Parenting & Discipline Strategy For Adults

Parenting & Discipline Strategy For Adults

The #1 Parenting and Discipline Strategy 

Every momma wants to know the #1 parenting and discipline strategy for her kids.

We all want that secret sauce to create the best kids.  You know what I am talking about.

Because we fiercely love our children, we moms desperately want to do this thing right.

So we search and search for the parenting and discipline strategy that will make our kids behave and turn into who we want them to be.

We have to, right?  I mean, really…

Who wants their kid to grow up to be a psychopath or self-centered narcissist?  

The world tells us that it is all up to us.  That raising a functioning adult (or at least avoiding the psychopath part) requires a specific parenting and discipline strategy.

 

The Elusive Perfect Parenting & Discipline Strategy

Good for you if you are the lucky mom who has found that secret sauce.

If your kid is one of the “good” ones who makes you look good wherever you go, this post is not for you.

Godspeed, Lucky Lady.

Now, if you are like me and so many other moms in this world, it’s time for us to get real.

Being a mom is a wonderful experience.  It grows us in so many ways.  But it is in no way easy or simple.

As I have learned the hard way, parenting requires adults to demonstrate the discipline and patience we desperately want to impart to our kids. 

That takes work and effort.  And a good look in the mirror.

 

Parenting & Disciplline Strategies

First Parenting Instinct: Reaction

When our children are “disobedient,” often our first instinct is to use our default parenting and discipline strategy.

If you were raised in a traditional household or the United States of America, your norm for parenting may tell you to put a stop to bad behavior ASAP.

This was certainly the case for me.  Maybe you can relate.

In the face of outward disobedience, you may offer a quick and stern warning.

“No, ma’am! You do not behave that way!”

And many times that approach to parenting children appears on the outside to work.

Our kids acquiesce in the face of fear and the negative behavior stops, at least momentarily.

But what about our kids who are wired-differently?

 

God looks at the heart.  1 Samuel 16:7

devotional bible study special needs moms

No Room For Mistakes

When my oldest, now 14, was little, any hint of disobedience was met with that firm approach that allowed no room for mistakes.

While I was a very loving, highly-engaged, and super fun mom, I was also parenting my kid from a place of fear.

I feared that if I did not approach outward disobedience swiftly, I would be opening the door to having “that” kid.

And that would be my fault.  I would be a bad mom.

And honestly, is that a surprise?

Outward behavior is generally seen as the be all end all within the church and our culture.  Regardless of whether or not we admit it…

For me, the message was loud and clear that the slightest crack of the bad behavior door was unacceptable.

The messages that tell us…

1. That our value as a mother is based on our kids’ behavior

She had better nip that behavior in the bud.

2. A good mom has a good kid.

 The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

3. A good kid behaves the way all the adults around them wants.

You need to give your Aunt Sally a hug regardless of how you feel.  It’s just polite.

I think I just threw up a bit.  Ugh.

Ultimate Goal?

But is the ultimate goal of our parenting to simply stop bad behavior in the moment?

I am not so sure anymore.

Friend, there is a problem with this “nip behavior in the bud” parenting and discipline mentality.

The problem lies when our pattern of parenting is based only on reaction to perceived misbehavior.  Without stopping to make sure our perception is correct.  When we get so caught up in our kids’ outward behavior that we fail to reach their hearts.

 

  • When we assume a child who is screaming bloody murder in the church foyer is just being a brat.
    • Except he is overwhelmed by all of the sounds, smells and fear of being left with strangers
  • When we judge that teen girl because she is dressed all in black covered in piercings and dark eyeliner
    • We fail to ask her about her broken heart over never being enough

God looks at the heart, right?

Rally Mission | Why I Started

Raising Kids to Be Adults

God willing, our kids are going to spend roughly 75-80% of their lives as adults.  So when we are looking for the most effective parenting and discipline strategies, we need to keep our end goal in mind.

Let’s set our kids up for a healthy future by teaching them that outward behavior is not the be all end all.

It’s their hearts that we must be after.

A child who feels loved, valued and connected to the adults around them feels safe to process through the heart issues that precede negative behaviors.

Let’s learn to seek relationship with our children regardless of what things look like on the outside.

As a believer in Jesus, I cannot strive for anything less than a relationship-based approach.  That is what the Gospel is all about.

In spite of our outward ugly behavior, God seeks us through relationship with His Son.  We are internally changed through relationship, not punishment.

 

The Greatest Discipline Strategy?  Mom’s Grace

The greatest parenting and discipline strategy is for the adults in this world.  We need to train ourselves to see behind the behavior and seek our kids’ hearts.

A mom willing to look beyond the parenting paradigm.  The mom willing to “look bad” in front of others who want her to “nip that behavior in the bud.”

You will know her.

She is the mom whose kid is screaming and melting down in the middle of the grocery store.

Instead of dripping with sweat worrying about what you think, she is offering her overwhelmed and exhausted child grace.

And when that momma hears an old lady saying something like,

“She had better get that kid under control,”

That momma could care less.

