On December 13, 2019, CCS had the honor of hosting family counselor/psychologist, Keith McCurdy. I was fortunate enough to watch Keith present to the middle and high school students during the day, present to the CCS staff after school and to the CCS parents in the evening. There were key themes and easy take-a ways that could benefit any parent wanting to raise a sturdy child.
We are investing in our children with the hopes that this broken fallen world does not devour them and we pray we raise sturdy resilient children who love Jesus.
Here are some practical every day tips discussed in Keith McCurdy’s presentations that we can implement, NOW.
- Set Boundaries.
Do you say ‘Yes’ because it’s the easiest answer? As parents, we are all guilty of this at times. Life is so busy and it is just hard to say ‘No’ sometimes. Nevertheless, look at the request and ask your child and yourself, “Is it healthy for our child to be doing this?” ‘Is this Best?’
- Do Less. Require More.
10-year-old children in 1900 had more life skills than a college graduate today. Alarming, right? Yet, I can admit, in my own home, we have slacked on chore development. If I can be completely transparent, sometimes I would rather do it myself to get it done quicker and done right. Training up a child to do his/her chores well takes time and patience. However, in the end…it is worth it. When it is time to let go of our child’s hand, they will be ready and equipped to live life well.
- Cause + Effect.
We cannot make our children be obedient. Perhaps, when they are littles we can make them obey. As they mature and grow, we want to see our children obey and do the right thing even when he/she does not want to.
Respect, Responsibility and School are top priority. When a child demonstrates and executes these three priorities well, they earn simple in home freedom and privileges. When the child is demonstrating Respect, Responsibility (chores), School (strong work ethic) and small freedoms well, they can start to earn out of the home opportunities.
I think of it as a spiritual fever. As children do well and show they are obeying, maturing and thriving, they gain freedom and flexibility. If they start to show a fever, you shut down the extra activities/freedoms and keep them close to home to rest, recover and regroup. Go back to the basics.
Here is a practical example: Johnny was supposed to take the trash out to the curb on Monday. He did not do his chore. Most parents would take the trash out to the curb. Who wants stinky garbage sitting around for another week? With this cause and effect strategy, parents would not take the trash out. The trash would stay at the house for an extra week and Johnny would lose the use of his car and cell phone until he can demonstrate mastery of taking out the trash timely. Guess what? Johnny started taking the trash out on time every Monday ☺
No yelling. No fighting. Calm basic implementation of cause and effect strategy.
- Limit Disruptions.
Set your children up for success. In a technology saturated world where all of their friends have cell phones, XBOX, Disney+, etc. Be the one who takes away the distractions of technology. At the very least, limit it. In a generation where we are so supposedly connected, teens report the highest level of isolation, depression and anxiety. Limit the technology. Take the phone out of your child’s bedroom at night. Buy an old-fashioned plug-in alarm clock and let their bodies get back to natural sleep rhythms and cycles.
In summary, Keith McCurdy inspired me to take back my responsibility to parent. Parent all the way. Be all in. It is tiring. It is mentally draining at times but in the end, it is our God given responsibility.
One day when we are face to face with the Lord, I want to hear Him say “Well done with what you have been entrusted”.
I love that saying ‘It takes a village’. It really does. We need God and our community to love, support, help one another and hold each other accountable. Let’s raise study kids (that love Jesus) together.
Written by Lynn Marcoux; Inspired by Keith McCurdy