And they have two married sons and six grandchildren. And Randy has written a book called Simple Habits for Effective Parenting, specific skills and tools that achieve extraordinary results in raising a child.

And you can click the links in the episode notes or call 800 the letter A in the word family. Dr. Randy, welcome to Focus on the Family. It is my privilege and pleasure to be with you, Jim and John, and thank you so very much for having me.

It's great. I could see you're full of energy and you were a football coach, which we connected right away on that. Well, we did. Jim, I never realized you were an excellent high school quarterback and joined it as well. Yeah, I say excellent.

I really was par, just even with the rest of the guys. But it's so much fun. There's so many good things that are learned through sports, right?

Oh, yes, sir. You're a counselor now after being that football coach and that teacher. I mean, the sporting environment teaches you so much. In fact, even hiring here at Focus, one of the things I'll ask people when I get a chance to interview them is, did you do team sports or individual sports? There is a difference. People that did individual sports, they're very much, they move in that direction. They want that self-accountability and determination of their own destiny. And team sports are very different.

You got to get along. You got to execute the play. And it does lend itself to a corporate environment. Yes, it does.

Yes, it does. And in that regard, you know, a coach and being a former coach is a leader. An effective parent is a leader and wants to lead, guide, nurture their kids in a very positive direction.

You know, that caught me as I was reading the prep for this broadcast. Because, you know, in terms of leading, you know, I was the quarterback and all that. But in parenting, I feel a little awkward thinking that I'm leading in that way. But you are as a parent and you should embrace it.

Exactly, exactly. There's actually, Jim and John, the false belief by many parents that the goal of parenting is to control behavior. And in a sense, a parent can control behavior up until about the age of 12 when their eyes are on their child. But then after the age of 12, when they hit 13 on up into young adulthood, now kids are going to have to make some major life decisions. What are they going to do with cigarettes and vaping and marijuana and alcohol and drugs and sex? And so a leader parent wants to influence a child's heart. I mean, what does Proverbs 4 say? Above all else, guard your heart, guard your thoughts, because that's what's going to lead a child to be a responsible, capable, confident, godly decision maker one day. Yeah.

And so that's essential. Can I ask you about this? CDC during the pandemic came out with a research project that they did. They identified that 25 percent of 14 to 24 year olds, that depression was up, anxiety was up, that suicidal ideation had occurred in that group of people, 24 percent of 14 to 24 year olds.

That's about seven to eight million people that that 25 percent represents. That's an astounding number of young people who I don't feel are getting that kind of feedback that I am worthy, that I'm good at something, that somebody cares about me, and how desperately we as human beings need that fundamental feedback that you care about me. It's built into our DNA. What I have found, Jim and John, is that desire alone to be an effective parenting is not enough. I think verbal unconditional love needs to, and that's acceptance. You know, God through our faith in Jesus Christ loves us unconditionally.

Kids need to be loved unconditionally. And I think that can happen, Jim and John, through three phrases that need to happen daily, and if not daily, regularly. And the first one is, I will love you even more tomorrow than I do today.

Secondly, Jim and John, is to ask a question. I've been doing this for over 30 years, having parents ask the question, do you want to know a secret? And then come back with the phrase, I love you no matter what. And the three words that are key are not I love you, but no matter what.

No matter what. And third, if there's one question, Jim and John, that I hear over and over from teenagers that I've counseled over the years and have been numerous, Dr. Schroeder, are my parents proud of me? It is unbelievable how infrequently, and again, I'm not being critical of parents, they don't realize the importance of what to say, but that it is so important to say I am proud of you on a daily basis, and especially when a child is not achieving or accomplishing anything.

When they're just in the car, and a parent pats them on the leg, tussles their hair, and say, I am so very proud of you. Yeah. Let me ask you, and then I'm going to get to the four R's, and then we're going to work through more of the content of your great book. But in that context, some parents are going, yeah, but you don't know where my child's at. You know, he's not, or she is not doing the homework. They're not getting the grades that I'd hoped that they would have.

