As we dive deeper into helping parents with children with special needs, we’ll be sharing ideas and resources on this page. Check back in the coming weeks as we populate the page.
“Great evening! Thanks to everyone. Pat Nolan was knowledgable and approachable; we left with “at least one thing” (and so much more). Mr. Sasser was helpful and fun. Attendees were honest and open. Snacks were perfect. Great night! Much appreciated!”
On Sunday, April 8th Pat Nolan encouraged a group of parents in the area of managing conflict and anger in your home. Below are several resources on this topic.
In Episode 09 we talk with Rich Biagini on how we can better navigate technology and social media with our family.
In Episode 08 we interview Danny Rogers, our New Bern Campus Pastor, about intentional parenting in his home.
In Episode 07 we interview Mike and Julie Ashcraft just after our recent Parent Network event. They’ll share a little more about how to create a healthy family culture and answer a few questions from the night. We also talk about upcoming Parent Network events. You can listen below, or subscribe to the Parent Network Podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud. Enjoy!
Looking to check out one of the series that were mentioned at the recent event with the Ashcrafts or on the podcast? Check them out below.
Interested in watching our recent Parent Network event with the Ashcrafts? Click here (and settle in for little while!).
Being Intentional as Parents
By Mike & Julie Ashcraft
With Madison Ashcraft Goslee & Michaela Ashcraft
It’s not about being a perfect parent!
Encounter. Formation. Expression.
The culture of the home is an incubator of character. The culture is what actually happens in your home. Ask your kids what your home’s culture is. Ask, listen and then start talking. Kids are made to be great. They need to know that you care about them. What are we doing to foster this?
How did you see us integrate faith into our household?
Michaela- I saw what you did in our home to cultivate your faith, and I learned how to have a relationship with Jesus.
Madison – We behaved as normal teenagers, we weren’t “churchy”. You simply modeled love in your relationship with me, and told me God loves me even more than you do.
A Pressure Free Home – a place to grow and feel safe
Our home is not perfect, but we strive to make it a place of immense enjoyment, safety and connection. One key component to creating a thriving culture in your home is to reduce pressure on your kids.
Being a pastor’s kid, how have you dealt with pressure?
Madison – You created for us a pressure free home. We were told that whatever the world sees in us doesn’t matter, only what God sees in us.
Michaela – We didn’t have pressure to be anything that we weren’t created to be.
Being a Grace Filled Home
We resolve conflict by offering grace to each other. Talk through what happened and don’t wait to apologize. Julie reminds us that the last thing a child hears when they walk out the door, they will remember. So meet kids where they are AND in that moment. We even restart and reset our day if necessary. We have the security in our home to be mad and then retry again – the day is not ruined. Whatever is going on, just remember – it is just a season, it’s going to change
Words of wisdom from Julie
- Always iron your clothes
- Choose to wake up in a good mood
- Always celebrate, there’s always a reason for a party
- Love each other
Love Your Kids Uniquely
There is six years difference between our girls. They are unique and we have realized our parenting needs to be unique too.
Tell us about the driving contract.
Madison – When I turned 16 I had to sign a two page legal-like contract. I felt like they didn’t trust me. But we talked about how I felt, and then went over each item. I could express my feelings and they showed me why they care.
Michaela – I didn’t have a driving contract J But, we do talk about my driving privileges and I know that you always want me to be safe and what is best for me. And we can compromise and work it out.
Boys & Other Things
We tell them it isn’t a right to privacy, we will respect your privacy. We have rules and one of those rules is the girls cell phones are ours too. We check their phones often and anything on their phones we will look at. We also had the rule that they could not date until they were 16.
How did you feel about these rules?
Madison – I wasn’t happy about them, but I was okay with them. I didn’t feel like I had anything to hide because you were always available and willing to talk. I could come to you about anything because you had created a safe environment and we trusted you. If it was on my phone, you knew about it already. And as far as dating, you were always willing to sit down and talk about the rules and expectations so we came to a level of trust.
Michaela – We could always talk about the rules. I felt heard, and always listened to. We had conversations about dating and what dating would look like, so I had understood all our expectations.
