Monday, October 17, 2016

5 Ways Parents Kill Kindness

Is kindness dead?
I wonder. 
Nastiness in the political arena.
Rage on the road.
Trolls on social media.

I think it's time to resurrect kindness. The place where I can make a big impact is in my home.

Here are 5 Kindness Killers and ways to bring kindness home.

1. Pessimism: "You can't do that."
A total joy squelcher. Instead let your kiddo dream a little. Perhaps allow him the opportunity to take a reasonable risk (not a risky risk). 

2. Comparison:"If you acted like your brother..." We have heard it said, "Comparison is the thief of joy." I would add it is the catalyst for envy between siblings resulting in rivalry. Don't compare, rejoice in the differences and strengths of each child.

3.  Hyperbole: "You never pick up your toys. You always forget."  Instead know your child's weaknesses and work with him. After all we are parents. Parents train kids. So train. "Before we go to the park, pick up your toys."

4. Demanding: "You made your bed but you forgot to clean the bathroom." Start with gratefulness, "I see you made your bed. Let's look at the list of jobs left to do...Oh I see straightening the bathroom is on here. Let's take a minute to do that."

5. Name caller: "You are an idiot." "You are lazy."  Name the good things and train the areas that need improvement. "You are really good at Spelling. Math is a bit harder for you. It's hard for me too. How can I help?" 

We can tweak our words and messages so they are received well and training results. We can help our kids learn without damaging our relationship with them.  

Surrender the mean and instead bring kindness home. 

Lay down the weapons of pessimism, comparison, exaggeration, demands, and name-calling. We all want family relationships that last a lifetime so let's kill 'em with kindness rather than kill kindness. 

It's time to resurrect kindness and bring it home.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12

Lori Wildenberg
co-founder of, co-author of 3 parenting books, mom of four (plus one daughter-in-love) Contact Lori for your next event. She is also available for parent consulting and parent training courses.
Head over to Amazon  to get Raising Little Kids with Big Love or Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Top 15 Parenting Fails

Parenting is something we moms and dads are passionate about. We want to raise our kids well. Sometimes in our quest to "do it well" we fail.

The verse from Galatians 5:22-23 is the vision I have for family life. These are characteristics I value and would like to foster in my children. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

To be honest, my parenting fruit of the spirit can have a few worms in it. 

Here are 15 parent fails that spoil the fruit we want to develop in our kids. 

15. Breaks promises. (Spoils faithfulness.)
14. Seriously serious. No humor. (Destroys joy.)
13. No structure, boundary-less, no limits. (Rots responsibility.)
12. Drill Sargent. Inflexible. (Damages creativity.)
11. Disengaged, disinterested, or distracted. (Ruins relationships.)
10. Rescues or enables. (Impairs perseverance.)
9.  Compares siblings. (Kills kindness.)
8.  Lectures or threatens. (Squelches goodness.)
7.  Micro-manages. Take over and/or redo their jobs. (Impedes patience.)
6.  Schedules every moment. (Reduces peace.)
5.  Rules with fear. (Affects self-control.)
4.  Shames with sarcasm.( Mars self-worth.)
3.  Corrects with criticism. (Eats away at gentleness.)
2.  Expects perfection.(Extinguishes motivation)
1.  Loves conditionally. (Disfigures love.)

I have done many of these top 15. When I feel overwhelmed and unequipped I get sloppy with my interaction with my kids. 

Chances are you have done some of these as well.

We are human. We mess up.

We are human. We can learn another way.

The danger comes when we continue to make the same mistakes and develop a parenting pattern.

Reflect on these 15 parenting fails. 

Be honest.

Be a learner.

Stop the behavior.

Figure out a new way to respond.