It's a conflict. How do you as a parent balance expectations of performance against loving them unconditionally? This is probably the age-old question, right? How do we let them know we love you, we care about you, so that they can feel that, but hun, we still got to get you going here.

I mean, talk to me about that. Jim, that is a great question. And what needs to happen, we need to go to scripture, the parable of the talents. Now, I know in the parable of the talents that it could be a management of finances, okay, but it also can be a management of talents and abilities. And so I think in the parable of the talents, again, one received two and five talents, they doubled the talents. And Jesus said, you know, good job, good and faithful.

The other buried their talent and ability, and Jesus said, you're wicked and lazy. And so the focus by our Heavenly Father, for the three of us, for everyone, for children, is on effort and improvement. And so I continually stress to parents, do not be concerned about achievement and accomplishment. In fact, I tell kids all the time, grades don't matter. All that counts is giving a good, consistent A-minus effort with your talents and abilities.

And I have seen probably a thousand kids in my counseling practice. I have never once asked a child their grades. I never care about their grades, and I tell them that. Now, if they tell me a grade and I appreciate their effort, I say, you know, I'm proud of you. But what I do, Jim and John, is I will go through each of their subjects, and I've done this thousands and thousands of times, and I'll ask a youngster, what's your grade in math?

And if they say, Dr. Schrader, it's a B-minus. Well, then I always go up by just a third, and I say, what will it take to increase your grade? What would it take to improve your effort up to a B? And so with each subject, that's what parents need to do. And parents get the report card. They need to go through the report card, not focusing on the outcome, totally focusing on effort and improvement. And there's so many good life skills being developed in that.

That's where we as parents get a little paranoid if they're more in the D-F range. And you're really concerned about their ability for the output. But let's move to the four Rs.

Okay. Describe what the Rs are and what they're about. The first R is relationship. The most important goal, the main objective for every parent is to build a strong parent-child relationship.

It all begins there. Think about it for us as Christians, the stronger our relationship is with Jesus Christ, the more we want to live the godly life, the more we want to follow the Ten Commandments. The weaker our relationship with Jesus, the less concerned we are about living a godly life and following the Ten Commandments. Likewise, when a child has a strong relationship with their parent, Jim and John, then they are willing to follow the lead, the guidance, the nurture, the encouragement by a parent toward a godly life. So Randy, when you look at parenting and you break it down to the simple form, is that the most important thing to maintain, especially I'm thinking the teen years, maintain that relationship because that in the end will be what counts. More than their performance, their behavior, where they're at spiritually at 14 and 15, maintaining that relationship will be the right thing at 24, 25, 30.

Is that fair? Jim, you hit the nail right on the head. I feel that. That is the main goal of parenting, a strong parent-child foundation and how to achieve that. I talk about that in my Simple Habits for Effective Parenting book. It's through simple yet effective habits that so often parents don't know what to do, how to do it, and specifically they need guidance.

Okay, we've got relationship. What's the next R? The next R would be routines, and there's a lot of healthy routines. There's a morning routine, of course, and research has found that when the first five minutes for a child are positive, that often leads to a positive day for a child.

So avoiding the C's, complaints, criticism, correction, condemnation, so important. But there's bedtime routines, meal times. Meal times is one of the most simple yet effective habits that so often is missing in families, and meal times together lead to a lot of positives. There's prayer time together. I think one of the top ten simple yet effective habits, Jim and John, would be monthly date your child.

That is absolutely essential, and so many parents, hundreds and hundreds of parents have told me, Dr. Schroeder, that's what turned around my relationship with my child, is that monthly date your child. If I could tell one story just to kind of highlight how important that is. I saw a 15-year-old and his dad had a horrible relationship, and in fact, when they came into counseling, the 15-year-old actually gave his dad orders and said, Dad, you sit in that chair. I'm sitting on the sofa. That had to be interesting for a counselor, for you. He would not let the dad sit with him on the sofa.