She knows the truth of humanity’s brokenness is covered in the grace of God through relationship with His Son.  Grace and truth.

Let’s go with God on this one, Friend.  For the sake of our kids, let’s go with God.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

Teen Mood Swings & Mom Mindset

Teen Mood Swings & Mom Mindset

Teen Mood Swings

Parents have been navigating teen mood swings since the creation of man.  Generations of moms have been plagued by the hormonal roller coaster of their teens’ meltdowns.  I’m no exception.

Many have heard me share about navigating my adopted son’s volatile behaviors.  

It was our family’s brutal journey with him that led me to a life completely shattered.  And then God rebuilding me into a completely different parent and teacher.

For more about our story through adoption and special needs, start here.

My tween and teen girls- Lots of teen mood swings

However, it is not only my son who needs support with his mood swings.

Like generations of girls before her, my oldest daughter eventually morphed into a young lady.  While she is generally a very respectful girl, she is still a teen.

Hormones come with the territory.  We adult women suffer from the occasional hormonal rage.

Mom mood swings are real.  Yikes!!  Am I right?

So understandably, my girl and her younger sister experience teen mood swings and meltdowns every once in awhile.

No big deal.  Right?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you which allows me to continue offering as much free content as possible. I appreciate your support.

Raising teen girls.  Parent & discipline strategies to deepen your relationship.

Mexican food and Moods

Let me share a story with you.   About a year ago, I took my girls out on a dinner date.  Of course, we all agreed on Mexican.  Who doesn’t love chips and salsa?

The date was supposed to be just my middle daughter and me.  However, at the last minute my oldest begged to join us.  Middle graciously agreed that Big Sis could tag along on our date night.

Fast forward about an hour.  We had enjoyed our chips, salsa, queso, nachos and a burrito.  (I have to clarify that we shared.  Just sayin.)

Lots of silly conversations.  It was a success…  Until…It wasn’t.

Teen Moodiness to Meltdowns in 30 Seconds Flat

In what seemed like a thirty second window of time, my oldest daughter shifted.  She was suddenly sucked into the cyclone of teen mood swings.

Her face changed… she was no longer laughing at my stories about how Aunty Jamie used to be obsessed with Davy Jones from The Monkees

Anyone else remember The Monkees on Nickelodeon after school?

“Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees!”

“Daydream believer and a homecoming queen…”

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Nobody cares?

Ok… apparently my cousins, my sisters and I had strange taste in entertainment.  We still had tons of fun growing up.

Back to the story.   My girls had been asking questions about my life as a kid and we were having fun and laughing.  So it took me off guard when my oldest suddenly shut down.

positive parenting teen girls, christian parenting, raising teen girls

Teen Attitude and Complaining 

We were chomping down on our chips and salsa when she began complaining about “being full” and wanting me to drive her home.  I asked her what was wrong.

Classic teen response,

“Nothing.”

Pushing her further, (I knew she wasn’t telling me the truth), she responded with,

“I’m just tired.”

Devotional Christian Special Needs Mom

Mom Mindset & Mood Swings

‘Oh! That’s how she is going to play it. Great!’

Frustration was beginning to creep up as the possibilities ran through my head.   My initial reaction was to become a little P.O.ed at her. 

See the shift?  I am just as guilty of my own meltdowns when things don’t go my way.   That’s for another post.

‘Great!  After she begged her little sister to jump in on our scheduled date night… she gets what she wanted.  She got her yummy Mexican food and now she is done with us.’

Let’s be real… teens do have a knack for being just a little ego-centric.  I couldn’t have been that off in my assessment of her new shift in attitude.  Right?

Disappointment started to rise up in me.  Deep down I feared that my daughter’s mood swing might possibly ruin her sister’s date night.  And we all know how desperately we mommas try to keep everyone happy.  For more on how to deal with sibling rivalry, listen to Episode 27.  

My Teen’s Moodiness Was No Excuse For Mine

As the adult I had to make a decision.  My initial impulse was to lay into her about ruining her little sister’s date time and being a bit selfish.

But I didn’t. Not this time.

In the past, I likely would have pointed out her self-centered motives, her attitude and mood swing.   My oldest errs on the side of taking too much responsibility for others’ reactions and responses.

Because of this, she would have likely shut down and apologized profusely before I finished even speaking.  Sadly, that typical response would have likely satisfied me at one point in time.

I mean, who doesn’t appreciate it when anyone takes responsibility for their actions?

Our Kids Shouldn’t Always Apologize

An apology would have been a satisfactory response.  Not always.

In this case, I could have slammed a door on our relationship.  Even if just temporarily.   Fortunately, this is not how the interaction went down. Praise God!

By God’s mercy, I have learned a lot over these past several years navigating my son.  God has taught me so much more than just how to handle a special needs kid meltdown.

I’ve learned how to navigate relational conflict.  Period.

Teen Mood Swings as Information

My daughter was having her own version of a meltdown.   I know what to do when one of my cubs has a meltdown.

