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Parenting Tips and More


Being a "Parent", especially a "Christian Parent," is a high calling. Since we are raising future adults and leaders, not just children, our children become what we make and mold them to be. Will they Love and be lovable? Will they be responsible to themselves and others? Will they encourage others? Will they give mercy and grace? The way we can assure our children, future adults, accomplish these "high order" emotional and value task is by them experiencing Love, Mercy, Grace, Responsibility and Encouragement.


Children experience the love and grace of God through Jesus Christ by what they experience from their parents
. Wow, that’s big? Mom and Dad initially influence their children’s  “view” of God.

The “good news” is there are many specific task we can perform with our children that will help to raise them to be well adjusted, loving, attached, productive adults with a love of Christ. One of the best Christ centered teachings I have found come from Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller. They have written "Eight Secrets to Highly Effective Parenting" a very successful tape series. I suggest visiting their web site,
www.biblicalparenting.org . I subscribe to their weekly e-mail parenting tips.

 

Future articles will include helpful parenting tips for the "Strong Willed Child" and Special Needs Children such as ADHD, all from a Christian prospective. Look for the latest cutting edge Research Articles, and reading recommendations from such noted experts as James Dobson and Henry Cloud.

 

 

Parent by Grace!

 

 

Practical Way to Teach Responsibility

Some children can't seem to do anything without getting distracted. One mom, Heather, said, "When I tell my five-year-old son, James, to go get his shoes on because we've got to leave, he doesn't come back. When I go look, I find him sitting on the floor playing with his cars. And it's not just his shoes. Whenever I tell him to do something he gets sidetracked. I have to yell at him continually to get anything done."

Heather needs to use her frustration to identify the cause of the problem. James is easily distracted, but the deeper issue has to do with irresponsibility. Yes, he is only five years old, but James needs to learn to follow through with a job his mom gives him. This is the beginning of responsibility training.

Most children don't naturally feel an internal weight of responsibility. You can help develop it by watching your kids accomplish assignments and waiting for them to report back. Heather may say, "James, we've got to go so please get your shoes and bring them back to me. I'm going to wait right here in the doorway for you to report back."

As you wait, watch for distraction. At first James may need very close monitoring but as he realizes that he needs to report back and that Mom hasn't forgotten about the job, he will feel the pressure to accomplish the task. Children who need constant reminders lack the character quality of responsibility. They need closer supervision, smaller tasks, and more frequent times of checking in.

Even older children sometimes have a problem with irresponsibility. Yelling isn't necessary—more accountability is. It takes more work to wait or watch but your investment now will give your children a valuable gift. Responsibility is the ability to complete a task even when no one is watching.

Responsibility training happens in a good instruction process. In Matthew 25, Jesus told a parable about three stewards who were given talents and the responsibility to invest them. Two of the stewards were faithful; one was not. God wants us to be faithful stewards and the roots of faithfulness are taught to children as you ask them to follow directions and report back.

For more on how to build a good Instruction Routine with your children, read the book, "Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids." This tip was taken from the tape series, "Eight Secrets to Highly Effective Parenting" by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller.

 


 

When Children React in Anger

 

The child who doesn't like an instruction or limitation may reveal frustration outwardly, sometimes in a small way and other times with downright revenge. One mom said, "I can tell when my thirteen-year-old son
is having a bad attitude. He becomes more abrupt in his actions and words. His roughness sends a message that says, 'I'm not happy with you.'"

It's important to remember two rules of engagement when confronted by a child's anger. First, #1, don't be afraid of your child's emotions. Sometimes children use outbursts as a form of self-protection to prevent parents from challenging them. View the display of emotion as a smoke screen and look past it to the heart of the issue. You may not confront in the heat of emotion but don't let your child's anger prevent you from correcting your child. Parents too often see the emotion as a personal attack and react to it, losing any real benefit that could come from the interaction. That brings us to...

Rule of engagement #2: Don't' use your own anger to overpower your child's anger. Proverbs 15:1 says, "A gentle answer turns away anger." When you begin to lose it, take a break. Come back later and work on it some more: "I've been thinking about the way you responded to me earlier when I asked you to do your homework. I'd like to share an observation that might be helpful for you. It seems that you believe you ought to be able to wait and do your homework just before bed or in the morning before you go to school. Is that what you're saying? One of the values I'm trying to teach you is that self-discipline often means we work first and play later. That's one of the reasons I require you to do your homework early every day. I'm trying to teach you an important value. I know that you may not agree with me, but I want you to know why I'm asking you to do homework before dinner."

Allowing emotions to settle first can bring opportunities for dialogue later, instead of turning the present issue into a battleground. Realize that kids will go away thinking about what you've said, even if their initial response looks as if they haven't heard you. This is especially true for teenagers. Prepare what you're going to say and choose your timing carefully without getting caught up in the emotion of the moment.

For more on how to help children change attitudes, read chapter six in the book, 'Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids.'

 


 

What Cues do You Give Your Kids?

An Action Point is the point when you stop talking and start acting or the point when children know you mean business. How do they know? You give them cues and your children know what those cues are. If you are saying the same thing over and over again, how does your child know when the Action Point is near?

Think back on your own childhood. How did you know when your dad or mom meant business? Maybe they used your middle name or started moving toward the kitchen where that special utensil was kept. They might have gotten out of the chair or started moving toward you or given you that look.

For many parents, angry words or a harsh tone of voice become the cue children look for. Unfortunately, this harshness creates distance in the relationship. Look for ways to tighten your Action Point without anger.

