Are You the Parent of a Teen in Crisis?

Interview with Author and Parent Stacy Lee Flury

Today I have a special treat for my blog subscribers. It is my interview with author Stacy Lee Flury, author of the life-changing devotional titled Turning the Tide of Emotional Turbulence. If you are the parent of a teen in crisis or know a teen in crisis, you will especially benefit from Stacy’s insights during this interview.  

NOTE: There is no podcast to accompany this week’s post.  

MARYANN:
Stacy, welcome to my blog! I am so honored to have you here today. Please tell us a little about yourself and how you came to write the exceptional and much-needed devotional titled Turning the Tide of Emotional Turbulence.

STACY:
Thank you for your invitation. To share a little about myself, I have been married for 37 years, have two daughters, two grandchildren, and one dog and three cats. I have been involved in children and youth ministries for over 15 years and now sing on the worship team at my local church and blog to parents who are hurting.

Ten years ago, my youngest daughter started to exhibit some troubling and concerning issues.  As she aged, they became worse, and we did not understand the root of where they were coming from.  Some of these problems were self-injury, sub-culture identities, gender issues, porn, risk-taking and destructive behaviors, such as depression and suicidal ideology, to name a few. 

It wasn’t until much later that she was diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder. Eventually, the problems escalated so much, we went into counseling.  That was the best step for me personally. 

Through an assignment given to me from my counselor, I was asked to write about my own depression that was brought on by parenting a child in constant crisis.  Those moments of journaling turned into a blog.  From there, God laid upon my heart that there were thousands of parents who were struggling and broken like I was in trying to help their child in crisis.  He encouraged me through confirmations to write a book.  A devotional book for parents just like me. That book is Turning the Tide of Emotional Turbulence.

MARYANN:
Parents of teens in crisis face struggles that most parents might consider foreign to their own parenting experience.  These are not the struggles involving ordinary teen challenges. They are far deeper, far more complex, and far more overwhelming. What advice would you give to a parent who has been blindsided by a teen in crisis? Where should that parent turn first?

STACY:
They first need to know that they are NOT alone.  Many parents such as myself, hid behind a facade to hide what was going on in their home and lives.  It felt shameful, embarrassing. We carried a lot of guilt and failure as parents.  It is not always the parent’s fault.  A teen and young adult are old enough to make some of their own choices and decisions.  Mind you, there are also some children who have severe illnesses and disorders.  Again, this is NOT the fault of the parent.  So release the guilt and blame on yourself. 

Secondly, you will go through various stages of emotions when your child’s issues are exposed and truth comes to the surface.  There is Shock, Unbelief, Anger, Sadness, Guilt, and a plethora of other emotions that you might not have dealt with before. These are all normal.  Connecting with a Counselor for yourself and for your child is the first place to start.  You need that support as well as your child in order to understand the condition of your child, what present things you need to address, and how to move forward with hope.  Also, it is imperative that you connect with the pastoral staff of your church.  If you don’t have any, I would advise to seek out one at a church.  Share only to those (with family and close friends) that you trust so that they can come along side of you and pray for you.  Once all of these are in place, you can start to prepare a plan that will guide your family to healing and restoration.  It will not happen overnight.  It takes time.  So bathe yourself in prayer and the Word.  God will help you along the way. 

MARYANN:
In your book, Stacy, you talk about the “punch of powerlessness”.  You brilliantly describe it as a “swarm of dizzy perpetrated by an unsettling dilemma.”  While we all have faced situations that sent us reeling, in what unique way does the “punch of powerlessness” affect the parent of a teen in crisis?

STACY:
If you have ever seen the Superman hero being hit hard with Cryptonite (the very thing that takes all of his power away), and he drops to the ground powerless, unable to move, holding his head in utter loss, that was me. Anytime something shocking happens, leaving you breathless, and dumbfounded by what you have heard or seen, that in itself is the definition of being punched with powerlessness.

For example, the moment I was just told that my daughter was facing twenty years in prison at the age of 17. You have no control, you are numb, you can’t think straight to what you just heard, and you wonder what you did to fail them.  It doesn’t have to be a situation like this.  A parent could be confronted with the realization that their teen/young adult has a serious addiction problem. Maybe the parent just found out that their son wants to change their gender and be a girl.  Or maybe, their child informed the parents that they are bi-sexual.  