No, it wasn’t a drop-down kicking and screaming meltdown that the whole restaurant was privy to.  However, it was my teenage daughter’s (lite) version.

Mom’s parenting growth mindset

So I made a mental pivot from the perspective that told me she was being willfully selfish.   My mind had to drop the deep-rooted belief that all outward behavior is willful and intentionally ugly.

Fortunately, my mindset shift opened my eyes to see so much more behind the behavior.  I thought to myself,

“Something just happened. She had a thought or something just came to mind and she is responding. Let me investigate.”

raising teen girls, tweens, christian parenting, mom

4 Steps to look Behind the Behavior: My Teen’s Meltdown

Enter in the Four Steps to Capture & Influence Your Child’s Heart, Beliefs & Behavior.

The reality is this.  After all the drama and the hell we went through with our son, God has allowed me to completely reframe my parenting.

Ultimately, this has impacted my response to outward behavior.  In my parenting course , Barely Surviving To Outright Thriving, I dive deeply into how to use the four steps.

It started with my son when he was throwing meltdowns and tantrums.  In that moment with my girl I realized that is exactly what I needed to do with her.  So, here goes.

christian moms and teens, trauma informed parenting

4 Steps To Discipline Teens Effectively

Step 1: Relationship

I looked directly at my girly and made eye contact.

Step 2: Provide Emotional Vocabulary & Reflect

“Hey, What happened, Sweet Girl?  You went from happy and laughing to ‘shut down’.  What are you thinking?  You look like you are feeling sad.”

Step 3: Provide Physical Input

I rocked her in my arms like a baby.  No.  That totally did not happen.

Step 4: Shift Attention & Distract

No.  Didn’t have to do this one either.

In a nutshell, I walked through steps 1 and 2.   I connected with her through relationship.  Then I offered her an emotional vocabulary and reflected back what I saw.  Suddenly, everything changed.

Devotional Christian Special Needs Mom

The Result

Her defensive wall of perceived teenage mood swing crumbled almost immediately.   My girl opened up to us.

“I just heard a song that reminded me of Grandma,”

She managed to confess as she held back tears.   Mom had passed suddenly about 9 months prior.  My girl had been struggling terribly with her grief.

Her sudden change of mood had nothing to do with selfishly “using” her sister and me for Mexican food.  My perception of her shift in attitude was actually sadness.

Traditional Parenting & Discipline Often Destroys

Had I engaged her through a more traditional lens,  I’d have blown it big time. 

The reality is that traditional forms of parenting (and edcuating) children tend to view “unacceptable” behaviors as problems to be eradicated.  Outward behavior is seen as the be all end all.  This sets up parents and educators to view success as the child who holds it together on the outside.

Had I approached her that way, I’d have missed out on an opportunity to be a safe place for my girl.  It could’ve been a lost opportunity to be her trusted ally who ultimately points her to Jesus.  

Praise the Lord that I didn’t jump to conclusions… at least that time.  (I’m a work in progress.)

Devotional Christian Special Needs Mom

Meltdowns Don’t Cease Simply Because We Age

The reality is that we all have meltdowns… ALL.OF.US.  Adults and children alike.  Adults lose it all the time.

Grown-up meltdowns simply “look” different from teen and toddler meltdowns.  Hopefully?  Maybe?   We moms blow it daily, right?

Have you snapped at your child or hubby because you have reached the end of your rope?  I know I do.  It’s called an adult temper tantrum.  There is no judgement in this.  We are all just human beings living in a broken world.

Meltdowns simply appear differently depending upon the variables. We will all have tantrums and mood swings until the day we die.  However, there is incredible grace for us all.

christian special needs mom bible study and parenting course

Barely Suriving? Here’s What To Do!

Whether a toddler tantrum, an elementary-age explosion, or a teen mood swing, we need to offer grace.  We moms can choose to equip our children to work through the thughts and feelings that lead to those tough behaviors.

Then we can watch them smile and say, “Thank you, Mom.”

Eventually.  Hopefully?  Be encouraged, Mom Friend.   Join the 5 Day Devotional For the Christian Momma.  Toddler to teen.  Learn about:

  • Executive Functioning
  • God’s Design of the Brain
  • How The Gospel Points Us To A Radically Different Approach To Parenting,
  • & More!

Or if you are exhausted by the daily stress of meltdowns, disobedience, and downright exhuastion, check out my new parenting course.   Barely Surviving to Outright Thriving, will equip you to experience freedom and joy in your family again.

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Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

Equipping Our Kids – Identity in Christ

Equipping Our Kids – Identity in Christ

Our Identity In Christ

In my 15 years of experience in children’s ministry, I’ve noticed a pattern related to our identity in Christ.

As we share Jesus with children (and newer believers), we tend to use the same verbiage over and over again.  Some would use the term “Christianese” to describe the language used in Christian circles and in ministry.

