Yesterday in Sunday School we watched the next video in the Shepherding Your Child's Heart series by Tedd Tripp. As I've mentioned before, the book by that name is my all-time favorite, #1 must read for parents. Unfortunately, Scriptural parenting must be second nature for Dr. Tripp because the book is a little short on application. And of course most parents would like to skip the foundation and get straight to what to do with their lazy, window-breaking (that would be Andrew...yesterday), ingrate of a child.
In the past I have suggested using Tripp's book as the foundation - then building on it with Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes ...In you and your Child, by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller. I still love that book, especially the way the authors substitute honor for obedience (thus eliminating the "I'm not a child anymore" excuse). Since we never outgrow the command to extend honor - why not start with that verbage from the get-go? The book is extremely application-oriente and is an easy, fast read.
My second favorite thing about Say Goodbye, etc. is the way they teach children to make an appeal to a parent's instruction or a decision. It's a very respectful avenue for both the child and the parent. It's also less likely to be abused than other 'techniques' I've tried over the years. (Note to self: Reteach this to my kids ASAP!)
Back to the Tripp video yesterday -
The video series is WAY BETTER than the book. By watching Rev. Tripp you get a sense of his love for children and his amazing knowledge of the Word. He gives lots of examples and truly takes the parent from "hearing the Word" to "doing the Word" in relation to their child rearing. I can't recommend it enough. He's even funny at times.
Get your church to buy it and either watch it as a SS class, or use it as a tool in your home to help parents- or just hoard it for yourself. Actually, it's not just for parents. It would be beneficial for anyone who comes in contact with children (teachers, grandparents, singles who want a head-start, members of churches that teach covenant theology...) but since it is about using the Scriptures to change hearts - It's for all humans. That will cover almost everyone you know. Right?
Yesterday's video was about The Teen Years. I only wish I had learned this stuff about 17 years ago when I had my first teen! But I will console myself with the fact that I currently have 5 teens in my house, with two to go. So, I have 7 more chances to try and figure this thing out. On the off chance that God may be continuing to give me children to practice on, I aim to get it straight with my current brood.
Here are a few random notes from yesterday's video -
In the teen years the goal is to help your child internalize the gospel. Much will depend on our interaction with them. Dr. Tripp exhorts us to "engage" them and respectfully challenge their wrong decisions vs. using reckless words (Pro. 12:18). As parents see their power slip away, their words tend to become more reckless and destructive. (Truer words have never been spoken!)
When (not IF) your teen makes a decision you wouldn't have made the same way (Shocker!), try to understand their choice (again, by engaging them) and attempt to discern if that choice reflects a problem within their heart. If so, address that heart problem (vs. verbally attacking them - or locking yourself in your bedroom - or throwing your purse at them ...None of which work.....Or so I've heard from a Very Close Source.) Difficult circumstances should become triggers that provide for opportunities of engagement rather than a time when you put your foot down.
When teenagers have questions about their faith and Christianity, don't be defensive. Rather, have an attitude of - Bring the questions on! (This is why you should be studying your bibles now, young parents. There may not be time for cramming later.)
The lesson ended with Dr. Tripp encouraging us to help our teens internalize the Gospel by making sure they have plenty of opportunities to understand how glorious and great God is. (Be sure they're under good, solid biblical teaching - not "feel good, I'm OK - You're OK, mamby-pamby preaching". And share your love of God with your teen. Tell them about the amazing grace that saved a wretch like YOU!)
He also suggested the teen years as a great time to read through the prophets, with their focus on judgment for sin, and to make sure your teen understands the reality that they are accountable to this same God.
Well, that's enough for you to work on today. Come back when you finish (hah! hah!)