Because I Said So.

            “Because I said so” is nothing more than an affirmation of the legitimacy of the authority of the parent in question. The parent is an adult; the child is not. The child is completely dependent upon the parent for his or her very survival. The parent would take a bullet for the child; the likelihood that the child would take a bullet for the parent is slim to none. For those reasons, the parent’s authority over the child is legitimate.

            And for all those reasons, the parent is under no obligation to justify any decision made concerning or any instruction he or she gives the child. As I used to tell my kids, ” Your mother and I pay for your lives. You pay nothing. We are responsible for you. You are not responsible for us. With those facts in mind, the arrangement here is very simple: We make decisions and give you instructions. You abide by and obey those decisions and instructions; and the reason you abide and obey is because we said so.”


Anger Issues

Q:        Our 14-year-old daughter has difficulty controlling her anger. She has extreme outbursts fairly frequently here at home-screaming, cursing, and even throwing things when she doesn’t get her way. She appears to have no respect for us and very little consideration for her two younger siblings. At school and in other people’s homes, however, she’s a model citizen. She’s a straight-A student about whom all of her teachers have nothing but praise. When I describe her outbursts to friends and family, they are disbelieving. Is it too late to do anything about her anger issue?


A:        I flunked fortune telling in graduate school, so the answer to your question is “I don’t know.” Nonetheless, it’s certainly worth a good try.

            You’ve told me enough to know that what you’re describing is not an “anger issue.” Rather, it’s an issue of narcissistic disrespect and ingratitude. Mind you, today’s kids come by the latter fairly easily. Generally speaking, their parents give them entirely too much. In the vernacular of an earlier parenting era, all too many of today’s kids seem to think that money grows on trees (or in their parents’ wallets and pocketbooks). The completely unnecessary personal smart phone at age 10 is the emblem of this ubiquitous over-indulgence.

            It’s a short hop from over-indulged to disrespectful. Entitlements and respect for the source of said entitlements are incompatible. More often than not, entitlements engender an “I deserve” attitude. When the entitlers are parents, the outcome is likely to be as you describe: thanklessness, demands, and rages when demands are not met.

            In short, a problem of this sort does not arise independent of a certain set of home-based circumstances. If you’re going to solve this problem you will first need to accept that you provided the medium in which it developed. In that regard, the question becomes, “Are you willing to radically change your ways?”

            Your daughter probably believes that exemplary grades and behavior outside the home place her beyond the reach of consequences. You need to demonstrate the fallacy in her thinking. Do so by removing from her room all possessions save essential clothing and school supplies. Box them up and put them in a storage facility. Cancel her cell phone contract. If she has a computer in her room, move it to a common area.

            Do the above when she’s at school. When she comes home and asks for an explanation, tell her that her disruptions and disrespect will no longer be tolerated; that when she has been disruption- and disrespect free for a continuous 30-day period, her possessions will be returned with the understanding that if she backslides, her next rehabilitation period will jump to 60 days. If, during said 30 days, she has an “incident,” the 30 days begins over again the following day. When her rehab is complete, however, things must not go back to “normal.” You have to change your indulgent ways as well or a relapse is inevitable.

            You can do this. Just keep Admiral David Farragut’s famous order in mind: “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” The Very Essence of Effective Discipline             

             Two months ago, I conducted a two-day small-group “parent retreat” during which I talked about, among other things, the legitimacy and power of “because I said so.” One of my missions is to promote the restoration of the attitude that accompanies the calm, straightforward (the operative conditions) delivery of that traditional parenting aphorism. Why? Because it is the very essence of effective discipline, that’s why.

            “Because I said so” is nothing more than an affirmation of the legitimacy of the authority of the parent in question. The parent is an adult; the child is not. The child is completely dependent upon the parent for his or her very survival. The parent would take a bullet for the child; the likelihood that the child would take a bullet for the parent is slim to none. For those reasons, the parent’s authority over the child is legitimate.

            And for all those reasons, the parent is under no obligation to justify any decision made concerning or any instruction he or she gives the child. As I used to tell my kids, ” Your mother and I pay for your lives. You pay nothing. We are responsible for you. You are not responsible for us. With those facts in mind, the arrangement here is very simple: We make decisions and give you instructions. You abide by and obey those decisions and instructions; and the reason you abide and obey is because we said so.”

            Neither of our kids ever had to see a therapist. They made good grades in school (and my wife and I did not help with homework or science projects). They made good social choices, never got in serious trouble, and were completely self-supporting by their mid-20s. “Because I said so” does not seem to have been traumatic.