15. Make promises you can keep. This builds trust and faithfulness. 
14. Have fun. Laugh, play, diffuse situations with humor. Life doesn't have to be so serious. C.S. Lewis says, "Joy is the serious business of heaven." 
13 and 12. Enforce rules and set limits. Rules are for all time (Like: We respect each other.) Limits can be flexible. They are made according to each child's age, stage, personal strengths and weaknesses, and personality. (ex.: We hold hands when crossing the street is an appropriate limit for a 3-year-old. not for a typical 13-year-old.) This trains kids in self-control and shows them how to approach situations with gentleness.
11. Get into your child's world. Be interested in them. Be present. Time together is the love gift of presence. 
10. Allow your child to experience struggles and some natural consequences in order to develop perseverance, responsibility, and accountability. If we want self-control to increase, kids must connect the dots between actions and consequences. To increase the ability to learn, a growth mindset of perseverance must be encouraged.
9.   Each kiddo is unique. Value each one's strengths and work with each one's weakness. Feeling valued and known increases joy and spurs on the quality of kindness.
8.   Listen. Talk.  Ask questions or make statements  rather than lecture. If we want to increase internal goodness in our kids we will stop the lectures and threats. 
7.   Train your kids and retrain them for jobs you have given them. Let them own the job. We want out kids to be patient and responsible. 
6.   Build unstructured, free-time into your child's day. This will reduce stress and give the child an opportunity to learn how to manage his free time and alone time. This will add peace to the day.
5.   Fear only works when the child thinks the parent will discover something has gone awry. Kids become manipulative, sneaky, and rebellious when ruled with a heavy hand. We want our kids to do the right thing and demonstrate self-control even when we are not around. 
4.  Train don't shame. Sarcasm is a cruel tool. Be kind. Be specific and clear in your instructions. Our words can e verbal weapons. Don't attach shame to behavior. Instead give grace and then train for the desirable behavior. 
3.  Correction doesn't have to be rejection. Parents can correct without criticizing. One of the best ways to do this is to ask evaluation type questions,"Was this hard for you?" Make correction positive and be gentle in your approach."I see this was a struggle for you. Let's try again. I can help."
2.  People are perfectly imperfect. Demonstrate humility, grace, and empathy when your child shows his child-likenesses. Kids will behave like kids.  They don't just know. It takes a lot of slow to grow. Motivation and joy increase when the stress of perfection is eliminated. Of course we want to always strive for our best but our best may not be perfect. 
1.  Love unconditionally. Love  your child when he acts like a kid. Love your child when behaves badly. Love your kid while dealing with difficult moments. Avoid say things like, "You don't deserve a hug." Love isn't earned. Love is a gift.

With God's help, we an be the parent God has designed us to be. 

With faith, hope, and love,

If you found this post helpful you may want to read:
15 Empowering Messages to Give Your Kids
 5 Ways to Extinguish Entitlement in Your Kids
10 Ways to Raise a Selfish Child
7 Things to Avoid if You Want to Raise a Leader
12 Characteristics of Being a Good Follower

Lori Wildenberg
co-founder of, co-author of 3 parenting books, mom of four (plus one daughter-in-love) Contact Lori for your next event. She is also available for parent consulting and parent training courses.
Head over to Amazon or to the 1Corinthians13Parenting store to get Raising Little Kids with Big Love or Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love. The proceeds from the 1C13P store go toward the 1Corinthians13Parenting ministry.

Monday, October 3, 2016

4 Poisonous Parenting Personalities and Their Antidotes

Murphy, my rust colored labradoodle, was bitten by a rattlesnake. The snake's teeth sunk into Murphy's front left leg. The venom coursed through his blood at lightning speed.

Due to my son and daughter's quick thinking and action, Murphy survived.

Sometimes my tongue, my words, can carry just as much venom as that snake's bite.

Moms and Dads, our messages, our approach can be poisonous.

Here are 4 Poisonous Parenting Personalities and Their Antidotes.

1. The Indulger.
    The  Poison: " I will move heaven and earth to keep you happy. I will prevent you from failing.
    I will rescue you. I will take the blame so you will never experience discomfort or disappointment."
    The Result: The child is dependent and entitled.
    The Antidote: Step out of the way. Train your child how to win and lose with grace. Show him
     how failure is an excellent teacher.

2. The Commander.
     The Poison: "My way or the highway. I know better than you. Without me you will fail."
     The Result: Child lacks confidence, is dependent yet becomes resistant and rebellious.
     The Antidote: Zip it. Let the child make some decisions and have a voice so he can grow his
     confidence and experience personal responsibility.

3. The Distracted.
     The Poison: "I'm too busy. Everything else is more important than you. You can wait."
     The Result: Child feels unloved. Seeks to be perfect or chooses to get into trouble in order to gain
      The Antidote: Re-prioritize. Get involved. Spend time with your child. Get into his world. Put down the phone.
4. The Assumer.
     The Poison: "My child will do no wrong. I don't have to get involved, my child is perfect."
     The Result: The child lies and manipulates.
     The Antidote: Allow the child to be human. Share your own mistakes and challenges. Love
     unconditionally with the knowledge we are all imperfect.

