Purposeful Parenting

Going for Broke

We all want was is best for our kids but what does purposeful parenting look like in practice?

Follow the creator of Anton’s Antics’ as he negotiates the challenges of being a parent.

“The blog's slogan started off as a joke between my wife and I, as it can be tough making ends meet and parenting is not easy. I want to hear Jesus say ‘well done, good and faithful servant’ with what He has entrusted to me.  We have to go for broke don’t we?

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Should parents use corporal punishment?

For some of us, any form of corporal punishment has gone out the window. But ask most teachers and they will tell you the decline in discipline in our schools started when we throughout the baby with the bath water. Some argue that slapping, smacking a child will teach a child it’s Ok to slap, hit or be violent toward others. But I believe this fails to take into consideration the considerable difference between the two events. One event has a child hitting another out of jealousy or anger. The other has a parent smacking or slapping a child out of judgment against a wrong action. Is a child is stupid enough to confuse the two and think ‘well mommy hit me on the wrist so I can hit my sister’? One is retaliation, the other a public pronouncement that a behaviour is not Ok. Judgment versus violence, the two are very different.

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What happens if you dislike one of your kids?

Ok we all know of annoying kids or people for that matter, right? No matter how hard we try they just keep rubbing us up the wrong way. If we’re honest, most of us also can probably accept that we occasionally annoy other people too. When someone else’s kid grates against you at least you can say to yourself ‘they’ll be going home soon’. But what happens when your own kid annoys you? Like not just occasionally but generally?

Is this even possible? Yes. Can a loving parent find one of their offspring harder to love than some of the others…yes? Can we even talk about this?
You may have seen this in other families or dare admit it even to yourself… “I’ve got one!”  Some kids seem experts at repelling others. Some are really reserved, quiet and shy when one of their parents is loud and outgoing. ‘C’mon Johnny, say hello…to the man…Johnny!?’

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How to make the most of a miracle motivator for your kids

I had an email the other day from a subscriber overseas who offered some thoughts on my last post about intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivators. I really resonated with his parting words and I’m sure you will too:

“I write this as a parent who is quick to motivate with threats, slower to motivate with praise and weak in praying for God to change my children”

Even when I’m teaching in a classroom (one of my many hats) I often find it’s easier to deal out a bunch of threats while ignoring the kids who are getting on with what they should be doing. Demerit! I find my energy being consumed by putting out the fires of poor behaviour and not being proactive enough to praise and reward kids who are behaving well.  What was that about a merit award system…?

What we all really want to do though is have our kids willingly, self motivatedly, get on and do what’s needed and what’s right. We want them to get on with their schoolwork. We want them to help out around the home. We want them to refrain from fighting with their siblings. Anything else?

Still, I think we should have a good heart to heart. Pause and ask yourself… ‘What do I really want for my kids?’

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How to motivate kids: The carrot or the stick?

how to motivate kids?Whether you are a parent trying to get your child to practice their musical instrument or running a classroom or kids ministry…it’s the same question isn’t it?

How do you motivate them? The carrot or the stick?

The old picture of the donkey with the whip ready at its behind and the carrot dangling on a pole over its head reminds us of these two basic motivators: Reward and punishment. But are these the only motivators? Is there anything higher we can strive for as parents?

Extrinsic motivators

Reward and punishment are extrinsic motivators. We touched on this subject in last post. So we might try and motivate our kids to learn their musical instrument with rewards such as pocket money or treats. Similarly at kid’s church we might give prizes to the kids who come every week for a month. At the opposite end we might motivate kids with punishments… ‘If you don’t do your practice you’ll have no play dates this week!”

I heard a good sermon last weekend. My pastor started off with this little illustration and question about how we might motivate our kids. Then he asked if there was a higher way. What do you think…is there any better motivators than reward and punishment? Are rewards bad? Is punishment too negative? Does the Bible show us how to motivate our kids?

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When is 'grit' bad for your kids?

Is perseverance a good thing to encourage in your kids?

Don’t you think we give in too easily these days and should stick to our guns a bit more?

I recently read an article (can’t lay my hands on it at the minute, sorry) that said research had shown that families where parents pushed their kids to stick at things they weren’t necessarily mad keen on doing, led to anxiety and possible depression.  The term used was ‘grit’. The Bible would probably use the word ‘perseverance’.

Now some parents are blindly pushy, right? You feel sorry for the kids who clearly look brow beaten on the court. But some of us just want to give our kids opportunities to learn things that they’ll later thank us for…or so goes the rationale.

Who doesn’t wish they learnt that instrument when they were a kid? ‘Why didn’t my parents push me!? If only I could sing, play that harp, bang those drums and bring joy to my soul and a smile to others’. But to get that skill takes dedication and perseverance; years of grit...

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Parental Exhaustion: When to say no; it could save your marriage!

“Stop going to Bible study, now!”

