Each month, we want to help you – as parents – connect with us in what we are teaching so we can set you up or “cue” you in your everyday moments with your preteen.
Our goal is to help you
- Connect with the Bible
- Uncover something about life
- Experience something together
We’re Teaching This
Nothing can bring out the crazy in you quite like family. Am I right?
Deep down you know they probably aren’t plotting to make your life difficult, but some days it feels like that is exactly what they’re doing.
Maybe that’s why we tend to respond to our family the same way we respond to sports or a video game—we strategize. You make a move to get what you want, but your step-brother blocks you. So, you make a different move. And so does he.
It’s endless. Literally. Because unlike other relationships in our lives, the one we have with our family isn’t going anywhere. You can quit a sports team. You can leave the marching band. You can graduate and leave your classmates behind. But your family? They’ll always be your family.
That’s why it’s such a big deal that we figure out how to live with them now.
Thankfully, the Bible has a lot to say about how we live with and treat other people.
And while it probably won’t help you figure out how to get your sister to leave the bathroom in under an hour, it can give you some real, helpful advice on how to make the best move when it comes to the people who love you and aggravate you the most—your family.
Think About This
by Doug Fields
When our son was little he would always interrupt us and say, “Mom, Dad, watch me!” Then he would do something that he thought would entertain us. It could have been as simple as jumping off one stair.
Honestly, it was usually something dumb that didn’t require much fine motor skill. He just wanted us to watch him and his default “get our attention line” was: “Mom, Dad, watch me. Watch this.”
But as he grew up we began to notice that he was becoming less concerned about us watching him and he began to more closely watch us. He never said it aloud, but we knew he had moved to the phase where he was thinking, “I’m watching you Mom and Dad.”
There’s no question that parents serve as significant role models to their children. The real question is: What kind of role model are you?
Being an intentional parent forces you to consider what you’re actually teaching your children through how you live your life.
You can’t escape it—your children are stealing parts of your character and they are going to end up looking like you. You’ve heard it said…
• “She’s a chip off the old block.”
• “He’s the flip side of the same coin.”
• “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
• “Like father, like son. Like mother, like daughter.”
• “She sure lives up to the family name.”
Your life is on display and your children are always watching and learning from you—good and bad. An intentional parent understands this reality and considers the messages his/her actions are sending. They become more thoughtful about their own lifestyle and what they’re passing on to their kids.
They’re watching and learning from you…
• How you think
• How you treat others
• How you pray
• How you talk about those who are hurting
• What you do with your finances
• How you make decisions
• How you respond to pain
• What, why and how often you eat
• What you watch on TV
• How consumed you are with social media
• How you prioritize
• How you drive a car
• When you’re happy…when you’re sad
• How you talk about those who are less fortunate
• How you reconcile conflict
• Where you place the value of faith conversations
An Intentional Parent takes the time to seriously consider these and many other messages. A Quick-fix Parent simply relies on the phrase, “Don’t do as I do, do as I say” when it comes to their lifestyle. This is as weak as it is hypocritical.
Not only is the clock of time always running (remember your child’s 18th birthday makes up 6,570 days, is 938 weeks, or only 216 months)…but so is the surveillance camera that’s pointed at your life—it’s “ON” 24/7. Every day you are teaching them something about how they are to live their life.
Let me be real clear–all parents make mistakes. There is no such thing as a perfect parent. There never has been and there never will be parenting perfection. Intentional Parents know they will make mistakes, but they’re also willing to hold up the mirror and learn how their choices and actions are contributing to their kids.
[Interested in learning more about being an Intentional Parent? Check out the Intentional Parenting Workbook by Doug and Cathy Fields.)
During this series, we are encouraging your preteen to own their role in your family and to intentionally take steps that will make their family life better. This is a great opportunity for you to model what that looks like in your family.
This week, try taking one step that could make your family life better—and let your student see you do it.
Maybe for you that means…
- Making a recurring appointment to spend time with your family.
- Reading a book on parenting or family life (We recommend the Intentional Parenting Workbook by Doug and Cathy Fields).
- Asking an older, wiser parent for advice.
- Apologizing and working on your own role in an ongoing conflict
Whatever you choose, let your preteen see you taking steps to make family life better.
Even if they roll their eyes in the moment, they’ll get the idea that these relationships are important to you and you’re willing to work on them.
And just maybe, they’ll begin to do the same.