MARYANN:
As an author, what I love most about your book is your willingness to be vulnerable and transparent.  We all struggle with different things in life, and when an author gives us truth rather than platitudes, we connect with that author and her message.  Many parents of teens in crisis are afraid to be open about their struggles. Have you always had this transparency regarding the crises you faced with your teen, or did you have to grow into becoming transparent? If the latter, how did you develop transparency? 

STACY:
In the beginning stages of my daughter’s issues, I kept everything a secret.  I had already felt judged through the actions my daughter was outlandishly doing (like being Goth and writing dark words and images all over her body), so sharing about what was really going on in my home was taboo. This became more personal to me as if I was the one with the problem and I wasn’t helping my daughter the way a parent should. 

With that in mind, I distanced myself from family, friends, and the Church. There came a time, however, that I could no longer do this as my daughter’s problems became so out of control. I put my pride aside and put my daughter first.  That was the beginning of my life being humbled to how God wanted to use my brokenness as well as my daughter to help others.  When I became stronger in my faith through my daughter’s crises, the veil of hiding lowered and my vulnerability was secured in Christ.  There was a freedom I had in my vulnerability that I had not experienced before.  

MARYANN:
Praise the Lord! Stacy, I have known you both as a friend, a fellow writer, and a fellow congregant for a few years now, and I have been greatly inspired by your faith, your endurance, and your adherence to God’s Word. You are a shining example of a Christ-Follower who runs your race with great courage and determination. Please share with our readers a few things you have learned about God’s grace during your journey.

STACY:
I learned that when I was at my lowest and weakest, I also had the most intimate relationship with God. I cried, screamed, threw fits of anger, pleaded, begged, and worshipped like I had never done in the past.  The best part, He bent His ear to hear me. He extended grace and mercy to my family when He didn’t have to. He never gave up on our family.  

MARYANN:
What advice would you give to parents whose marriage is being adversely affected by their teen in crisis?

STACY:
You MUST pray together. It is imperative that you do so.  Otherwise, satan will bring division into the marriage to distract parents from working as a team to help their child.  Another point to know is that each parent has a different way of coping in a crisis with their child. Maybe the husband is quiet and not vocal about the situation over the child. This does not mean he doesn’t care.  He may need time to think and evaluate himself as a parent, his relationship with his child, and future decisions for the healing of their teen/young adult.  The wife may do things very differently as her way of coping.  Neither is wrong.  But spouses need to allow the other to heal and comprehend and move forward in each situation so when that time comes in which they meet to discuss or work on a plan for their child in crisis, they will be totally focused on the child and not themselves.   

MARYANN:
How should parents of a teen in crisis handle the needs of other children in the family who are not in crisis?

STACY:
They need to let the siblings know that although their brother or sister is in crisis, they will still be there for them.  It is important that the child in crisis has a counselor.  This way the issues are being discussed and handled with the counselor, leaving the parents to focus more on the other children.  Other siblings may also need to be in counseling every once in a while so that their voice is heard during this crucial time.  They have many different feelings towards their sibling in crisis.  They could be jealous that their brother or sister is getting more attention.  They could be sad because they feel in some way responsible for their brother or sister in crisis.  They could be angry because their lives have been uprooted and plans changed all because of the issues with the sibling in crisis.  They need to vent too.  They need to feel safe to share what is bothering them too.  

MARYANN:
What kinds of problems did you encounter during the writing of your book? 

STACY:
I can honestly laugh at this.  Let’s see!  I lost my house and my husband lost his business. We went into bankruptcy. I lost many friends who coudln’t understand the challenges of raising a child who was in constant crisis. My relationship with my older daughter fell apart.  We had to leave our church that I was a part of for 40 years in order to find healing for our family at another church.  Crises escalating with our daughter, marriage hurting, and so many attacks on our family in the strangest of ways that would seem like a night flick mystery movie. But GOD IS GOOD!  He replenished, restored, and brought us out of the wilderness.

MARYANN:
Hallelujah!  Our God is always faithful!  Praise His Holy Name! Stacy, shat advice would you give to a writer just starting out? 

STACY:
Don’t give up! Don’t rush. Take your time.  Listen to God’s still small voice. Go to Writer Conferences (many offering virtual) that can give you so many ideas, encouragement, and connections.  

MARYANN:
Do you have any more books in the works? If so, would you give us a glimpse of what lies ahead for readers? 

STACY:
I am waiting to see what the Lord shows me next as to another book. ?

MARYANN:
Well, I know God has great things in store for you, Stacy. Thank you so much for being with us today and for sharing with us from your heart. And blessings on you and your precious family! 

To obtain a copy of Stacy’s book on Amazon, click here.

