I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pondering Raising Kids


Hi!  It’s Alena, mother of four amazingly insane kids.  

Raising kids is tough, raising responsible kids even tougher.

Coming from a large family and being a middle child didn’t afford many opportunities to slack on chores. We each had a job.  If we didn’t do them, our big brothers were around to make sure we did.  While I might have been able to smile my way around my Father, there was no moving my older brothers.

Having my own children made me realize the things my parents did to teach and prepare us for our future as adults and now, parents.

My first tip is basic, but the benefits make it worth mentioning.
1. Have your children help. 

Over time I developed a chore chart for every day of the week, each child rotating chores.  Thus no need to hear (insert whining tone) “It’s her turn, she never has to do it.” 

They learn how to perform each task from washing dishes, to sweeping and taking out the trash.

I want my kids to leave the house with the ability to run their own households, so I didn’t stop with kitchen chores.  They clean and cook with me too.

When I’m in the kitchen so are they, especially on Sundays, our day to eat as a family.

Do you know what wonderful by-product came from this?  We talk.  We laugh. Sometimes we even throw food.  Do you know what happens as a result?

Family Time = Memories =  Priceless

My second habit might confuse you, but hear me out.

2. We must greet each other

Sounds strange? As a child whenever we came home or left, we had to find our parents and greet them.  I continued this habit with my children. Hugs are mandatory.  Kisses are optional, but always welcomed.

Doesn’t seem like much does it?  Wait a few years.  Teenagers, especially teenage boys.

Make it mandatory for them to greet you when they arrive home and say goodbye when they leave. 

Time passes and before you blink they are gulp, driving.   Once they get those keys, they make The Flash look slow.

When they come home after school, after a game or whatever social event, I get a hug and sometimes even a kiss.

The side benefit?  

Often they plop themselves on my bed and talk.  Or they walk into my study and give me a glimpse into their world.

This does wonders for a Momma’s heart.

What about you?  What have you done to foster a good relationship with your children?

What did your parent’s do that made you want to stay and talk with them or run for the hills?


  1. Alena, this is wonderful advice for parents. It is so important for children to help out around the house...they make an investment in the family. And I love the mandatory hugs. Great idea and if you start them out young, it comes naturally when they are teens. lol

    1. After being at DT, I realized one of my (many) benefits to being your critique partner is getting your parenting knowledge! Thanks for sharing these tips!

    2. Gabe,
      I had a fantastic week! We can learn from each other --- raising twins is nothing to sneeze at!

      Putting my plan together for revisions :-)

  2. Alena, I love your ideas here. One thing I'm trying to do is ask questions--the open ended kind--to gain a glimpse into their worlds. When they need to talk, I set aside what I'm doing and sit on the couch and we have a cuddle chat. This has been so helpful in understanding my kids better.

    BTW, I LOVE the idea of greetings and good-byes. We need to implement that. :)
    P.S. It was wonderful to spend almost a week with you!

    1. We tend to get so wrapped up in our schedules or handhelds, giving them your sole attention is a great way to show the love!

      I had a blast at DT too. Good to be home :-)

  3. Alena, I have to teach college soon so can't comment much now other than to say was a consistently inspiring blessing & example you were providing care at DT (thank you), and that seeing your boys at the MBT pizza party demonstrated much fruit of your praying faith-filled calm demeanor--you & Clyde & have wonderful kids and they are blessed to have you as parents. You can look forward to much more tremendous fruit to come, along with their happiness and mature leadership here & in eternity.

  4. Love these two basic, yet important tips, Alena! And I love the way they sometimes lead to more conversions. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Teri,
      That has been the most amazing blessing of it all!