Hi Everyone, I apologize. Some code must be corrupted in this post. I have tried everything to eliminate it. Removing photos, redoing things. Nothing seems to help. But the linkup is working.
Last week in Blended Families Part 15: Helping Children Adjust we talked about the two major pitfalls into which parents in blended families fall: either becoming overly focused on the children’s outward behavior or turning their children into victims. Today we’re going to talk about biblical communication and God’s methodology for change.
Some children in blended families adjust quickly and easily, but others struggle with fear, worry, anger, and loyalty conflicts.
Children may be angry about losing their position in the family, losing the dream of their original family being restored, unwanted changes, jealousy toward new step-siblings or any number of other things.
One of the most important skills in overcoming anger and building good relationships is learning how to communicate in a loving, God-honoring way. Ephesians 4 contains some of the clearest passages on the subject of communication. The principles can be summed up in 4 easy to understand “rules” that you can apply and teach your children.
4 Rules of Communication
- Be honest.
- Keep current.
- Attack the problem, not the person.
- Act, don’t react.
Ephesians 4.25 says:
Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.
Sounds simple enough, but being honest is more that just not telling a lie. It’s, also, more than blurting out the unadulterated truth. It involves being open and transparent in a loving way.
The first part of being honest is to communicate. “Let each of you speak …”
The second part is to speak truth. It’s not enough to just “not lie.” We must also speak truth.
For example: If, after you and your husband agreed not to make any unnecessary purchases, you put those shoes you wanted on your credit card, slipped them into the house when you’re husband wasn’t home, and simply never brought it up, you may not have lied, but your weren’t being honest either.
Our children need to understand the same principle. Instead of just punishing them for not telling you about a bad grade, sit down and explain why it’s wrong from God’s Word. Let them know that you struggle with living God’s way, too. Use it as an opportunity to teach them how much we need His help to live His way. Turn it into a gospel moment.
Whether they listen attentively or roll their eyes, you’re planting seeds.
So we and our children are to speak and to speak truth, but we must also learn to speak the truth in love. Ephesians 4.15 says:
[B]ut, speaking the truth in love, [we] may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.
For example: If your child grew up learning to make his bed and keep his room reasonably neat and now shares a room with a step-sibling who doesn’t seem to know what a clothes hanger or a hamper is, the answer isn’t to tell his sibling he’s a slob.
Instead, help him learn to pray (another gospel moment) and ask God for wisdom about talking to his brother. It could be something like, “Hey, I’m not crazy about cleaning the room either. I used to resent it when my mom made me stay home until I did. But I learned it’s easier to just get it over with. It looks better when my friends come to hang out, too. Can I give you a hand?”
So rule #1 is: “Be honest.” Speak. Speak the truth. Speak the truth in love. Continue reading