Saturday, October 31, 2015

Christian Parenting and Sexua Development Part One

In Christianity talking about sex has become taboo making room for agencies like Planned Parenthood and local school districts to begin to teach our children about sexuality. This is dangerous because though well meaning these agencies are not equipped to give our children the whole picture of what sexuality is and what it was designed to bring about in human living.

In all honesty our culture has reduced sexual connection to a feel good activity that can be used to sell products. Instead of the deeply personal communication which can exist between a man and a woman in a committed married relationship, which can sometimes produce children. I am going to write a series of blogs on Sexual Development for Christian parents. For the purpose of these discussions I will be using the following definition.

Sexual Development-Prior to puberty it is the understanding the differences between the male and female body, emotions, and attitudes. It can also be defined as a desire to want to be cuddled and close to other human beings. After Puberty the hormonal changes that allow for conception and childbirth. It is also physical desire and the desire to be close to someone physically both for cuddling and sexual intercourse. 

There will be many things I will suggest over the series of blogs here are the first three.

  1. Use proper terminology right from the beginning. Give body parts their correct names. Our bodies are private, but not shameful using incorrect names gives the impression of shame.
  2. Let your children see you being affectionate and occasionally French kissing. Why? Many years ago on a 20/20 I saw a 3 year old interviewed about what she thought was sexy. When asked how Mommies and Daddies kiss, she puckered her lips. When asked about how boy and girlfriends kiss she opened her mouth. The problem here not true. We are the example for our children while being too graphic is not okay showing genuine honest affection should be.
  3. Never talk about sexuality without mentioning God's plans for it and the commitment of marriage. Always tie the three things together.
That is it for now. Please comment and give feedback on these blogs. I need to know your thoughts and questions as we proceed through this topic.

Believe in Parenting 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Master Parenting Part 5: The Spirit

I realize this topic can be a touchy subject. However, I am going to give you my take on it. I encourage you not to ignore this part of parenting. I urge you because it is a vital part of not just parenting but, of living a happy, peaceful, and fulfilling life.

Every person alive has a spirit. We are spiritual beings who touch Earth by living in a body. If you have ever read a book about people who have died and came back, you know this life is just the beginning. We all have to make a definitive decision about our spirits. Many choose not to make a decision not realizing, that in and of itself that is a decision.

What I believe is we all have this choice, we either recognize that there is in fact good and evil in the world or we ignore the battle exists. If you choose to believe in good and evil then you have to accept each has a leader. If you choose not to recognize the battle then you choose evil by default. This may seem unfair, but this is why the last part of this series on The Will is so important. You are making a decision on a subconscious level, based on what you feel, what you have been taught, and what you think. It is a decision.

What I know for sure is there is a Living God who rules in the affairs of men. He is not far off. He is as close as your next breath if you ask Him to be. The key to this is He asks you to surrender to Him, so He can take away the ugly, dark, and unsatisfactory parts of you. He will then make an exchange and give you life, light, and peace.

Now, let me warn you Christianity is not for the faint of heart. It is hard work. You will have to begin to pray. Actually, this can be especially difficult at first because you may feel you are talking to yourself. I encourage you to ask God to reveal Himself to you in your daily life. Ask for help and guidance and watch what happens.

You will be required to yield your will to do what is right rather than what is expedient. You will need to read and study the Bible on a consistent basis. (I recommend you tart with the gospel of John.) You will be required to gather with like minded people to discuss and examine your thoughts, feelings, and actions. What will you get in return? A real honest relationship with the Creator of the Universe.

Many people here would give you a prayer to pray, but I fully believe your first prayer should come from your own heart. I will recommend you ask for forgiveness for not being able to live up to God's standards for humans. None of us can do this which is why Messiah came to die on the cross. He knew we could never reach the standard, so He reached it for us. Second, you need to say and truly believe Jesus/Yeshua is the Messiah and did indeed die on the cross in order to save us from our own evil and by doing this He brings us back into a relationship with Him and His Father. Lastly, you need to as mentioned before fully surrender your will to His. This is the basis of what is called the "sinners' prayer". Sin is the word Christians use to say we cannot live up to the life God expects of humans. That is it.

So, now what does this have to do with Master Parenting? Parenting is all about preparing children to live full, happy, well-adjusted adult lives. Yet, we often fail to prepare them for what happens after life ends. This is the one question which can stump many. What happens when you die?

