Building Blocks of Parenting – Part 2

Part Two: Building Blocks of Parenting

Part Two Building Blocks of Parenting

When you’re frustrated with parenting, here are some things you can do to help sort through the advice and information you’ve heard or read. Sometimes we’re not sure about discipline and consequences. Sometimes we think the method we’ve chosen isn’t working. Sometimes we wonder if there’s a better way or a consequence that will get our kids’ attention more quickly. When you’re in that boat, here are a few Oars to help you paddle the rough waters of parenting.

Try these building blocks for Parenting.

When you use them correctly and consistently, you’ll find that parenting can be fun even when it’s hard work.

Alphabet letters for building blocks of parenting


parenting and asking about a hill to die on

Ask yourself if this is a hill worth dying on. If it is, then do battle until you’ve won. If it’s not, then call a truce. Maybe you’ll need to admit to your child that this isn’t working and you’ll come up with another plan. Sometimes calling a time-out until you can figure out what to do will provide grace and save face (for both of you). A few times I gave grace and we started over with a clean slate. I used that opportunity to explain what grace is. Obviously, my child learned what grace felt like because he was experiencing it right then! Claiming the hills you’ll die on helps keep you focused in the right direction. Giving in when it’s not an I’ll die on this hill makes life easier. Plus, it’s a win-win for everyone.

parenting and making the punishment fit the crimeBe sure to make the punishment fit the crime. Before dealing threats and consequences, figure out a consequence that fits the crime.  Match ‘em up. I surely failed at this those first years! If your child keeps turning on DVDs without permission, time-out or a spanking won’t send the message like turning the DVD off for a day. Of course, it’s easier to put a kid in time out than listen to her complain all day. She shouldn’t complain, but you can nix that complaining by adding a day onto the consequence. You can be sure the next time she thinks about putting in a DVD without permission, she’ll remember what happened the last time. It’s true that sometimes a child will repeat the infraction just to see if you remember or if you will really follow through. Don’t disappoint him.  Remember: you’re the parent.

comradarie and communication is part of building blocks of parentingComradery and Communication goes a long way. Working alongside a child when he’s young is better than sending him to do a job by himself i.e. raking leaves, dusting and vacuuming a room, washing dishes after a meal. It gives time for chatting and communication. You get the job done together and you connect with your child. It’s a time when being your child’s friend is a positive thing. Hanging up clothes on the clothes line was one of my favorite ways to nab a kid for some one-on-one time. Working side-by-side brought secrets to light better than trying to get a child to tell me over a glass of iced tea what was troubling him. Together, we sorted life’s problems, one load at a time. Plus, working alongside your child gives you an opportunity to model cheerfulness in a daunting task as well as showing him how to get a job done so that it’s done well. This is one time when “show, don’t tell” is important.

One block, one level at a time, and the task won’t seem so hard.

Sometimes we need to go back and start over at ground level. Each block, each principle used successfully is a guarantee to make good parenting possible – and rewarding as well.

You can do this.  After all, you’re the parent!

Pinterest Building Blocks Part Two


Building Blocks of Parenting – Part I

Part One – Building Blocks of Parenting

Building Blocks of Parenting

When it comes to discipline or teaching children responsibility, one of the hardest things for a parent is to be consistently consistent.  Equally difficult to remember is that being a parent does not require that we are always our child’s friend.

Easier said than done, I know.  How well I know!  While experience is a great teacher, we can also learn from others who’ve already experienced what we have yet to learn. Sometimes we don’t even know what we don’t know.  That’s when getting advice from others who’ve been there can be helpful as well as encouraging.

If you were to ask me what I’ve learned in parenting six kids for the last thirty years, these building blocks of parenting are the first blocks I’d pull out of the bag. It’s not that I did it so well.  It’s just that I learned along the way what I could have done better or could have done differently from the very start.

Even though I’ve been there and done that, believe me when I tell you that I still struggle with some of these when I am parenting foster kids in our home.