To obtain a copy of Stacy’s book from her publisher, click on the link below:

https://www.pageantwagonpublishing.com/store/p3/Turning_the_Tide_of_Emotional_Turbulence%3A_Devotions_for_Parents_with_Teens_in_Crisis.html 

To watch a video of an interview with Stacy by Cathy Taylor, founder of Hurting Moms, Mending Hearts, go here:
https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=581113289120153&ref=watch_permalink

Also, I encourage you to connect with Stacy’s ministry via the following venues:

Stacy’s Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/AnchorOfPromise

Stacy’s Blog: www.AnchorOfPromise.com

The Dangers of Generation Separation

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

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Hello and Happy Day! This is Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, Novelist and Life Coach, welcoming you to another episode of Winning with the Word. Today is Monday, June 15, 2020. Today’s Podcast is Episode #24 in Series 2020 and is titled “The Dangers of Generation Separation.”

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When I was growing up in the fifties, the elderly sat on front porches surrounded by toddlers and teens.  It was a common practice for groups of children to visit middle-aged and elderly neighbors to listen to tales of earlier days.

Back then, there were no such things as “senior citizens” or “adult communities.” Nursing homes were virtually non-existent, and grandparents often lived with their children and grandchildren. The grandparents gave the children time and wisdom, and the children gave the grandparents a sense of joy and lasting youth.

During the past half century, we’ve seen a dangerous phenomenon occur. I call it the “generation separation”–the deliberate attempt by our culture, and even our churches, to separate the elderly from the young and the young from the elderly. The result has been a tragic loss of wisdom for the young and respect for the elderly.

In the Biblical model, there is no separation of generations. All ages lived together, worked together, and played together.  The generations were interdependent. This is God’s way, and it is His way for a reason.

Throughout the Scriptures, the older generation is commanded to instruct the younger generation in the ways of God, and the younger generation is commanded to learn from the older generation. This is not to say that the young cannot teach the old.  I’ve learned more from children, especially my own, than from any other age group. It is to say, however, that the older generation has a mandate from God to teach the younger generation to know Him. How can this happen unless the generations interact?

Today, as people are living longer, it is not unusual to meet great-grandparents as well as grandparents.  I personally know of some families that are blessed with five living generations.  To separate the great-grandchildren from the great-grandparents would be to rob both of great blessings.

I propose, therefore, a return to the mingling of generations, for these reasons:

  1. It is God’s way of blessing all generations.
  2. It fosters respect for the elderly and wisdom for the young.
  3. It serves as a valuable link of understanding between the past and the future.
  4. It provides roots that, in turn, provide stability to families.
  5. It nurtures a sense of belonging and unity so essential for emotional and spiritual well-being.

If you are in a situation where you are separated from other generations, I encourage you to find a way to bridge that gap.  If you have small children, bring them around the elderly.  If you are among the elderly, spend time with children.  Not only will you be greatly blessed, but you will be a venue of blessing to generations other than your own.

The most important thing you can do for your grandchildren is to teach them the truth about Jesus. But how can you teach them if you do not know Him yourself? 

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, pray this simple prayer with me now:

Lord Jesus, I come to You, just as I am. I want to be a good grandparent to my grandchildren. I want to leave them the most important legacy I can leave them: a legacy of faith in You. So I ask You now to come into my life. I receive You as my Savior and my Lord. In Your Name I pray. Amen.

If you prayed this simple prayer, please write to me at drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com. I would like to send you a little booklet that will help you get started in your walk with Christ. I also encourage you to get yourself a Bible and read it every single day. The Bible is God’s love letter to you, His manual for your life. In the Bible, God reveals Who He is, and He instructs you how to live.

Finally, ask the Lord to lead you to the church of His choice for you where you can learn about Him and have fellowship and encouragement with other Christ-Followers.

For those of you who may not know, I write fiction about many of the issues I deal with in this blog and podcast. My latest novel, In Black and White, recently won First Place in Historical Fiction in the 2020 Christian Indie Book Awards Contest. It is the page-turning, compelling love story between a white woman and a black man as they face the wrath of family and society in order to preserve their love. This book was written for such a time as this, in which we are facing very serious issues of racism and hatred in our society. To discover the only real answer to racism, get your copy of IN BLACK AND WHITE now at Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, or other vendors of your choice.  If you are reading this blog post, you can also purchase IN BLACK AND WHITE at the link below or on my website at maryanndiorio.com. Just click the bookstore tab at the top of the page.

