WT 053: How Do I Create and Maintain Family Values?

Every mom wants to instill the right values in their child, but how do you achieve that when culture often goes against what you're teaching? In today's episode we talk about how sometimes our kids think we're too strict, to showing the importance of church attendance and even how to handle your kids bringing something learned—like sarcasm—into your home. We hope you enjoy today's episode: How Do I Create and Maintain Family Values?

Question 1: Thanks for your podcast. I haven't missed an episode. I appreciate your experience and wisdom. Question: How do we help our kids see that our strictness/boundaries are for their good? I have a 10 and 11 year old and they have always been joyfully obedient. They still are, but I see them getting embarrassed when neighbor kids question the rules that we implement when they are around (like turning the radio when an inappropriate song comes on, not looking at content on other kids' phones, keeping bedroom doors open when they have friends over, not watching what other kids are allowed to watch, etc.). I appreciate any insight you can give on how to help our kids want to uphold our family values while they are being questioned and maybe even scoffed at by peers.

Karen's Answer: I LOVE this question, because it is REAL life. Listen, your children are not alone! Mine were the same way. I think it is human nature to not want to stand out and to go with the flow. At this age, it’s normal for children to start pushing the envelope a little bit and follow their friends. My advice is to keep your standards high, don’t bend your ways just because culture pushes against them.

It was different ages, and different things with all my children. Some it was over music, others it was a bigger deal on the movies we would not allow them to watch. Others it was the clothes they couldn’t wear and still others it was boy/girl parties during middle school. They all pushed back, thought Greg and i were too strict. I just told them, that our family does things a little different, but Dad and I believe our path will be better in the long run. I would reference sometimes what Jesus talked about in Matthew of entering into the narrow gate or the road less traveled, but we believed our road was a better road to travel.

Question 2:  I'm a mom to a 3 year old son and 8 month old daughter. I've recently begun listening to the podcast and enjoy it so much! My biggest, most burning question about parenthood is how can my husband and I be great parents and raise a healthy family when neither of us had that growing up? I feel like I'm reinventing the wheel here because I've never seen this modeled.

Karen's Answer: No need to reinvent the wheel, there are too many great parents that have gone before you! :) The best news is, God will guide you every step of the way, if you ask Him. He will send mentors into your life, a neighbor that is a few years ahead of you, or he'll even send a great book your way, etc. I believe God wants you to look to Him for guidance and when you do, He will meet you there! I had good parents, and so did Greg, but in VA I was far from home. I had to look to God to meet my needs.

If you need a place to start, I would recommend going through the BOAW curriculum—any of the DVD and workbooks—with your husband.

Question 3: Karen, I love listening to the podcast. It’s my motivation to take a walk around the neighborhood or get on the treadmill every week. Hooray! My question for you is about church. I know you’ve said that your family went to church when your kids were little, how did you get everyone out the door? Every single week I wake everyone up earlier and earlier but it doesn’t matter, we are still dragging someone out the door and end up being late every week. Some Sundays I just want to skip, but I want my children to know that going to church is important in our family.

Karen's Answer: Keep at it! It’s hard, but don’t give up! It will be so worth it in the long run. Church is a habit, and you just have to keep doing it.

I did experience this especially when Greg was out of town and I would have to take my children to church by myself. It’s hard getting four children out the door by yourself. But, honestly, I needed it as much as my children. I needed the fellowship with friends, the worship and the message. A lot of Sunday’s that was my pep talk for the week.

Question 4: Karen, my 13 year old son’s friends have families that are extremely sarcastic with each other, both parents and kids. They are good people, so I don’t mind my son spending time with them, but when he comes home he is always sarcastic with me and his little brother. When I tell my son that that’s not how our family talks to each other, he tells me that he’s just joking and says that he wishes our family had a sense of humor like everyone else. I know that at his age this happens, but the bigger issue that upsets me is that he doesn’t understand that my husband and I choose to have a family culture where we only speak lovingly to each other. Any advice?

Karen's Answer: You can turn the tables around on him and speak in a sarcastic way with him, and then ask him how that made him feel. Usually not good. Then say, “Sarcasm usually hurts someone’s feelings and it makes people feel unsafe. I would rather create a loving atmosphere in our home and keep the sarcasm out."

Taylor did this when he went to college and when he came home he would end up hurting his sisters feelings. The girls were a older at that point, and they would tell him he was being a jerk and it wasn’t funny. He finally got the drift. I tried to tell my children that with sarcasm usually there is slice of truth in it, masked with humor. It can be a passive aggressive way of communicating. I would rather, speak openly and then joke around with other things.

Moms, we know your time is precious. Thank you for spending it with us. We hope you feel encouraged, equipped and most importantly—the peace of God.