Monday, January 16, 2017

Pulling Teens Toward You? Or Pushing Them Away?


Meet best selling author Jay Payleitner.  It is an honor to have him guest blog for us today. If you are the parent of teen you will want to  read this. His guest blog kicks off my upcoming blog series of posts for parents of teens.

Pulling Teens Toward You?  Or Pushing Them Away?
by Jay Payleitner
Every time your teenager walks into the room you have two choices. You can let them know you are glad to see them. Or you can wonder what nastiness they have been up to and pick a fight.
If your body language is welcoming, if your smile is sincere, and if there’s a plate of brownies on the kitchen counter, there’s a good chance the interaction and conversation will be a positive experience. Instead of grunts and shrugs, you may even get a few discernible words or actual information about what’s going on in their lives. You can increase the odds by telling them a wee bit about your own day and bringing up something in which they find amusement or have a passing interest. That could include a short anecdote or relevant fact about the dog, their favorite sports team, your weird neighbors, a breaking news story, an upcoming family event, Grandma and Grandpa, the latest tech gadget, and so on. Your interaction may even be a request for help. Asking your teenager for their preference of pizza toppings, for ideas on vacation destinations, or how to install an iPhone app is actually empowering for them. You value their opinions! Make your narrative or question short, sweet, and engaging, and leave an opening for them to respond.  They just might.
On the other hand, if your body language repels, if your grimace is accusing, and if you’re expecting bad news, then that’s what you’ll get. If it’s been several hours since interacting with your teenager, the first words out of your mouth should not be reminders of unfinished chores, accusations about dirty dishes or empty gas tanks, snide comparisons to perfect cousins, or queries about grades and homework.  Eventually, you need to be able to broach some of those topics.  But don’t get in the habit of launching surprise attacks and don’t make bad news the first or last thing they hear. 
Mom and Dad, if your teenager comes to expect a winsome and amicable home environment, they may enter a room and voluntarily plop down in your proximity. Experience tells them your companionship will be tolerable for a short period of time. With a bit of luck, it could be – dare I say – pleasant! 
But if judgment, chiding, and mistrust are more likely, they’ll schlep through or sneak past straight to their room. Can you blame them? They are well aware that if they stop they’ll somehow be in trouble for something, even if they’re just guilty of adolescence.
Finally – no matter what – when any interaction is over, you’ll want to make sure you are pulling your teenager toward you.  Not pushing them away.  Finish on a high note.  Don’t allow a dialogue to finish with a door slam or grumbling comment. Even if the two of you just endured a tough conversation, the last words ringing in their ears should be positive.  Even though you’ve been proving it for years, teenagers still need to be reassured of your unconditional love.

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)

Consider your last conversation with your kid. Did you pull them toward you or push them away? Is an apology in order?

Prior to becoming a full-time author and speaker, Jay served as freelance radio producer for Josh McDowell, Chuck Colson, The Salvation Army, Bible League, National Center for Fathering, and others. Jay has sold more than one half-million books including 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad, Lifeology, and What If God Wrote Your Bucket List?  He has been a guest multiple times on The Harvest Show, Moody Radio, and Focus on the Family. Jay and his high school sweetheart, Rita, live in St. Charles, Illinois where they raised five awesome kids, loved on ten foster babies, and are cherishing grandparenthood. 
Click HERE for a link to Jay’s best-selling book, 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad

Monday, January 9, 2017

Kick Worry Out of Your Home

We have an awesome guest blogger today. Cindi McMenamin has written  for Eternal Moments before as a guest a year ago and is a team member of 1st Corinthians 13 Parenting. Last year she gave us 5 Ways to Grow Closer to Your Spouse and this year she is writing to us about a common malady from which parents (particularly moms) suffer. WORRY...The What ifs of life. 
So let's get our New Year off to a great start by kicking worry right out of our home!

Kick Worry Out of Your Home
By Cindi McMenamin

Is worry the unwelcome guest in your home?
Well what if this is the year you did away with the worry habit for good?
Worry can stress you out, damage your family relationships, and ultimately give you an ulcer.
And the dangerous thing about worry is that it creeps into our lives gradually and makes its home with us before we notice it’s there. It usually enters our front door in the form of two words: What if?
What if my children get hurt?
What if they don’t make friends?
What if they follow the wrong crowd?
What if they’re lying to me?
What if they never get married?
And even…. What if I’m not a good enough mom? 
I realized one day, after spending time in God’s Word, that at the root of all my “What if” questions is what I really believe about God’s character. 

When my mind plays through the various what ifs, the questions I’m really asking are: 

What if God isn’t able?
What if God isn’t good?
What if God can’t handle this?

And... that is not an attitude or mindset I want dwelling in my home. 

So it was time to kick it out the door.

There’s a reason God’s Word tells me, Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT).

As I give God all of my what ifs and worries He can calm my heart and remind me that He is in absolute control. Then I can encourage my child, rather than stress her out with my worry and make her think she’s better off not letting me know what’s going on in her life.

