I plan to ignore you

We had a snotty kid last night. He didn’t get his way and tried to make enemies out of all of us. The more we engaged him, the sharper his tongue became.

So, we disengage.

We call it “Planned Ignoring”: I plan to ignore you when you are unreasonable.

I know, this goes against our grain when a kid is disrespectful. We feel the need to stop them in their tracks. But, have you been in a  power play with a teen (or a toddler) who wants to be in control of everything? It is a lose-lose situation.

The mouthy attitude is an attempt to derail us; if we engage the word choices we are distracted from the initial issue at hand. So we plan to ignore the words –for now.

“Answer not a fool according to his folly,lest you be like him yourself,” Proverbs 26:4. I’m not saying my kid is a fool, but he definitely has his foolish moments—as do I.

We wanted to get away from him. But, the truth is, he needed to get away from the rest of us. So, he was sent to his room.

Calmly I said, “Go to your room now”.

Off he went while the rest of the family was able to continue on with dinner and homework and conversation.

The son who was silenced took out his phone weapon and began texting his attitude. The words were unkind for a usually kind boy. The words hurt.

But, we planned to ignore, “Answer not a fool according to his folly”. We had to give each other pep talks, “Don’t engage, wait until tomorrow”.

Engaging in the folly increases the fight and the need for both to win.

Waiting is difficult. We second guess ourselves in the recesses of our mind. But tomorrow, he will wake up calm. Tomorrow he will no longer be in fight-mode.

Early in the morning, I walked into his room and sat beside him in bed as I usually do. I played with his hair and spoke in a loving voice, “Are you up, son?” I rubbed his back. Love is unconditional.

When a child hurts a parent, a parent must love unconditionally. Besides, kindness is received unexpectedly when we know we deserve the opposite. Kindness heaps hot coals on our heads.

“I am taking your phone away for a few days”.


“You were disrespectful to your parents last night. You used your phone to send abusive messages.”

“I did?”

“You know what you did. You may have thought you could get away with talking like that last night, but you did not. There are consequences. You will receive your phone in a few days.”

Peacefully, I walked out of the room.

It was the right moment to address his folly, “lest he becomes wise in his own eyes” (Proverbs 26:5).

Planned ignoring is difficult. Finding the right consequences to fit the crime is not always easy. But probably the hardest thing for me as a parent, is not reacting in anger or hurt feelings in the heat of the moment.

Someone has to remain in control of the situation, and it is good to have a plan—a team-parent plan—to remain calm, steady and focused.

I spent  the next 24 hours in prayer. I’m praying for wisdom in our interactions, praying our boy will have a repentant heart so he can grow forward.

I’m praying for the prime moments to instruct a child about responding with respect next time he is in the heat of the moment.

Are you interested in knowing more about “Planned Ignoring” or would you benefit from support in your parenting choices? These resources may help you:

“The Secrets to Modern Day Parenting” linking modern solutions to everyday problems. Series information: http://www.womangonewise.com/2012/01/12/bible-and-family-life-speaker/

Exceptional Families Coaching: Practical and personal coaching to support you and give you tools for a flourishing family life: www.exceptionalfamiliescoaching.com

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A new day: Our special need’s summer vacation, pt.2

Hume Lake 2011. The Lord is Good!

“Yes, boat”, our oldest boy said with a huge grin.  His eyes scanned each of ours as he awaited our response.

A glimmer of hope rose up in me, “Do you want to go on the boat this morning?”

“Yes, boat”, he said a second time.  It was our third day of summer vacation, and our boy with special needs was beginning to drop his guard.  He was slowly adjusting to the change in environment and opening himself up to fun activities.

We barely finished breakfast, but we all intuitively knew to take advantage of the situation.  No one bothered to put on their bathing suits or sandals, instead we scurried off to the boat house.  This time we avoided the creaky wooden dock and the rowboat which rocked so much it shook his footing.   I stopped to pick up paddles and life jackets while the boys walked straight to the kayaks—the red ones, because red is AJ’s favorite color.  It made him equally happy to adorn the red life jacket.

AJ cautiously walked through the muddy path, weaving in between the other boats, then awkwardly swung his leg into the kayak.  Dad held the boat steady while brother helped AJ sit down.  The kayak was a good choice.  He was able to sit securely on stable land while his Dad gently slipped the kayak into the lake.

The rest of us stood on paddle boards and glided alongside the kayak.  He was not protesting with the anxiety he displayed yesterday.  Quietly grunting to express his discomfort, he suddenly changed his tune. “Yea!” he yelled and then applauded his own accomplishment.   I dug my paddle through the water as my toes dug into the board.  Our other two boys stood beside me gliding through the lake on their own boards.