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You will also find additional resources on living the abundant life in Jesus Christ on my website at maryanndiorio.com.

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Thank you so much for listening. This is Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, novelist and life coach, reminding you that God loves you just as you are and just where you are, and that He will help you to keep on Winning with the Word.

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Now it’s your turn:  “What are you doing to leave a legacy to your grandchildren?”  Please leave your comment in the Comment Box below. Thank you!

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Copyright 2000-2020 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at info@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

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“A Parent’s Promise from God”

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio


WINNING WITH THE WORD

“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that will help you to be a winner in life by applying God’s principles for living the abundant life as found in the Bible, God’s manual for life.

AN INVITATION TO YOU: To follow this blog, click here. 

If this blog has blessed you, please encourage your family and friends to subscribe as well. Thank you!

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Parents frequently ask me for advice on how to raise their children. Frankly, I am somewhat surprised, since by no means do I consider myself an expert on parenting. I do, however, consider God the Expert par excellence on parenting.

As I was raising my children, I relied totally on God to direct me. There were many times I had absolutely no clue as to what I was doing. And there were even more times that I made mistakes–sometimes big ones. But there was one thing I always did right: I prayed!

And, oh, how I prayed! 

Each night, as I checked on my children after they had fallen asleep, I would kneel down beside their beds, gently lay my hands on their precious heads, and pray this prayer: “Father God, please bridge the gap between the love my children needed today and the love they received.” 

And then I trusted God to do just that.

And, do you know what? He did!

My daughters are now in their forties, and I can see the fruit of my daily, heartfelt prayer in their lives. They have become beautiful women of God who love Him and serve Him with all of their hearrt, soul, strength, and mind. And I owe it all to our Heavenly Father.

You see, when I first became a Christian a few years before my children were born, I discovered a promise to parents in the Bible. The promise is found in Proverbs 22: 6 KJV and says this: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The New Living translation states it like this: “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”

As a young mother, I was trusting enough to believe that verse and to take God at His Word. My job was to learn what  “the right path” was and to teach it to my children. 

And so I began a diligent study of the Bible. Whenever I learned a new principle of holy conduct, I taught it to my children. I taught them the Word morning, noon, and night, because the Bible instructed me to do so. Regarding God’s commandments, the Bible has this message for parents: “And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

And that’s what I did. 

So, let’s break down these verses in Deuteronomy 6 and uncover the specific steps to wise and successful parenting:

1. Commit wholeheartedly to God’s commands. As parents, we must commit ourselves wholeheartedly to God’s commandments, If we aren’t serious about obeying God, we can’t teach our children to be serious. They will see right through our hypocrisy.

2. Repeat God’s commandments over and over to our children. We all know that children usually don’t get it the first time around. Nor the second! We have to repeat and repeat and repeat. The same is true of God’s commandments. Our children need to hear them over and over before those commandments begin to sink in.

3. Continually talk about God’s commandments. We must talk about God’s commandments when we are at home, in the car, or playing outside. We must talk about the Word at bedtime, and in the morning when our children first get up. When my children were just toddlers, I made up little songs for them based on Scripture verses. To this day, they remember those songs, and now I am teaching them to my grandchildren. The Word of God must continually be on our lips, and we must continually interject it into every situation in life. 

4. Place reminders of God’s Word all around us. I used to post Scripture verses around the house–on plaques and post-its, on the kitchen table in our little Scripture breadbox, on the front door. I even bought a bracelet to wear with Scripture verses engraved on it so I could have them in front of me and teach them to my children. Wherever my children turned, there was something they could see to remind them of God’s Word. 

Perhaps you are struggling as a parent. Perhaps you have a rebellious child, or a newborn and you worry about raising him right. Perhaps your heart is broken by a child who has gone astray.  Whatever the case, God’s promise to you still stands. 

Begin today to pray for your child like never before. Ask God to bridge the gap between the love your child needed and the love he or she received. He will.

For you parents who are discouraged and hurting as you read or listen to this message, let me encourage you. In Psalm 23: 3, God promises to restore our souls. He will restore not only your child’s soul, but He will restore your soul as well. He will also restore your relationship with your child if that relationship has been damaged or destroyed.  

And here’s another wonderful promise from God to you, found in Malachi 4: 6: “He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents.”

As one parent to another, I can relate to your heart. I didn’t get everything right. In fact, I messed up more than I succeeded. But I made sure God was in my life to bridge the gap between my mistakes and what my children needed from me. 

God says what He means and means what He says. Trust Him now. Believe that He will make all things new in the lives of your children. Only believe, and trust God to keep His promises.

