Loving My Kids Through the Stages (Love Series – Part 4)

Loving My Kids Through the Stages

(by Haley Carter)

Parenting has been an amazing journey. Honestly, when we chose to have kids I thought mostly about having little kids… babies, toddlers, and preschool age. Of course, I knew our children would grow older, but I couldn’t see that far ahead. Now eight years and (almost) four kids later I see just how much my role as their mother is going to change through the years. While there are many roles that parents play in their children’s lives, I believe there are three primary stages of parenting.

PROTECTING

The first stage of parenting is to protect our children. When our children are first born or adopted it is our job to protect them from pain and to supply them with all the things they need to be healthy. This includes giving them care and nourishment, protecting them from dangerous things in our home, and keeping them from people or situations that prove not to be safe.

This stage is very important in our children’s development and growth. Children need to feel safe and protected. This was the stage that I always envisioned before becoming a mom; however, this is far from the only role we will play in our children’s lives.

EQUIPPING

The next stage we enter is equipping our children for their life ahead. Instead of making all of their choices for them, we start equipping them to make good decisions for themselves. As early as their toddler years, we begin to prepare them for social encounters and for their life ahead.

As they grow older, we should find ourselves “protecting” them less and “equipping” them more. Our goal shifts from keeping them from all pain and difficulty to equipping them to handle the situations on their own. This begins to prepare them for life without us.

Of course, the teenage years provide ample opportunity to equip our children. During these years, much of our role as their “protector” has or at least in my opinion, should be limited. We may encounter a situation every now and then that we should step into, but primarily we should be letting our child learn from his/her own choices and then, of course, implementing consequences and boundaries as necessary.

INFLUENCING

The final stage of parenting is “influencing”. Because it is impossible to force influence on a person, not all of us will be given the opportunity to influence our children into adulthood. This is the stage where it is no longer our job to protect or equip our children. This is the point of their lives they get to decide for themselves the life they want to live and also who is influencing it. I have yet to experience this but can imagine it may be a very difficult transition.

As parents, we need to understand the roles we have are seasonal. We are given time to control our children’s lives and then that season is done. They get to make their own choices and our role is to respect the choices they make… unless they ask us for our input.

Our function and our relationships with our children definitely change through the years, but there is one thing that never should and that is our responsibility to love them unconditionally. No matter what stage we are in, it is our job as parents to show our kids love.

As we are raising our children, we will protect our children and we will equip them, and then we get to take a step back and enjoy the beautiful person they have become. 

Haley Carter is a writer and speaker who has been blogging for the past three years. She shares from her life experiences in order to challenge and inspire people to find freedom in their own lives. She loves to write about relationships and encourages people to find greater healing through them. Whether it be a relationship with themselves, their spouse, their children, or their friends she believes that relationships hold the keys to our healing. Find out more at RedemptionUnveiled.com.

A huge THANK YOU to Haley for helping out with my Love Series! I asked Haley to help with this series because I know many of my readers are mothers, but right now I am not. So, I wanted this topic to be covered by someone with first-hand experience. Be sure to to check out Haley’s blog at the link in the paragraph above!

As always,

Be Brave!

Be Blessed!

xoxo

Ash

Loving Others in General (Love Series – Part 3)

Loving Others in General (Love Series – Part 3)

We’ve talked about ways to love your spouse better and ways to love your friends. Now it’s time for loving others in general, like the general public and your coworkers.

Be Slow to Anger – We have become too accustomed in this fast-paced world now to expect to be able to get what we want when we want it. Lord help us if we have to wait 5 extra seconds for something or someone, lest we get hot-headed. Really! That’s how impatient society is now. People are quick to anger when dealing with traffic, waiting in the checkout line, or sitting in a drive-thru. Don’t get angry at people when you don’t get what you want when you want it. Show love by being slow to anger.

Be Mature – “That jerk cut me off! I’ll show him!” or “Throw me under the bus at work… you just wait! I’ll make you look bad!” Sound familiar? The need to retaliate is a fleshly desire. And don’t think for one hot second that I don’t know how much of a struggle this is. Trust me, sister. I know! It’s difficult to choose love over justice. It takes strength to choose love over retaliation. We need to do it though and be mature.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:17-20

Offer Help – Let’s not let basic courtesies fade away. Open the door for someone. Hold the elevator for the next person. Let someone in front of you. Let the other person have the parking spot instead of rushing into it first. Help a coworker finish a project.

Jesus came to serve, not to be served. Show love by helping others.

Smile – I’ve talked about this before, but I feel strongly enough about it to mention it again. Smiling can go a long way in someone’s day. Smile at others. We often don’t realize how we look when walking through a store or standing in line. Pay attention next time, and you’ll most likely see a lot of scowling faces or just “bleh” expressions. Pay attention to your expression. Smile more in general and you’ll come across as a nicer person. It may even be infectious! So, love others by smiling!

I’ve got a surprise for you mommas next week! Stay tuned! And if you’re not already, SUBSCRIBE TO MY TRIBE below so you don’t miss the next post!

