What Statistics Can Tell You about Disciplining Your Child

By | Kids, Marriage, Parenting, Relationships | No Comments
I recently talked with a parent who had a relatively harsh style of disciplining their child. I talked with them for a while about trying to shift their style more to a warm guidance style, instead of a stern because-I-said-so approach. But I got push-back. The individual said:

“Look, I know that I can be stern and heavy-handed sometimes, but that’s what my kid needs. For this kid, it works.”

“How do you know it works?” I asked.

“Because, when my kid really steps out of line and I really let them have it, they start doing better.”

“I see.” I replied. “And have you tried rewarding your child for doing things well? Have you tried to bless your kid for doing the right things?”

“Yep!” came the answer. “That really backfires. When my kid is doing really well, and I try to give them good feedback or some kind of reward, they start slacking off… they don’t do as well the next time.”

What do you think of this parent’s answers? They sound sort of logical. After all, if your kid does better when you punish them, and they do worse after you praise them, then it seems like punishment works and praise doesn’t.

But there’s a very important theory in statistics that proves that this parent’s way of viewing the situation is very wrong.
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The Unruly Child in Your Pocket

By | Kids, Life Challenges, Marriage, Parenting, Relationships, Technology and Social Media | No Comments
John has four children. Three of them are very well-behaved. John is one of those parents who believes kids should learn good manners and be polite. Because of this, he’s taught them not to interrupt other peoples’ conversations. He’s taught them to say please when they ask for something, and thank you when they receive it. And, he’s taught them that they can not always be the center of attention.

But he’s only taught these ideas to three of his kids.
His fourth kid is a rebel.

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But Dad Said…

By | Authors and Books, Communication, Conflict, Kids, Marriage, Parenting, Relationships | No Comments
Little Suzy asks her mother if she can have an ice cream sandwich before dinner.  Her mother says no.  In her motherly wisdom, she intuits that ice cream before dinner equals a child with no appetite for steamed broccoli.  Little Suzy is not happy with mom’s response, so she finds dad, who is in the middle of watching Monday night football.

She asks her dad if she can have the ice cream sandwich.  He, not being quite as aware of the potential nutritional apocalypse, and trying not to be distracted from the play action, says yes. Read More

What I Learned About Parenting from an Invisible Gorilla

By | Communication, Conflict, Kids, Life Challenges, Parenting, Relationships, Technology and Social Media | 2 Comments
I was watching TV the other night, paying attention to a documentary on a subject that I don’t even really care about, when my wife stepped between me and the big screen.  “Jonathan, Cheyenne’s been trying to get your attention… she’s called you twice.”

It turns out that my daughter had gone to her room, retrieved a craft that she had completed earlier in the day, brought it upstairs where I was watching TV, stood well within my line of site, said “Hey dad…” two times, and the truth is I didn’t hear her.  I didn’t even see her.  I was too absorbed in what I was watching. Read More

When You Can’t Afford a Full-Time Maid – A Better Approach to the Housework Fight

By | Conflict, Kids, Life Challenges, Marriage, Parenting, Relationships | No Comments
So your wife suggests to you that you should maybe help with stacking the dishwasher or vacuuming the floor and you tell her you will.

Hours later you’re watching one of your favorite shows, having completely forgotten your promise to contribute to the household chores and you hear the ominous sound of the vacuum cleaner turning on.  You also hear the theme song from Jaws at the same time—but that might just be in your head.

You jump up and head for the dishwasher… at least if you stack that quickly, you will have kept 50% of your promise.  But, alas, she has stacked it already.  Oh yeah; she’s that good.

You know that there will be some tension now because of this.  “You aren’t helping”… whatever that means. Read More

Lessons From an Exhausted Parent – Guest Post by Josh Teis

By | Guest Blog Posts, Kids, Life Challenges, Marriage, Relationships | No Comments
A note from Jonathan:
Josh Teis made my day by being willing to write this amazing post for the lifeinacrazyworld blog.  I met Josh and his wife, Heather, while attending college fourteen years ago.  Josh was my prayer group leader and a very positive influence on my life.  He is not only a great friend, but a great pastor as well.  He is leading an amazing church in Las Vegas, and God is doing amazing things through his ministry.  I know you’ll get a lot out of what he shares here about parenting.
Tonight I will go home and meet my family.  I’ll arrive just a little bit after Heather comes home from work and the kids get back from school.  Jonathan (age 11) will want to play catch.  Savannah (age 9) will want to discuss something that happened at school.  Scarlett (age 6) will want to snuggle and have me scratch her back.  Yet they don’t realize that we still have to get dinner ready, do a few loads of laundry, bathe the girls, pay some bills, and take out the trash.  They also seem to have WAY more energy than do Heather and I.  We are beat!  We are exhausted!  But we also love being parents and want to treasure the time we have with our children.  I’ve learned so many truths through parenting young children over the past decade.  Here are a few lessons from an exhausted parent: Read More

The Boundaries Backlash

By | Conflict, Kids, Leadership, Life Challenges, Marriage, Parenting, Relationships | One Comment
A few days ago I posted a book recommendation to my Facebook page.  I said that if you could only read one self-help book in 2015, I’d recommend Boundaries by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend.  I didn’t make this recommendation lightly, because let’s face it, there are a lot of great books out there.  There’s something that makes this book uniquely special.  We live in such a permissive world today it can be very difficult to understand how and when to use the word no.  Beyond that, some of us have grown up with a brand of Christianity that presents a picture of love without limits that makes boundaries seem downright un-Christian.  But Drs. Cloud and Townsend do an expert job at explaining the fact that God has built limitations into the universe in which we live, and in you personally.  Being able to set healthy boundaries is one of the most important steps you can take to achieving a healthy and productive life.

This blog post isn’t about the Boundaries book.  I hope you own it, or have access to it and can learn what’s presented there.  This blog post is about the backlash you should expect when you set a boundary with someone.  Whether the person to which you must say no is 2 years old or 80, there is a fairly predictable response that you should expect and know how to handle. Read More