Taking a positive approach to parenting (and grandparenting) – by Professor Matt Sanders

There’s one type of family conflict that’s very common, but not often discussed in the media: parents and grandparents disagreeing. Fortunately, the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program® can…

There’s one type of family conflict that’s very common, but not often discussed in the media: parents and grandparents disagreeing. Fortunately, the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program® can offer some new ways to handle the problem. 

Commonly, conflict between parents and grandparents occurs when: 

  • Grandparents give the child extra treats or toys even when Mum or Dad has said “no”.  They may even feel that it’s their right to do so because day-to-day discipline is no longer their responsibility, and because they’re taking on some care duties. Parents may be surprised – especially comparing what they see now with their own memories of a stricter upbringing. 
  • Grandparents want to pass on their wisdom and experience in the form of frequent suggestions, but this can seem to the parent like constant criticism. Most parents don’t like unsolicited advice and therefore may not respond well.

Parents may feel annoyed and frustrated, or even disrespected, if grandparents don’t agree with their methods of child-rearing. And grandparents may feel upset because they’re just trying to be helpful, and want the best for their family.

It may be a relief to know you’re not the only one dealing with these kinds of problems. And there are ways to bridge some of the communication and expectation gaps, and help bring everyone onto common ground when it comes to managing children’s behaviour.

In a trial of a special Triple P program for grandparents, participants reported lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress, and (not surprisingly) fewer grandchild behaviour problems. Grandparents also said they felt more confident when having conversations about delicate parenting topics with parents, and this resulted in a better relationship with their own (adult) children.  

Adjusting to new roles takes time for everyone. A step in the right direction is to think about all doing a parenting course together, (parents and grandparents), to help everyone to agree on the basic issues. 

The Queensland Government is currently funding free access to Triple P across Queensland. Programs available include one-to-one, group, online and self-help. Check the Triple P parent site for more information: www.triplep-parenting.net 

* Many school chaplains are trained to deliver Triple P in Queensland schools. ISo If this is something you’re interested in, check with your local school chaplain to find out if they are a qualified Triple P trainer. 

Posted: 11/08/2020

Fairness, shame and racism – how Covid-19 fears are stoking a dangerous fire

I’m not sure about other families, but my children definitely have a finely tuned sense of what is fair and what is not. “His slice of pizza is bigger…

I’m not sure about other families, but my children definitely have a finely tuned sense of what is fair and what is not. “His slice of pizza is bigger than mine!” “Why do I have to go to bed earlier than her?” “But I cleaned up after dinner last night!”

As parents we are constantly under pressure to make sure each child is being treated with complete fairness.

Last week we heard the news here in Queensland that three young ladies were found to have caught the Covid-19 virus in Melbourne, and then lied about their whereabouts when returning home. Naturally this put the state under great pressure to ensure we didn’t see a surge in the pandemic locally.

Soon after the identity of the girls was released, with their photos and names shown on the frontpage of our state newspaper, under the headline “Enemies of the State”, there was no hiding. They had done wrong and they had put us all at risk.

After the images and names were released, the comments on social media started rolling in thick and fast.

In these extraordinary times, when emotions are high, it was no surprise to see these young women recieve a lot of criticism. Sadly, it was also no surprise that the women, who happened to be of African heritage, started receiving a steady stream of vitriolic comments based on their race, which had nothing to do with their actions.

When I checked in with a Sudanese friend he confirmed that he and others of African heritage were having to cope with hurtful comments, as a result of the actions of these three women. He said “It’s not fair, but that’s the way it is.” No it is certainly not fair!

We call it racism, when people are treated unfairly because of their skin colour or background.

One of the rules I have adopted in learning how to engage well with people of a different background, culture or faith than my own is: Do not judge a person by what other people of their faith or community do.

This reminder helps me to look at a person and acknowledge that while they may come from a people group who share some similarities, they are also unique and special, and need to be treated as an individual.

So yes it is right that someone is challenged and held accountable for their actions. This is justice, and if they have done the wrong thing they need to receive the consequences. That is fair.

However it is not fair to then transfer their behaviour onto all other people who look like them. Personally, I do not represent all men, or all Christians, or even all coffee-drinking-Brisbane-dwelling-right-handed-amateur-runner-Christian-men. So I should not need to answer for the actions of another person who shares any of my traits – be they spiritual, physical, cultural or otherwise.