Bet you never heard that, right? Well if you’re not a churchy then that’s understandable. But as a regular Christian, my wife got a shock when someone who is respected in our church told her she should cease going to a weekly Bible study.

Not because it was a waste of time. Not because it was dodgy. Not because it was full of unsympathetic people.
Instead it was because my wife had far too much on her plate and Bible study was an expectation that needed to take a back seat for a while until we got our heads around a new situation.

That’s the thing about parenting isn’t it? The goal posts keep changing. You just get into a rhythm or a feeling of stability and bam…something goes off keel and you have to climb the rigging, reef in the jib or some other sailing cliché. But sometimes we don’t respond to the change of wind. We just keep plowing on, doing all the same stuff when the conditions have changed. We suffer for it, failing to read the wind and adjust.

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Honour your Father? How to celebrate Father’s day and reclaim its Christian origins

The pamphlets are coming thick and fast in the mail aren’t they? Buy this, buy that. Do this, do that to show dad how much you love him. The implication is that gift buying equals love. Father’s day has become another day overtaken by commercialism.

I’m a dad. When I had my first child my life changed forever. I’m now defined by my kids and they will be my greatest achievement.
A friend of mine, Graham McDonald, pointed out a few weeks back in an email, how Father’s day didn’t originally have its identity forged in materialism. The origins are actually Christian and the core reason for honouring fathers applies to all families.

Historical background of Father's Day

Here’s a quick grab of the historical background:
“In 1909, John and Sonora Dodd attended the Mother’s Day service at their church. As Sonora listened to the sermon and heard the virtues of mothers and motherhood from the Scriptures, her mind went back to her childhood. She thought of how important fathers are in raising children and she thought of the notion of a Father’s Day.

Sonora’s father William, a Civil War veteran, lost his wife as she gave birth to their sixth child. Sonora was sixteen at the time of her mother’s death and being the eldest child, much of the responsibility to raise her five brothers fell on her shoulders.Through the difficult years following her mother’s death, Sonora watched her father care for the six children with love and devotion and saw him make sacrifices in order to give the children better lives. After the Mother’s Day church service in 1909, Sonora felt inspired to campaign for equal recognition of fathers.

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Power Games: The biggest challenge for any parent

You see in the supermarket a parent being walked all over by their toddler’s bad behaviour.
You see parents excusing their primary age kid’s disregard for rules because he/she has an ‘adventurous’ spirit.
You hear of teachers dealing with teenagers in high school without any respect for authority in class.
What’s the common thread? Power games.

Power is desired and fought for by every human being and when we get it, power corrupts.

We’re not surprised when war general’s seize power and trample their own people with a military fist. We’re not surprised when democratically elected presidents abuse their office (think Nixon), nor are we surprised when actors and artists carry on like spoilt brats.

So why are we surprised when kids try to seize power or even abuse it?

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Should parents encourage modesty for girls at the beach: Burkini or Bikini?

modesty for girlsIs the burkini as dumb as it looks?

A colleague of mine noted on Facebook this week how ironic it was for France to be forcing people to expose themselves on its beaches to ‘support good morals’. You’d think if someone didn’t want to take their kit off at the beach and be more modest that this would be respected. But now it’s an offence to not get naked on the beaches of France. Check out the article in the Guardian here

Okay, there’s been a lot of violence in the name of Islam perpetrated recently in France, so we can empathise with the reaction to ban full body coverings that might make it difficult to assess the risk to other people on the beach: ‘Do you think that’s a body board under that burka?’

The lost modesty of Christianity?

It wouldn’t surprise me if many Muslims look at westerners at the beach and by erroneously, but understandably, equating our nations with spread of Christianity, think that Jesus encourages nothing but hedonism and immorality. Flesh, flesh, flesh. That’s what you see at our beaches. Really, it is like a meat market. Swimming costumes leave little to the imagination, especially the bikini.

Now I love the bikini. But it is pretty much the same as underwear right? 

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Mum can I have Skype? How to let your kids loose on social media

protecting kids on social mediaI read a story a while ago of a public school in Sydney that was requiring all parents to provide an iPad for their kids at kindergarten. One parent objected noting that ‘iPads are not educationally proven – we think our kids should get concrete learning in writing and the basics throughout the whole of primary school’. However, by far the biggest concern for me would be the difficulty in protecting such young children who really are just starting to negotiate the world of real friendships, from the precarious and often narcisstic world of social media.

When it comes to teenagers, kids starting high school in Australia, you begin to realise that even if you want to say ‘no’ and shut down all access to social media, it’s actually quite impractical. You see, all their peers are on to it and they’re all organising stuff without your child. It’s not that friends are being deliberately mean spirited and leaving your child out. More likely it’s just practical; your child’s not on Skype or Instagram or whatever, so they miss out on being invited out for the movie on Saturday. Other times they might miss an update about an assignment or a last minute detail about an excursion; all easily answered in social media, but if you’re not on it, you’re out of the loop and miss the update.

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