We are spiritual beings our bodies die, but we do not. Instead we move on into life without a body. The Bible in Luke 16 beginning in verse 19, tells us there are two places our spirits can live; a place of comfort or a place of torment. As responsible parents it is our job to teach our children about our spirits, the two places, and encourage them to develop a relationship with the Creator ensuring they go to the place of comfort. As I mentioned before there are books which talk about near death experiences in the ones I have read people all say they still existed after death. So, now it is up to you to investigate these things. Read about near death experiences, read Luke 116:19-31, pray and ask God to reveal the truth to you. Then teach that truth to your children and prepare then for life after death. Face your fear of death and dying and help your children never ever fear it.

Believe in Parenting

Monday, October 26, 2015

Atlanta Businesses and Work/Life Balance

Parents, Teachers, and Advocates has been serving Atlanta's nonprofit community since 2004. We have served the Salvation Army, Atlanta Public Schools, and Georgia Association for the Education of Young Children and others. Our most popular class by far is Parenting in the 21st Century is about how parents can achieve great family lives by establishing rules, routines, discipline which reduce stress and helps parents develop work/life balance.

Work/Life balance is all about learning how to establish plans to create more efficient strategies to reduce stress and increase effectiveness in personal, family and work life. This class helps adults to create plans, put them into place any and all strategies to enable the plan to work, work the plan, and then make adjustments to the plan as needed.

Over and over again among parents who have taken this class tell us how much their lives to improve. We are now ready to bring this specific class to the Atlanta Business Community. Here is a copy of our syllabus. If you are interested in learning more please contact Barb Harvey via phone at (770) 256-3281, email at, via Twitter handle @educatepta1, or via LinkedIn at 

What Parents Have to Say

“Thank you for mothering me. Now, I can be a good Mother to my kids.” Marisol P. 2006

“This is awesome! Every new Mom should take this class.” Nita W. 2008

I have taken classes with DFCS (Division of Family and Children’s Services) they kinda helped; your class is the best I have ever taken. You have helped me a lot. Thank you.” Anonymous, 2010

“This class has helped me and Tracy to both be a stronger couple and better parents.” Phillip H. 2013

“The class helped me to understand and do what is needed in my blended family.” Kevin J ,2015

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Parenting and the Work Life Balance

Earliest this year I started a blog series on Master Parenting. In November I will be finishing up with Master Parenting and miving onto work/life balance.

Master Parenting focused on the things we all need to be cognizant of in our own lives to be effective parents. This series will look at what needs to be in balance to make our,lives and family better all around.

This series will discuss:

Establishing a great Co-parenting relationship with your partner whether you share your parenting as spousr, partners, or living separately.

Time for adult relationships as well as time with your kids, and time for yourself.

We will explore families who thrive verse families who merely survive and hoew you can become one who thrives.

Worklife and Homelife how to make both a priority without losing yourself.

Master Parenting Part 4: The Will

The will is the road we travel as our emotions and mind meet. It is where choices are made. Often these decisions are made on a subconscious level.

Psychology tells us we all have a ever running dialog based on our experiences and what we have been taught as children. This ever running tape is called self-talk. It is the foundation of how we think and feel therefore it often controls the  decisions we make. I first learned about and dealt with my own self-talk in Dr. Phil Mc Graw's book Self Matters.

In this book Dr. Phil helps readers recognize their own self talk and make adjustments. Adults can often make decisions in a mistaken belief they picked up in childhood. For instance in my blog on Domestic Violence I spoke of a child learning to be either the abused or the abuser. Neither one of these is true yet the cycle of violence often perpetuate generation after generation based almost entirely on self talk and the kinds of relationships which people choose to have in their adult lives.

The only way to adjust self talk is to first recognize it as it is happening and then say out loud what you want to replace it with now. I recommend Dr. Phil's book and workbook if you would like to further your understanding of the topic. Because self talk is the foundation of our decision making recognizing what it is becomes paramount.

Our choices in parenting are also based on emotions, thinking, and self talk. This means being a master parent takes our stepping back and taking a good look at all of the above before making a decision about what our children may and may not do.

