Have you had any experience with children telling lies/stories? I have a 7-yr-old who is always telling lies. It’s driving me nuts!!

Ummm, it’s funny this question would come up now because I just learned last week that Claire has convinced her class at school that she lives on a farm and that she has her own horse named “Ice Cream.”

Yeah, we may want to work on the telling “stories” thing around here.

We did have one other child who was a blatant liar for a little bit and to be honest I can’t remember what we did about it but it scared me because he/she (I have to withhold the name to protect the guilty) was really convincing…full eye-contact, straight-face, the whole nine yards. I think telling lies, even little “white” ones can really cause big problems down the road so I know we took it very seriously. I remember telling the story of Isabel from Joy School (you can find it complete with illustrations here). It’s a simple story that really goes a long way to help kids realize the importance of telling the truth and the snarls that telling lies can get you in.

If your kids are really good at something, a particular sport for example, do you make them do it even if they don’t want to?

(this next one is kind of the same thing…)
My son is so talented, but doesn’t love the intensity and commitment, which I must admit, is year round, esp. summer. He’s 17 now and will be in college in the fall, so I guess it’s no longer an issue. But there was scholarship potential…scouting and everything and he just didn’t want to do it anymore. My hubby wouldn’t make him, but I would have!! I felt the investment would have been worth it. Guess God will tell me in Heaven!!

Those are tough questions. Tough, tough, tough. And I feel like I’ve already answered parts of them before in other questions so sorry if I’m redundant. I wrote this letter to my kids that kind of explains my stand (click here), but every family is SO different. My kids haven’t exhibited extreme potential in anything particular as of right now so I cannot say exactly what I would do if they had scholarship potential down the road, etc. but my gut instinct is that I’d probably try to gauge how pushing in one area would affect our family as a whole, and most importantly, my relationship with that particular child. I honestly don’t know if any scholarship or glory in any one thing is worth hurting that relationship.

But there’s that fine balance between pushing and praising that is so tricky to find! (Click here for more on that). I think kids need to be pushed. But I think how much to push is such an individual decision for every family (based on every unique child). I hope that Dave and I will remember to prayerfully take all that into consideration as our children grow. I hope five-facet reviews will continue to help us figure it all out along with those prayers.

My oldest is 16 and the others are quickly getting older too-darn them! How do you know how much independence to give them? My instinct is to grab tight and just hold on, but I’m quickly realizing that in just over a year (gulp!) my oldest will be off to college. He needs to be able to handle life on his own-or mostly on his own anyways. I’m having trouble finding the line between “he’s almost grown up” and “I’m still his parent.” I know your kids are younger, but I’m sure your parents set an amazing example you’ll follow-any tips?

I hardly want to even touch this one because like you said, my kids are still young. But I do know what worked for me growing up: my parents gave us quite a lot of independence. I hope Dave and I will be able to step back enough to do the same. I really, really respected my parents and was honored that it felt like they trusted me. I made good decisions because I felt that trust from them and because they took time out to teach me to look at the “big picture” in life. I don’t know what kind of magic pill they gave me, but somehow they taught me loud and clear that the reason I had a curfew and rules and all that jazz was to make me stronger and happier in the long run. And I respected them enough to believe them.

As a parent now I think all the time about how incredibly important the foundation is that we are helping our children build right now, and I think about all the time and effort my parents took to help me build mine, brick by brick. They were there. They were aware. They figured out teaching moments all the time. In order to let go and let a child become independent in the future I’ve realized it takes a LOT of work right now.

I’ve also realized in order to gain my children’s respect and confidence I need to be an example in everything I do. The other day we had a “manners night” at the church with the youth. Elle was telling me some things she’s noticed about my manners and I realized once again that kids are watching our every action. The importance of a good example in word and in deed is incalculable.

The bottom line is that I’m guessing that in the future if we as parents are confident that we have taught our children everything we can and if we build up good communication (more on that here) maybe it won’t be so tough to let go.

Wait, what in the world am I saying? I’m about to bawl right now even thinking about letting them go and it’s still years away!!

But maybe it won’t rip my heart out quite so much to see these “apples of my eye” go off into the world to make their own way if I know they have a good foundation to continue building on.

Please add in advice if anyone has some.

I am curious about your epiphany about teachers {from this post}. I like that sound of that a lot and am wondering what kind of things you do to stay connected and be in close contact with the teachers? Do you make a point to go in the school and just talk to them in their classroom or do you take it an extra step and invite them out for coffee or lunch? I’m curious what has been successful for you. Thanks!

Mostly I just try to make contact with them and volunteer in the classrooms when I can so that I can get to know them better. (I am not in the classrooms a lot, but I do love doing Art Masterpiece every year which gives me some good contact). I do not take the extra step to invite them out of the school setting but I wish I would make time for that some how.