Intentional Language

In the church, this language begins when our children are young. We start intentionally teaching preschool-age children using and repeating key phrases.  We choose specific truths from the Bible and repeatedly use those ideas to convey the message of the Gospel.

“Jesus is your friend forever.”

“God loves you so much.”

“When you are afraid, you can trust Jesus.”

As our children grow older, we may beef-up our language.

“Do all things through Christ Who strengthens you.”

“You are covered in Christ.”

“Know who you are in Christ.”

Truth of Scripture- Yes!

The key wording we use to express biblical ideas are wonderful and based on the Truth of Scripture.  However, I’ve observed a shortcoming in our efforts to grow our children (and often new adult believers) in the Truth of the Gospel.  The apostle Paul reminds the early church:

“I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it.” 1 Corinthians 3:2

By the term “milk” Paul is describing the way in which he initially shared the gospel with the church.   Specifically, that when he first told this new church about the good news of Jesus, he approached them with what they could digest at the time. The milk he shared with them were the basic truths about Jesus.

An example of the milk we may share with children in our modern churches might be:

“Jesus is your friend forever.”

Reminding our preschoolers and younger children of this is such a great thing!  It meets our kids where they are and this is awesome!!   But… this is just the beginning.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I receive a marginal commision on qualifying purchases.  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, this allows me to continue offering as much free content as possible. I appreciate your support.

christian moms, parenting, identity in christ, special needs

Cornerstone Truth

The truth of God’s love for His people is expressed in these simple expressions that we share with young children.  These basic truths are the foundation of our faith.  Using this basic language with our children is the crucial foundation to a deeper understanding of the gospel.

Paul would not have used the term “milk” to describe the way he presented the Gospel during the infancy of the Corinthian church if it were not appropriate to do so.

However, the pattern that I have seen often in the church (and that includes me) is that we fail to move from “milk” of the Gospel to the “meat.” This lack of depth was glaringly obvious in my own home one evening a few years back.

He Uses All Things For the Good…

Our family was in a deep season of chaos, stress and growth.

My daughters had both entered the world of navigating their own friendships. That evening one of my girls was struggling with a hurt relationship and feelings of rejection. It was one of those moments in my momma journey that I’ll remember for a long time.

How I wished that I could “fix” it and take away her pain! That power was and is not mine. I comforted her as best I could but ultimately, I had to point her to Him.

What do we want our children to absorb?

Here’s the deal… our children are going to grow up receiving a multitude of ideas.  What do we want them to absorb? Do we want them to soak up the expectations of a world which tells them that to be valuable they need to:

  • Be a certain size,
  • Wear a specific brand of clothing,
  • Have the latest phone and
  • Avoid the uncool and unpopular in fear of being ostracized by their peers?

What do we want our kids to believe about themselves?

The Truth of Their Value

As Christian parents, we want them to know the beautiful truths of Scripture. Furthermore, don’t we want them to grow more deeply in their understanding of the truths we began teaching them when they were young?

So many of us say that we want our kids to know the love of Christ.    We fiercely want them to know what it means to be in relationship with Him.  However, as I realized in my own home that night, we are going to need to be intentional if we want to truly equip them.

“Who you are in Christ is what matters,” I told her.

“Remember who you are in Christ,” I would implore with both of my girls.

Behind closed doors, I desperately prayed for both of my girls to know how loved they are by God. Earnestly, I pleaded with God to allow my children to know their value because of Jesus. I begged Him to make their faith their own, to please give them the gift of knowing who they were because of Him.

Suddenly, it hit me.

  • Who am I in Christ?
  • What exactly does that mean?
  • Do I even know who I am in Christ, Lindsay?
  • How do I expect my children to cling to that truth of their Identity in Christ if I am not exactly sure myself?

I need to find the verses of Scripture that tell me more about my Identity in Christ.’ 

Did I Know My Identity in Christ?

I had been in church for almost three decades prior to that night.  In depth Bible Study, line-by-line inductive study, was my jam for years. I knew a lot of truth and a lot of the Bible.  In fact, I had chunks of Scripture memorized because my girls and I had made Scripture memory work part of our homeschool time.

Yet, when it came down to it, I really wasn’t clear of the specifics. Where did that idea come from? How could I equip my girls to know deeply that their identity is found in Jesus alone?

No longer were the illustrated picture story bibles going to do.  So… I did some digging with intention and created these Scripture printables.

identity in christ for kids printables

The Offensive Weapon

It was time to teach them to use God’s Word as the offensive weapon it has the power to be. They needed to guard their minds against the lies of this world.  It was time to equip them on a practical level, with the Sword of the Spirit.

On A Treasure Hunt

I created a personalized printable of the Scriptures for each of my children and framed and displayed them in their rooms. These reminders have been a source of strength for each of them as they navigate the world. Initially, I had them read aloud straight from the printable so as to embed the truth deep in their minds.

Repetition is an awesome and simple memory tool. To this day, when I sneak in their rooms to get one more snuggle before bed, I use it as a tool.  I pray the Scriptures out loud over them and now over my son.  Check out the Simple 6 Step Scripture Memory Plan here.  

