Kids With Challenges need VISION
Most kids spend their time thinking about the present, what they’ll do today or tomorrow. When they look at the future they may have some wishes, but imagining themselves as successful is quite a stretch for most. This is especially true of children who are a challenge to parent. They usually experience a lot of correction, causing doubt as to whether they’ll ever be successful in life.
As a parent, one of the things you can do to help your children now is to envision a positive future for them. Take a few minutes and imagine what your children will be as adults. Some parents have immediate thoughts of gloom and doom, but instead, look at the good qualities your children have now and imagine how those qualities will benefit them later in life. Then share those observations with your children.
The Look Ahead
Envisioning a positive future looks beyond the day-to-day discipline and says, “I see qualities in you that are going to make you successful.” Statements like, “With that kind of thoughtfulness you’re going to make a great husband.” Or “Your thoroughness is going to make you a valuable employee someday.” When parents learn to view their children this way, they look past the daily grind of parenting to what their children are becoming. What is my child good at? What do I see now that will bring success as my child grows?
Children believe what their parents say about them. If a parent tells a child he’ll never amount to anything, he’s likely to incorporate that into his belief about himself and it may end up becoming true. You can take that same principle and teach your children to see the growth in themselves and the specific ways that God has blessed them.
Some children are magnets for correction. Every time you turn around you’re correcting that child for one thing or another. Those kids often begin to develop a rather negative view of themselves. They have a hard time envisioning a positive future because the present is full of things that they do wrong. Children live with the present and believing that change is possible can be elusive.
Children don’t have enough life experience to help them see that things change and improve over time. They sometimes get caught in a dismal view of their lives stuck in the present.
Spend time helping your child see the growth they’ve already experienced and the benefits of the work they’re currently doing to curb negative habits, develop more self-control, and become responsible. Interestingly enough, giving your children a positive vision for the future encourages them to live up to it now. The qualities you focus on end up being the ones they see in themselves and develop.
Matt said it this way, “I feel like my son Robert has several weaknesses and we’re working on them but he also has some strengths. He’s sympathetic and sensitive to others’ pain, for example. We had a fun conversation over dinner the other day. I told Robert that his sensitivity is rare and a good thing, and that it’ll help him a lot when he gets older. He gave me that puzzled look so I gave him some ideas about how sensitivity is a good adult quality. Maybe he’d want to help people who are hurt by working in a hospital or by becoming a counselor. Or the quality will just be helpful in making him a good husband and father someday. It was fun to watch the wheels turning in his head. He’d obviously not thought about that before and was encouraged.”
This Character Quality Will Empower You
Even when you correct your kids for their weaknesses, take time to explain why. It’s not just because they’ve inconvenienced you or made you angry. It’s because you see they’re lacking a quality that will make them successful in life someday. You don’t want to overemphasize deficiencies in children so that they feel like they don’t measure up, but you do want to give them a vision for developing positive qualities for the future and understand that correction is a gift.
Each time you discipline your child, you’re doing so because you want that child to grow up to be responsible and healthy. Instead of focusing on what the child did wrong, take time to emphasize the positive quality you’re trying to develop. Kids may resist and it may look as if they aren’t listening to what you’re saying, but don’t get discouraged. You’ll be surprised at how much they pick up from your correction and teaching.
Emphasizing a child’s strengths, or even potential strengths, nurtures a child’s heart. A healthy balance must be maintained in parenting between pointing out the negative and revealing the positive aspects of a child. It’s true that a sin nature corrupts all human hearts and that the solution is a relationship with Jesus Christ. As children grow, they need to incorporate the Lord into more and more areas of their lives.
Even if children don’t love the Lord as you do, you can give them a vision for it by treating them as part of God’s family. In this way you don’t stop sharing about the need for repentance, but you talk a lot about the benefits of knowing Jesus and ways for your kids to connect to God’s spiritual strength.
Envisioning a positive future gives your children hope and direction. It says, “You’re going to make it.” “I believe in you.” It’s a way to honor your kids. When you help your children see a positive future, you’re giving them a gift that will last a lifetime, a hopeful way of looking at themselves and their lives.
After all, God does this for us on a regular basis. Verses like Jeremiah 29:11 give us hope to live now to the fullest. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
The Seven Parenting Tools
There are seven tools in the Biblical Parenting Coaching Program used to bring about major changes in children. Each parent needs to tweak the recipe and use the seven tools in order to reach a child’s heart. Trained coaches are standing by to help you develop that recipe and implement it with your unique child. The third tool is VISIONING. The others are RELATIONSHIP, FIRMNESS, PRAYER, COACHING, TEACHING, and TRANSFERRING RESPONSIBILITY. Learn more about the Biblical Parenting Coaching Program HERE.
Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN teach live parenting seminars around the country. They have written 15 books on parenting and have created five video training programs for parents. You may learn more at http://www.biblicalparenting.org. or www.thrivingkidsconnection.com
See Dr Turansky’s Facebook live video here:
Listen to Dr Turansky’s podcast on the Power of Your words.