            Beginning in the mid-1960s, child psychologists and other mental health professionals began claiming that those four words had a problematic effect on children. They robbed children of autonomy, denied their ability to think intelligently, lowered self-esteem, and blah blah blah. Said professionals had no evidence to support any of this. They made it all up. Nonetheless, American parents, having no reason to know that people with impressive credentials sometimes make things up (a mental health tradition stretching back to Freud himself), believed them and began giving children reasons. Since then, arrogant disobedience, once rare, is now legion.

            For example, consider one of the couples who attended the above retreat. They were desperate (no exaggeration there) for advice concerning their very disobedient and disrespectful 5-year-old daughter. The parents thought that by giving reasons for their instructions and decisions they were showing respect for her intelligence. The child, however, had no use for her parents’ respect.

            The parents took in every word I said, but paid special attention to my mini-seminar on “because I said so.” I received a progress report from them the other day. “(Name of daughter withheld to protect the guilty) is much better,” they wrote. “The other day, for example, we told her to do something, to which she asked ‘why?’ Before one of us could answer, she said, ‘Wait, don’t tell me; because you say so.'”

            Once again, proof positive that this parenting thing is really quite simple.


reblogged from John Rosemond’s newsletter.

10 Practical Tips for Dads in Discipling Your Children for Christ

I wish I knew or would have been taught these things earlier in my life - it would have saved so many mistakes! Pass this on and share with young parents.
parent-teen-talk-150x150We who are dads have some unique challenges with making disciples. Moms have a built in “disciple-maker gene” that is given by God, but dads tend to be more focused on providing income than on nurturing children.
The good news is that Jesus, the ultimate Man showed us how to make disciples. He “adopted” a group of men and “parented” them for over 3 years. Jesus told His disciples to follow Him and then He personally did the discipling. As a family they lived together, worked together and ministered together 24/7. He was frequently teaching them throughout each day (Deut. 6) and He was showing them how to minister to others. Finally, He protected His disciples by physically being with them. He didn’t send them out until they were fully trained, and then He sent them out with another Christian adult for protection, and they were grown men! That is the exact model that dads (along with moms) are wise to follow today.
What are some practical ways for dads to disciple their children for Christ? Here is my top ten list:
1. Develop a habit of confessing sin to the Lord and to your family.We all blow it and we need to set the right example for our family in confessing sins. If you are just now starting to disciple your children, you can begin by repenting for not making disciples of them in the past. I didn’t start intentionally discipling my children until my daughter was almost ten years old.  I regret that fact and have confessed that to my her more than once. You might as well be real with your family and this will reduce any appearance of hypocrisy in your life. Ask the Lord to “restore in your life and your children’s lives what the locust have devoured.”  We all make mistakes, but the Lord can restore the damage that has been done by the devil.  In our own strength we can’t make disciples anyway.  We need help from the Lord!
2. Look for ways to read and discuss scripture. Like Jesus, when you are with your children teach them when you arise, when you travel in your car, when you are at home, and when you lie down (Deut. 6).  Keep a copy of the Bible in your car so that you can seize opportunities to read scripture no matter where you are.
3. Teach your children to teach. Who gets the most out of a teaching? The teacher! Give your children opportunities to teach the Bible to the family from time to time.  If you are doing the teaching, ask questions to your children to engage them and so they can articulate what they believe. This is a great way to solidify a biblical worldview.
4. Have family worship/devotions daily. Don’t make a big deal out of having devotions; this can be easy! The three elements of family worship are singing spiritual songs, reading scripture and prayer. Buy some worship song books and take turns selecting songs that your family can sing together. From the time your baby is out of the womb, read scripture to them every chance you get, but at least daily. Don’t believe the evolutionists who say that little children can’t learn from the Word of God. Children rise to the level at which they are taught.   Lastly pray with your family and for your family. You can have devotions anywhere; in your car, in your home, at the park, hotel room.  Have your family take turns reading scripture, selecting hymns and praying. Ask your children what the Lord is teaching them today.  Ask them what the scriptures are saying.  If the Holy Spirit leads you, explain what you have read or share a testimony. Adjust the length of time for ages of your children; a good rule of thumb is one minute of teaching for every year of age.  If you do this consistently family worship/devotions can become the center of all you do as a family; it can help calm your hearts and establish harmony in your family.
5. Spend more time with your family. Instead of waiting for a vacation once a year, do something fun every week; the park, the lake, the zoo. Do ministry together. Talk about the goodness of the Lord while you are together! Find ways to be together, play together, play games at home, do hobbies together. Doing so will reduce time spent with foolish peers.  Proverbs 13:20 says “Those who walk with the wise shall become wise, and the companion of fools will be destroyed.”  Since children are born with a foolish nature (Prov. 22:15), better that they spend time with you and your spouse!
6. Really get to know each child. There are no shortcuts to developing a relationship with your children. Spend time with each child; go on outings and “dates” with them. Win their hearts!
7. Be discriminating about what goes into your family’s eyes, ears and hearts. Jesus didn’t expose His disciples to false teaching; He warned them about it. Consider the fact that entertainment helps no one other than the seller of the entertainment! It is better to choose activities that will benefit your family or others that you are ministering to. Reject much of Hollywood’s junk; the lion’s share is coming from a non-biblical worldview. Watch for unbiblical themes and discuss with your children. When you select entertainment, look for Christian movies and DVD’s; there is an abundant supply of Christian offerings these days.  Get rid of cable or subscribe selectively.  Choose Christian music; it is now available in every genre. Be careful about what your children read.  Install an internet filter on your computer and locate it in a public area to protect your family.  For adults, Covenant Eyes is an excellent software program that keeps you accountable to another adult.
8.   Dads, you must find ways to involve the family in your life.  This can be difficult for fathers, especially those who have outside employment.  However, there are some things that you can do. You can choose jobs that allow for more family time.  I know a dad who took a job that allows him to be home two days per week.  Start a hobby that your family can do together. There are also home-based jobs that allow entire families to be involved with their dad.
9.   If possible, adjust your lifestyle to allow one parent to stay home. In today’s virtual work environment many jobs are being created that are home-based. Look for employers that allow work from home or consider starting a home-based business. Choose less expensive homes and cars which would allow one parent to be at home to disciple the children.
10.  Find a ministry with which you can involve your children. There are needy people all around you. Ask the Lord to lead you to a ministry you can do as a family. Show them how to minister, to meet physical needs and to pray for others.
Choosing some of the above activities and doing them on a regular basis will make a huge impact on your family. Your children and wife will begin to view you as the spiritual leader at home. You will have fewer regrets in the future. Fix your eyes upon Jesus and disciple like Him!
Article Reblogged from Disciple Like Jesus and Raising Godly Chilren