The struggle is real.

Yet winning each battle is worth every tear and every prayer along the way.

building block one on parenting


Be a parent first.  Every parent wants to be liked by his/her child, but being popular is not the goal.  You are the parent, not the popular teammate. Start with being the parent.

Choose discipline, consequences, and rewards because you’re the parent,  not the friend. Be a parent first.

No matter what, you will always be the parent.  Your “discipline” needs to reflect that. Don’t let your kids make you feel guilty for being the parent and not the friend when it is time to deal out consequences.  Be a parent first.




building block two on parenting


I can be my child’s friend – sometimes.  Sometimes I’m their friend, and sometimes I’m not. Remember: always a parent, sometimes a friend.

Being a friend should not detract from my parenting even though it connects me with my child. Making memories is fun and important, and we did that a lot.  Friends make good memories. Good parents are also disciplinarians.

Make decisions based on principle and not popularity. Whether it’s deciding on a gift, a visit to a friend’s house, cell phone usage or an activity, we need to base our decisions on what is right and best for our child and not because we want to be popular. Ask yourself: why am I saying (yes, no) to this request? Is this what is best for my child?




Building Block 3 on Parenting


Defeat the 3 Ds. These are Dishonesty, Disobedience, and Disrespect.

If the infraction is not one of the 3 Ds, then it’s not a  hill to die on. I wish I had sorted through this principle earlier.  Some skirmishes can be left untouched. Remember that if we win the battles on the 3 Ds, we will win the war.

Start sooner rather than later.  Waiting only makes it harder on yourself and your kid.  If your child is old enough to be dishonest, be disobedient or show disrespect, then he is old enough to experience consequences.  Period.  Plus,  your kids will be prepared for life – whether it’s regarding relationships or responsibilities.


Success does not come without a price.

Good parenting involves time, teamwork, and tenacity. Hang in there.  Stay the course. It really will be worth it someday.


Pinterest Building Blocks part One


Why – and How -To Talk to Your Kids About Menstruation

Menstruation is as lovely as flowers

It’s a known fact that girls have periods. You can call it menstruation or menses or that time of the month or girly time, or my friend is visiting or my monthlymy friend, on the rag, or my grandma is visiting, but it’s still a period. Not an exclamation point, I know. It’s a period. It’s a pain. It’s a mess. It can be inconvenient and embarrassing (when you’ve got blood on your clothes and don’t even know it). It can feel shameful – but it isn’t (shameful, that is.)

Why menstruation isn’t shameful.

God designed the female body to reproduce. That menstrual cycle is necessary for having babies – and it also has a large part to play in being a female. When you’re fearfully and wonderfully made, there is no reason to be – or to feel – shame. As females, we are a complex bunch, and that’s how God made us. Therefore, there is no need to be embarrassed or feel shame. We would do well to believe that and exhibit that sentiment to our kids and to others.

boys should be taught about menstruation as well

You know something? Girls aren’t the only ones who should be taught about menstruation.

Boys should be taught about menstruation as well.

Understanding how a female is made and how things affect her can help a guy understand a gal. When there’s a female sibling, it’s no excuse to blame grumpiness or moodiness on a gal’s period. Understanding what’s happening can help a brother feel less slammed when his sister is more grumpy than usual, especially if she’s experiencing severe cramps. When a brother or son is taking out the trash and notices evidence of menstruation, he’s going to ask (unless he feels he’ll be shamed for asking). You should tell him. Depending on his age, you can say a number of things. Choose all of the following or just one:

  • Oh, your sister is having her period OR Oh, that’s because I’m having my period.
  • It happens every month and it’s a part of being a girl (or a woman).
  • That’s the way God made females; it’s part of developing so one day she can have babies.
  • The blood is just part of it. Nobody is hurt.

Prepare your girl for menstruation by explaining early rather than later.

