by Tammy Berard
At a Beautiful Weekend, I had the privilege of leading a break out session on parenting. As a previous teacher and administrator, guiding and nurturing children has always been a passion of mine. Leading the breakout session was a great experience and I saw God work in such a mighty way!
About 13 years ago, my husband and I grabbed a hold of “Growing Kids God’s Way” when I was pregnant with my first born. We started to follow the philosophy and began facilitating the class at church a few years after my daughter was born. I became a parent coach for a couple of years (picture “SuperNanny”) and was able to help families deal with parenting dilemmas and conflicts in their homes.
A couple years ago, a friend introduced me to a new parenting book, “Loving Our Kids On Purpose” by Danny Silk. I was so blown away by the love and freedom this book offered. It completely changed the dynamics of my family and how we parent. It freed us to focus more on the relationship with our children and less on their obedience. Don’t get me wrong, we still require obedience but the approach that we take is so different and so much more like God’s approach to parenting us. I brought the new curriculum to Pastor Chris in Married Life and we began facilitating the class on Thursday nights last spring. It has been so exciting to see other families changed for the better as well. I felt called to lead this type of breakout session at a Beautiful Weekend because I wanted to share what I have learned through this curriculum to other mothers!
Through teaching this curriculum, I found that as parents, we sometimes focus on the behavior of our child rather than our connection to them. So many times we lose our cool when handling conflict. What if we were able to manage ourselves while our children were messing up? They are learning about life right in front of us. They are professional mistake makers, yet we act shocked every time they make one. Don’t you want the lesson they learn form leaving their bike out to be that “I don’t get to ride my bike!” and not “Mom is going to scream at me?” I sure did. I allowed God to work in me and help me deal with my fears and control issues toward parenting. Now when my son leaves his bike out I can say with empathy, “I am so sad that you made that choice son. I am going to miss watching you ride your bike for the next few days.” That is so much more effective! I try not to make their problems my problems. No making phone calls to get my daughter’s homework assignment from a friend’s mom because she forgot to bring it home. Just an empathetic, “ I am sorry you forgot your homework. What are you going to do about it?”
Life is full of pressure, unkind people and temptation. Because of this study, it has opened up our eyes the way we manage our home. We were encouraged (as well as many other families) to let our home be a place of peace and safety for our kids to be themselves; mistakes and all. We are able to guide our children through their decisions and help them learn the natural consequences of their choices…I mean, you can’t really control them anyway. The only thing you really control is you, so why not help them learn to control themselves? We all may not agree on everything everyone says about parenting, but we can always take what is useful and apply it to our familiy. It is worth the effort and sacrifice. We are raising future world changers…and we just might have to change first.
“Parenting with Love and Logic” by Foster Cline is also another insightful book on parenting! What books have given you parenting tools? Share your comments below!
Tammy has been married to her college sweetheart, Raymond Berard, for 17 years. They have three children ages 12, 6 and 3. Tammy is a previous teacher and school administrator who now enjoys being the keeper of the schedule for her busy family. She is also the current leader of Beautiful Moms and hosts a small group for Married Life. She loves to shop, cook, dance and cheer on her Gators!