That was one of the lessons I had to learn before I wrote my book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom. Based on my own experience mothering – as well as  wisdom and advice from many other moms – I found that there are treasures (secrets, if you will) to discover as we surrender to God what is closest to our hearts – our children.  

One of those treasures is the incredible peace He offers as the Perfect Parent who allows us to partner with Him in raising, loving, and caring (not worrying) for our kids. Another treasure is that our relationship with God, our kids, and our husband gets better when we become encouragers, rather than worriers.

When you and I trust God with what is closest to our hearts, we are saying, “You, God, are capable. You are trustworthy. And all my worries and what ifs are in vain.”

We are also saying to our family members, “I trust God will work this out in your life and mine” and we are modeling trust and faith before them.

So how do you give God your concerns about your kids instead of worrying about them? It’s as easy as A-B-C:

A – Admit you do not have control over your child's life. As good of a monitor as you may be – about your child’s entertainment, friends, and whereabouts – your child will eventually be exposed to something or make a decision on his or her own that you have no control over. And as careful of a mom as you are, your child might still get hurt. Go ahead, give up that quest for control right now by saying aloud: "I am not in control of my child's life. God is."

B – Believe God wants only the best for you AND your child. Sometimes we fear that God will ask something of us or our children that we’re not willing to give. When you understand that God loves your child even more than you do, and He loves you more than you can imagine, there is peace in placing yourself and your child in God’s hands – no matter what.

C – Commit yourself to a deeper knowledge of God.  I believe our worry (and security) factor is directly related to how well we know God. When we truly know Him and understand all that He is capable of, we can’t help but trust Him. As you grow in a more intimate relationship with God, your worries will fall by the wayside. And you’ll have a new, healthier habit: Trust.   

When you kick worry out the door, Trust comes to live with you instead.

Would you like to win a free copy of Cindi’s book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom? Leave a comment below about what YOU will do to rid your home of worry this year and share this blog post on your social media page and you’ll be entered in the drawing. The winner will be notified at the end of this week, Friday 13th, 2017. (U.S. residents only) 

You can find more of Cindi's wisdom over at 1st Corinthians 13 Parenting where, as a team member,  she is featured each month. 

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author of more than a dozen books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 125,000 copies sold), When a Woman Inspires Her Husband, When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, and her newest, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom .  Cindi and her husband, Hugh, live in Southern California with their daughter, Dana. For more on her ministry, see her website: or find her on Facebook

Monday, January 2, 2017

Uncomplicate the Family Mission Statement. Create One in 3 Easy Steps

Happy 2017! 

I think we would all agree we want to raise our kiddos with intentionality. Yet the days slip by and the years pass. We forget to focus on the future because we are so busy chasing the day. 

We have good intentions of being more purpose driven while raising kids but it is soooo hard to slow down and carve out the time to figure out our family's reason for being.

The idea seems too big. Too deep. Too complex. Way too complicated. 

 I have been parent coaching a mom and dad of three kids. One of their goals as a couple was to create a family mission statement. This is the first family I have worked with who has asked for help with this task. I was so encouraged to be a part of their journey to intentionally define their family goals and purpose. 

They had researched various way to create a family mission statement.They had read books and scoured the internet only to feel overwhelmed and discouraged. 

It should not be so hard.

To assist them in their noble quest to design a mission statement for their busy gang of five, I decided the simpler the better.  The easier something is and the less time it takes to create, the more likely they will be to follow through. (I know because this is true for me and I'll bet it is true for you too.) 

Here is my simplified approach to creating a family mission statement.

A Family Mission Statement  casts a vision for the family
by identifying shared values and focusing on a common purpose.

3 Easy Steps to Create a Family Mission Statement

 1. Call a family meeting. Be sure to have 100% attendance. (Yep, even the baby. Hold him on your lap so he can be present as well.) This discussion could take more than one family gathering. Be flexible. All participate. Each voice is heard. Each idea valued. (Have a "secretary" write down each response.)  

2. Discuss:
         A. Characteristics: How do we want to treat each other?
             Then list qualities that support this value. (Respect is an example of this.)
        B. Feelings: What feeling do we want to permeate our home? (Joy could be an example of this.)
        C. Actions: How can we help each other and what activities do we want to engage in as a family? (Sporting events, vacations, game nights.)
        D. Values: What do we value as a family? (Faith or service are possible examples.) 
        E. Perspective: These questions lead us to answering the big question: Why do you think God put our family together?  

3. Jot your ideas down on a certificate to make it official. Have everyone sign it. If your kids are too young to sign then trace their hand on the document. Display it in your home.

Here's an example of what your Mission Statement may look like. Be sure to put a scripture verse at the top. I happen to like Deuteronomy 6:5-9 for this. 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
 and with all your strength.

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
Impress them on your children.
Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road,
when you lie down and when you get up.

Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6: 5-9

The ______________Family Mission Statement

We, the___(family name)___________________ family, seek to be a family
 who ___(Answer to E)_____________________________.
by living out our core values of___(Answer to letter D) _______________________________________________.
We desire to encourage and support each other 
by__(Answer to C.) _____________________________________
while treating each other with_______(Answer to letter A) _____________________________________________________.
We want our home to be a place filled with
(Answer to letter B.)____________________________________________.
Signed and Dated:

This is a quick and easy way to write a family mission statement. If you want to study this topic in depth the best resource out there is  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Steven Covey. 

If this post was helpful and you want more information on raising kids head over to Amazon and pick up your copy of  Raising Little Kids with Big Love or Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love  .

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.


Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas from My Family to Yours

For to us a child is born,

    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas! 

With love,
The Wildenberg family. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

7 Ways to Impact Your Teen's Almost Adult Phase

Have big sighs and rolling eyes entered your home? You must be the parent of a tween or teen.

First off, let's just get this fact out of the way...

Mom, Dad, you are no longer cool. Even if you once were, you have officially lost your mojo and it is your teen's mission to let you know it.

Those big sighs and rolling eyes are a sign of something important. They are an indicator of the generation gap and the parenting shift.

Our teens live under our roof yet we do not live in their world.
Our lives intersect but we do not live the same life as our children.

One of the most eye opening experiences that best illustrates our kids' world is taking an opportunity to walk through the halls of a middle school or high school during passing period. When we have a chance to observe the interactions and movement between classes it becomes clear our kiddos have a lot to navigate.

We are no longer parents of young children who walk in a straight line down the school corridor but instead parents of young adults who need to weave in and out in order to get to their destination.

Our younger kids state, "I'm not a baby anymore." Our older kids declare, "I'm almost an adult."

These proclamations give moms and dads a heads up. It is time adjust and do a parenting shift.

No matter the age or stage, most moms and dads want to maintain respect in the home. Here are 7 ways to impact your teen's almost adult phase, while keeping respect intact.

R  Respect. Expect respect. My friend counselor Lucille Zimmerman reminded me of  Dr. Phil's Life Law #8 . "We teach people how to treat us." If we want respect to reign in our home we start with us. Talk and act with respect. Then we train by expecting respect from others,"I treat you with respect. I expect respect in return."  

E Empathy. Our kids need to know that we fully understand feelings of  disappointment and discouragement. Do a lot of listening when your young person comes to you. Be humble enough to admit you too have experienced pain. The more they feel heard and understood the more they will seek out your ear. When they are ready to open up be sure you are available.

S Self-Control. With all the emotional upheaval in the teen years self-control can seem out of reach. But self-control is a learned behavior. Help your tweens and teens learn how to self-regulate by operating out of their logic not emotions. Use words like: ponder, consider, think, evaluate, reassess. Focus less on the feelings aspect (they have that down pretty well already). Once our kids can make decisions based on logic rather than feeling they are less likely to engage in behavior they will regret later. (Click here for more information on conscience development)

P Persevere. The hang-in-there-muscle is developed by repeatedly and patiently working through  problems. Admittedly it is  hard for moms and dads to sit by and watch a child struggle yet that is the best way to actually empower your kiddo. Avoid the temptation to rescue your teen. Support, coach, consult, and encourage but don't save the day. The day belongs to the child and he ought to be one to claim the victory. (Click here to read 10 Ways to Avoid Enabling. Empower Your Child Instead.)

E Empower. Empower your young adult with these biblical messages: You are capable (Philippians 4:13), You are loved (John 3:16). You are equipped (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  You are created for a purpose (Psalm 138:8). (Click here to read 15 Empowering Messages to Give Your Kids )

C Consult. Of course there are times the parent of a teen will revert back to the roles of controller (rule setter) or chum (best buddy) but mostly in the teen years, parents must make the shift to the coach (encourager and guide) and  the consultant (trusted adviser). We want to provide godly influence while we cheer our kids on to think for themselves. (See below for more information on parenting roles)

T Time. As hard as our kids push away from us and attempt to shut down communication, what they really need from us is time. Be a student of your young adult. Discover who he is today. What are his likes, dislikes, hobbies, interests? Who does he like to hang out with and why. What music does he like? What is his favorite fast food restaurant? Let him teach you something. Enjoy being together. Build your relationship so it lasts a lifetime. (The Secret to Parenting Well)

The other day I was talking with some parent coaching clients about the roles of moms and dads. The dad articulated the parenting shift perfectly. He said,"Once you think you really have this parenting thing down then something changes and you have to learn a new way." Yep. Parenting and the parent-child relationship is fluid never static-- ever changing  and hopefully... everlasting.

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. Proverbs 21:21

If you liked this post, you may also find 3 Parenting Pitfalls that Prevent Successful Adulting helpful. 

If this post was helpful and you want more information on the 6 Parenting Styles head over to Amazon and pick up your copy of  Raising Little Kids with Big Love or Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love  .

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.