Our kids are going to learn about menstruation from someone. Who would you rather they hear from? You, the parent, or a classmate whose information might be incorrect? Wise parents will be one step ahead of their kids’ peers. Give your daughter and/or son the correct version of what happens when a girl has a period before anyone has a chance to mar their perspective. Give it such a positive spin that your child looks forward to experiencing a period instead of dreading it.

Menstruation is part of being a female.

That’s what my mother did. She told me that our bodies are so specially made that God has a place inside a girl’s body for a baby to grow – someday. That place, she said, is “as soft as cotton” so the baby will be safe and cared for while it grows inside the mommy. When that soft place isn’t needed for a baby, the womb gets rid of all the nutrients it would have needed, and that is when a girl has her period. She also explained that not every girl starts her period at the same age. Some start when they’re as young as nine or ten, and others don’t start until their late teens.

You see what she did there? She made having a period something to anticipate and not something to dread. Having a period meant I was becoming a woman! She also gave my body permission to have it come earlier or later than the age my sisters were at the beginning of their menses.

An unneeded egg is part of the menstrual cycle

Seize opportunities to be the one to explain menstruation.

I’m saddened by the moms and grandmothers who have an opportunity to give light on the subject. Instead, they don’t talk about it with their kids/grandkids. Everything God has made and designed is good. Everything has a purpose.  Our bodies are intricate and there is no need for shame. We are specially designed and our kids should be amazed instead of ashamed of their bodies and their functions.

Certainly, there are some things that we don’t discuss in a large group or in public. We need to use discretion in how we answer questions, especially considering who is the audience. Yet, the fact remains that we are intricately designed and ought to recognize how wonderfully God has made us and planned for our bodies to reproduce. Of that, there is no reason to feel embarrassment or shame.

Adolescents need to be aware of why their bodies are changing.

So how should we talk to our kids about menstruation?!

  • Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. Model a positive attitude about your own body and sexuality. If your child knows you like being a woman, she is more likely to like being a soon-to-be-woman. If you struggle with embarrassment, then practice what you’ll say to your child ahead of time so you can be more comfortable.
  • Answer questions as they are asked. Give answers to the question that was asked and not a thesis about the reproductive cycle. If you struggle with embarrassment, it’s possible that your mother did, too. Break that cycle. Make it a practice not to be embarrassed by the questions or by giving an answer.
  • Seize those opportunities. Take an opportunity to explain to your child about the female cycle well before your child will be starting her period. Use day-to-day opportunities for both girls and guys. It doesn’t need to be a sit-down session. Interject it into the daily of life and it can be as normal as cleaning up a bloody nose.
  • Be positive because it is the way God made us. Be sure to give it the positive spin it deserves if for no other reason than because it was God’s idea, and His ideas are always good!
  • Have supplies on hand. Show your child where supplies are in the event that she starts her period when you’re not at home. She’ll know where to go and what to do because you’re prepared her.

You’re the adult. You’re the parent (or the significant adult in your child’s life). Do the job and do it well! Your child will thank you for it some day.

Pinterest - Menstruation

How to Let Your Husband Be The Captain of Your Team

let your husband be the captain of your team

The playing field of home can be fraught with frustration, especially when the coaches disagree and the players are uncooperative. It is rare to find parents who agree on how much discipline or what kind of discipline should be divvied out to their offspring.

More often than not, one of the greatest disagreements comes from how we are wired. Most two-parent families typically have a “softie” mom and a tough dad. Sometimes it’s the other way, but usually you’ll find moms collaborating that there are times when the dad is just “too hard” on the kids. I’m not talking about abusive, disrespectful, or unsympathetic rigidness. I’m talking about day-to-day discipline and consequences that parents deal out to their kids. Usually dad is stricter than mom.

let your husband be the captain of your team

There’s a reason for that. He’s more objective because he’s a male. It’s the way God made him. He’s also a dad. His desire is not to coddle and cripple his kids, encouraging them to just walk to first base. He wants to prepare them to make home runs and not just bunt to first base.