It also is very important to live in front of and talk to our children with great care and concern because we are formung their selt talk as well. Children believe what their parents tell them it becomes the foundation of how they make decisions in life. So, be honest , be kind, and be thoughtful about what you say and do. Master Parenting takes recognizing the decisions we make can and will effect our children in both good and negative ways. Choose Carefully!

Believe in Parenting

Saturday, October 17, 2015

I was recently approached by Inspire Me Today to become one of their Luminaries. Today, I am featuredHere is the link!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Domestic Violence and It's Affect on Children

Most people fail to realize the affect Domestic Violeence has on the children involved. Even our social services professionals fail to see children living in these homes are constantly being affected by toxic stress.
    Toxic stress is a term used by psychologists and developmental neurobiologists to describe the kinds of experiences, particularly in childhood, that can affect brain architecture and brain chemistry. They typically are experiences that are bad for an individual during development such as severe abuse.

    Toxic Stress :: DNA Learning Center

    Yet, witnessing the servere abuse of a parent is often not considered abuse? In this I am afraid the poem Children Learn What They Live may be true. This kind of abuse can lead children to one of two conclusions. Either you can be the abuser or be abused. The erratic behavior of the abusers leaves everyone in their sphere frightened of the next time anger and violence will erupt. Which leads children living in an unstable, chaotic, and toxic environment. Many victims who eventually find the courage to leave their abusers finally do so for the greater needs of the safety and protection of the children.

    Many children who have lived in homes with domestic violence need to be treated for abuse as well. The helplessness, fear, and anxiety which plagues  children who suffered child abuse are also the same issues these children suffer from, witnessing abuse. Make no mistake children who live in homes where abuse happens have the hidden scars of abuse. 

    I would go so far as saying children who have lived in homes where domestic violence is prevalent are emotionally abused. There is a term used for it called Complex Trauma. 

    Complex Trauma describes both children’s exposure to multiple traumatic events, often of an invasive, interpersonal nature, and the wide-ranging, long-term impact of this exposure.

    It is between the ages of 3-5 where children are heavily focused on learning the roles of male and female. A child is extremely vulnerable at this age of learning the abuser either male or female is expected to act this way. Many adults who grew up in abusive homes may find themselves repeating these roles or attempting to live these roles because they are conditioned to them. This is why many programs in shelters for abuse victims have child focused programs. However, I believe we need many more folks to help these families. Children who have lived in these homes need to talk about, learn, and internalize the true roles of healthy men and women. Also, they need to observe healthy relationships.

    Parents who have suffered abuse are often great parents. They know what their children have been through and work very hard to give themselves and their children healthy, peaceful environments in which to live. I believe the community can better support these families by reaching out to single parent families. You do not need to know their circumstances to invite them to your barbecue, on a picnic, or on a trip to the Zoo.  As a fellow parent you can simply include them, allowing to join, your traditional, blended or mixed up family. Allowing them to experience true friendship and support. This can be your service to helping and supporting victims of Domestic Violence. Parent to Parent.

    Believe in Parenting

Monday, October 12, 2015

Passing on the Faith

Monday October 5th was the final and 8th day of Sukkot. The Jewish holiday which reminds the people that God still cares for us even in our disobedience.  This day is a Torah celebration. A celebration of the Lord giving the Jewish people the Word of God. In addition, it is the time to roll the Torah Scroll back to the start, as it has been read from beginning to end during the previous year. During the service the children were called to the front, age fourteen and younger,. The Rabbi blessed spoke to them about the inheritance of the Torah, prayed for them to learn and grow in the words if the Torah, and then said the traditional Aaronic blessing over them. This is one of the ways the Jewish people pass on their faith.

Another way they do so is in the liturgy. Every Shabbat also known as Sabbath they quote Deuteronomy 6:5-9. Tthis scripture outlines how to pass your faith to your children! You talk about it constantly. In Romans 10:17 it says faith comes by hearing and hearing about the Messiah, who He is what He has done, what He is doing and will do for us.. Parents are the primary and most constant adults in their children's lives. They need to here it from you over and over. Children's Ministry is about supporting you by reinforcing what you have said.

However, it is not just about saying the words it is about being authentic in living it everyday. I have been working with children since age 13 and I can tell you two things about them. One is they are keen observers and second the can spot  hypocrisy at 10 paces. If you are talking the talk but, not walking the walk you are phony and your kids will eventually leave the faith. You can not fake having a relationship with Messiah. Either you know and serve Him or you do not. There is no middle ground. Many may balk at this statement, but Jesus told us, it is this way. He told us in the parable of  Lasurus and the Rrich man in Luke 16:19-31.