Wow. And so I found out, a date your child, by the way, I should say, Jim and John, is usually going out to eat for 45 to 60 minutes. There's no problem talk all the way to the date, during the date, all the way home. And so it's just a positive parent-child time. So I found out the teenagers, two favorite restaurants, one was in Italian, and I asked him, I said, will you go out to eat with your dad on Saturday at lunch? And I remember he looked right at me, he said, Dr. Schroeder, did you hear me, what I've been saying the whole session? I don't like my dad.

Wow. But I convinced him. He went out to eat lunch. I had the dad tell the son, during the session, I will not criticize, correct, complain or condemn the whole date. Was that one of his weaknesses, the dad wouldn't? Well, it wasn't so much a weakness, but you can imagine that that had become, what happens when a child struggles, like you're suggesting, Jim, that becomes more prevalent.

Yeah. So halfway through the meal, the teenager picked up his spaghetti and meatball and stuffed it in his mouth. With his hand. With his hand.

And he finished the meal with his hand. He's provoking his dad. And his dad could hear me echoing, do not use the C's. Well, the dad actually, Jim and John, had more self-control and restraint than I had, would have had. Because if you can believe it, the dad did not correct him on the way home.

Nothing Saturday afternoon, nothing Sunday, nothing Monday. Tuesday, when dad came home, dad asked the son, if you pick that Italian restaurant, will you please use it for it next time? The 15-year-old smiled and said, sure, dad, turn their relationship around. Now, the dad, Jim and John, used most of the simple yet effective habits and simple habits for effective parenting, made a huge difference. And they developed a strong parent-child relationship.

But that date your child began it. And so that is a huge routine, I think, for every parent. Responsibilities. Responsibilities, household chores and tasks, build a child's self-esteem.

Help a child develop confidence. And household chores and responsibilities lead to adulthood. That's right. Yeah, that's what's going to happen as an adult, in marriage.

You've got to be able to do these things. Exactly. The last of the four R's is rules. Of course, moms and dads, yeah, what are the rules? Yeah.

We love the rules. And that usually, you're right, usually, Jim and John, that's the most focused area. And yet, that can lead to struggles. Oh, yeah.

Yeah. And actually, the rules, if a parent-child relationship is strong, rules are usually not an issue for a child. And if I could just mention quickly, the R's should be in this direction. Relationship plus a healthy application of the rules equals a responsible, godly, decision-making child. However, what happens so often, if rules are the primary focus, minus that strong parent-child relationship, now we're going to see a child that probably becomes rebellious and defiant. So rules are secondary.

And the other aspect to that is most parents are not sure and are not able to lovingly apply the rules in an effective manner. And if we have time, we can get to how that can happen as well. Well, hopefully, we will. And I think we can hit it right now.

I think that balancing factor, I think we think of it as a light switch rather than a dimmer switch, right? Yes, sir. Yes, sir. And we need to understand. I think parents do get tripped up on, if I'm loving my child, if I'm developing my relationship with my child, then I can struggle applying the rules. But give us the boundaries how to do both well. Yeah, in terms of applying the rules and giving consequences or taking away privileges, it begins with a question.

Will you please? So many parents use a sentence, and that does not give a child also to make decisions. Children need to make decisions in the home. And so if I said to you, I could use the rule, courtesy Jim and John, and say, please switch seats. Well, even though I used please, that's a sentence, which is a command, a demand in order to do it. I didn't give you a chance to say no thank you. And that can create friction in a parent-child relationship. So what needs to happen is I ask you, will you please switch seats?

Now you have the freedom of choice. You could say, sure, we'll switch, or no thanks, we'll stay where we're at. So the first step is always to ask, will you please? Most of the time, it needs to be a question. Yeah, every once in a while, it can be a sentence with a please. But 90 to 95% of the time, it needs to be, will you please?

Now I could see myself when the boys were younger going, will you please switch seats? That's not what you're saying. That's actually in my effective parenting, Jim.

You're right. There needs to be, the will you please needs to be a loving, encouraging, can be strong. Sincere. Yeah, it's sincere.

But yeah, it needs to be loving and encouraging. Will you please? Okay, so the child says no.