This head coach is just as much the parent of your kids as the assistant mom coach. Authentic dad coaches know a whole lot more about raising kids than many moms give them credit. How do I know? I’ve seen it in other families, and I’ve experienced it myself.

dad is the captain of the team

What’s the playing field like at your house?  Do you agree on these things?

  • Having or helping with chores, including the age a child should begin
  • Picking up toys and straightening up the mess he/she has made
  • Table manners and food consumption
  • Getting dressed by themselves when they’re old enough and what age is “old enough”
  • Completing homework or other responsibilities before bedtime or before doing fun things
  • Helping with housework, laundry, meals, or chores
  • Going without lunch or an assignment due at school because the child forgot to take it.
  • Behavior in church and church attendance
  • Traveling without fussing and complaining
  • Sleeping in his/her own bed and in his/her own room
  • Bedtime and bedtime routine
  • Getting up time and morning routine

on the playing field, dad is captain of the team

Disciplining in anger is wrong. Abuse is wrong. Yet that’s no excuse to withhold discipline. Sometimes moms fail to admit that discipline which is done in the right way and at the right time can promote a healthier and more cooperative player. That’s because moms tend to feel that dad expects too much of his players.

your husband must be captain of your team

Children can be taught to do a lot more than is often expected of them. Children can be trained to be obedient and not whine, even when they are tired and feel restless. Fathers are good at this training – if the moms, aunts, and grandmas stay out of the way.

How many times have you seen a dad throw his child into the air and catch him while the aunties or grandma exclaim that he’s too rough and not being careful enough? Ever hear other men say that to dads? Of course not. This is what dads do. It’s fun, and it teaches kids to trust them.

in work or play, let your husband be the captain of your team

Our mothering instinct causes many of us to think we have a better handle on raising kids than our spouse. We’re usually the ones who spend the most time with them, so we can “read” them better and understand them better – or so we think. We tend to not want to give credence to the fact that our spouse has an insight we don’t have. Moms want to coddle and keep the babies in protective gear while dads think it doesn’t hurt a kid to get hurt once in a while; he’ll learn better how to dodge balls if he doesn’t have all that padding. Moms want to keep their babies in the nest, and Dads want to encourage their fledglings to fly.

let your husband be the captain of your team

Therein lies the conflict.

Whether it’s with tussling, playing games, or chores, dads are usually the aggressive ones and encourage the tussling, insist on chores, and make sure their child doesn’t always win in a game. It’s a father’s way of helping prepare his child for life.

It’s time we allow dads to take back their rightful place in the homes.  Before you think that you really know best, give the guy a chance.

let your husband be the captain of your team

So you think he’s too strict in what he wants from his kids? Try it his way for a month. Every Single Day. Do it his way. Don’t let your kids know (by sighing, rolling your eyes, or some other body language) that you don’t agree. Get behind him 100% and see what a difference it makes. When you discover he was right, acknowledge it and thank him for helping you become a better parent.

Remember that the dad is as much a parent as are you.

He loves his kids as much as you do. He might not show it the way you do, but he’d die for them just as you would.  He’s fiercely protective and loyal to his offspring, and he wants them to grow up to be successful.

When we as moms fail to allow dad to be the dad, we are emasculating him.

We are treating him as our oldest child and not a parent-coach.

Moms, your role as mommy is so important. No one can nurture, cuddle and create a haven like you can. Yet the role of the dad is every bit as important. He needs to be encouraged and allowed to fulfill his role. He’ll step up to the plate if we back away and make room for him in the batter’s box.

Since you want your spouse to allow you to nurture as only a mommy can do, let him be the dad and father as only a father can. That’s his role. Don’t diminish his role, and don’t emasculate him.

dad must be captain of the team

Together, you can make quite a winning team!

How about it, moms? Can you identify? What has your experience been?  Feel free to share this post with others. I’d love to hear from you.