#parenting Keep Your Priorities Straight

Blast from the Past: Keep Your Priorities Straight. Divide And Conquer‪ #‎parenting

When, in a two-parent family, the child becomes the center of attention and the child’s relationship with one or both parents consumes more energy than does the parents’ relationship with one another, it becomes easy for the child to “divide and conquer.” Parents can only act decisively if they act in unison.

In a single-parent family, it must be equally clear that the parent is
neither friend nor sibling, and that his/her life does not revolve around the child. It must be established that the single parent has a life of his/her own, completely independent of parenting responsibilities. A parent cannot be devoted to a child and define limits effectively. Nor can a parent be in a position of “service” to a child and promote the steady growth of autonomy. In my travels I also hear a number of parents saying that rearing children is the hardest, most difficult, most taxing thing they’ve ever done.

Not if you keep your priorities straight, it isn’t.

Reblogged from the John Rosemond Facebook page: Copyright 1990 John K. Rosemond

When Your Kid Argues about Everything {5 tips}

I just read this great article by blogger Monica. Wow, I wish I had read these excellent suggestions when my strong-willed son was younger! She wrote in part:






I’ll be the first to admit:  I find something likable about a kid that has an opinion.  I appreciate  a kid who knows what they want…or don’t want…and knows how to stand up for what they think is right.

Maybe this has a little to do with the fact that I was one of those kids growing up.

And it is true:  There are plenty of positives about a strong-willed kid.  Children prone to opinions and arguing often grow up to be great leaders.  They are likely to stand strong  in their convictions, and might have an easier time resisting peer pressure.  They often grow up to be successful in the things they pursue.

But if you have a kid that is prone to arguing in your own family...the cute and admirable elements can quickly fade away, only to be replaced by pulling your hair out in frustration. 

I would know.


Here are her suggestions:


1.  Keep Perspective.

Remind yourself that the same quality that causes your child to argue too much will likely make them strong adults and good leaders.  (note:  You may not want to let them in on this secret right away.  Such disclosure often does not work to your advantage.)

2.  Sit down and chat about things.

Let your son or daughter know that arguing with their parents is a habit that really needs to end.  Tell them that even if they believe that they are one hundred percent right, the issue is one of respect.  You are their parents and they need to listen and submit to the things you say.  This applies whether they are seven or seventeen.  There is a place for discussion (see #3) but the general rule needs to be submission and respect.  This rule alone can remove a lot of debating, AND second guessing yourself.