Identity in Christ Scripture Download

Oh Friend, I am convinced that all of us need to know who we are in Christ. Often, we need encouragement and practical tools to help us remember.  This is ok.

There are incredible blessings that come from having our identity based on Christ and not on what the world says about us. However, it is almost impossible to recognize and live in that freedom if we don’t know what Scripture really says about it. Let’s equip our kids and ourselves to face this world with confidence because of Jesus.  We are in this together!

Sign up to access the free Identity In Christ printables.

  • Repeat them aloud at mealtimes
  • Insert your child’s name while praying with them at bed time.
  • Share them with one another in the car.
  • In the hard moments, refer back to those Scriptures… tease through them with your children.

Equip Your Children with The Truth in Fun

There is nothing like having fun times of connection with our children!!  So why not add Scripture Memory into the mix using this Simple 6 Step Scripture Memory Plan for Kids of All Ages!  This is the exact system I’ve used with my kids for years as part of our homeschool day.  

Whether you homeschool or not, this multisensory scripture memory plan is so easy to implement in just 5 minutes a day.  And it’s so much silly fun!  Click here to read on, Sweet Friend.  

scripture memory plan for kids

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

Parenting Introverted Children Well

Parenting Introverted Children Well

Introverted Children are Everywhere

All moms know how challenging, confusing and exhausting parenting can be.  However, the ups and the downs are all part of a beautiful journey that grows us as women, as wives, friends, as Christians and of course as mothers.   With that in mind,  I’ll never forget the afternoon several years ago, when I discovered that I was raising an introverted child.  My sweet friend Amy made me aware of the obvious truth that I had been so blind to for so long.  She opened my eyes to the reality that there are introverted children (and adults) everywhere.

Lindsay, she is an introvert.  She was just upstairs with the girls.  She needs time to regroup.  She is an introvert.

 

Introverted Children and What is Introversion?

According to verywellmind.com, introverted children (and adults) may be described this way:

Introverts tend to be more quiet, reserved, and introspective. Unlike extroverts who gain energy from social interaction, introverts have to expend energy in social situations. After attending a party or spending time in a large group of people, introverts often feel a need to “recharge” by spending a period of time alone.

 

My Extraverted Mindset Needed a Shift

As simple as that sounds, it took me quite some time to wrap my extraverted mind around this concept.  I am an extraverted woman who was raised around extraverted women.  It wasn’t sitting well with me that my my second daughter was showing signs of being “shy.”  (By the way, being introverted is not the same as being shy.) 

At the time. I didn’t understand or appreciate her innate wiring.   We live in a world that celebrates the social butterfly.  Those who speak up and advocate loudly are the ones who tend to be exalted.  In school, we show signs of our “smarts” by speaking up in class.  Kids are pushed to have lots of friends and are seen as mentally unstable if they enjoy solitude.

A homeschooling mom swimming against the current of traditional public school and status quo, I had somewhat aggressively been doing everything in my power to render the “socialization” argument moot.  My oldest daughter, like myself, is an extrovert and has always had tons of friends and play dates scheduled.   (I now realize that so much of that was rooted in my own insecurities.  A story for another time.)  So when my middle daughter showed signs of being shy and sensitive, I didn’t get it.

 

Thank God for Introverted Mom Friends

I am so grateful for Amy’s words that day.  We had been at her house for about 45 minutes.  At the time, I had just my two girls as we had yet to adopt our son at that point.  The kids were upstairs playing with Amy’s three daughters.  Amy and I were enjoying some downtime and were chit chatting and breathing in the adult conversation.  And then… I saw my little girl creep down the carpeted stairway and tiptoe over to sit next to me.

Looking back, I am embarrassed and ashamed at my initial response.

Honey, go and play.  You are here to play with the girls.

I don’t know what it was about that moment.  Like a stick in the mud, I was stuck in this belief that the value of a child is dependent upon how many friends he or she has.

This is me being really transparent.  I grew up in a dysfunctional and very parent-absent home.  We moved 14 times before I graduated high school.  In hindsight, I think that as a child and teen I depended upon my social world to give me purpose and value.  Like so many areas of parenting, God was helping me to work through my own junk in my journey with my precious girl.

New Perspective

Amy’s words were used by God to remove the scales from my eyes.  He was teaching me about my introverted child and my broken perceptions.

Lindsay, she is an introvert.

I’ve told Amy a billion times that I will never forget that day.  Her words propelled me down the path of reading everything I could get my hands on in regards to introversion and extraversion.  Being an extravert, I had a pretty solid grasp of what that meant.  However, I was clueless as to how introversion was all around me.  What I realized is that I had misunderstood behaviors and interactions I had with so many people throughout my life.

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Susan Cain’s Quiet

One of the first books that I read was Susan Cain‘s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.  Oh my word!  That book was so insightful and taught me so much about my daughter, my sister, my husband, my father, my father-in-law and so many introverted children that were around me almost daily.  I later purchased Ms. Cain’s other book for kids:  Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverted Kids.   