I once heard of a mom who had “secret visitors” come for dinner once a month. (They were “secret” because the kids would never know who was coming until they arrived for dinner which built up their anticipation.) Sometimes their “secret visitor” was a teacher from school. Wouldn’t that be a fun way to get to know teachers better?

Some day.

I have fallen in love with all my kids’ elementary school teachers, but Jr. High and High School teachers are a different story. I do not know any of them except the ones who’s classes we’re worried about grades in. They are a lot trickier to get to know because of the sheer volume of students but I have friends who are awesome at emailing which seems to make a difference.

I just think it’s great to teach kids that teachers are people too and that they really, really want to help with whatever they need if kids will just get up the guts to go talk to them.

How do you involve your husband in your parenting and things you are implementing? We have recently started your parents “5 facet review” and are really enjoying discussing each of our children together. So I was wondering if you have/or are doing something similar? If so, would you mind sharing? Thanks!

I LOVE five-facet reviews and wrote about how we do them here. Also, honestly, I really try to go to bed at the same time as Dave does. When I do it seems that a portion of what we talk about is our children and the best tactics for raising them.

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  1. Thanks for this! I love your parenting posts. I only have a 3 year old, but I save every one of your parenting tips because I have read your book and heard you speak and I know that any advice coming from you is golden.

  2. So about the lying…
    A few months ago my eight year olds primary teacher called because she just had to see how his stomach surgery went. She was so concerned about him.
    Ummmm…Stomach surgery???
    Yeah, there was no stomach surgery. Right at that moment in the phone conversation my son walked in so I told him, "Sister Biddle wants to know how your surgery went" and then handed him the phone. Priceless. I think he learned his lesson.

  3. I have a parenting question for you! I am a new mommy to 6 month old little Isley. I am the youngest of 6 kids and ever since i was little i have wanted more than anything to be a mom, a good mom! I learned a lot from my parents, things i liked and things i didn't like.Things that worked and things that didn't work. Having never had younger siblings, i feel i could always use more insight on parenting. I find my self overwhelmed with the duties of parenting. How do i raise her to know who she is? How do i make sure she is strong enough to choose the right when there is horrible stuff going on in the world constantly? Some times i think she is so small how do i teach her. My hope is that she and my future children will be obedient and be leaders. How do you do it? What are the little things you start with when they are so little like mine to instill in them the things that will bring them joy and happiness?

  4. I loved the question about making our kids continue to do the sports they they are good at even if they do not want to.
    I was in this exact position. I was a competitive gymnast (not a cheap sport, and year round) and during my senior year of High School I decided I had had enough, right when it came time to sign with the college of my choice. That scholarship would have really benefited me and my family financially.
    But I honestly don't think my parents even batted an eye when I quit! I think they saw how hard it was for me to make that decision and knew it was the best thing for me. Committing to college sports is a 4 year commitment. If you do not have the inner drive to give it 100%, it would be almost impossible to do well in the sport as well as in school.
    I am so thankful my parents supported me in this life changing decision. My college experience was a real education.

  5. How do you always seem to have so much energy!?! I am pregnant with my first, but just spent the last weekend babysitting three adorable (and well behaved) boys, but by the end of the day I was wiped out! Now, I'm nervous I won't have the energy to be the fun (and organized) mom that I have always dreamed to be.

  6. I love reading your posts on Friday, so many good tips. The comments are always full of good stuff too. Thank you so much for sharing and always giving it to us straight!!

    Can you share if you think raising little ones or the older ones is more work/worries/fun anything like that. How do you feel you were ready for these pre-teen/tween years.

    Do you have any rules for the cell phones. Are the kids allowed to be on them constantly or do you set limits with them. My girls are on theirs all the time till an hour before bed when they turn them in. On weekends it's the worse because then they have ALL DAY to be on them. It's getting to be a battle every weekend about it, so any tips would help me.

    Thanks for any tips you can share on this. Happy Weekend

  7. I really appreciate your insights on parenting – I am not a parent, but when I came home from being a missionary in Houston, I began baby-sitting full time for a family with 5 kids who had recently lost their mother. I never realized just how much mothers do for their children – from being involved at school to soccer games to school plays – and these particular children had a mother who was perfect for their rowdy (but awesome!) dispositions. I have a new appreciation for mothers, for the love they have for their kids, and for the full-time work they do. Reading your insights on parenting was kind of cool sometimes, because it was nice to have insights on things I could do to help them, even though I'm not their mom. so thanks =)

  8. I love your realistic parenting approach! I have a question for you for your next go around of Q and A…We live in quite a rural community and the school system does not seem to have a good rep! My oldest will need to start school next year and I am fearful for so many reasons. He is a smart boy. I have never considered home-schooling until we moved here, but am seriously considering it now. I want my boys to be able to develop in every aspect of their lives, and of course I just want to do what will be best for them. Anyway, my question is what is your take on home-schooling? Obviously your kids are in public school, but do you have an opinion?!

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