Blog by Gaye Techanchuk
Parenting – it’s a tough job at times. Pay is low, training is limited, and it demands everything you have! When you are in the middle of parenting, you wonder how you will survive. When the children are gone you wonder the same thing. With adult children – our job is to cheer them on from the sidelines and when invited in. Yet each stage – from conception to grand-parenting – is the privilege we long & pray for throughout our lives.
This blog is based on an interview we did at a recent Sisters event & our prayer is that you would glean from the gold that was shared that morning!
Our first interviewee is a mom in her late 30’s who is a cancer survivor, has lost a brother in Iraq & has 3 children, one of whom she adopted as a teenager. In the midst of this she has also been navigating how to help her 11yr old son through learning difficulties.
Question 1: Parenting for you has been in the midst of a very, very busy life. You have completed your Masters, helped establish a ministry, worked through some difficulties with a child at school, your father in-law’s cancer and death. What is the one thing that kept you sane and Jesus in the forefront of your life?
Answer: I found myself going through a bout of depression and not having any joy or energy. I became very intentional and systematic in dealing with life during this busy time. I realized I needed the joy of the Lord working in my life. I wrote down “The Joy of the Lord is my strength” – and posted it everywhere, in the bathroom, on the door, in my car, any place I could. I started writing down everything God said to me – through His Word, Sunday’s preaching, or personally. I wrote it in my notes on my phone and would scroll through it daily – just to remind me of all the things God had done for me. I never wanted to forget and it was a daily reminder. This help me restore my Joy.
Question 2: You have walked through quite a journey with one of your children with regards to learning difficulties. You have a diagnosis now and have had to make some tough decisions. What advice would you give other parents when they have a child that learns differently than most others?
My 1st motivation was for him to be confident and that he could hear God’s voice speaking to him. I think that’s very important for every person.
Our journey started in the middle of Kindergarten, it was a long and stressful time. I started resourcing myself about things we were observing about his difficulties. I felt this was my responsibility as his parent and not the teacher’s responsibility only – it was my job to tell the teacher what I was seeing at home and they would tell me what they were seeing at school. I was his mother, I know him best and what works with him. So I needed to find as much help as possible to help him during the tough times. The more I read, the more I was convinced it was Autism related. I finally reached out to one of the leading authorities in this area on Autism. I had to beg her to fit us in her schedule, and she finally consented to see us. After many tests, exams and observations – my son was diagnosed with Autism, severe ADHD, and a learning disability. He is now in a school for Autistic children and achieving quite well.
Question 3: What are the things you do to motivate your children?
You have to think outside the box. We like to reward good behavior. My husband and I had to model good behavior also. We had to be consistent and model what it looked like to trust God, love God and be faithful to the House of God. I asked our older son what we did do to motivate him – he said we encouraged him, were always there, and listened to him.
Our next interviewee is a mom of 4 who works part time, is Nursery Director at Wave Church & is passionate about raising Godly kids who know and live the Word of God.
Question 4: You have a family of 4, busy schedules, work part-time, and lead 2 Connect groups (Bible study groups). What might a morning look like for your family? What about homework?
Mornings are hectic, but we do the same thing every morning – it is a routine, everyone knows what they need to do. I keep a close eye on the clock and know exactly when things should be finished. After several promptings, the kids get up, get dressed and go downstairs. The children all pack their own lunches – I have stuff organized and they know exactly where it is. While they pack lunches, I get their breakfast ready. I probably should not do this, but I take requests for breakfast. I have 3 children that leave earlier than the other – that gives me time to spend one on one with my oldest.
Homework: Time is precious, we get it done quickly so they have time outside to play. Reading must be completed, whether it is from school or if it is reading the Bible. We have dinner at 5:30 every night and that is something we guard.
Question 5: We would really like some disciple hints from you. What would they be? We know each child is different.
We have a family motto – Be Kind. Another must is that they say sorry like they mean it – and hug each other. My husband and I must say sorry also. One day I noticed my son was getting angry quickly. I felt the Holy Spirit tell me to give him a huge hug – he just melted in my arms. Children need and long for our loving touch.
I also redirect a lot. Discipline is a loving thing – a mom can be a mom that means business, but she also needs to be the voice of love in their lives.
Question 6: We know you are a girl who was raised to know your Bible – how are you instilling that in your children?
As parents we have to lead the charge. Kids notice when you read your Bible and take note of how often you read it to them – we deliberately make time for it. We don’t allow TV in our home Monday -Thursday, iPad is allowed 15 minutes a day, play station only 30 minutes on Friday, Saturday & Sundays. This is what we choose to do as a family and that’s what I tell them. I am also intentional about always telling them how amazing they are.
Our next mom has 3 children – 2 from her first marriage and 1 with her husband of 2 years. She shares custody of her 2 eldest children with her ex-husband.
Question 7: What was it like to experience dating again with your children watching?
Pastor Sharon told me that my children would see me date – that really stuck with me and I have used and will continue to use that experience as a dating reference with my kids when it comes time for them to date. As a single mom, I had to be very intentional who I let into my children’s life. I did not want to allow just any man into my kid’s world. So we hung out with friends and the kids did not know we were interested in each other until we were confidant it was serious. They would see my future husband at church and would talk to him, but it was a very casual thing. After a period of time they found out he was not married and started trying to “set us up”. My sister ended up getting involved and she and my kids ended up setting us up on a blind date. They were so proud to be involved in this process – they always tell people “we set them up”.
Question 8: Their biological dad and his girlfriend do not see church as a priority – how have you managed that?
Church is not optional at our house. So when my ex has them, they must be home in time to go to church. We always make sure there are lots of cuddles when they get home, we cannot control what goes on at their Dads house, only at our place. We use the Bible to answer questions when they do not understand their Dad’s lifestyle. Homework at their dad’s is their responsibility. I do my best to make everything simple and clear.
Question 9: As stepfather, discipline is a little tricky. You have 3 adults that influence the discipline of your older children. Does their step-dad have discipline privileges?
A stepfather should not discipline for the first 2 years. They need to have quality time with the children and build the relationship. They have no history together – so relationship building is key. We have family game nights, we talk around the fire pit lots, and generally just try to have good talk times and plenty of laughs. I am always pointing them to ask their step-dads advice – especially when they have a project that I know he can help with. It gives them quality time together.
We have been in counseling as well, so all of that is very helpful.
What great advice we have had from all of these moms! We’ve all heard it be said that it takes a village to raise a child. I would also add never negate to ask friends for their help or advice. There’s always someone who has walked this road before you that can help – seek out the Godly women in your world who have a family that you admire and “pick their brains” for wisdom.
In conclusion, parenting is one of the most important jobs you’ll ever have. Enjoy every stage – they truly are a gift from God!