Blended Families Part 9: A Plan for Successful Step-Parenting + LINKUP

 

Blended Families Part 9: A Plan for Successful Step-Parenting - We've all heard the saying, "Fail to plan; plan to fail." In last week's post, "You're not my dad!," we talked about the challenges step-parents face when children don't recognize their authority or when step-parents refuse to get involved in parenting issues. Today we'll talk about a plan for successful step-parenting.

Blended Families Part 9: A Plan for Successful Step-Parenting

 

We’ve all heard the saying, “Fail to plan; plan to fail.” In last week’s post, “You’re not my dad!,” we talked about the challenges step-parents face when children don’t recognize their authority or when step-parents refuse to get involved in parenting issues. Today we’ll talk about a plan for successful step-parenting and a great tool for parents called a “behavior contract.”

 

Last week I said that God has a blueprint for marriage (Gen. 2.24) and because it involves a one flesh relationship, both biological parents and step-parents have a responsibility to bring their children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6.4) and to not exasperate them or provoke them to anger (Col. 3.21; Eph. 6.4).

So how do we apply those principles to real life step-parenting?

 

Make a Plan

 

Some suggestions for getting started:

For the Biological Father:

  • Spend more time communicating with your wife. What are her concerns?
  • Work on a behavior contract for each of the children (more in a minute).
  • Communicate to your children that you support your wife, that she is their authority, and that they must obey her.
  • Have zero tolerance for disrespect toward her.

For the Step-Father:

  • Sit down with your wife and work out a behavior contract for each of the children.
  • Allow your wife to be the initial up-front person when both of you are present.
  • When you disagree with your wife, discuss it in private.
  • Remember that you are still the leader of the home and ultimately responsible for what goes on in the home, including parenting the children.

For the Biological Mother:

  • Recognize you husband is the head of the home.
  • Work with your husband to establish a behavior contract for each of the children.
  • Explain to the children that your husband is the head of the home. Explain they must obey his authority.
  • If you disagree with your husband, discuss it in private.

For the Step-Mother:

  • Ask your husband what responsibilities he wants you to handle.
  • Work with your husband to develop a behavior contract for each of the children.
  • Be consistent to follow through with your husband’s decisions.
  • If you disagree with your husband, discuss it in private.

 

What is a behavior contract?

 

A behavior contract is merely a tool to help you define your expectations for each child and the resulting consequences and rewards.

Many parents in blended families spend most of their time putting out fires and dealing with bad behavior. But God’s instructions involve much more. Let’s look at those two parenting verses again:

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6.4).

Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart (Col. 3.21).

Disciplining for wrong behavior is only one part of parenting. Just as important, maybe more so in the long run, is instructing children in the right way to go.

God gives us clear instructions. He spells out how we should live and the consequences of disobeying Him (Gen. 2.16-17; Deut. 28; Gal. 6.7-8). We should do the same for our children. Too often children are exasperated because parents are inconsistent or unclear about their expectations. This is where a behavior contract can help.

 

Writing Out a Behavior Contract

 

Start by working together with your spouse to make a list of the strengths and weaknesses of each child. Examples might be:  Continue reading

“Are we headed for Egypt?” October 30

 

Are we headed for Egypt? - Is our nation doing exactly what God told the Israelites not to do, heading for Egypt? Egypt represents the world and its systems. It refers to the world, the government, and man's wisdom. Are we looking to those things to care for us, feed us, protect us, and get us out of this mess. Sadly, that is a recipe for disaster. What will our nation do as a whole? And if our nation continues headlong toward Egypt, will we be like Jeremiah and Baruch who obeyed God or like the leaders of Israel who rejected God's warnings? Whose side will we be on … in our hearts, in our personal lives, in the public arena, and in the voting booth?

Is our nation doing exactly what God told the Israelites not to do, heading for Egypt?

Egypt represents the world and its systems. It refers to the world, the government, and man’s wisdom. Are we looking to those things to care for us, feed us, protect us, and get us out of this mess. Sadly, that is a recipe for disaster.

What will our nation do as a whole? And if our nation continues headlong toward Egypt, will we be like Jeremiah and Baruch who obeyed God or like the leaders of Israel who rejected God’s warnings? Whose side will we be on … in our hearts, in our personal lives, in the public arena, and in the voting booth?

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 45 & 46
Psalm 119.105-112
Proverbs 28.4
2 Timothy 3.1-17

 

Are we headed for Egypt?

 

Jeremiah 45 & 46:

Trusting God’s Sovereign Plan

In chapter 45 God speaks to Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe or secretary. Baruch was depressed and discouraged because of all the disaster God was about to bring on his nation.

Baruch hung out with Jeremiah. He knew what Jeremiah knew. He understood the what and why of God’s dealings with His people. And yet, he was struggling with his feelings.

And just because we understand truths like Romans 8.28-29, 1 Corinthians 10.13, and other similar passages, doesn’t mean we enjoy the trial when it affects us! Perhaps, Baruch was asking “Why me? Why did I have to be born at this time in history? Why couldn’t God have sent me somewhere else until all this was over?” Perhaps, he was reminding God that he had served Him faithfully and didn’t deserve this.

The Lord gently rebuked him for his self-pity, but then encouraged him with a promise.

Verse 5, “‘And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring adversity on all flesh,’ says the LORD. ‘But I will give your life to you as a prize in all places, wherever you go.’”

God was encouraging him to not be focused on himself, but to trust in His sovereign plan and His ability to use it for good, and to trust in His divine oversight and protection.

 

Egypt or Bust?

In chapter 46 God turns to the nation as a whole. The people have now fled to Egypt to escape the hardships at home. Remember they had gone there in defiance of a direct command from God. Not only had God commanded them not to go there, He had promised to take care of them if they stayed where they belonged!

While the book of Jeremiah is written to the nation of Israel, there are many principles that can be gleaned with application to other nations and situations, including America.

In spite of what you hear on the news and in the classroom today, America was founded by godly men on godly principles. For two centuries God used us to spread the Gospel, to protect the weak, and to be a beacon of hope and rescue. Because of that God blessed us with great resources, an abundance of ideas and creativity, and spiritual and physical protection.

But, as a whole, we have rejected the very God who has blessed and protected us. We have loved our sins and hated truth. We have rewritten history to suit our purposes and redefined right and wrong. In fact, we have called evil good and good evil. We have become tolerant of sin, murder, and idolatry; and intolerant of truth and righteousness. And when things turned badly, like the Israelites, we fled to Egypt.

Egypt represents the world and its systems. We are looking to the world, to the government, and to man’s wisdom to care for us, feed us, protect us, and get us out of this mess. Sadly, that is a recipe for disaster. Over and over again throughout the Bible, we have been told to “stand still and see the salvation of God” (Ex. 14.13) and warned not to turn to Egypt. Isaiah 31.1:  Continue reading