My youngest boy teased me and reached his paddle out to nudge my board.  My feet changed positions to regain balance, but down I went.  I crashed into the water with my skirt flowing up around me.  Thankfully, most of the campers were still eating breakfast and there were no other boaters on the lake.  With little grace, I crawled and slipped my way back on the board.  What a great morning.  We floated and laughed and enjoyed each other for a couple of hours.

This is a rare occasion.  Do you know how often some of us special needs families are able to enjoy adventures together?  Often times either my husband or I hang out in the hotel room watching Lion King with AJ while the other parent takes the siblings out for fun.  What a gift we experienced this morning; two parents together with all of our children enjoying the lake.

Carefree in the kayak

We pulled our boards and the red kayak ashore after a great morning of water fun.  The boys stripped off their life jackets when AJ requested, “more boat ride”.  So, out went he and his brother on a second adventure.  This time he was done after 10 minutes, but he was able to build one success upon a previous success.  The praise and the high fives and the gummy bears were flourished upon our boy for the happy choices he made.

The family was encouraged with progress while the heart gives credit and gratitude to our Lord. Thank you Jesus, for a carefree spirit in our boy today.  Please give us more. 

I’m going to pray this prayer relentlessly.

AJ enjoyed many moments of relaxation on vacation

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4 Reasons you are not destined to become your mother

(This article is Part 2 of “Are you destined to become your mother?”)

Just in case you are wondering, I am not inviting you to disrespect your mama.  I believe motherhood is a sacred position.

In fact, God  designed  moms and dads to teach and model upright and loving  behavior; raising up the next godly generation.  He promises parents, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”.

If your mom (and dad) has performed this role well, then you welcome being like your mother.

If your mom was imperfect, (join the club mom), it is possible you have characteristics learned from her which you want to change.

If we believe we are merely three-dimensional people:  physical, intellectual, and emotional, we would be quick to buy into the hopeless mentality that we can do little to avoid behaviors learned and ingrained in us.

But we are four-dimensional women.  This fourth dimension, the spiritual dimension in every human being, provides the following:

1.  You have a conscience

Your conscience provides you with that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you have treated someone badly.   It provides the guilt  hovering over you when you are abusive to yourself or others.

As believers, we know the conscience is from the Holy Spirit.  It is one of the Holy Spirit’s jobs to convict us of sin.  He helps us understand what is right and wrong.

He doesn’t provide guilt to beat us down, but to draw us to the God of forgiveness and new beginnings.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”, I John 1:9.

2.  You are a new person

When you ask forgiveness for your wrong doings and receive Christ into your life, He throws your sins as far as the East is to the West.  He chooses to remember them no more.  In fact, He goes so far as making you into a new person!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come”  2 Corinthians 5:17

3.  Your old patterns of behavior do not have a hold over you

The learned behavior does not instantly disappear, but it has lost its power over you.  Generational chains of abuse or addictive behavior can be broken.

A childhood of emotional, physical or sexual abuse is difficult to recover from, but it is not impossible.

With the help and support of trained individuals and a community of others who want their chains to be broken, you can find healing.  Celebrate Recovery is a thriving ministry taking place in churches throughout the nation, where people are experiencing earthshaking freedom from the abuses of the past.

If you desire support in this area by way of individual counseling or groups, contact your health provider for therapists, the local churches for counseling referrals, or look for a Celebrate Recovery group at http://www.celebraterecovery.com/?page_id=5

4.  You are able to have a new mind

When the bad recordings play in your head, you can reject them.  You are able to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”

Through God’s Word, your life can be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:1,2

I know several dear friends and family members whose minds and lives have been transformed.

There are generations of families who have lived with addiction, then someone breaks the chain and begins to form a new generation of health and wholeness.

There are generations who have suffered from divorce, then someone decides to work and wrestle for health in their marriage. The chain of divorce is broken.

You are destined to become a person of freedom and wholeness.  Never underestimate the power of the God who restores hearts and lives.  His arms are open and inviting you to enjoy forgiveness and transformation through the power of His Holy Spirit.

This is your destiny.

Dear Jesus, thank you for your gift of forgiveness.  Each day you give me a new start and Your power to transform my mind.  I want to claim the promises in Your Word.  Please surround me with others who will encourage me to be more like You in every dimension of my life.  Amen.

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Are you destined to become just like your Mother?

mother & daughter nose to nose


Are you destined to be just like your mother?  A recent study would like you to believe you have no choice in the matter.