Let us take steps to overcome the temptation to fall into racism or any other -ism that doesn’t see a person for their inherent value as an individual created by a loving God. And let’s help our children do the same.

About the author…

Tim works in Cross-Cultural Innovations for SU, seeking to foster vibrant ministry with people of minority cultures and other faiths. Prior to this Tim spent 8 years with The Feast in the UK, engaging youth of different faiths, and 10 years in various roles with SU Qld.

Posted: 7/08/2020

Leading through change and raising up the next generation

As a young SU Camper I recall looking up to my camp leaders as people I wanted to be like one day. They inspired me in my faith and…

As a young SU Camper I recall looking up to my camp leaders as people I wanted to be like one day. They inspired me in my faith and encouraged me to grow and develop my skills to one day lead others as they once led me.

A few weeks ago I was reminded of my own faith and leadership journey as I led a group of young people who were the children of the leaders I once looked up to. I was reminded of the legacy their parents passed on to me.

As Christian leaders we are called to serve those we lead and to empower them to carry on the legacy that was laid down for us so future generations can be blessed.

In this year where we’ve come to expect the unexpected, I wanted to share some of the lessons I’ve learned about leading through change and equipping the next generation. I hope you find my experience and learnings helpful for you in your own journey.

Earlier this year I faced the challenge of not being able to run one of our most popular training events – an event that has been running for 40 years. Covid meant we couldn’t run the event as a ‘traditional camp’ – we had to adapt and move online.

Here are some of the things I learnt along this journey…

  1. It’s important to partner with excited people: When I suggested the opportunity to the senior leadership group of running a virtual program, it quickly became evident some were excited and others not. Rather than try and take everyone on the journey, I gave freedom to the group to either join the journey or jump off and what was left were those passionate about doing something new.
  2. Enthusiasm is magnetic: The passion of this group of leaders brought their peers on the journey. It was so encouraging to watch them bring together a team of people and show them how their existing excitement could be applied to a new environment. The leaders were not only taking an opportunity to lead but bringing others into the space with them
  3. Model Faithfulness: My role was to get out of the way of the programming and take on the enabling role. I was guiding a team full of ideas, my role could be to look at ways for them to outwork these ideas and then throw in some suggestions when appropriate.
  4. Pressure creates great disciples”: We were doing something brand new and let’s be honest not everything went to plan. What was so encouraging is that along the entire journey, everyone was willing to adapt to change and accept there would be some bumps in the process. Mark Sayers says “Pressure creates great disciples” and trying something new certainly puts everyone in leadership under pressure and prompts a reliance on God.
  5. Honour the builders: In the midst of so much change, I was challenged to acknowledge the people who built the foundation for these young leaders. I was able to invite parents and supporters of our new generation of leaders to hear their excitement about what was happening now in their young people, but also thank and acknowledge their time and leadership before that helped shape the young leaders in the room.

In a season of change, there is so much potential for us to allow a younger generation to step in and be the leaders of something new. My experience of the last three months is there is great fruit in getting out of their way and guiding them on their journey.

About the author…

Beavs is a former High School Maths and Christian Education Teacher who has been working and volunteering with SU QLD Camps for almost 20 years. As Camps Specialist he supports volunteers and chaplains run camps and community outreach events throughout Queensland, reaching over 4500 young people. Beavs is married with 3 children, and loves coffee and watching sport.

Posted: 30/07/2020

Things to look forward to after Coronavirus – a children’s e-book

Australian Childhood Foundation has released another e-book entitled “Things to look forward to after Coronavirus” It’s a great, fun read you can do with your children or children you…

Australian Childhood Foundation has released another e-book entitled “Things to look forward to after Coronavirus”

It’s a great, fun read you can do with your children or children you know. Click here to access this free e-book!

https://www.childhood.org.au/app/uploads/2020/04/Things-to-Look-Forward-to-Resource.pdf

Posted: 20/07/2020

How I connected with God through art and nature at Create Camp

My wife, Megan, and I ran an online camp over the Winter holidays called ‘Create Camp’. Megan is an author, illustrator and artist with a passion to connect people…

My wife, Megan, and I ran an online camp over the Winter holidays called ‘Create Camp’.

Megan is an author, illustrator and artist with a passion to connect people to God, the natural world and themselves through art.

Over the three days of the camp, we met online with a small group of young people and leaders to have fun, learn new art techniques, express ourselves through art and reflect on the deeper things of life. In our last session, we asked everyone to show us their art journals and share something about the pieces that were special to them. I was blown away by the creativity of both our campers and leaders and impressed by the depth of their personal reflections.