Reading & Seeking Advice from Introverted Women

 

Ultimately, I have spent several years learning more about introverted children and the uniqueness of all of our children.  I have created A Heart for All Students to support our children who each have their own gifts, passions, talents and different ways in which they process the world.

My perspective of the value of the neurodiversity of God’s people and specifically my own kids, has exponentially grown.  However, as so many moms know, we must continue to seek out support from others who have gone before us in parenting and in experience.

Last week I decided to ask the amazing women in the Private A Heart for All Students Facebook Group to answer the following question:

What would you like parents of introverts to know in order to best support and love their own introverted children?

 

Introverted Momma Katherine:

Give them breaks! One of the best coping skills I gave my kid was an “escape room” or way out of anywhere we went. He learned he could step out and then I challenged him to come back in 5 or 10 min later. Eventually, he was able to take his own breaks or to tell me he needed one so I could help find him a quiet place.  

– Katherine Fain, Homeschool mom of 4

Introverted Momma Cheryl:

Stop making them socialize all the time. Encourage them to socialize with the one or two people they’re comfortable with so they don’t withdraw entirely, but them let them take breaks even from that.

-Cheryl Springer, Extroverted Introvert (INFJ) mom of 1 very introverted, very freaking smart (INTJ) teen daughter

Introverted Momma Meridith:

I let my introvert socialize on his terms and I don’t force it.   Personally, I definitely have some introvert qualities.  Often, I  feel the need to recharge with alone time, but being around the right people can also give me energy.  I’m also not good with forced interaction and am the one digging through her purse or going to the bathroom during meet and greets at church. 😬

-Meridith Curran, Homeschool mom of 2 (with one on the way)

Introverted Children

Introverted Momma Colleen:

Not forcing kids to talk to people is a big one. It’s important to recognize that a longer period of time with a lot of people gets overwhelming. Sometimes an introvert struggles with including themselves.  Encouraging them by helping them take a step to get involved with other people is critical. For example, walking with them to other kids and start a conversation that can include them, or introduce them and ask if your kid can play, etc.

-Colleen Webster, introverted  homeschool mom of 4, 2 of whom are introverts

Introverted Momma Melany: 

I think it’s important to continually consider your social encounters and your motives for them. Did you say “yes” to the third night out this week because you felt obligated or pressured to please people?  Or because it’s what’s best? I’m a recovering people pleaser, and sometimes that even overpowers my introverted qualities.  So I’m learning to not be afraid to say no!  And I echo all the comments above about not forcing speaking and physical contact on a child.

-Melany Boltjes INFJ (extroverted introvert) mother of one introverted little girl, Virtual Marketing and Administrative Consultant, and wife of a pastor in training.  www.melbeevirtualsolutions.com

Introverted Momma Melanie:

I’ve found that sometimes my children need “coaching” in what to say. What is your favorite subject in school is a hard one for them–we homeschool and don’t really separate our subjects. We talked and now they have answers.  And I have also found that many times it is the adult who needs the help 🙂 Adults can ask confusing or strange questions. You really need to know a child well to ask good questions that make them feel comfortable and able to talk to you. My children are shy to most people, but put them in a room with the “right” people and they will not stop talking!  The same goes for me.

– Melanie Fulton, Introverted Mom of 4 Blessings, The Math Profs 

Introverted Momma Heather:

I am very introverted and am also a pastor’s wife which can be a challenge because I have to get out of my comfort zone a lot!!!!  Two of my kids are also introverted, one is on the spectrum.  Parents need to realize that their children are not meaning to be rude when they don’t engage in a crowd.

Heather continues,

They are seriously in a life and death struggle in their minds, and often overwhelmed and on the verge of a panic attack. Let your kids engage on their terms. Reassure them that they are safe. Let them stick extra close because at that point you are their safety. Their minds and bodies are telling them to run and hide.  However, they know you are also safety so let them cling or hide behind you if they need.

 

When one of mine was little he used to climb under my skirt if we were in a crowd. Rather awkward, but it was that or he would have a meltdown on the spot. As he got bigger, he learned that my skirt was not an option so he would hug me from behind and bury his face in my back. We would just sway and I could carry on the necessary conversations and he was okay.

– Heather Pittman, Introverted pastor’s wife and mom of 6 with 2 extremely introverted kids

Introverted Momma Jennifer:

I am an introvert. It’s ok if kids want to play alone at times and it’s ok if you aren’t the life of the party. Social situations can be super draining for me, so i have to limit how often I commit to outings. I do better in a very small group of people.   Teaching social skills to introverted kids is very important.  My mom did not teach me any social skills so making friends was very hard for me. I have had to learn on my own, in my adult life how to talk to people.

– Jennifer Reed, Introverted mom of 4

Introverted Children

Introverted “Fur” Momma, Corinne:

Last but not least, a sweet new friend, Corinne, has a sweet story to share.  She is a “fur” momma who lived as an introverted child.  Here is what she has to share.