He will!

I cannot leave you without telling you that what made all the difference in my parenting was my own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Had I not had that relationship in my life, I would not have been able to tap into God’s infinite wisdom in the raising of my children. I am convinced that both my children and I would have had a really rough time of it without the Lord. Only He knows where all of us might have ended up. But thank God, I accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord before I had children so I could know where to turn in my times of need.

You, too, can have a sure place to turn when you face challenges raising your children. If you do not yet have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, start that relationship now. Just pray this simple prayer with me:

“Lord Jesus, I come to You just as I am and just where I am. I need help, not only for my own life but for raising my children. The problems are great, and I don’t know what to do. So I turn to You and invite You into my life. I receive You as my Savior and as the Lord of my life. Help me in this extremely important job called parenting. Make me the parent You created me to be. Make me the person You created me to be. Amen.

If you prayed this simple prayer, please write to me at drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com. I would like to send you a little booklet that will help you get started in your relationship with Jesus. I also encourage you to get yourself a Bible and read it every day, starting in the Gospel of John, which is in the second half of the Bible. Finally, ask the Lord to lead you to the church of His choice for you, where you can learn about Him and find fellowship and encouragement with other Christ-Followers.

I am very grateful to announce that this blog post was sponsored by Christine and David Strittmatter. God bless you, Chris and Dave, for your generous support of this ministry. You are making a huge difference in the lives of people all over the world.

NOTE: I wish to thank blog follower Gee Dixon for recommending this interesting topic on parenting. Thank you, Gee, for your valuable input. 

Now, it’s YOUR turn:  How have you overcome parenting problems? Please leave your comment in the Comment Box below. Thank you!

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Seven Keys to Successful Parenting

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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Parenting is a privilege and a responsibility. I know of no parent who intentionally wants to mess up in this very important job, but some of us do simply because we neglect to keep in mind some basic Biblical principles.

So, from one parent to another, please allow me to share with you seven keys to successful parenting that I learned on my own parenting journey:

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1. Love your child. At first glance, this sounds like a no-brainer. But what does it really mean? It means to discipine and train your child according to God’s Word. It means to do for your child what he needs, not what he wants.

Too many parents confuse loving their child with giving in to their child. This is backwards. Unfortunately, many parents give their child everything he wants out of fear of losing their child’s love. This is a very dangerous practice.We will never win the love of our children by giving in to their demands. Worst of all, we will lose their respect, and respect is the foundation of love.

When my children tried to get their way, I used to tell them that I was not in a popularity contest and I didn’t care if they liked me or not. I was going to do the right thing by them. To this day, they jokingly remind me of that phrase with thanksgiving.

2. Know your child. To know your child means to understand her heart. Each child is wired differently. It is up to you as the parent to learn how your child is wired.  You do this by asking God to show you and by spending time with your child, listening carefully to what your child says and observing how your child responds to situations.

Ask your child questions. Do you know your child’s favorite color? Favorite food? Favorite animal? If you don’t, then you need to get to know your child better.

3. Respect your child. Children are little people. They are not inferior people. Treat your child with the same respect you would give to an adult, because your child is an adult-in-the-making.

Respect your child by being courteous to him, giving him all of your attention when he speaks, maintaining eye contact with him. Encourage your child, and never belittle him through your words or your actions.

4. Expect the best from your child. We will get in life what we expect. If you expect your child to go through the terrible-twos, your child will go through the terrible-twos. If you expect your teenager to rebel, your teenager will rebel. dial

Frankly, I never expected my children to go through the terrible-twos nor to rebel as teenagers. And they never did. I expected the opposite, and I got what I expected.

Children can sense your expectations and will fulfill them. So, speak words of life over your children. Say to them what you expect them to be. Tell them they are wise and courageous and Godly. They will fulfill what you speak about them.

5. Guide your child. There is a popular saying that good parents give their children roots and wings. We can give our children roots in the Word of God, the only place worth putting down roots.

As they are rooted in the Word of God, the wings that you give them will be wings of wisdom, discernment, and understanding–wings that will cause them to fly to safe places, places of righteousness that will keep them from stumbling in life.

6. Enjoy your child. Children are fun. Some of the best times you will have in life will be with your children. Spend time with them. Lots of time.

Get involved in their activities. Grow with them. Most of all, be childlike with them. There is a little child still inside you. Let that inner child come out when you spend time with your children. The rewards will be great both for you and for your children.