Yeah. So let's say that the parent says, will you please be respectful? Okay, then it goes to either or you decide. Either be respectful, or go to your room for 10 minutes, you decide. Do a timeout.

Do a timeout. And if the child still continues to be disrespectful, then the parent, and this is what's absolutely essential. And this, I think, causes more rebellion and defiance in the home as much as anything, is that a parent not use the pronoun I. I'm going to send you to your room. I is controlling. It's not being a leader.

It's being a boss, micromanaging. And so what needs to happen, the parent needs to say, you decided to go to your room because you're being disrespectful. Put it on the child. And so it's the child's decision. The parent doesn't need to feel bad.

They were not being disrespectful. And so it's always, you decided because, the other thing that happens frequently even with the pronoun I, so many parents use the word punishment. And I've had hundreds and hundreds or over a thousand parents say, I never realized that punishment was not a healthy word.

And it's not. It creates defiance. And so, so many parents say, I'm going to punish you by sending you to your room for being disrespectful. I'm going to punish you by not letting you use your cell phone. It needs to be you decided because, and I can tell you, Jim and John, it took me pretty many times of practice to learn, will you please either, or you decide, you decided because. Right.

And I, again, these are great concepts that you covered in simple habits for effective parenting. That one right there, either do this or you can go to your room for your time out. I mean, I wish I would have had that tool.

I think I, you know, I didn't deploy it cause I just didn't know that. Yes, sir. You know, it does help the child, especially the thinking child to realize, oh, I actually control this. Yes. I mean, that's a good thing.

Yeah. I mean, that's what parenting is all about is helping a child succeed without parents. And so the more decisions, Jim and John, a parent gives a child at home because we know that once they hit the teen years, there's going to be some major decisions going on and they need to be equipped to make those decisions. You talk about something called grandma's law.

Oh my goodness. What's grandma's law? I got to know grandma's law.

That probably, I would say it's an easier one to learn and that probably has de-stressed more families than any other simple yet effective habit in the effective parenting book. And grandma would say to us, when you have eaten your vegetables and chicken, then you may have a piece of the pie baked you. So it's grandma's law is when you, then you. When you, then you.

When you, then you. And a lot of parents will use if you, then you. If you, then you actually does not display confidence in a child. So best story I have, I saw a dad who came in, came in without mom actually, seeking simple yet effective habits. And he said, we can't get our 15-year-old to clean her bathroom. And I said, dad, I said, you're going to love this. I said, grandma's law when you, then you.

I had him practice it. Go home, ask your daughter, will you please? He said, and by the way, the dad said, we have threatened. We've intimidated.

We bargained. She just won't clean her bathroom. As I said, when you go home, again, like you said, Jim, it needs to be loving. Will you please hand me your cell phone? Got the cell phone.

Said, when you clean your bathroom, then you may have your cell phone back. And then dad walked away. Yeah. Don't negotiate. Yeah.

Well, it didn't negotiate, but it's whose decision. So daughter's determined when she gets her cell phone back. About 15 minutes later, she said the bathroom's clean, dad. He went in there. The sink was still a little dirty. He said, when you clean the sink, then you may have your cell phone. He walked away again. About five minutes later, he went back in.

Sink was clean and gave her her cell phone. I remember he came in and he had a big smile on his face and he said, parenting is going to be so easy. And I said, parenting is never easy. It wasn't easy for my wife and I.

It's not easy for anybody. But I said, the when you, then you will de-stress your relationship with your daughter. Why do you think these phrases are so effective? Why do they work? Well, they work because they put the responsibility on the child. The child needs to make decisions. And I can tell you when I've had numerous parents tell me, and this is when a parent knows they have the tools down, is when they hear their child saying to them, either or you decide.

Either or you decide. When you, then you, when you, then you. I am tired of making all these decisions in the home. That's when parents know that the child is sinking in, that they're having to make decisions. But there are, again, significant decisions in the teenage years and the young adult years.

One thing I want to make sure we capture here at the end, you do stress the need for humor in your relationship, laughter, smiles, etc. Because it can get a little daunting for some parents. They feel they're always the police officer. They're always the judge.