Be loving!

Be brave!

Be blessed!

xoxo

Ash

Loving Your Friends (Love Series – Part 2)

Loving Your Friends (Love Series – Part 2)

Some people expect friendships to just be easy. There’s a problem with that. Friendships are a type of relationship too, and relationships have their ups and downs. The closer you are with a friend, the more the relationship will be similar to that of a marriage. There’s give and take. You’ve got to put in some effort to keep the relationship going. So, don’t expect all your friendships to just be easy peasy.

Here are some reminders on how you can be a more loving friend.

Don’t overanalyze – In today’s text crazy social media world, we tend to spend more electronic time with people than actual physical face time. When messaging someone we miss out on a few social cues like tone of voice and body language. Sure, we have a plethora of emojis to choose from to try to convey the mood or tone of the message, but even those don’t always come out right or get interpreted the way you intend. Remember this before being accusatory or getting upset with the way a friend responded.

Also, don’t overanalyze when a friend doesn’t respond right away, even if it shows that the message has been seen. There are times when I “see” the message, but I’m currently in the middle of something else and don’t have time to respond at that moment. Sometimes I’m trying to finish something else, and I accidentally open a message I wasn’t ready to read yet. If someone doesn’t answer you right away, it doesn’t always mean she’s trying to avoid you. She just might need a hot minute to finish something else before responding.  So, don’t overanalyze.

Give grace –Have you ever had moments where you’ve thought, if she was really a good friend, she wouldn’t do that to me? I have. You know what I say to that? – Are you perfect? Nope. Didn’t think so.

I don’t care if she’s been your best friend for 5 months or 5 years, don’t be so quick to throw a friendship out when you get hurt. People make mistakes. You’re going to have disagreements and misunderstandings, especially the longer you are friends. Give grace.

Listen – Sometimes we all just need someone to listen. It feels good just to get out some feelings without expecting the person to offer a solution. Try to listen more and interrupt less. Also, pay attention while listening. Put the phone down and be present with your friend.

Make time – I think one of the best ways to love a friend is to give them your time. Look sister, I know you may be busy. We can all use that excuse. Yes, I said excuse because that’s what it is. We all have things to do, and outside of working and sleeping we choose what to do with the rest of our time. I know moms with several kids that still make time for friends. It may be difficult, but if you truly want some friend time, you’ll make it happen.

Let’s try to stop using the phrase “we need to get together soon” and start saying things like“hey girl, what are you doing next Tuesday…” When you continue to tell someone you want to get to together but neglect to put actual plans in place, the words lose their meaning. Love you friends and follow through by making time for them.

If you want better friends, try being a better friend!

Be brave!

Be blessed!

xoxo

Ash

Up next, Loving Strangers. Be sure to Subscribe to my Tribe below so you don’t miss any posts!

4 Ways to Love Your Husband Better (Love Series – Part 1)

4 Ways to Love Your Husband Better (Love Series – Part 1)

I know it’s cliché to write about love during the month of love, but hey, when in Rome…

I’m going to embrace it and write about love the entire month. We’ll start with loving your husband. Later on, I’ll be covering love in friendships, loving strangers, and maybe even loving your children. So, make sure you subscribe to my TRIBE below to stay tuned in for the Love Series.

Here are 4 ways to love your husband better:

1. Don’t sweat the small stuff

The small stuff used to drive me crazy: dirty socks, dirty boots, wet towels, etc. I used to get so tired of picking these items up or asking him to do it. Then one day, I smiled at a can of shaving cream, and it changed my perspective.

Why get upset over the little things? Smile because you have a husband who works hard in those dirty boots you are putting away. Smile because you like that clean-shaven look of his even though the shaving cream is still sitting out. Smile because you never know if there will come a day when you’ll miss those things. If you lost your husband, would the number of dirty socks you picked up over the years really matter anymore?

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Just smile.

2. Let go of grudges

Holding a grudge was once a strong ability of mine. Have you ever given your husband the silent treatment? I have. Too many times to count. Do you know what it accomplished each time? Nothing (or at least nothing good).

Holding a grudge generally hurts you more than the person you are punishing. So just quit doing it. Speak your peace and move on. Sulking around the house, giving silent treatments, or refusing to do things for him (like laundry or cooking) is just silly. Let go of the grudges.

3. Mind your tone

I’ve been known to struggle with my caustic tone. I’ve improved a lot over the years, but occasionally my husband will remind me to watch how I am speaking. He says it’s not about what I’m saying but how I’m saying it.

How do you speak to your husband? Do you speak in a soft tone or a harsh one? Do you kindly ask him to take care of something or demand it?

“Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24

So, mind your tone.

4. Be a teammate!

You and your husband are on the same team. What do teammates do? They work together. They assist each other. They cheer each other on. They pick up the slack when one may be falling behind.

It’s never meant to be you against him. It’s you and him against the struggles we all face in this world. Support him on the bad days. Encourage him on the good days. And work towards goals together. Be the best teammate you can be!

Love your husband better!

Be brave!

Be blessed!

xoxo

Ash