Six tips for shepherding your child in public

child

Sometimes our kids misbehave. And sometimes they do it in public! They kick, they scream, they act disrespectful, they cry, they throw a tantrum. With our four, this has happened quite a few times over the past 9 years. And since it happens in public, it’s embarrassing, frustrating and can ruin the moment. For a lot of parents, it can be overwhelming.  In the moment, it can also be very hard to know what to do.

We’ve made our mistakes and been overwhelmed just like anyone else. But here’s what we’ve found to be effective.

  1. Prepare in advance. That is, take time to talk with your child before you get there. Communicate what you expect in advance. Before you even get out of the car, remind them of where you are going and what you expect. Setting expectations is a vital part of navigating these situations.
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What my little girls need from their daddy

dads

I love having little girls! But as any parent knows well, they are very different from little boys. And, I must admit, because I was a little boy, I get boys. I understand them. I know how they think and what they want. I once thought like they did, and frankly, I sometimes still do. Because of that, early in our kids’ lives I found it easier to engage the boys.

My little girls are beautiful, creative, sweet, caring and sometimes silly. They like to dance and sing. They want to read books and play dress up. They draw pictures, pick flowers, dream of being a princess, and think about their wedding day. I had to adjust to all this. But, they have my heart so it’s been a happy adjustment!

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Six reasons to take your kids to the hard places

poorlady

How comfortable are you taking your kids to the hard places? By hard places, I mean those places where poverty and brokenness are rampant, the places where pain and suffering abound. Perhaps it’s a particular part of town, a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter, the food pantry, a hospital, your local nursing home, or even a mission trip to a difficult part of the world. Truth be told, it’s probably not our first instinct to take them there or to do anything that might put them in harm’s way.

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Teaching your children about poverty and brokenness

poor

What do you do when you pull up at a stoplight where a homeless person sits with a sign saying “Homeless. Will work for food”? Too often I have simply looked the other way, pretending that the person outside isn’t there. Because we are afraid of being taken advantage of, or because of the assumptions we have about the person in this situation, we do nothing. We wait for the light to turn green and then we drive off. I’m not suggesting that we should be naïve about the situation, but I am suggesting that my typical response is insufficient. Especially when my children are in the car and watching what I do!

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