Eight Parenting Strategies

When Morin Boy #1 was born into this family, I went into immediate mothering overdrive.  Every book, every magazine, every radio program that featured parenting experts:  I was there.  My sleep-deprived brain was, apparently, incapable of filtering out all the contradictory thinking, so one week I would try someone’s advice that sounded great, and when it “didn’t work” (I’m not sure what measuring stick I was using for that), I’d move on to another approach.  I’ve filed that whole chapter of parenting under a heading called “Desperate Times” . . .  and I never go near that file now! I’m thankful that the following years led me toward solid friendships with other parents, and experiences that built my trust in God’s timeless principles for life.

For young parents who are looking for a good foundation, or for older parents who are entering a new phase of childhood with their kids and feel as if the rug has been pulled out from underneath their feet, Melanie Redd provides a comforting arm and a lot of solid truth in How to Win Your Child’s Heart for Life.  The truth is that no matter how excellent a parent’s consistency and discipline may be in the early years, if a relationship doesn’t develop, and if those parents don’t win their child’s heart early on, there is no set of rules or parenting strategy that will ensure the parent’s ability to continue influencing that child into adulthood.  What strategies lead toward this kind of loving relationship?  Melanie offers eight thoughts to get us started:

  1.  Make prayer a top priority in your home.  This will look very different in a home full of high school students than it would look in a home with a baby and a toddler.  Our own prayer lives need to grow along with our kids and their needs, and there’s nothing like genuineness of heart to instill a tender heart in our kids.  Praying with and praying for our kids is the foundation upon which all other good strategies is built.  Stop right now and make plans for this.  God will meet you more than half way:  “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart,”  Jeremiah 29:12, 13.
  2. Stay ahead of your kids!  Well . . .  that’s nearly impossible, but always be learning and growing as a parent.  Read, talk to other parents, listen to experts on the radio or through podcasts.  Melanie Redd is an amazing compiler of resources and has given lists and even an entire appendix of Christian authors and bloggers.
  3. Seek out older, wiser friends.  Chapter three compares the teen years to Class III and Class IV rapids, and while I’m no river rafter, I remember being completely caught off guard by our intro to the teen years.  It didn’t take us long to go hunting for wise listening ears and praying hearts to guide us and stand with us during those turbulent times.  Most valuable of all was the perspective they offered, and I share it with you today:  For the most part, on the other side of EVERY phase, there will once again emerge a delightful child, and you will love them — and like them — again.  Truly.
  4. Quit barking at your kids!  Listen to your own tone of voice, and ask yourself if it’s something  you’d like to listen to each day.
  5. Capture teachable moments.  As a homeschooling mum, I appreciated this advice, because it’s easy to fall into a “schedule as god” mindset.  Some of my warmest and most God-infused conversations with our kids happened when we let them “get away with” stalling at bed time, or put away the regular family devotions plan and simply answered questions.
  6. Pick your battles wisely.  If you can say yes, say it!  There are way more no’s that HAVE to be said to protect safety and sanity, so if it’s only inconvenient or it’s only a matter of personal preference, try to say yes.  Really.
  7. Make your home a place of laughter, joy, humor, and fun.  We’ve got some pretty zany kids, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  There is no sweeter sound to me than the sound of male laughter times four.  The ability to laugh together as a family will carry you through some very hard times.
  8. Never stop loving and encouraging your kids.  I Corinthians 13 is a glorious meditation for a parent who wants to stay inside a loving mindset toward kids of all stages.  Whether just beginning with babies, or whether praying for a mid-life prodigal, the love of God is the fuel that carries the heart forward in the parenting marathon.  Anything less will not sustain for the long haul.

With a wealth of discussion questions at the end of each chapter and plenty of space for notes, How to Win Your Child’s Heart for Life is a resource for personal study, for small group discussion, or for a challenging parenting class.  Positive and upbeat, these eight strategies are a great beginning for developing more intentional and biblical parenting practices.

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This book was provided by the author in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for over 25 years, and their four children are growing up at an alarming rate. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

43 thoughts on “Eight Parenting Strategies”

  1. Thank you, Michele, for this wonderful review today!
    You are one of the kindest and most gracious bloggers that I know.
    I pray that God will bless you and your ministry and give you much joy in serving Him.
    You are a gift to my life!

