Seven {Unconventional} Tips to Raising Awesome Kids

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Okay. If I do say so myself, we have some awesome kids. But I think we are often judged for some of our parenting techniques.

When my 16-year-old calls me to ask me if her boyfriend can come in the house even though we aren’t home yet, I think we are doing something right.

When my 13-year-old son’s teacher pulls me aside to tell me that my son will make some girl a great husband someday, I wonder what he does to make her take the time to tell me that. And I really don’t know her very well!

When my 9-year-old wants to know if someone can go to Heaven if they’ve never heard anything about God, I know her heart is in the right place.

I’m so proud of my kids. They aren’t perfect, as none are. But they all love their family, and more importantly, their Savior, and they want to live a life pleasing to us and to Him. So here are some of the more unconventional things we do in our family that make our kids who they are.

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1. Let your kids watch some movies and television that your friends may judge you for. The Bible says we must live in the world, but not of the world.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2 ESV)

When I was a teenager (barely 15 years old) we started going to a new church. I was dating David at the time, who was to be my future husband (though I obviously didn’t know it yet), and he happened to be 19. Yes, I know. It was a huge difference, but David was a Christian, and very respectful to me and my parents. Anyway, at the time there was a popular rock song titled, “Cum on feel the noise” by Quite Riot, and I didn’t know the what the slang term “cum” meant. The other kids in the youth group at church automatically assumed since I was dating a 19-year-old I would know and understand the word. They assumed I was sexually active. I was both hurt that they thought this of me, and they made me feel embarrassed that I didn’t know what it meant. I never did feel part of that youth group.

I allow my children to be exposed to the less than desirable culture we live in, and television, unfortunately, is a way to do this that I can somewhat control…and experience with them so I can explain what they hear.

 

2. Don’t hide your mistakes from your kids.  By letting them know you’re not perfect, they will be more open to share their mistakes with you. If your past is especially dark, there’s no need to give them nightmares, just share enough with them to let them know you’re not infallible.

Am I proud that I ended up addicted to prescription drugs? Obviously not. But I don’t hide this from them. First, I want them know know how easy it is to fall into the traps Satan sets before us. Second, if they didn’t know my imperfections, they wouldn’t know what God did in my life and would’t have gotten the faith boost they did when they saw the miracle God gave me!

 

3. Answer questions about sex when your kids ask.  Don’t overload them with information, just answer the question they ask. Remember that God created sex, and it’s a good thing—a great thing—inside marriage. It introduces the subject gradually, so when you tell them everything, it doesn’t come as such a shock. And believe it or not, if you don’t answer their question, someone will. And don’t you want them to hear it from you? No matter how uncomfortable it makes them! But the easier you can talk to them rationally about it, the less uncomfortable they will be.

 

4. Don’t hide your sexual relationship with your husband from your kids.  Let them know—in very subtle ways of course—that you have a good sexual relationship with your husband (and if you don’t have that, you might want to reevaluate Frown). Now I obviously don’t mean to give them a show! But some innocent flirting lets them know you have a good sexual relationship. And yes, while it may gross them out and make them cover their ears and yell, “la la la la la la,” it teaches them than sex inside marriage is an important part of the marriage relationship, and believe it or not, God actually wants us to enjoy it!

 

5. Let your kids skip school once in awhile to have a fun day with them. Perfect attendance is overrated. Education is important, but it’s more important that your child knows how much you love them and are willing to break a little rule for them.  Spending a little unorthodox time with your child is a perfect time to build their self-confidence.

 

6. Let your kids know when you and your husband argue. Don’t have a knock-down, drag-out in front of them, and there’s no need to give them all the details, but it builds security to let them know that disagreement is normal in a marriage, and it doesn’t mean that you are getting a divorce. It’s kind of like leaving your child at daycare. Once you leave them and they see you are coming back, they are secure in knowing that when you leave them it’s not forever. You will return.

When David and I were in our seventh year of marriage, I didn’t think we were going to make it. We had lawyers in the picture and everything. But when it came down to the wire, we decided to stay together. Miranda was 2 at the time, and we didn’t want her to grow up with divorced parents. But we didn’t just decide to stay together, we decided to forgive, leave the past behind us, and fall in love again. We made a choice. Miranda knows this story and loves to brag that if it weren’t for her we wouldn’t be together. And while this is partially true, she sees that commitment means something. And parenting was important enough to make a tough decision that would change the rest of our lives. And I’m so glad that’s the decision we made!

 

7. Trust your kids, and let them know it.  When you put trust in your children, they are more likely to be trustworthy. But at the same time, let them know that trust is easy to keep, but tough to earn. Once they break your trust, it’s much harder for you to trust them in the future. Love is unconditional, but trust is. (Click here to tweet that Smile)There is no freedom without boundaries, and when you trust them enough to give them that freedom, they appreciate it enough not to break those boundaries. And even though they may not realize it, they appreciate those boundaries and know they are there because you love them.

What are some of your {unconditional} parenting techniques?

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Comments

  1. Elizabeth B. Meaders says:

    Proud you feel led to made these revelations….Your Daddy would be proud too!

    • CelesteVaughan says:

      Thanks mom! I wish daddy could see them now. To me, Trevor looks more and more like him every day. Especially that head of hair!

  2. I can’t tell you how much I love this post, Celeste! I didn’t keep my kids in a bubble either. I listened to popular music with them (still do), we watched television, etc. I taught them about the “Frog in the Kettle” mentality, and would warn them that the water was getting warmer!

    You’re a great mom. Pray about submitting this 🙂 Hugs to you!

  3. i really love this post

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