3.  Make an Appeal rule.  

Offer your kid the chance to “appeal” after a certain amount of time.  Offering an appeal will help remedy the “habitual” side of arguing, and will make it easier for your kid to bite their tongue when they are just dying to challenge you.  Kids need to feel heard, and their opinions should matter.  Give them a chance to think through things, and then when everyone is in a good state of mind, sit down and hear them out.  I suggest choosing  a standard amount of time between argument and appeal, and stick with it the best you can.  Kids will feel most affirmed and secure if they know that there is a fair system in play.
**Note:  I use this for big decisions, but not for daily things like chores and doing homework.  (Oh but believe-you-me, they still try. :) )

4.  Establish set consequences for arguing.

If arguing has been happening for any length of time, it most likely won’t be going away easily.  It is most wise to expect it, and be ready when the moment happens.  It is easiest to come up with one or two specific consequences that your child knows will be waiting if and when they decide to challenge you unnecessarily.  Perhaps one warning/reminder is reasonable.  THEN:  Doll out consequences with a  smile and strong back bone.  Losing a video game privilege or assigning an extra chore might be a good start.  The key:  Call them on it.  Every.  Single.  Time…Nip it in the bud and let the consequences be painful enough that the thrill of the argument suddenly isn’t so thrilling.   (PS.  I did a short VLOG last summer about having consequences in place to help decrease anger in parenting.  You might find that helpful. )

5.  Reward obedience.

Take note of the postives!  Make sure to notice it when your child does obey quickly.  Simply telling them how much it helps you and what a blessing it is to have them cooperating will encourage them to keep it up.  When they experience the peace and unity that obedience will bring, they might just want to begin a new habit.  (or so we can hope!)











reblogged from:


18 Things I Will Not Regret Doing With My Kids

reblogged from:

18 Things I Will Not Regret Doing With My Kids

October 23, 2013
Like most parents, I have those moments where guilt and regret comes over me like a wave. I consider then how much of my parenting time has already passed by and how little remains. My oldest child, my son, is thirteen. He is already a teenager, just one year away from high school, just eight years from the age I was when I left home to get married. My girls are following close behind him. When that wave rises up, when I feel like I could drown beneath all that regret, I sometimes consider those things I will never regret.

Here are 18 things I know I will not regret doing with my kids.

1. Praying with them for them. It baffles me that one of the things that most intimidates me is praying with my kids. I don’t mean praying with the whole family before or after a meal, but praying with my daughter for my daughter or with my son for my son. Yet this kind of prayer lets them see that I am concerned for what concerns them and it lets us join in prayer together for those very things. I know I need to prioritize this because I will never regret praying with them for them.

2. Reading books to them. As summer turns to fall, as the days grow shorter and the nights grow colder, we spend many of our evenings together in the living room as I read books aloud. We’ve read our way across this world and across many others; we’ve read forward in history and we’ve read about days long past; we’ve met heroes and villains; and we have experienced it all together as a family. I will never regret reading books to my children.

I know I will never regret all those goodnight kisses.

3. Kissing them goodnight. The days get long and I get so weary. By the time the children head to bed I am sometimes so worn down that the very last thing I want to do is see the kids to bed and to kiss them goodnight. But I am always glad I did and often find these the times where the children are most tender, most eager to speak, and most eager to listen. I know I will never regret all those goodnight kisses. 

4. Taking them to church. There is such joy in sitting in church together as a family, worshipping the Lord together and hearing from him in his Word together. I do not take my children to church so they can learn good manners or be better people; I take them to church so they can learn who they are, so they can learn who God is, and so they can encounter and experience Grace. I will never regret prioritizing church.

5. Taking them out for breakfast. One much-loved tradition in our family is taking my children out for breakfast on Saturday mornings—one of them each week. It’s a tradition I have lost and revived and lost again and revived again. It is a tradition worth maintaining. The $10 or $20 expense and the time it takes pales in comparison to the investment in their lives. I will never regret our breakfast daddy dates.





6. Letting my friends be their friends. I love it when my children befriend, and are befriended by, my friends. I want my children to have friends who are older and wiser than they are and friends who can help them in those areas where I am weak. I will never regret encouraging my friends to be their friends.

7. Doing family devotions. Family devotions is a difficult discipline to maintain, and especially as the kids get older and have more lessons and responsibilities. But we commit and re-commit and persevere because these are precious times—just a few minutes together to read the Bible, to talk about what we’ve heard, and to pray. I know I will never regret a single moment spent pursuing the Lord together.