Luke 16:26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

I will not belabor the point. Passing on our faith comes in constantly talking about it in both word and deed.

It was Saint Francis Assisi who said" Preach the gospel and if you must use words."

His point was not to say keep quiet. His point was to be a living example!

If you would like to read more on this topic I have an article you can read here.

Passing our faith onto our children ultimately requires two things.  Authentically living what we believe and talking about it constantly! You can do this!

Believe in Parenting

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Parental Resilience and Mental Health

I was recently talking to a group of Mom's about Parental Resilience and as today is Mental Health Awareness Day I want to share some of the same thoughts here. We are so conditioned in Western culture to think of mental health as limited to Bipolar, Depression, and Multiple Personality Disorder. However, mental health also extends to stress, mental exhaustion, and road rage.

Let me ask you a question when was the last time you got so frustrated with your child you wanted to pull your hair out? How often does it happen? What happens when you reach the tiping point? If you answer within the last three months to the first question. Less than three months on the to the second question. And I spank to the third question. It is my assertion you are overtaxed, stressed, and/or having a tough time setting and maintaining boundaries. I
 would like to make the following four suggestions.

  1. Take some "me time" on a weekly basis. We all have things we do to relax. Some read, some walk/run, some knit, and some do nothing all, set aside 2-hours minimum a week to yourself to  do something which recharges your own batteries. The purpose of this is it relieves stress and allows you time just to be. Just being is an important part of developing a well rounded mental healthvcare plan.
  2. Teach your kids to relax. Each weekday as you get home make it quiet time. (30-45 minutes.)Make this a "family time out". Everyone should have their own spot, get comfortable and do something relaxing. ( read a book, look at a magazine, color, work with play dough, paint,  write a story ,draw pictures,etc. ) I strongly suggest not including television or gaming during this time. These activities while they can be quiet via headphones . They race the brain with the colors, images, and sounds which causes the opposite reaction in children.
  3. Create a set of rules and consequences for your family. Parents can create 3-5 general rules which encompass a wide variety of behaviors. Here are the three generally found in an Early Childhood Classroom. Be Safe, Be Kind, Be Neat. Have the family sit down together and develop consequences and rewards. Put the rules, consequences, and rewards up and review them on a daily basis for the first month. Then weekly for the next month.  Finally review them monthly on a permanent basis.. This takes parents out of the bad guy role. Children know the rules. Keep in mind these are family rules, so if,Mom or Dad break the rules they also have to pay the consequences.
  4.  Remember parenting is primarily working to build strong, long-lasting, relationships with your children. Do things you both enjoy. Doing these fun things together builds bonds and reinforces  relationships.

Mental health in the general population is not about medication or hospitalization. Rather it requires we put plans, habits, and structures in place to keep us on an even keel. An adult who puts a premium on maintaining these practices, will support their child's ability to exercise these same habits.

Believe in Parenting

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

How can Parents Support Education?

Parents are the greatest and most important teachers in a child's life.  This is because parents are the only teachers which stay with the child from pre-school through high school graduation. Parents know the struggles their children had last year, what is going well emotionally, physically, and every other aspect of children's lives. Ultimately this is why parents are so desperately needed in the educational process.

Parental advocacy is so important in children's educational development research has shown children who have parental support consistently do better than peers who do not, this report by the NEA supports these findings. What does Parental Advocacy look like?

  1. Parents shares best way to contact them'and request same of the teacher.
  2. Parents visits the school or talks to the teacher on a regular basis (monthly or bi-monthly, more if working out an issue.).
  3. Parents know and inform the teacher of child's form of intelligence and we they struggle. Also, any major changes such as death of family or pet,  sepatation/divorce, or birth of a child.
  4. Show up on time, with questions for the teacher to Parent-Teacher Conferences.
  5. Are an active participant in the PTA/PTO.
  6. Attends as many school function as they are able.
These are all things busy parents can plan for by using the school calendar to put these important happenings into your personal calendar. One thing to include in you monthly contact with the teacher is an update for your calendar.

I will have more tips in my upcoming book!

Until them keep Believing in Parenting!