IS THAT NORMAL? Podcast – Episode 11 NOTES

If you’ve ever struggled with getting your kids to give you more than a one syllable answer, then this EPISODE is for you! This is the third episode in a series on communication. if you missed EPISODE 9 – Much Ado About Devices or Episode 10 – Are You Withing? – we recommend you check them out as well.

In this episode we started out by talking about some KEY APPROACHES to asking good questions that create productive conversations:

  1. Prioritize Time For Talking. Find those spaces in your family’s routine where you can make it a point to talk to one another. That might be commutes, meal times, or late evenings. Use those moments to ask prompting and follow up questions to discover what’s on your young person’s mind and heart.
  2. Find Out What They Love and Do It With Them. Even if you don’t love it, too! This is a great way to show them your willingness to invest in them. It’s a great way to get them talking because people love to talk about what they love. And it creates captive time you are together. Some of our ideas were going to the movies, attending sports events, or just going out for ice cream.
  3. Watching Our Mouths. Words are powerful. We need to watch out saying things that put them on the defensive, like “When I was your age…” We do need to use language that shows interest and concern, like “Tell me more.” and “I’m sorry.”

We also covered some great question ideas to help discussions on some of the most important and concerning areas of young people’s development. (Word to the wise – don’t attempt to cover all of these at once):

  1. Friends
  2. Independence
  3. Family
  4. Struggles/Problem Solving
  5. Future
  6. Emotional Health
  7. Relationship with God

Lastly, we remind you that this won’t be comfortable the first several times you practice it. But pick a strategy and an idea and try it out. If you’d like updates on future content from us, sign up for our email list. And as always, Be Abnormal!

IS THAT NORMAL? Podcast – Episode 10 NOTES

In this first interview EPISODE we welcome Shaylie Miller – a former youth group member who is now living in another town and practicing “adulting”. She visits with us about how her family practiced “withing” at various stages of her developmental life.

We had a lot of fun as we worked through three of the high points of what it means to practice withing:

  1. “Withing” has a lot to do with family connection and support. Shaylie reflected on unconditional love and intentional conversations that pushed past the surface level answers.
  2. The ultimate goal of “withing” is for parents and children to transition through development in order to foster greater independence. Shaylie shared how her parents have transitioned from the initiator to the responder for a lot of her current needs. She also shared how they’ve progressively pushed her to answer her own problems rather than always laying out solutions for her.
  3. Modern “withing” involves technology. We addressed this issue at length in last week’s EPISODE. Shaylie added some great nuance to the conversation by reflecting on the growth from not wanting her parents involved in her social media at an early age, to a heavy involvement of communication during her adolescent years, to a more balanced and community approach to communications now as a young adult.

If you would like a great resource on this concept, we recommend you check out Kara Powell and Steven Argue’s book Growing With. Additionally, we encourage you to do a “withing” check by asking these questions:

  1. How are you supporting your children in the stage they are in currently?
  2. What are you doing to help foster more independence for your child?
  3. How can you better use the tools available to you to make your child feel supported and trusted?

We REALLY want to thank Shaylie for joining us and sharing her life with us. We are thankful that she has found a place to worship and minister in the town she lives in . She is currently involved in leadership with the young adult ministry at Northpoint Church.

See you next week as we talk about the art of asking good questions! Until then…Be Abnormal!

IS THAT NORMAL? Podcast – Episode 9 NOTES

Love it or hate, the personal device revolution is here to stay! In this EPISODE, we talk about some of the common benefits and dangers of those digital devices as well as pursue some great ideas and resources for managing their usage for our families.

Some of the healthy boundaries we discussed were:

  1. Introducing Devices using Age-Appropriate Boundaries. Introducing device time through a series of graduated time-restrictions can help develop a habit of self-regulation. We do recommend that a young person not get their own personal smartphone until the teenage years.
  2. Requiring Devices to be used in Common Areas of Your Home. This rule can help build accountability for time, usage, and content.
  3. Setting a Schedule for our Device Usage. Making some daily limits. Requiring some “device-free” spaces such as meals or other family times. Setting weekly, monthly, or yearly “mobile-reduced” days. These all can help us loose the hold that our devices tend to have upon us.

Ultimately, we don’t want to manage and monitor our children’s devices; we want to teach and train them to self-regulate themselves in a healthy manner. That being said, one of the greatest ways we can help our children learn healthy habits is to be a good example ourselves. Start with an evaluation of your own device usage and begin making a plan for a household device plan.

A couple of the resources we mentioned in this episode are:

  1. A tutorial on applying grayscale to your phone. This is an interesting way to help yourself look at your phone less.
  2. We continue to recommend Tony Reinke’s book 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You. It’s a must-read for anyone living in the 21st Century.

Next week we will hit part two of our series by exploring the idea of “Withing” featuring a special guest interview! Until then, Be Abnormal!

IS THAT NORMAL? Podcast – Episode 8 NOTES

In today’s EPISODE we explore the concept of rites of passage. For both of us, coffee was a huge part of that process as children and still plays a huge part in our lives today. If you’d like to try some of that Duran Brand Panamanian coffee, you can order it here.

More important than coffee, however, is the sense of development, independence, and expectation healthy rites of passage and significant tasks can build in a young person’s life. This experience, once a clear part of becoming an adult in society, is largely disappearing.

Here’s a just a few of the ideas we discussed to help keep this important concept alive in our families:

  1. Be okay withholding some activities and opportunities until an appropriate milestone. While coffee is a fun one, we also talked about things like bank accounts, owning an animal, and helping with family decisions.
  2. Have regular family meetings. This helpful practice keeps us in communication and discussion of the roles and opportunities available as a child grows and develops.
  3. Set age appropriate significant tasks. Start your children with chores early and grow them into bigger tasks such as cleaning, dishes, laundry, cooking, shopping and budgeting for the family, and even researching for large family purchases such as the next vehicle.
  4. Get your child involved in something of eternal value. In our setting, there are lots of opportunities for service at church, volunteering in the community and getting involved in mission trips.

We encourage you to start planning some rites of passages and significant tasks for your family. We mentioned a couple of great resources for further study by Walker Moore – You Wanna Pierce What? and Rite of Passage Parenting. Check them out and as always…. Be Abnormal!