Is your family crazy or normal?
What does that even mean in the context of family?
Is it normal to grow up in the church with parents who you never see argue? To have a dad who never drank and a mom who was always there? What if normal is fathers who drink and mothers who don’t discipline their children? What if normal is divorced families or kids who are raised by grandmothers and grandfathers?
There is danger in comparing your family to what’s “normal.”
Today, I believe parents struggle to raise their kids with all that is trying to win the attention of their child. Parents have to work at being the number one influence or, what I call, the determining voice in the lives of their kids. It’s overwhelming at times and parents often feel alone and, as your kid would say, “The struggle is real.”
I’d like to share with you 3 things that you can do as a parent to help ensure that you are the lead influence in your child’s life.
Be present. Just like our children, parents can be distracted by their phone or iPad. I had a student tell me recently, “My mom is home all the time, but she’s not really there.” When you are with your child, be present. It’s amazing what you can and will pick up on when you are present while your kid is around. Don’t miss these moments! Teens are always dropping subtle hints about what is going in in their lives; be present to pick up on the hints.
Plan unexpected events. Your child expects to be taken to practice, church, and other activities, but when you do something they aren’t expecting, you get their attention. On a school night, show up in their room and say, “Grab your shoes, we’re going to waffle house!” Wake them up early for sit down breakfast at Chic-fil-a. Check them out of school during their lunch period and eat a pizza with them. (Teens will never turn down food.) It’s unexpected, grabs their attention, and you gain influence.
Love them by how you react to them and by what you do for them. John tells us in 1 John 3:18, “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” Love them often. Look in their eyes when they talk to you, react in ways they would not expect, and show them grace. Go out of your way to show them how much they mean to you.
Make this the new normal for you and your kids. People may call you crazy, but who is to say what’s really normal anyway?