The idea behind Create Camp is simple…

If we pay attention to our own hearts and to the world around us, we just might discover that there is more going on than we first thought.

Here are some things we learned over our three days together:

Day 1
Megan taught us to stop and pay attention to the natural world around us. She encouraged us to observe the shape, colour, texture and shades of simple natural objects and showed us how to reproduce those things with charcoal and water colours. We were sent out into our local habitats to take notice of it and record, in an arty way, what we found there. We were reminded that nature is the art of God, and more than that, that the good news of God is not just written down in the Bible, but in the trees, flowers, clouds and stars.

Day 2
We added the use of Condy’s crystals, lemon juice and collage to our suite of art techniques. Megan encouraged us to consider the beauty and generosity of nature by reflecting on the endless supply of lemon trees available to us from the seeds of just one lemon. We were reminded of a time when Jesus invited us to consider the ‘lilies of the field’ and the ‘birds of the air’ so that we might understand God’s love, care and provision for us.

Day 3
Megan informed us that in nature, food scraps can be transformed into healthy, rich soil through the natural process of composting. She also taught us that there are no mistakes in art; that every splotch or smear can be redeemed to create new, beautiful, unexpected artworks. These examples prompted us to reflect on God as ‘The Great Recycler’ who doesn’t waste any of our experiences, struggles, failings or mistakes. When we trust God, they can be transformed into beautiful, healthy soil, ready to grow great things in our lives.

On this last day, Megan also taught us how to bind our art pieces together into an art journal. We brought together our finished pieces, our unfinished pieces and even some blank pages. The invitation here was to view our lives as a work-in-progress art journal that includes some beautiful pieces, some not so beautiful pieces (that are not finished with yet), and some pieces not yet begun. The question was posed to us, “What would your life look like if you handed it over to God?”

Well, that’s some of the lessons we learned at Create Camp. We hope that maybe there is something in there for you today…

 

About the author…

Steve has over 30 years experience in school, community and church-based youth work. He is currently working as the Training & Development Manager at SU QLD, overseeing teams that deliver training and produce resources for SU QLD staff and volunteers. He holds post-graduate qualifications in Social Work, Politics & Government, and Christian Studies.

Posted: 16/07/2020

BibleProject Podcast

Have you heard or listened to the BibleProject Podcast? Each episode, hosts Tim and Jon invite you into theological, application-based and honest discussions around certain aspects of, and stories…

Have you heard or listened to the BibleProject Podcast?

Each episode, hosts Tim and Jon invite you into theological, application-based and honest discussions around certain aspects of, and stories in, the Bible.

The podcast can be listened to for free on their website here: https://bibleproject.com/podcasts/the-bible-project-podcast/

Posted: 15/07/2020

A table mat with deep and meaningful questions for family discussions

The guys over at Here2Stay have developed a range of table mats with deep and meaningful questions for families to talk about and discuss over breakfast, lunch or dinner….

The guys over at Here2Stay have developed a range of table mats with deep and meaningful questions for families to talk about and discuss over breakfast, lunch or dinner.

We think this is a great, innovative way to spark some potentially powerful conversations in families.

To download these free tablemat pdf files click here: https://here2stay.org.au/chatmatters/

Posted: 14/07/2020

PrayerMate is a FREE app that brings your prayer points together!

Prayer is an amazing privilege, but it’s also really hard work (the apostle Paul compares it to a wrestling match!) PrayerMate is an award-winning Christian prayer app that seeks…

Prayer is an amazing privilege, but it’s also really hard work (the apostle Paul compares it to a wrestling match!) PrayerMate is an award-winning Christian prayer app that seeks to help you actually pray for all the people and causes you care about.

PrayerMate brings all your prayer points together. Whether it’s your personal prayer points for friends and family, regular updates from some fantastic mission organisations, or the latest PDF prayer letter that just arrived in your inbox, PrayerMate puts it all together in one place and helps you get on and pray.

It’s available for free on iOS and Android. Links below! 🙂

iOS: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/prayermate-quiet-time-organiser/id434815549?mt=8&ls=1

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.geero.prayermate&pcampaignid=MKT-Other-global-all-co-prtnr-py-PartBadge-Mar2515-1

Posted: 13/07/2020

Guardians of Ancorda – free app game for children that brings the Bible to life!

