Category Archives: Parenting

50 Prayers for Our Kids and Grandkids

Praying hands In everything give thanks...

The Fervent Prayer of a Righteous Grandma Avails Much
Photo Credit: Irina Patrascu

I just ran across this list of prayers to pray for our young people. As a grandma, I’m especially concerned about the world my granddaughters are growing up in and the influences they will face as they mature. Although they are still a little young for these prayers, it’s never too early to start. After all I’m already praying for their husbands! So as you pray for your kids and grandkids, consider adding some of these prayers to your list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Developing an Adult Relationship with Your Adult Kids

Mother Scolding Child

Do you treat your kidults like kids?
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto

How do you relate to your twenty-something kids? Do you have a parent-child relationship or an adult-adult relationship?

I think that parenting after high school is even harder than parenting during the teen years. Our kids are maturing, separating, and figuring out who they are, yet they still need skilled parenting. But we now operate from a position of relationship rather than one of authority. The ten years between 18 and 28 (or so) are critical for our relationship for the rest of our lives. So how do we transition from parent-child to adult-adult?

We only had one child, so I admit I have limited experience. We had a pretty good relationship with him during his growing up years, but the transition to adulthood was still challenging. Even after he got married. Sometimes we’d talk for hours and it felt like we were peers. Other times, it felt strained.

Building an Adult-Adult Relationship

I remember the day when we were finally able to put language to our experience. We were traveling with our son and his wife. They were late meeting us, and that made us late for the next event. I said something about it, and they reacted like teens. Then it hit me. We were traveling as two adult couples, but they were reacting as if we were parents and they were children. I found that by putting the issue on the table and clarifying it, it moved us to a new place in the relationship. We talked about how we communicate with our adult friends, and how we negotiate differences without one person or couple being dominant. Of course, that wasn’t the end of it. We had to have the conversation several times over the next several years and we had to deliberately learn how to be adult friends rather than “mom and dad.” But in the end, it paid off. We are almost always on an adult-adult relationship now, and it’s a delight. So don’t be afraid to clarify your relationship with your kidults. The sooner the better.

Developing A Great Relationship with Your Daughter-in-Law

 

Family by Choice

Family by Choice
Photo Credit: (c) Joshua Sikora

How’s your relationship with your daughter-in-law (DIL)? Or is that too touchy of a subject? I think a lot of moms of sons are surprised by the challenges of adding a new woman to the family, especially if we have a close relationship with our sons.

I was blessed with a friend who was years ahead of me in the mother-in-law (MIL) business. She was so diligent in maintaining a good relationship with her DIL. She pointed out that when a young man marries, the new wife often sees the MIL as competition. At first that didn’t make sense. Don’t we both love the same man? But that’s precisely the point. And to complicate the matter, most families don’t seem to put words or even cognition to that dilemma, so other conflicts arise to express it. Since they aren’t the real issue, they often don’t get resolved. Hurt feelings abound. And the man we love is caught in the middle. Another thing that happens is making the transition from child to adult and developing an adult relationship with your son and his wife rather than a parent/child relationship. If you’ve been close, that’s a hard transition for both parents and son. And here, the new wife gets caught in the middle.

Deb DeArmond has written a wonderful book about this issue.  Related by Chance, Family by Choice: Transforming Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law Relationships (Kregel Publications, 2013) talks to both mothers of sons and wives of those sons, addressing the most common glitches in this vital relationship.  It’s helpful to see both sides of the issue, as well as the side of what she calls “the man in the middle”—your son. The book is easy to read and features questions and personal evaluations at the end of each chapter to help you be more honest with yourself. And who wouldn’t want the goal: a better relationship with the wife of your son and the mother of your grandchildren.

If you’ve felt that your only option in dealing with your adult son and his wife is to “wear beige and keep your mouth shut,” the book is for you. If you’ve had misunderstandings with your DIL, there’s hope for reconciliation. And if you have a good relationship, you’ll learn ways to make it great.

I’m so thankful for the wonderful relationship we have with our DIL. She’s a treasure, and we tell her that regularly. It hasn’t always been easy, and still isn’t. But we’ve both worked hard and continue to find ways to make our family work. I feel like I’ve given and changed a lot, but I’ve also been very aware of the many concessions she has made to include and honor us. And ultimately, that’s what this relationship is about. Each party respecting the other and creating a delightful, God-honoring extended family.

 

Mothers’ Day — A Day of Redemption

Hats Off to You, Moms!

