Friday, August 31, 2012

Take active steps to manage stress – Find Some Quiet

No one makes great choices when stressed. It is especially hard to be patient and stay consistent with our kids when we feel under pressure. While we are all likely to blow our tops occasionally, there are five steps we can take to manage our stress so we are in a better emotional place to handle the situations that trigger our unwanted reactions.

Last time we talked about making time for God.

The second strategy for managing stress is to find some quiet time to do your “adult thinking.” 

All adults have things they need to mentally process and work they need to accomplish without interruption. It could be work for a job, it could be a hobby you are passionate about, it could be balancing the checkbook or making a family budget for the month, it doesn’t matter. We all have things we can’t do when the kids are around talking to us and needing us to take care of things. 

But when we don’t get this work done, it starts to irritate us. It almost begins to take on weight as we mentally mull it over and worry about when it will get done. And when our brains are busy worrying about this work, we get stressed and we don’t think clearly about the tones of voice we use, our word choices, or our attitudes. When I have something that requires uninterrupted thought, I have found that the only time I can do it is when the rest of my family is asleep.  For me that is first thing in the morning before everyone is awake, for you that might be after everyone else has gone to bed for the night.

Do not waste this time doing work you can do with the kids. This is not the time to clean the house or update your facebook status. Use this time wisely so you can clear your head and keep your stress level under control.

Learn how to make the most of this time, how it can benefit your family, and what to do when your kids interrupt it with the Smarter Parenting Teleclass. Get more information at and click on Parent Coaching.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Managing Stress Part 1 - Making Time for God

No one makes great choices when stressed. It is especially hard to be patient and stay consistent with our kids when we feel under pressure. While we are all likely to blow our tops occasionally, there are five steps we can take to manage our stress so we are in a better emotional place to handle the situations that trigger our unwanted reactions.

The first one is to Make Time For God

When I am stressed I tend to fly off the handle, but when I am at peace I roll with the punches much more easily.  When I ask God for help in this area, He answers.

One way He answers me is by helping me make time for Him.  Somehow when I take time to consciously be in the presence of my Lord I get the same number of items crossed off my “to do” list as when I just get out of bed and get straight to work, but I am less harried about it.  I feel more peaceful and more patient.  I do a better job of making time for my husband and my children when I first make time for God.  

Each of us needs to be spending time in the Bible and time in prayer every day.  I know that is SO hard with little kids.  I go through periods where I really struggle with it myself.  But I promise you that if you make it a priority God will bless you and He will help you make the time. 

Next time we will talk about the second strategy for managing stress—finding some quiet time to do our “adult thinking.”

Monday, August 6, 2012

Use Time Out Effectively

Sometimes moms say, “I’ve tried time out and it doesn’t work.” Other times they say, “I can’t get my child to stay in time out.” Or, I hear, “My child doesn’t care if he goes to time out, he just repeats the behavior anyway.” If these statements sound familiar to you, don’t worry. You are not alone. However, if time out hasn’t worked for you, there is a good chance you aren’t using it correctly. Here is a list of the steps for an effective time out. Do not skip any of them. 1) When a child misbehaves, give him one verbal warning. Calmly, yet clearly and firmly, let him know that repeating the behavior will lead to a time out. 2) If the behavior is repeated, tell the child he needs a time out. Guide him by the hand to the time out spot (make it somewhere he can hear you but not see you, and do not use his bedroom). 3) Place the child on the time out spot, and calmly, yet firmly, tell the child why he is in time out. Tell him how long he will be there (one minute for every year of age), then walk away. Do not get drawn into a conversation. Simply state the facts and leave. Don’t forget to set a timer! 4) If the child is crying or talking, tell him his time will begin as soon as he is quiet. 5) If the child gets out of the time out chair before his time is up, take him back without saying anything or giving a reaction. Simply take him back and set him on the chair. If you must say something, keep it to, “You can’t get up until your time is done.” You may have to repeat this over and over until your child finally takes you seriously and stays put. If he knows you will eventually give in, he will never stay and this will not be an effective strategy. When used consistently, it works extremely well. Consistency, however, is the key. Do not give up! 6) Once the time is up, the parent who put the child in time out should go to the child and calmly ask him why he is in time out. If he doesn’t remember, it is okay to remind him. Ask him how he can handle things better next time, then have him say he is sorry. Then give him a hug. 7) Once time out is over, do NOT bring it up again. If you need to tell your spouse about it, do it after the child has gone to bed for the night. He has “done his time” – show him how to forgive and forget. 8) Do not feel like a bad parent for putting your child in time out repeatedly. Many kids will go through phases when they are in time out ten or more times a day. Remember that you are investing in the future of your child and your entire family by taking the time and effort to establish a system of discipline now. Do not give up! Before long, time outs will be a rare occurrence in your home. Remind yourself to stay calm so you can have smarter conversations with your child and do a better job of teaching. Get more details on using time out effectively through a Smarter Parenting tele-class. Sign up at

Friday, August 3, 2012

Discipline vs Punishment – What’s the Difference?

There is a distinct difference between discipline and punishment, and parents need to recognize this truth. When correcting our children, we want to discipline because our ultimate goal is to teach. Punishment says, “You are bad and I want you to suffer for it.” Discipline says, “I want you to learn how to do this better next time.” That doesn’t mean discipline is easy on the kids, because it often isn’t. Hebrews 12:11 says “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Discipline trains the child and helps him understand how to improve. The conversation focuses on your child. When you punish, your displeasure becomes the focus and the child may not understand that he has a role in the situation, or the power to change his behavior. Always educate. Kids who learn how to behave spend less time pushing your buttons and more time having fun, so you have less parenting stress. To learn more about effective discipline and teaching your child to be responsible for his behavior, join a Smarter Parenting tele-class. Go to and click on Parent Coaching for detail and registration.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Pray Every Day

Do you ever feel alone in your parenting? Ever experience confusion or anxiety about the decisions you make for your children? Most parents do. In these times, it is important to remember that we are not alone. Just as you are there to support, encourage, and help your child, God is there for you. You are His child and He wants to help you in all things, including your parenting. Don’t try to do it alone. God wants to be a part of your life, your family, and your parenting, so let Him. We let God help us by praying every day. This regular conversation allows you to build a relationship with God, and the closer you are, the more easily you will hear His direction, guidance, and blessings. Pray daily for yourself, your spouse, and your children.Thank Him for the good things happening in your family and ask for help with your struggles. Ask Him to help you be the parent He wants you to be. When you feel connected to God and can hear His direction and receive His guidance, you will be better able to make smart parenting choices. Want more on the power of prayer and how to let God guide your family? Register for a Smarter Parenting tele-class. For more details, go to and click on Parent Coaching.