When I was younger, I was the only one in the family who liked music and reading to relax. So naturally, my parents thought that everytime I would go into my room to listen to music, that I was sick.

It took many years of explaining that I wasn’t sick and that I just truly enjoyed being alone. My family likes to talk, which is exhausting for introverted children.

It’s so much better now and my parents are a lot more understanding, but growing up, all I ever wanted was acceptance that it was ok that I was not like them and for them to stop worrying about me.
My brightest ideas were borne out of spending time on my own, when I was single or when I traveled alone, unlike an extrovert who prefers to bounce ideas off other people.

If I hadn’t stayed true to myself and just caved in to the pressure of “pretending” to enjoy socializing, then I wouldn’t be where I am now – a place of contentment, peace and fulfillment.

-Corinne Rootsey, I blog about personal finance and wellness at https://myjearney.com/

One Last Thing About Introverted Children… Personality Assessments… a Great Tool for All

You may have noticed that some of my AHFAS introverted children experts had interesting letter combinations behind their names.  These ladies have found incredible value and insight into how God has wired them using a personality assessment tool called the Myers-Briggs.    I was introduced to the Myers-Briggs personality assessment ten years ago at church and found it to be very insightful.  Like so many resources available to us today, this assessment does not define anyone of us, but is a tool to better understand oneself and others.    Check it out and let me know what you think.  🙂

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

Do You Have Parenting Figured Out?

Do You Have Parenting Figured Out?

“I will always need parenting help…”

One thing I have learned in this journey as a momma is that I will never have parenting figured out.  I will always need parenting help and that is ok, Friend.  God, in His mercy, allowed me to let go of the belief that I could do this thing perfectly on my own.   The journey to accept parenting help as necessary and vital to me and my family began with the adoption of my son.

Our boy rocked our world with his aggression, screaming, inability to focus for more than three seconds and his horrific insomnia.   In that 4 year battle searching for answers, I finally realized that I am not in control.  God is God and my job is to be a vessel used by Him to graciously point my kids to Him.  To have parenting figured out would allow me to depend on myself and my own wisdom.  He allows my limitations in parenting to lead me to Him.  I’m grateful for this provision, no matter how hard I fought it (and still sometimes continue to).  

Today I am honored to have a sweet momma share her story with you.  Ms. Carol Parker, a mom of three, shares her perspective of letting go of parenting.  Welcome to our community, Carol!!

This post contains Amazon affliliate links.  If you purchase any resources that I recommend using my links, I may receive a small commission from Amazon at no cost to you.  I will not ever recommend any product that I do not stand behind fully.  Thank you for your support.

Second Rodeo?

The other day, I saw a funny post by Simon Holland that read, “I didn’t realize I was supposed to know how to do everything by my second rodeo. That’s still a very low number of rodeos.”  I laughed.  As I kept scrolling I couldn’t help but wonder. 

“Do I believe I’m supposed to have my parenting figured out by now?” 

Third time’s a charm?

After my youngest was born, we had a number of extra pediatrician visits because he was struggling with jaundice. For some reason that day, I had a million questions for the doctor. After I was done with my speed round of “ask the doctor EVERYTHING,” I joked.  “If you didn’t know any better, you’d think this was my first baby.”  He laughed then assured me that my questions were welcomed.  He graciously told me that he was happy that he got “nerd out” and explain it all to me. 

The thing is, my other two children also struggled with jaundice.  Not only did I feel silly because this was baby number 3, but also because this was the third time I’d been through this exact medical issue.   My need for parenting help was still there.  

What sparked my embarrassment? 

Unfortunately, the knee jerk reaction I get when I tell people that I have 3 kids often the same. 

“Oh! Well, you know what you are doing!”   

“You’re a pro.”

Those comments leave me feeling like maybe I should be a pro, but really I’m figuring it out (messily) everyday. The reality of my life put up against their innocent comments makes me feel like a fraud.  And who wants to be a fraud when it comes to parenting?!! And this further feeds my need to at least seem like I have it ALL under control. 

But guess what – I’m not a parent who has it all figured out and all under control, and my guess is, neither are you. And that’s not a bad thing. 

Embrace the truth

What if, instead of being embarrassed, we chose to embrace the truth that we’re not supposed to have it all figured out.   Be ok with needing parenting help regardless of the number of children at our table or their ages? 

This whole parenting thing is a journey – a learning process where every kid in your care is different, even when they experience the same things (like jaundice in my case). So, ask all your questions. Ask for and accept help (often). And surround yourself with parents who are not ashamed to admit that they are also finding their way. 

Most importantly, let go of knowing it all and allow others to come alongside you to help you fill in the gaps. That’s what makes this journey great.

Thank you, Carol Parker, for being real and owning it!  We need more mommas like you in our communities.  Grateful.  