Jesus said that in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we must become like little children (Matthew 18: 2-3).  Spending time with your children will renew this perspective in your own life and bring you great joy.

keystocharacters7. Pray for your child. It goes without saying that we should pray for our children, but sometimes we parents need a reminder. If you have not been praying for your children, begin now. Prayer is one of the most powerful tools in a parent’s arsenal. Use it frequently.

Of this you can be sure: God is more invested in your children than you are. He will give you all the wisdom you need to face every parenting challenge as you yield to Him in prayer.

So, there you have it: Seven Keys for Successful Parenting. Use these keys regularly, and you will soon be enjoying the friendship of Godly adult children–respectful and respected–whom you have had the privilege of rearing with the gracious and ever-present help of the Lord.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN: What is your greatest parenting challenge? How can one or more of the seven steps above help you overcome this challenge?

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The Ten Commandments for Raising Responsible Children

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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African American FamilyAll of us who have children want to be good parents. To help us, God has given us principles which I call The Ten Commandments for Raising Responsible Children. As you implement these principles, you will be nurturing a relationship with your children that will help them to grow into responsible adults.

1. Expect the best from your children (Philippians 4:8). Children will live up to your level of expectation regarding their character. For example, if you expect your child to end up in jail, he probably will. If, on the other hand, you expect your child to become a responsible adult, most likely he will.

Expectations are powerful influences. Make sure you have positive expectations for your child’s character development and express those expectations to him frequently. Let me emphasize that I am referring to expectations for character development, not for career choices. We must not, for instance, expect our child necessarily to follow in our footsteps as far as his life work is concerned.

2. Trust your children (Philemon 1:8-17). This principle is closely related to the previous principle of expectation. If your children sense that you trust them, they will usually live up to that trust. If, on the other hand, they sense that you do not trust them, they will often behave accordingly.

3. Respect your children (Matthew 7:12). I cringe every time I hear parents verbally abuse their children with devastating comments such as, “You’re bad!” or “You can’t do anything right!” Some parents treat their children like objects rather than people. But children are little people and deserve our respect.

When children were brought to Jesus, His disciples became annoyed and wanted to shoo them away: “And they took to him little children, so that he might put his hands on them: and the disciples said sharp words to them. And when Jesus saw it, he was angry, and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not keep them away; for of such is the kingdom of God…’ “(Mark 10: 13-14 BBE). This passage clearly reveals the great value that Christ places on children. We must do likewise.

4. Love your children unconditionally (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Far too often, parents give or withhold love based on their children’s behavior or performance. Some parents even tell their children that God does not love them when they misbehave. This is a lie and can cause serious, life-long problems.

God’s love for us is not based on our behavior or our performance. There is absolutely nothing we can do to earn God’s love. He loves us just because we exist. Parents should love their children the same way.

5. Spend time alone with each of your children (Genesis 49:28). Children require both quality AND quantity time. When you give your children your time, you affirm their worth to you. You also forge bonds of love that will last a lifetime.

6. Pray daily for and with your children (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Praying for your children is a means of exercising your protective authority over them and of bringing to pass God’s will for their lives. Praying with your children teaches them the importance of worshipping God and looking to Him to supply every need.

7. Teach your children God’s Word (Deuteronomy 6:6-9; Ephesians 6:4). Just as we would be considered negligent parents were we to deprive our children of physical food, so does God consider us negligent parents when we deprive our children of spiritual food.

8. Discipline your children in love (Proverbs 13:24; 19:18). Contrary to some modern thought, children are not born into the world inherently good (Romans 3:23). Like everyone else, they have inherited Adam’s sin nature and, unless trained otherwise, they will automatically respond to life in sinful ways. It is our duty as parents to train our children to respond to life according to God’s Word.

9. Live a Godly life before your children (Matthew 5:16). Example is the best teacher. Our children learn far more from how we live than from what we say. To raise responsible children, make your conduct and your words agree.

10. Enjoy your children (Psalm 127:3). Psalm 127:3 describes children as a reward from the Lord. A reward is a source of joy and blessing. If you perceive your children as a burden rather than a blessing, you will miss out on the joys of parenting.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to enjoy your children. Enjoy them now. Look at life from their viewpoint. Like me, you may discover that your children will teach you some of life’s greatest lessons. 

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Copyright 2015 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

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Dr. Diorio is a Certified Life Coach, a Certified Biblical Counselor, and a Certified Behavioral Consultant. She is also an award-winning, widely published author of fiction for children and adults. You may reach her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com  or via one of her social media venues below:

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