Don’t Freak Out, Find Out
Awkward conversations… you have to have them! They are weird and imperative. Kids want a place to process, so give them that space. Another key component to creating a thriving culture in your home is to ask your kids questions and talk with them. We want to preserve their innocence. If we don’t do this, no one else will.
Know each other
You have to get to know your kids, and they have to get to know you. Make sure the expression on your face matches theirs. If they are excited about something, join with their excitement. If they are hurting, join with their hurting. Don’t confuse vision (the hope of what could be) with expectation (what is required). We tell them to do your best verses be the best. And make sure they are contributing to the family and they understand what their contribution means.
Everybody wants strategies to make kids behave the way we want them to behave – this is foolish. What we need in our homes is a culture to thrive!
Potential Sermon Series to Review:
- Hot Heads
- Freak Out
- Parents Just Don’t Understand
Building a Healthy Family System
LISTENING & COMMUNICATION
By Pat Nolan
As parents, some times we make things too complicated. In fact, listening seems so simple that it’s easy to gloss over it as a parental skill and favor more exciting things like teaching moments, fixing problems, or making sure our kids listen to us. Parents regularly talk about wanting “good communication” with their kids and kids actually do want to talk to their parents. So if listening is the foundation of good communication, then let’s keep it simple and start there.
Benefits of Listening
Listening will go far, not just in hearing the conversation, but can help fortify other areas of parenting too.
- We can gather information about a child’s life and what’s in their head
- Listening builds strong relationships
- Listening thoughtfully shows respect
- Shows them you care and that they matter
- It is always the first step in solving problems
- Kids are smarter than most adults think – they pay attention and are aware. They will teach you how to raise them if you listen.
- A child who is listened to… Learns how to listen
What is Listening?
Listening is thoughtful attention. It is intentional, and most parents have listening skills. Sometimes it is a matter of putting them into practice intentionally so that you can be a role model for these skills.
We can be better listeners with:
- Direct eye contact
- Positive body language
- Paraphrasing/summarizing what is being said (“So you want to have more time on your ipad”)
- Reflecting the emotion of what they are saying (“Sounds like it hurts your feeling when your sister calls you names”)
- Show empathy (“I remember when my parents made me go to church”)
Just as there are good listening practices, there are also poor listening practices. I call these Listening Quicksand. Be careful not to sink into these practices!
- Cell Phones – when you look at your cell phone, you automatically make the person you’re talking with a second priority
- Interrupting – you are focused on just getting a moment to break in and say what you want, not listening to what is being said
- Wanting the last word – The focus is on you plus, the conversation will never end!
- Minimizing the conversation to avoid uncomfortable topics
- Teaching moment – Parents try to use every moment as a teaching moment.
- Problem solving- It’s hard to listen and “fix the problem” at the same time
- Showing lack of interest in the conversation
- Time constraints- shutting a conversation down because of time constraints, then never picking it back up.
Know what topics become “Quicksand” for you as a parent. These topics become great
“teaching moments” and even better conversation killers. What can you do to be a better listener with these topics?
- Video games
- Social Media
Rule of thumb for Listening
- If you are talking with your kids, make your contribution 20 seconds or less at a time.
- If the conversation is 70/30 (70% you talking, 30% them) then you are not listening. Reverse it.
- Don’t be afraid of uncomfortable conversations. These are ones that stick. Especially when you show respect by listening.
- Serious conversations are set up by all the small, seemingly innocuous conversations.
- Have fun with your kids in conversation. Laughter and joking make conversations and listening so much easier.
Encounter. Formation. Expression.
One of the things we talk about at Port City Community is the idea of Encounter, Formation, Expression. The basic concept is that what we encounter in life will help to form what we think and believe. What we think and believe will inevitably show up and be expressed in what we say and do. As parents, part of our job is to help our kids maneuver in a world that is ever changing and build a solid foundation in Christ. When it comes to listening and communication, we need to remember that what they encounter is forming who they are. When they encounter parents who listen with thoughtful attention, they will begin to know they are heard and what they have to say matters. It builds up their confidence, helps form their identity, and strengthens their relationship with you, their parents. When a kid opens a door to a conversation, don’t hesitate or be afraid, go in!! And remember to have fun with your kids, they’re pretty cool!