8. Disciplining them. I hate disciplining my children; I hate having to discipline them. Yet I am absolutely convinced that to refuse to discipline them is to refuse to love and respect them. The lost privilege, the stern talking-to, the time spent alone in their room—these are all seen as hatred in the moment, but seen as love later on. I will never regret lovingly disciplining my children.

9. Doing special things. Life is largely lived in the mundane and love is mostly shown in the day-to-day. But there is also value in the afternoons at the ballgame, the evenings at the ballet, the business trips with dad. I will never regret doing those special things with my children.

10. Asking their forgiveness. I have more trouble apologizing to my children than to anyone else. Somewhere way in the back of my mind I am convinced that to apologize to them is to show weakness; but at my best times I know that to apologize to them—to ask their forgiveness when I have sinned against them—is honoring to God and to them. I will never regret those times I have asked their forgiveness.

11. Forgiving them. My great weakness is one of my kids’ great strengths; when they sin they are almost always quick to seek my forgiveness. I will never regret sincerely and immediately granting the forgiveness they ask.

12. Loving their mother. I know that the stability of a mother and father who are firmly committed to one another brings stability to the whole family. I can love my children by assuring them of my love for their mother through my words and deeds and affection. I will never regret regularly affirming my love for their mother.

Tree13. Identifying God’s Grace. As my children make professions of faith and as they begin to grow in godly character, it has been a joy to see God’s grace in their lives. I am learning to tell them what I am seeing, to commend them for it, and to point to the One who has generated it. I know I’ll never regret identifying this kind of grace in their lives.

14. Expressing affection. I love to walk hand-in-hand with my daughters and I love to hug my son before he goes off to school. This physical affection makes them feel safe and loved while teaching boundaries and platonic, appropriate touch. I will never regret continuing to express physical affection.

15. Planning little surprises. The small and occasional gifts when I return home from a speaking engagement; a single rose for my girls when I buy their mother a bouquet of flowers; the dinner at McDonald’s for no reason at all. I will never regret planning and delivering these special little surprises.

16. Giving them my full attention. I almost always have an electronic device within reach and often I have two or three of them. It is so easy to break out of a conversation with every buzz or beep, to break eye contact and to break concentration. I know I’ll never regret giving my children my full attention when they have something to say.

The gospel is not merely a gateway to the Christian life, but the very source of hope and joy in the Christian life.

17. Pointing to the gospel. The gospel is not merely a gateway to the Christian life, but the very source of hope and joy in the Christian life. We need to return to the gospel again and again; we need the gospel every day. And I will never regret pointing my children to the gospel. 

18. Telling them “I love you”. I love my children dearly and I can show that love in each of the ways I’ve listed above. But when they head off to school, when they go out with friends, when they call me at the office, when we FaceTime from afar, I will never regret telling them one more time, “I love you.”

What are some things you will never regret doing with your kids?

Loosening the Reins

“Children need 

guidance and


far more than instruction.”

-Anne Sullivan, U.S. educator of the deaf & blind (1866-1936)

There is a fine line between guidance and instruction and this famous teacher helps us understand that difference with one simple word: sympathy. I know that I often get caught in the trap of instructing my kids far too often. I feel like it is my duty and obligation to be sure that they are doing the right things at the right times. The problem is, when I take on the role of instructor, I also take over the reins. Their projects start to become my projects; their problems become my problems. In order to really teach my kids about life, I need to do a little less talking and a lot more showing. Showing my kids their choices and then allowing them to make up their own minds about a decision will do far more good in the long run than any lesson that I can tell them. By sympathizing with them when those choices have painful consequences, we make ourselves safe havens. We make ourselves available to them simply by being there when they hurt without saying “I told you so” even when we did.-Hal Runkel, LMFT, Author of ScreamFree Parenting and ScreamFree Marriage

Getting Old Because of the Young

“Children are a great comfort in your old age – and they help you reach it faster too.” -Lionel Kauffman


Before we had kids, we used to dream about a big family, all grown up, coming to visit on Christmas and recounting all of the wonderful times we shared together. Then we had kids and we wondered if we’d ever make it to middle age, let alone old age. From the moment they are born, kids try our patience and they test our mettle. And that’s a good thing.

Because along with the extra gray hair and bulging middle (from all that stress related cortisol), we also gain more maturity and wisdom from our kids if we let the job do its work on us. Nothing asks more of us than parenting does. We must grow up if we want our kids to. We must admit our weaknesses and work on them if we’d like them to do the same. A tall order, to be sure, but one worth all the gray hair in the world. For when we allow our kids to teach us about ourselves, we can then be as free and joyful as children again.

-Hal Runkel, LMFT, Author of ScreamFree Parenting and ScreamFree Marriage