Harshness isn't necessary but firmness is. Firmness with children is an important part of the teaching process. Some parents associate firmness with an authoritarian style of parenting. And it certainly can be. We're not suggesting that you become a sergeant with your kids. Even a relational parenting style often requires a point in which that child knows that the discussion is over and it's time for action.

You might say, "Karyn, please turn off the TV now." The child's name and the word "now" can become the Action Point if the next thing you do is follow through and take action. Or you might preface what you're going to say with the words, "Karyn, this is an instruction." Be careful of multiple warnings as they can weaken the instruction process. One warning may be helpful to make sure the child has understood the instruction but then the next step should be a firm follow through. If you tighten your Action Point you will get angry less often and your children will respond more quickly. Start by clarifying the cues.

For more on how to help children understand firmness, listen to tape one in the series, "Eight Secrets to Highly Effective Parenting."

 

  What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, ADD)?

From the National Institute of Mental Health

Disclaimer: Not intended to be medical advice but only an overview of current research and theories. Consult your Pediatrician if you believe any of this information applies to your child. Any mental health diagnosis is intended only to assure you or your child get the best and most accurate help possible and "labeling" a child should be avoided.

 

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity).

ADHD has three subtypes:

  • Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive
    • Most symptoms (six or more) are in the hyperactivity-impulsivity categories.
    • Fewer than six symptoms of inattention are present, although inattention may still be present to some degree.
  • Predominantly inattentive
    • The majority of symptoms (six or more) are in the inattention category and fewer than six symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity are present, although hyperactivity-impulsivity may still be present to some degree.
    • Children with this subtype are less likely to act out or have difficulties getting along with other children. They may sit quietly, but they are not paying attention to what they are doing. Therefore, the child may be overlooked, and parents and teachers may not notice that he or she has ADHD.
  • Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive
    • Six or more symptoms of inattention and six or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity are present.
    • Most children have the combined type of ADHD.

 

 Causes

Scientists are not sure what causes ADHD, although many studies suggest that genes play a large role. Like many other illnesses, ADHD probably results from a combination of factors. In addition to genetics, researchers are looking at possible environmental factors, and are studying how brain injuries, nutrition, and the social environment might contribute to ADHD.

Genes. Results from several international studies of twins show that ADHD often runs in families. Children with ADHD who carry a particular version of a certain gene have thinner brain tissue in the areas of the brain associated with attention. This NIMH research showed that the difference was not permanent, however, and as children with this gene grew up, the brain developed to a normal level of thickness. Their ADHD symptoms also improved.

Environmental factors. Studies suggest a potential link between cigarette smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy and ADHD in children.

Brain injuries. A small percentage of children who have suffered traumatic brain injury may show some behaviors similar to those of ADHD. H

Sugar. The idea that refined sugar causes ADHD or makes symptoms worse is popular, but more research discounts this theory than supports it. In one study, researchers gave children foods containing either sugar or a sugar substitute every other day. The children who received sugar showed no different behavior or learning capabilities than those who received the sugar substitute. Another study in which children were given higher than average amounts of sugar or sugar substitutes showed similar results.

In another study, children who were considered sugar-sensitive by their mothers were given the sugar substitute aspartame, also known as Nutrasweet. Although all the children got aspartame, half their mothers were told their children were given sugar, and the other half were told their children were given aspartame. The mothers who thought their children had gotten sugar rated them as more hyperactive than the other children and were more critical of their behavior, compared to mothers who thought their children received aspartame.

Food additives. Recent British research indicates a possible link between consumption of certain food additives like artificial colors or preservatives, and an increase in activity. Research is under way to confirm the findings and to learn more about how food additives may affect hyperactivity.

Signs & Symptoms

Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are the key behaviors of ADHD. It is normal for all children to be inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive sometimes, but for children with ADHD, these behaviors are more severe and occur more often. To be diagnosed with the disorder, a child must have symptoms for 6 or more months and to a degree that is greater than other children of the same age.

Children who have symptoms of inattention may:

  • Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another
  • Have difficulty focusing on one thing
  • Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless they are doing something enjoyable
  • Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new
  • Have trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities
  • Not seem to listen when spoken to
  • Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly
  • Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others
  • Struggle to follow instructions.

Children who have symptoms of hyperactivity may:

  • Fidget and squirm in their seats
  • Talk nonstop
  • Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
  • Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, and story time
  • Be constantly in motion
  • Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities.

Children who have symptoms of impulsivity may:

  • Be very impatient
  • Blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences
  • Have difficulty waiting for things they want or waiting their turns in games
  • Often interrupt conversations or others' activities.

ADHD Can Be Mistaken for Other Problems

Parents and teachers can miss the fact that children with symptoms of inattention have the disorder because they are often quiet and less likely to act out. They may sit quietly, seeming to work, but they are often not paying attention to what they are doing. They may get along well with other children, compared with those with the other subtypes, who tend to have social problems. But children with the inattentive kind of ADHD are not the only ones whose disorders can be missed. For example, adults may think that children with the hyperactive and impulsive subtypes just have emotional or disciplinary problems.

Treatments

Currently available treatments focus on reducing the symptoms of ADHD and improving functioning. Treatments include medication, various types of psychotherapy, education or training, or a combination of treatments.

Treatments can relieve many of the disorder's symptoms, but there is no cure. With treatment, most people with ADHD can be successful in school and lead productive lives.

The most effective treatment can be a combination of medication and behavior modification. A team approach between the physician, parents, caretakers, teachers and other adults in the child's life can give the child direction, reassurance, success and show the child that they  are OK.