5. The quantity of time will produce quality relationships. We get tricked into believing that quality moments can make up for the lack of time we spend with our children. But quality relationships come with familiarity, trust and true connection. These are by-products of lots of healthy time together. Just as with God, a two-hour connection on Sundays won't produce a great relationship. But regular and rather ordinary connections with God during the week builds a powerful relationship with depth.
6. Be a role model, and teach decision-making skills. Decision-making is crucial, but we rarely teach the mechanics of it. Six components make up every decision, every time. In this order, they spell SPEARS, and as parents, we should teach our children how to use this process. It's important that they see good, healthy decision-making processes in us as well.
Stimulus: A situation or event occurs.
Perception: We view it based on our thoughts and lenses.
Emotions: Based on our viewpoint, emotions well up.
Assessment: We weigh our options.
Response: We take action, implementing our decision.
Summary Thought: We review whether our decision worked or we need to try something else.
7. Show them how to handle negative emotions and adversity. Emotions are a key component of the decision-making process, but they shouldn't determine our decisions. Unfortunately, because we don't properly process our negative emotions, they prompt most of our poor decisions.
Our negative feelings are really our God-given warning system, letting us know of potential dangers or problems. When a red light flashes on the dashboard, the light is not the problem; it is only the warning. Our emotions serve the same purpose, but we often mistakenly teach our kids that the negative emotion is the problem.
By implementing these tips, we can raise our kids in the way they should go, and they never will depart from it, the Bible says. God doesn't solely instruct us to take them to church but also help them become doers of the Word and godly decision-makers. When we teach our children biblical principles by example, they will understand how God designed them and how to express their free will to be shining lighthouses.
Remember, the decisions you make determine your life—and your children's lives. So choose well!
Dr. Karl Benzio is founder, executive director and a psychiatrist at Lighthouse Network, an addiction- and mental-health counseling helpline; 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242). Follow him on Twitter at @drkarlb, and sign up for daily Stepping Stones devotionals at lighthousenetwork.org/stepping-stones.
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