May 10, 2016

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Hearts at Home #1- 8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids

Have you ever wanted to go to a place to receive training in mothering? To help you sharpen your skills? To be surrounded by Moms just like you? I attended a conference that met each of these needs. It is called Hearts at Home and was held on April 21-22 in Peoria, IL. This is my third year attending this conference. Every time I go, I walk away refreshed, challenged and encouraged. In the next several blog posts, I will share the three key points I learned from each workshop or main session. My desire and prayer are that you will able be refreshed, encouraged and challenged in your parenting journey after reading these blogs.

The first workshop

The first workshop I attended on Friday was called 8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids by Dr. Todd Cartmell. I learned so much from this workshop. The three main takeaways for me were: As a Mom, I am a builder. I need the right tools, I need to become a better listener, and I need to fill my mind with Parent flexible thoughts.

As a Mom, I am a builder. I need the right tools.

Dr. Cartmell began the workshop sharing with us that we are all builders. As Moms, we want to build a family who loves God. How do we do this? We need the right tools. According to Dr. Todd Cartmell, the right tools are: talking, listening, influencing, connecting, teaching, encouraging, correcting, and leading. He spent time on each of these tools in addition to giving great tips for each. These tools are all necessary in the building process.

I need to become a better listener

The first tool that I plan to implement more is listening. I loved the tip that Dr. Cartmell shared: “Listening first will always help you respond more wisely than if you had talked first.” When you take time to listen you are able to calm down, compose yourself and get more information as you listen. Dr. Cartmell went on to share thoughts about how to listen well. He encouraged us to not add new information, but instead to just listen. Also, we need to ask clarifying questions so we can understand details and important feelings. The final tips on how to listen well are to summarize the feelings and main points of what was shared. These three tips are not only helpful to me in my parenting but also in my marriage. I am looking forward to implementing these more.

I need to fill my mind with Parent flexible thoughts

The final take away from this workshop is my need to fill my mind with parent Flexible thoughts. Let me explain by sharing some thoughts you may have had before. They are called Parent Mad Thoughts.

Parent Mad Thoughts

-Why doesn’t he always do this?
-This is absolutely ridiculous
-Nothing ever works with this kid
-These kids never get along
-I can’t take this anymore
-This is driving me crazy

Do any of these sound familiar to you? Dr. Cartmell encouraged us to not let these mad thoughts take over our brain but instead replace them with parent flexible thoughts like the ones listed below.

Parent Flexible Thoughts

-They may be out of control, but I need to stay I control
-I want them to follow my example, not me follow theirs
-It’s my job to teach them the important lesson
-If I feel frustrated, I need to pause and ask God for help
-God will help me handle this situation right now

Dr. Cartmell encouraged us all to train our brain to be flexible and remember what is true. When we use parent flexible thoughts, it will help us focus on our job, stay in control of our emotions and teach the right lessons, the right way.

Not alone

I know I have a ways to go in parenting, but I am so thankful I don’t have to do this journey alone. The rights tools of talking, listening, influencing, connecting, teaching, encouraging, correcting, and leading will help me to be the builder God has called me to be. To become a better listener I need to ask clarifying questions after listening and then summarizing. I also will fill my mind with what is true and trust God to give me exactly what I need to parent my children. Hopefully, you are walking away encouraged and challenged by what I have shared. Remember you are the perfect Mom for your kids.

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