They're always the jury. And you want to make sure life has some high moments, some fun, some laughter, some smiles, just as you said. So how do you, as a parent, make sure those moments are occurring?

You hit the nail on the head, Jim. Positive humor increases relationship, parent-child satisfaction. And just it enhances the whole family atmosphere. Laughter exercises muscles. Laughter reduces blood pressure.

Laughter increases oxygen to tissues. And so, you know, parents need to, often one of my suggestions for parents, when they come in for counseling with their youngster, when a youngster's struggling, is that they watch comedy movies, comedy TV shows. And I encourage, you know, parents and child to laugh out loud. And I usually have the child pick the comedy movie or the comedy TV show. That's risky.

Yeah. Needs to be healthy, of course. But yeah, so that, and parents need to frequently smile. And I think a key question for moms and dads, how often do you laugh? You know, whether it's at TV shows, how often do you smile?

One of the things I've never had, of course, the privilege of meeting you two guys, but one of the things I've enjoyed about this privilege and pleasure is you guys both have a great sense of humor. And you laugh and you enjoy life. And that is so important for a family. Let me end with this question, Dr. Randy, because for the parent that struggles, I mean, they have had this fight going for maybe a few years now. Maybe that son or daughter of theirs started at seven and started displaying this controlling defiant behavior, et cetera.

And now it's 13, 14. And some of those big decisions like you've described are occurring. You know, whether it's poor habits of vaping or drugs or pornography, whatever it might be. How does that parent mix all of this together and try to really change the trajectory of their relationship first, all the four Rs that you mentioned. And there's this serious nagging in the back of their mind that if we don't get this right, and it's hard to find humor in that moment when the pressure is on when your child is misbehaving to the point of destructive behavior, how you can find the lighter side of life and God's heart for this child when it's nothing but pain right now. That's a big question. Well, it is a big question. And something we do not have time to talk about are the A's of affection and attention, appreciation.

And so those can make a huge difference, especially positive labels. But I think parents need to, my favorite sentence in life is I am forever forgiven. The three of us are forever forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ and we're going to have eternal life in heaven. Parents need to say I'm forever forgiven for the mistakes that I've made. My wife and I made mistakes that we are forever forgiven for. And parents need to give that forever forgiveness to their kids as well.

Yeah, and that's the parallel we need to think about. And the Lord makes this so simple for us. Marriage, parenting, how does God interact with us?

How do we perceive the Lord, our Father in heaven? And those are the attributes that we need to deploy in our own marriages and in our parenting. So well stated. Yeah, I love it. Thank you, Dr. Randy, for being with us.

This is a great book, Simple Habits for Effective Parenting. I think you felt the energy of what's here and the many good things that you can learn in the statements, the four R's, the four A's, which that acceptance, affection, attention, appreciation. Man, this is core stuff, John. And I know that we often will make the offer, you know, make a gift of any amount, become a monthly sustainer focus, be part of the ministry. I mean, that's what we're inviting you to do.

It's not about the dollars. We would love to invite you into that and we'll send you a copy of Dr. Randy's book because it's our way of saying thank you if you can do that. But if you cannot afford it, we don't want to keep this content from you. Get in touch with us.

Talk to our counseling team. Ask the questions you need to ask and we'll send you the book as our way of supporting you and we'll trust others. We'll take care of the cost of that.

We believe in the content that much. It's a resource you need as a parent. Would you please get in touch?

I'm trying to use some of your phrases here, Randy. Would you please get in touch with us? Let us know how we can help.

Donate as you can. Get that book and also take our free parenting assessment. It's all in the episode notes or call 800 the letter A and the word family. Dr. Randy, again, thank you for being with us. This has been great. I tell you, Ginny and I are honored to be with you guys. And thank you for joining us today for this episode of Focus on the Family. On behalf of Jim and the rest of the team here, I'm John Fuller inviting you back next time as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ. Share is practical and well practiced, and I can use it right away. Listen to Practice Makes Parent wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-13 08:42:11 / 2024-05-13 08:54:11 / 12

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