In James 3:8 it says, "No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison."
We may not be able to tame our tongue on our own but with God's help nothing is impossible.

Murphy still bears his battle wound. The skin surrounding the bite area is bald and black. The tissue is permanently damaged. No fur can grow there.

 Like Murphy, our kiddos will survive from a poisonous bite but unless we change our ways, our messages can do permanent damage.

If you found this post helpful you may want to read:
15 Empowering Messages to Give Your Kids
 5 Ways to Extinguish Entitlement in Your Kids
10 Ways to Raise a Selfish Child
7 Things to Avoid if You Want to Raise a Leader
12 Characteristics of Being a Good Follower

Lori Wildenberg
co-founder of, co-author of 3 parenting books, mom of four (plus one daughter-in-love) Contact Lori for your next event. She is also available for parent consulting and parent training courses.
Head over to Amazon or to the 1Corinthians13Parenting store to get Raising Little Kids with Big Love or Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love. The proceeds from the 1C13P store go toward the 1Corinthians13Parenting ministry.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Who is Your Elizabeth?

My friend Kathy has greatly impacted me over the years. We met in high school. She got married a few years before I did and had her first child about five years before I had mine. When I had parenting questions, her bigger perspective was so helpful. Yet she wasn’t so far ahead of me that she lacked empathy for my parenting concerns.
She would say to me, “Oh, just think of it. Three is still pretty little,” when I would lament over my child’s lack of potty-progress.
I have always been able to count on Kathy for sound advice.
She is generous with her wisdom. (I eat it up.)
She is a good listener. (I feel heard.)
She embraces confidentiality. (I feel safe.)
She speaks with honesty and love. (I trust her.)
And I know she prays for me. (I am grateful.)
Gone are the days of neighborhood coffee parties and regular extended-family gatherings (at least for many of us). But women are still wired to need each other.
Mary, after learning she was pregnant with Jesus, went to see her older cousin, Elizabeth. Mary needed support and wisdom. Elizabeth provided both.
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea,where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
In a loud voice she exclaimed:
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!  But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Luke 1:39-45
We desire to learn from and to lean on one another.
Recently I spoke to a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. In my talk, I encouraged the women to be the mom God designed them to be.
One of the ways this can be done is to find a mentor; maybe a peer with perspective like my friend Kathy or possibly a more seasoned mentor like Mary’s relative, Elizabeth. It’s a biblical concept to have or to be a Titus woman (Titus 2:3-4). I guess that is why mentoring never goes out of style!
As a final thought, to avoid having the mentoring time look more like a gripe session, use a tool to steer your conversation. Of course my co-authored books, Raising Little Kids with Big Love or Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love are not the only resources out there. But I do believe they are good ones because each book has a companion study guide.
If you are a mom, I encourage you to find a Titus woman or to be one for someone else. It is a blessing for both.
I still count on my friend, Kathy for her sage advice. She’s now a grandmom. I’m not there yet, but when I am, I know who I’m “gonna call.”

So… women, who can you support and encourage? Who is your Elizabeth?

Lori Wildenberg
Co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting, co-author of 3 parenting books. Click here to schedule Lori  for your next event. She is available for special engagements, retreats, and workshops. Stop by the 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting store for gift items, books, and faith wear. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Risky Rewards of Reaching Out

Friends, I have a treat for you today. My friend and colleague (from The Mom Initiative) , Melinda Means, is sharing her heart with you today. You will be blessed by her words.  And...after reading this you will feel loved, love her, and love her heart for people and the Lord. 
At the end of this post you can find out more about her recently released book, Invisible Wounds. You can find Invisible Wounds over at Amazon
With faith, hope, and love,

The Risky Rewards of Reaching Out by Melinda Means

 Often, we walk around in pain and despair, safely covered by our cloaks of invisibility.

We feel sorry for ourselves. We think no one understands.

Pain is a cruel master that tends to demand self-focus. 
But how can others understand if we don’t tell them? How can they support us, pray for us, and love on us if we don’t give them the opportunity? 