Guardians of Ancora is a free-to-download game for children that brings the stories of the Bible to life. It is an amazing, free tool that you can use to…

Guardians of Ancora is a free-to-download game for children that brings the stories of the Bible to life. It is an amazing, free tool that you can use to engage children with the Bible in an exciting new way.

This e-book is filled with ideas on how you can use Guardians of Ancora for family faith building time – or just enjoying time together.

Click here to download the game, access the e-book and find out more! https://content.scriptureunion.org.uk/resource/guardians-ancora-family-activity-bank

Posted: 10/07/2020

How to build resilience into our children from a young age

Resilience (noun): the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity (Dictionary.com) This definition of resilience resonates with me….

Resilience (noun): the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity (Dictionary.com)

This definition of resilience resonates with me. It’s action-based, visual and doesn’t sound like it comes from a psychology textbook.

My time in school chaplaincy has given me the opportunity to meet many young people who have been ‘bent, compressed and stretched’ by life’s circumstances. Some amaze me with their ability to recover from adversity, wiser, stronger and more competent. There are also children with seemingly ideal lives who are not yet managing to deal with the more commonplace “stretching” that life provides.

While resiliency (or lack of) is the subject of many discussions in school communities, the good news is that resilience can be learned – and where better to learn about it than at home.

To develop resilience our offspring (notice the word spring) need to hear about it, see it modelled, and have the opportunity to practice with support. You don’t really notice the difference between a length of elastic and a piece of string until some stretching is attempted.

Karl Ronke’s three-zone approach to learning is helpful as we consider developing resilience. We can view the process of learning life skills as a set of three concentric circles, the Comfort Zone, the Stretch Zone and the Panic Zone.

The inner circle, the Comfort Zone, is ‘known territory’ and relatively challenge-free. There is no “bending, compressing or stretching.” It’s an important space in which to do some, but not all of life – as keeping kids protected, happy and comfortable at all costs is not doing them any favours.

Rarely does the God of the Bible go before His people to ensure everything is smooth and easy; the epic stories of faith did not take place in a relaxed, suburban lounge room. When we rescue too much or protect too much, we disempower young people.

In the Stretch Zone we learn, grow, interact with the unfamiliar, and experience challenges. This space calls for initiative, risk-taking and introduces the potential failure. Allowing or encouraging our children to be in this zone, at a level suited to their age, can empower them. Sometimes we do more by doing less.

When a child is struggling and growing, we need to be cheering them on and validating their emotions. Supporting children through uncomfortable feelings and acknowledging their difficulty communicates both love and confidence. Stepping out can be celebrated even if the result looks like failure.

After a period of stretching, our kids need to return to the Comfort Zone to rest. Appropriate time in the stretch zone develops confidence and resilience because too much stretching will take anyone to the Panic Zone.

In the Panic Zone, stretching is beyond manageable to the point of inducing fear and a sense of being overwhelmed. We can put our families there, through unrealistic expectations, overscheduling and not planning to play, laugh, eat and sleep well. There is simply not much space to recover when life is overcrowded.

Sometimes however, life involves a huge amount of stretching – ending up in the Panic Zone is unavoidable. When we find ourselves in this space, there are some important things to remember. Resilience is a team sport – it’s about community and has potential for growing our faith. A significant study by Werner, found that connection with religious beliefs provided stability and meaning in times of adversity.

There is no doubt that parenting is a high wire balancing act – and one of the challenges is to prepare our children for the inevitable ‘bending, compressing and stretching’ that life will throw their way.

With God’s help, let’s empower the next generation by teaching them resilience. Let’s build spring in our offspring.

 

About the author…

Andrea is a former secondary school teacher and counsellor. She has worked as a school chaplain for over 19 years and now also serves part-time on SU QLD’s Children and Youth Program Team, delivering training and professional development to chaplains and youth workers. Andrea and her husband are parents to three adult children and grandparents to two.

 

*Karl Rohnke developed the zone model from the Yerkes-Dodson law (1908), which explored the relationship between performance and arousal.

*Werner, E. E. (2005). What can we learn about resilience from large scale longitudinal studies? In S. Goldstein & R. Brooks (Eds.), Handbook of resilience in children (pp. 91 -106). New York: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Posted: 9/07/2020

What is Family Space?

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Our mission is to equip, empower and nurture family households and church families across Australia.

Family Space seeks to support children, teenagers, parents and churches through practical resources, activities and expert advice.

We’re all about nurturing healthy families and creating healthy communities.

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