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  2. Ouch, I needed this. I HAVE needed help for, well….ever. It’s like things started out joyful and purposeful in our home school and we hit a wall with my daughter’s reading ability. She gets so mad at herself, mad at me…and it makes the atmosphere thick. I have tried backing off, lightening the mood etc but it is still hard. It is hard to be dad, mom, & teacher to all 3 (my husband is gone a LOT). Thank you for this review/advice, Michele!!!

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    1. Meg, I have so much respect for you in all your roles. I’ve been homeschooling four, then three, and now two boys for the past 15 years, and I’ve breathed that thick air of conflict in the home. Lord, encourage Meg today. Give her wisdom to know how to defuse the conflict with her daughter so that they can look at the problem together as a team instead of as adversaries. May she feel and know the blessing of all that she is doing for her kids.

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  3. Michele,
    All great strategies. I found capturing teachable moments with my teenagers incredibly challenging because sometimes they don’t open up much. I found I had to be present a large percentage of the time in order to be fortunate to capture that one, small teachable moment. All good advice here…
    Blessings,
    Bev

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Where was this wealth of helpful hints about 38 years ago?

    Sigh.

    Somehow we made it through.

    But I really loved #4 and #6, Michele …

    And I try to live out #8 these days as they are mamas, too …

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  5. I always enjoy reading your reviews Michele – they are so full of wonderful insights!

    Congratulations – I’m thrilled to share that you are this week’s Friend Of The Week at Friendship Friday at Create With Joy!

    We’re thrilled to celebrate you and hope you have a fabulous time connecting to friends old and new! #223

    Happy Mothers Day as well! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Michele, I was so excited to see that you’re reviewing Melanie’s book because I’ve been too busy lately to keep up with things. (Wasn’t able to participate in her launch.) I’m so glad to read about it, sounds like a helpful book for sure.

    And I was EXACTLY like you during the first one of two years of parenting. It’s surprising my kids don’t have some kind of lasting trauma due to my skipping from plan to plan, from book to book every other week or so. Strategies for desperate times, indeed. If only I’d had a wise mother like Melanie Redd back then! (I did have a sweet sister-in-law.)

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  7. This is such amazing advice! And I see that you were featured on a blog hop this week- I can’t remember which one!- but I was thinking, “Hey! I ‘know’ her!” Anyway, Happy Mother’s Day!

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  8. These sound like great tips, and I would love to see them fleshed out more in the book. I particularly appreciate the points about saying YES when we can and letting our homes be filled with laughter. While our priority may be our children’s holiness over their happiness, I want them to have a happy childhood, too.

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    1. You sound like my husband! He has done such a good job over the years of holding me to the path of working toward my kids’ holiness and not obsessing over their happiness. And, like you, he loves it when they can also be happy!

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  9. Lovely Michelle …
    Her book is a worthy read.
    Thanks for the patience you put in doing these reviews.
    God bless you friend

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  10. Michele, I’m your next door neighbor in RaRaLink up- and this post is exactly what I needed right now! I love how God does that. I needed a more “do-able” strategy as we transition from school into summer and I’ve felt so behind the 8-ball. In fact with how this school year has ended I feel like I’ve failed them. This was just the encouragement AND direction I needed. Thank you! Chin up and pressing onward.

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  11. This sounds like a good read, Michele. Honestly, my husband and I have never read any parenting books and we’ve wondered if we should. Perhaps this would be a good one to check out.

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  12. Hi, Michele. 🙂 I didn’t realize Melanie had written a book…and it looks like a great one. And, thank you for your encouraging words on parenting from a been-there-done-that perspective. I love the sound of boys laughing too. 🙂 I’ve got two young adults, and one who is about to go into high school…and, oh how quickly time moves. “The days are long, but the years are short.” ~ Thanks for sharing, Michele! ((xoxo))

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  13. I love the principles that Melanie writes about in her new book, Michele. I’m so glad you’ve given us a review of this great book. I’ll have to check it out as a resource to give other young moms that I work with. Thanks so much!

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