Hats Off to You, Moms!
Photo Credit: Peggy Reimchen

Hats off to all of you wonderful mothers out there. I always spend Mothers’ Day pondering that season I enjoyed, and now enjoying the fruits of my labors. I know that I have been blessed beyond measure with my dear son, his wife, and now our grandchildren. I feel as if I indeed reaped tenfold, maybe one hundredfold, on the investment I made. Like many of you, I remember the highlights. The good times. I know there were tough times, but they are foggier in my memory.

I also know that some of you struggle with Mothers’ Day. You feel you didn’t do enough. You’re sure you didn’t do it right. You grieve because your kids didn’t turn out the way you had hoped. Let me encourage you. God isn’t finished with you yet, and if your children are still living, He isn’t finished with them yet either (Phil 1:6). We are only in Act I. There is still time for redemption, renewal, and restoration. So keep praying. Keep loving. Keep reaching out. Keep keeping the door open. Because God has a plan that he hasn’t revealed.

And for those of us who had less than perfect moms, today is a day to forgive and release. As I was praying this morning, I realized that I am still holding on to fragments of resentment over what I didn’t get. Over the humanness of my mom, which resulted in my not having the childhood I thought I deserved. But the reality is, God chose my parents and family before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). He put me in that family for His reasons. And as long as I cooperate with Him, with His plan, I can be a part of the redemptive process in my family. Who knows but that I was brought into this family for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14). Who knows how God plans on using you and me to bring a new level of wholeness and health to our families. And our imperfect mothers were part of that. I, in my own imperfection, am part of that.

So this morning, I spent some time releasing the hurts and grievances that still cling like barnacles to my soul, despite years of healing work. I spent some time forgiving and reconciling with my imperfect mother. Let me encourage you to do the same.

I love this video, which points out just how impossible this job is. Who would be foolish enough to sign up for it?

Living the Daring Adventure | Guest Blogger Marci Seither

I’m pleased to welcome my friend, Marci Seither, author of Empty Nest: Strategies to Help Your Kids Take Flight.

Empty Nest: Strategies to Help Our Kids Take Flight

Empty Nest: Strategies to Help Our Kids Take Flight by Marci Seither

“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” 
-Helen Keller

My daughter, Amy, and I spent a Saturday helping my mom serve lunch at a gathering of women I had never met. There was a baker’s dozen who flew in from different states or drove to my parent’s home. Some had kept in touch since they graduated 50 years earlier, some hadn’t seen each other for decades.

The women hugged and greeted each other with laughter, often shaking their heads as if to wonder how time had slipped away, like sand through their fingers. In those moments of familiarity, glimpses of adolescent girls giggling over playground crushes, high school prom dresses and bad hairdos rose to the surface. They referred back to a time when their life was simple, and youthful ambition untarnished by life’s detours.

At lunch, they all sat down and pulled thin strips of paper from a basket. Each paper held a one-sentence story they had written for others to guess the source. The stories were as unique as the women sharing them. Elephant rides in India, a chance meeting with famous people, sailing the Sea of Cortez and being stuck in a sand dune were some of the tales shared. The women were smart, funny, and articulate, and but the one word that I came away with was adventurous.

They knew full well what it was to be “Strong and Courageous.” I looked at Amy, who sat mesmerized, and wondered if the word “Adventure” would hold the same meaning for her generation.

“Live life to the fullest!” is something that we often tell our kids. We set them on training wheel equipped bikes after making sure their helmets, mouth guards, knee pads and wrist braces are properly fastened. Okay, maybe the mouth guard is a bit extreme. But, gone are the days of seeing the countryside from the back of a pick-up truck, playing outside until the streetlights turn on and enjoying games that don’t require batteries or internet access.

Don’t get me wrong. I think safety equipment is great and being cautious is important but sometimes I think we are teaching the next generation to take all the risk out of living. How can we expect our kids and grandkids to be bold for Christ when want them to stay tethered to what we think is safe and controlled. It concerns me that the younger generations zest for life is quickly being replaced by immediate gratification of entertainment that can be experienced from the comfort of our Lazy Boy recliners.

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” Corinthians 16:13

The Bible is full of great stories about risk taking people, like Caleb, Ruth, and Esther. We need to share those stories along with a few of our own so the younger generation will have positive role models to look up to when they get ready to stand on their own.

What adventures have you lived lately? What stories have you shared with the next generation?

