There are four seasons of child rearing according to John Rosemond, author of Parenting by the Book. A child’s successful transition into adulthood requires different parenting responsibilities in each season.
Photo courtesy iStockphoto/Walkinboston
Most people recognize the last season as the ’empty nest’ season. John Rosemond calls this last season the ‘Season of Friendship.’ It’s the season Monica and I are in today and the transition was challenging. We are still learning to refocus our parenting energies into this new season and treating our children like the adults they are.
When we ask parents what kind of adult they want their child to grow up to be, many say they want to see their child become a person of strong character with integrity, honesty, compassion and kindness. But how do parents who are Christ followers help their child learn to walk with God?
Growing up, my (Jack) dad was a Christ follower who wanted my sister and me to grow up ‘going to church.’ However, Dad really didn’t lead by example. He went to work on Sunday mornings while my Mom took us to church. My dad was a great role model for me in many areas but I missed his spiritual leadership.
When Monica and I started our family, we wanted to be spiritual leaders for our children and help them learn to walk with God. We stumbled many times but we found the best way for us to lead our children was to focus first on our own spiritual journey. We also prayed with and for our children, showed them the value of a church community and helped them learn about God so they could eventually know God.
We’ll share more personal examples in future posts but I want to share a great example that happened recently at Stonecreek Church. Some good friends of ours had the joy of celebrating a major spiritual milestone when their children were baptized, publicly declaring themselves Christ followers.
John & Ryan. Used with permission.
Some observers may have been surprised to learn that three of the children were baptized by their own fathers. However, those who know John and Christy and Jeff and Susan, know them to be Christ followers who care deeply about their children’s heart. Jeff baptized his daughters Maddox and Alex. John baptized his son, Ryan (pictured here) and experienced one of the greatest joys a father can experience in the life of his children.
In an episode from the popular TV show, ‘The Middle,’ parents Mike and Frankie, realize the high stress they are experiencing is the result of relinquishing control of the house to the children.
We asked parents the ways children most often challenge their parental authority. The results of our un-official poll show most parents have been challenged by picking up after their children, dealing with three or more after-school activities and a child sleeping in their bed.
Question: Have you experienced these challenges? How have you overcome them? Please share your comments here.
Jack and Monica
When children come along, many parents to find the new role of ‘mother and father’ total changes the role of ‘husband and wife’ in their marriage.
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The marriage vows of ’til death do us part,’ seem to change to ’til children do us part’ for many couples. Most of us know couples who decide to divorce after the last child goes off to college because the focus on children replaced their focus on each other during the marriage.
Parents, especially mothers, rank parenting as one of the most stress filled parts of life. Stress can surface in many ways.
One of our favorite TV shows is ABC’s ‘The Middle.’ In the episode ‘Taking Back the House,’ Mike (played by Neil Flynn) and his wife Frankie (played by Patricia Heaton), realize the high stress they are experiencing is the result of relinquishing control of the house to the children. The story is a funny but realistic view of the life of many stressful parents.
In the early days of our parenting journey, Monica and I discovered we had relinquished control to our children in many areas. One way was giving our children many too choices. “Do you want your juice in the blue or red sippy cup?” evolved to ‘what do you want for dinner?” We realized, like the characters in the TV episode, we had to take back the house!
Question: Who’s the boss in your house? Take the survey to see ways Mike, Frankie and other parents
have given up control in their households. If you have successfully wrestled back control in some of these areas, please share your comments here.