The study findings

Age 32 is when the majority of the 1,000 women researched began demonstrating the behaviors, words, reactions and even voices of their mothers.

Research Conclusions

According to the researchers and the behavior expert that was interviewed, repeating mother’s behaviors and words is inevitable.  “You can vow never to say or use the traits you associate with your parents, but the chances are they’re ticking away like a time bomb in your subconscious”, said behavioral expert Judi James.

You can’t do anything about mimicking mother’s traits.  “Given the same set of circumstances, you’ll find them emerging and there’s very little you can do to avoid it.” (  http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/2011/03/29/2011-03-29womenturnintotheirmothersatage32studymannerismshabitsphrasesmorphin.html)

What this means for daughters

Some daughters find this study comforting.  Mom may be an incredible woman whose behavior and words exhibit grace, self-control, and love.  These daughters welcome the responses and behaviors of the most influential woman in their life.

In addition, this study adds to the evidence that our words and our actions can equip our children for adulthood.

Realizing our parents are not entirely perfect nor entirely imperfect is a healthy perspective for adult children.  Parents have traits we desire and traits we do not desire.  This is life.  You may be the daughter who has learned to filter the good from the not-so-good influences in your own adult behavior.

On the other hand, there are daughters who receive this information with fright.  Mom was abusive, addictive, emotionally imbalanced, or impulsive in her reactions.   Is there hope for these daughters?

The conclusion of this study can offer the adult daughter a great sense of family pride.  But for others, it offers a license for bad  behavior, or chains her into a mentality of defeat.

Choose your own destiny

Through out my own parenting years, I hear recordings playing in my mind of my mother’s voice saying phrases I have chosen not to repeat to my children.  No matter how frazzled or tempted I am,  I have made a conscious decision these recordings do not belong in my child rearing.   I am able to draw the line.

On the extreme, I have dear friends whose mothers were alcoholics or emotionally abandoned their children.  But these adult daughters have learned to be self-controlled and work through their relationships rather than run away from them.

You don’t  have a lot of control over the physical likeness or mannerisms which mirror your own mom.  But when it comes to the  behavior  she modeled, you can  choose how much power it holds over your life.  You can give into it because “You didn’t learn any better” or you can choose to learn a new way.  You are not destined to behave like your mother unless you welcome the behavior.

If you desire to live a new way in your adult life, check out Part 2, “4 Reasons you are not destined to become just like your Mother” later this week.

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Sibling Comradery

Are you about to go nuts listening to sibling squabbles?  Why not turn that sibling squabble into sibling comradery?   Sometimes our kids are irritated with one another because they are stuck hanging out with each other day after day.  But sometimes the squabble is to get Mom and Dad’s attention.

When you give them attention for this behavior, it reproduces more misbehavior.   After all, they got your valuable attention, didn’t they?  It is time to turn the tables.  Try this different take on the marble jar to help kids learn how to cooperate with one another.

Set up a jar in the middle of the table or counter.  Show your kids a package of shiny marbles you have put aside.  Explain to them whenever you “catch them” getting along, they each get to put a marble in the jar.  Discuss together what they can earn when they have filled the marble jar to the brim.  Try these tips for success:

Catch siblings getting along

They aren’t allowed to tell you.    You get to observe the peaceful cooperation and draw positive attention to it.

Tell your kids something like this, “Wow, look at the way you are playing together”, or “Are you having fun together?”.

Try to make statements that cause them to get in touch with their own positive feelings about getting along.  When you say, “That makes me happy”, you are promoting the motivation to get along only to please you.

Direct them each to put a marble in the jar.

Celebrate the growing pile of marbles.                              

Make a plan

Discuss together what they would like to earn when the jar is full.

The plan should include an activity or item that is meant to be shared.

Younger kids may earn a fun afternoon at a favorite pizza place, Nerf guns or a board game they want to share.

Older kids may earn a special excursion during a family vacation, a manicure day with Mom, an adventure with Dad.

The same plan is a weak plan

Don’t  use the marble jar year round.  It will get old and ineffective.

Be strategic in your timing.  Set out the marble jar during long summers, vacations, or other times when sibling rivalry gets stirred up.

Use the teachable moments

Help your kids learn how to make good relationship choices for themselves.  They still need your guidance to develop these skills.

Take the time to reinforce their positive behavior.  Talk to them briefly about the benefits of getting along with one another.

Let them know how proud you are of their efforts.   When you “catch them” getting along, you are directing your attention to their sibling comradery, and the overall energy in your household has the potential to change.

Do you have an effective tool for promoting sibling comradery?  Please share it with us!

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