 

 

Empty Nest: Strategies to Help Your Kids Take Flight

Empty Nest: Strategies to Help Our Kids Take Flight

Empty Nest: Strategies to Help Our Kids Take Flight by Marci Seither

The dreaded empty nest! I still haven’t recovered, and my kid left for college twelve years ago! I only had one child and I home schooled him for eighteen years, so when he left, we didn’t have an empty nest. We had an cavernous empty pit. A deep one. How I wish I would have had my friend Marci Seither’s newest book, Empty Nest: Strategies to Help Your Kids Take Flight. As the mother of six, Marci has had a lot more practice with leave-taking than I have, and in this book she shares not only her experience, but also the experiences of many other parents.

Written in a chatty, informal, and delightfully humorous style peppered with lots of stories and insights, Marci covers just about every aspect of helping your kids take flight while keeping your own sanity. She covers just about every type of family situation: single parents, military kids, sibling relationships, your relationship as a couple, and even the boomerang kid. She offers more examples than advice and faith rather than fear (my favorite chapter). Reading this book was like enjoying a coffee and conversation with an old friend. If you have a child about to take flight, I highly recommend Empty Nest.

And here’s a bonus. Tomorrow I welcome Marci as a guest blogger. Be sure to come back and read her thought-provoking insights.

 

 

 

Four Ideas for Helping Young Parents Find Time with God

 

Mom and Baby

Weary Mom and Baby
Photo Credit JaneyHenning

I’ve just come back from a wonderful week with my son, DIL, and fabulous granddaughter. She’s 16 months old and a delight. She kept us busy from early morning until her bedtime – at which time we were all pretty tuckered out.

There was a lot I didn’t get done during that week, but the thing I missed the most was my quiet time. I had forgotten how hard it is to get in a little Bible and prayer time with a toddler underfoot. Her mom is pregnant, so often naps while Abby is napping. The rest of the day is consumed with chasing, reading, feeding, and playing. Wonderful, but tiring.

So how can a young mom or a caregiver get some time with God?

  • When I’m traveling and have less time for Bible study and prayer, my go-to remedy is the Daily Audio Bible app, available for every platform.  Host Brian Hardin reads through the Bible in a year with daily selections from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. The reading plus a short devotional last about 20 minutes and can be paused and restarted as needed. I listen while grooming in the morning and was often able to get through most of the broadcast before I was beautiful. This is a perfect app for young moms. Play it during breakfast.
  • Worship music can set a peaceful atmosphere in the home and give mom a way to keep her spirit focused on the Lord, even while caring for children. I keep my iPhone in my pocket with music playing while doing routine tasks. The little ones will also benefit from the atmosphere the worship music creates.
  • When my son was little, I loved my women’s Bible studies. With the cost of babysitters these days, it’s hard for mom and dad to get away for a co-ed small group. But that’s no reason to miss out. Mom and dad can trade times away for separate women’s and men’s studies.
  • And Grandma, honor your young daughters or DIL’s. Do what you can to provide babysitting, time away, and encouragement. Especially encourage them to give priority to time with the Lord.

It’s easy for a young mom to get on the treadmill and not even realize how long it’s been since she’s had time with God. Let’s do what we can to help them.

 

 

 

Want to Know the Secrets of Happy Families?


Who doesn’t want a happy family? For those in the Sandwich Generation, it seems like that is often our primary focus. Or one of them… But how do we get there? Magazines promise tips and strategies. Who doesn’t want a happy family? For those in the Sandwich Generation, it seems like that is often our primary focus. Or one of them… But how do we get there? Magazines promise tips and strategies. Who doesn’t want a happy family? For those in the Sandwich Generation, it seems like that is often our primary focus. Or one of them… But how do we get there? Magazines promise tips and strategies. Library shelves are filled with books promoting different approaches. TV pundits offer their insights. Our pastors and religious leaders weigh in. Scripture sometimes seems outdated in this high tech world. What’s an ordinary woman to do?

In The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Tell Your Family History, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More, New York Times bestselling author Bruce Feiler provides a blueprint for modern families — a fresh approach to family dynamics inspired by cutting-edge techniques gathered from experts in science, business, sports, and the military. Written in a charming, accessible style, The Secrets of Happy Families is smart, funny, and fresh, and will forever change how your family lives every day.

Even though I no longer have children in the home, I was fascinated by his findings. I especially enjoyed the chapter on grandparenting, where he both affirmed the role of grandparents in kids’ lives and put us in our place.