“Carol Parker is a mom of 3 beautiful babies. She is headed full force into toddlerhood and can’t wait to see what she learns about herself as she learns to parent her kiddos.”  To connect with Carol, email her directly at Hello@carolparkervs.com 

Lindsay’s Final Word: Releasing Unhealthy Expectations

For more about releasing the unrealistic expectations that we moms often place upon ourselves, check out this post where I share how I came to terms with some unhealthy expectations that were sucking the life out of me as a mom.

As my dear friend, Beth Matheson of Roots Down Deep and Wycliffe’s Women of the Word, so beautifully reminds us of how desperately we need parenting help.  “We don’t have what it takes.  Motherhood feels like too much because it is too much.  And that is okay… God’s calling is always an opportunity to learn to float, to be held up and carried along by Him.”

Let’s learn to float, Friends.  Let’s seek help as we parent.

Recommended Reads for Moms

Below I have listed two of my favorite books that have been used by God in my parenting and faith journey.   I am so grateful to embrace the fact that I am not expected to every master this mom thing on my own and that I will always need parenting help.  Support in community and most importantly, from God Himself.   

Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freemen

By far this is my number recommendation to moms and any woman who finds herself smothered by the to-dos and expectations of this life.  I can not more highly recommend this book to offer you encouragement, Biblical truth and wisdom as to how crucial it is to accept the gift of grace and live in it.  Life changing book!!

Triggers by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake 

I read this book in one of my darkest seasons with my son.  In my sleep-deprived, exhausted state, I experienced some rough moments of anger and rage at my son’s horrific behavior.  This was one of the first times that I read a book where Christian mommas were being real about their own struggle with anger and how to navigate this natural (but often life-sucking) emotion.  Grace upon grace.

Ultimate Productivity Bundle 2020

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

Special Needs Adoption Story- Podcast Interview

Special Needs Adoption Story- Podcast Interview

Our Special Needs Adoption Story: My First Interview

I don’t think I will ever forget that day when I shared my family’s story of special needs adoption publicly.  Click here to go straight to the interview.

It was about a year ago, on a Saturday morning.  I did my best to prepare myself mentally to share our story with my new friend, Rachel.

It seemed that we literally just arrived to this “other” side of that season of absolute hell.  Not an exaggeration.  I never thought we would make it out of that season.

And there I was, getting ready to share publicly what for years I had desperately tried to hide.

christian special needs mom, podcast interview

Special Needs Adoption: Hiding 

I remember grabbing my laptop from the dining room table and quickly sneaking up the stairs.  I prayed,

Please don’t see me.  Please don’t see me.

Apparently, I was still hiding.  Honestly, hiding had become a necessity.

Most moms know the intrusions that happen the second we get on the phone.

Or when we try to use the ladies’ room alone.

Inevitably, it happens.

MOM!!!  Mom!!  Mommy!!  Where are you?

And while the evading the typical kid interruptions was certainly part of my story, it was for a more profound reason that I needed to hide that morning.

Honestly, any mom raising a child who struggles with executive functioning issues knows that her child’s interruptions are rarely benign.

They are typically explosive.  Yes, we had definitely made HUGE strides in the expected number of volatile meltdown detours.

However, there was still the possibility of at least one that hour.   I needed to prepare.

christian special needs mom, podcast interview

The Closet As A Refuge

Once on the landing of the second floor, I held my breath and tiptoed into my master bedroom.

Locking the door behind me, I settled myself down in the middle of my walk-in closet.

Yep.

Nestled in a pile of jeans, dresses, and shirts that apparently I liked enough to try on that week, I sat.

Clearly I didn’t like them enough to put them back on their respective hangers, but that is beside the point.

Learning to Be Prepared

Earlier that morning, I had dragged my teal cushioned ottoman into my closet in preparation for that moment.

Yep… the outside-the-box mother that I have become transformed the ottoman as the perfect “desk” for my laptop.

And… it fit perfectly in my closet.

Christian special needs parenting, adhd, autism, adoption

The Space to Share Our Special Needs Adoption Story

The reason behind the extreme precautions?

‘Lindsay, why were you hiding in your closet?’

Well, that would be because of my son.

I hid in my closet in order to share my family’s story… because of my son.

Relying on uninterrupted time is never a wise decision in my house.

Adding that extra layer of sound-proofing in the event of one of his full blown meltdowns was an absolute essential last summer.

The Interview- Mom to Mom

My now sweet friend, Rachel Olson of the Sweetest and Toughest Podcast, interviewed me that day… we discussed so much.

when traditional discipline doesn't work

Hidden Special Needs Exist

Mommas parenting children with cognitive differences are in every community.

Often, however, they are isolated and alone.  I know because I was and am one of them.

Except now I don’t hide in shame and judgement.

This is why I am sharing EVERY valuable strategy that I WISH I had known when I was completely alone.

At one point, I was depressed and had no hope for our family’s future because I did not know what to do.

I’m sharing because somewhere today there is a momma hiding in her closet.

Except she is not hiding for an interview, she is hiding because she cannot bear to face another day living in a warzone.

Share this episode of The Sweetest & Toughest job with her and let her know that there is so much hope!

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.