God made us for community. 
We weren’t meant to go through difficulties alone. In Galatians 6:2, it says, "Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ." (NLT) Notice it doesn’t say, "Find someone to bear your burdens." It says, "share each other’s burdens" (emphasis mine).

God works through others to encourage and heal us, but He also wants to work through us, even in our brokenness (maybe especially in our brokenness!) to heal others.
The second part of that verse says, "in this way obey the law of Christ." 
The law it refers to is in John 13:34-35 (NLT): "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."*

One of the most loving acts someone can do for me in my pain is to pray for me. 
It’s the most powerful, loving act we can do for someone else.

It requires vulnerability, particularly when we're in a place of dark discouragement. 
We have to be honest and real about our doubts and difficulties. We can’t sugarcoat it. When people have asked what they could do for me, sometimes I’ve simply said, "Pray for me. Because I’m struggling to pray for myself right now." Or, "I’m having a really rough week. I’m in pain and I'm discouraged. Please pray."
There’s an urgency in those kinds of requests that helps people understand the depth of your need.

God wants us to speak truth and perspective into each other’s lives. 
Recently, I had a terribly discouraging week. I had challenging things going on in nearly every area of my life. My health was stinky. Overall, I felt I was ineffective, a disappointment to God and a big, fat failure. I don’t go there as often as I used to, but when I do, it isn’t pretty.

And then I went to church. The place where we all think we’re supposed to act happy. 
A couple of younger women I happen to adore came up to me and asked, "How are you?" I’m supposed to be the older, wiser woman who shows them how it’s done, right? Maybe so. But I told them anyway. I mean I really told them. Not all the details, but I conveyed the depth of my discouragement.

One of them immediately said, "You know that’s not true, right? You are not ineffective. You are not a disappointment. God is enabling you to do some awesome things."
She wasn’t just being nice. My friend is kind, but she’s also a bold truth teller. She was speaking truth into my weary soul. She was giving me some much-needed perspective.

At my chronic illness group, there is a rare level of authenticity and sharing. 
We pray for each other. I mean really pray for each other. Deep, desperate, Spirit-filled prayers. These are the kind of women we have to seek out. These are the women God wants us to be to others. Bold truth tellers. Real, godly, drop-to-our-knees prayer warriors. Women who will go to God in prayer regularly and specifically.

Find Your Inner Circle
Vulnerability is risky. Not everyone will understand our pain. 
If they haven't gone through it, they can't relate. They might say we need stronger faith. They may not understand that healing from grief, pain, or loss is not a linear process.

Most people know what to do to help in crisis, but long-term wounds make people uncomfortable. 
They can't fix it. We have to let go of unrealistic expectations, ladies. We have to let people off the hook. For the most part, people don't mean to say the wrong things. The benefit of reaching out—for you and for others—is worth the risk.
Don’t hesitate to share your story as God leads you. 
However, seek out a trusted few with whom to share your deepest emotions.

I think of Jesus. He shared the testimony God had given Him with the masses, but He shared much more deeply and intimately with the twelve disciples. Even among them, His closest confidantes were reduced to just three, His inner circle: Peter, James and John.

Ask God to bring kind, wise, supportive people into your life. Pray for discernment.

Then take the risk to reach out to them. Let's share each other’s burdens.

* Source: The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament Edition, John F. Walvood and Roy B. Zuck (editors)

© Melinda Means. This post includes excerpts from Invisible Wounds: Hope While You’re Hurting. Used with permission.

Author Bio: Melinda Means is a weary soul in need of refreshment from the only Source who can quench our thirst. After years of chronic pain and questioning God’s plan, she has found the joy of seeking the Healer more than the healing. She is a professional speaker and writing coach, as well as co-author of Mothering From Scratch: Finding the Best Parenting Style for You and Your Family (Bethany House, 2015). Her website is

So many of us walk around looking fine. Hidden beneath the surface, however, are deep, painful physical, spiritual and emotional wounds. We feel isolated in our pain. We feel guilty about the private doubts we have about God and His goodness. We live alone with our invisible wounds. 

In this book, Melinda draws from her long history with chronic illness—hers and her son’s—and also shares the stories of seven brave, beautiful women who reveal their hidden hurts. Throughout its pages, she tackles the tough spiritual questions and dark, raw emotions that accompany suffering and illuminates the path that leads to hope that heals.