I often wonder why so many details were left out of the early parenting books I read, like What To Expect When You’re Expecting. Teaching your kids the hard things is almost entirely avoided. They don’t even cover things like:
- Kids are LOUD
- There’s going to be a LOT of poop (and not always in a diaper)
- You’re going to have to teach them about sex one day
- And so many, many more!
And then, I realized why you don’t know this stuff in advance – because it would scare you so badly you couldn’t proceed in your parenthood. You’d just sit around in a thought-drunken stupor. So, I think I might be glad those topics are left out – so I can tackle them as they come instead of living in fearfulness that they are coming.
There are three huge areas where I think parents really struggle teaching their kids:
- Character qualities
- Birds & the bees
- Controlling their attitude
I know I struggled in these areas, so I wanted to tell you about three books that we used to help our family navigate these waters, and will continue to use as the others grow. Maybe you can get help from them too!
1. Character Qualities
It’s hard to teach your kids WHY to be humble. It’s hard to teach them WHY they need to help others. We use the Bible daily in our home, but sometimes it’s good to have a little study to go along with it.
For us, a winner has been Our 24 Family Ways by Clay Clarkson. This has been such a winner for us that it’s in regular rotation. Each time we do it, it takes 24 weeks, so we do the study about once a year.
It’s a good fit for just about any at-home child age range. Because even teens need to learn character qualities. It’s easy to adapt the stories and questions based on the age needed. You get one quality or helpful “way” per week and then you spend the week discussing it with prompts and stories and scripture.
2. Birds & the bees
You guys – I thought this topic was gonna kill me. I honestly considered just skipping it all together. Because…AWKWARD. But, we want our kids to learn about biblical sexuality from US in a SAFE environment…with facts instead of from their friends with some questionable “facts” thrown in there.
The age of puberty is getting lower and lower – so I knew I had to just DO IT when Annie was 10. *pun intended* I plan to do the girls, as they age, and Barry will tackle the boys. BUT we are using the same set of books for both. We went with “The Talk”, by Luke and Trish Gilkerson. I bought the 3 book set that goes over: Biblical Sexuality, The Change, and Dating and Marriage.
So far we’ve used the first two books – they were easy to use. They’re just 7 lessons that you easily go over with your children and offer a strong Biblical perspective. You can find more information on their website with lots of great resources from Trisha & Luke.
3. Controlling attitude
It’s VERY important in our household to teach our kids that they don’t always control what happens TO them…but they DO always control how they react. Life is crazy – you never know what on earth will get thrown at you. But if you learn to always look for the positive, you CAN control yourself.
It’s easy to fall into a “woe-is-me attitude” and let circumstances get us down. It’s easy to play the victim. But it’s not the best way to live life. It is also not the best way to have friends, nor is it the best way to serve the Lord. So, we use The Energy Bus analogy in our family ALL THE TIME. Barry and I use this book as a guide for our businesses as well – and there is even a children’s version.
Basically, the idea is that you are the driver of your bus. You decide who gets on and you set the tone for the whole bus – YOU DO: not what happens around you – YOU. I highly recommend it – I think it’s a game changer for attitudes. Plus, I love Jon Gordon books!
I hope that if you’re navigating these tough waters with your kids (or grandkids) that one of these books will help you like they’ve helped us.
Can you tell us a parenting struggle you’ve had and a book that was helpful to you?