My name is Chris Spradlin and it is truly an honor to write for Family Matters! Thanks FM team for the opportunity and trust to speak into your readers lives. So just a little about me…I’m bald, have a “chin-hawk”, live in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, love peanut butter chocolate spinach smoothies, am madly in love with my wife Jodie, love being a father and love the adventure in following Jesus! And….I believe that parents have the ability to change the world if they would just step into their God given role!
You can find more thoughts on parenting at my blog, www.epicparent.tv
10 WAYS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR KIDS’ HEART
- CREATE A JOURNAL: Team Sprad loves to journal! I encourage all parents to purchase a journal for each of their kiddos and create a habit of writing in the journal on a weekly basis. I write about the gifts I see in them, encourage them, tell them I am sorry, let my boys know how courageous they are, how beautiful my daughter is, share God’s word and lay it on their bed so they can read it before they fall asleep. Sometimes, I even get the journal back with notes they have written to me.
- ASK FORGIVENESS: All parents wound their kids’ hearts but very few parents acknowledge the offense and sincerely ask their kids to forgive them. I love the message it sends when a parents get’s eye level, holds their kid’s hands, acknowledges the hurt and authentically asks for forgiveness.
- GIVE GRACE: Recently my son blew it big time! He was nervous about what dad might say or do. I simply hugged him, didn’t even talk discipline and let him know there is nothing he could ever do to make me love him more or less! He deserved consequences…but this time I simply gave grace. He was shocked!
- SERVE: Blow your kids away by randomly serving them without any strings attached. Help them clean their room, take out the trash for them, prepare their favorite meal, ask them if they’d like to have 6 friends stay the night! Maybe not…you’ll have to think about that one. You could even buy them their favorite Def Leppard album! (JK)…showing my age on that one.
- BE HONEST ABOUT FAMILY BAGGAGE: I come from a family that can get their “mad on” quickly and make everyone around them walk on egg shells. I personally have struggled with this and I simply told my kids the truth, let them know I am working on it and with the supernatural power of God in my life I will see victory! I am seeing great freedom in this area of my life.
- PLAY PRACTICAL JOKES: My oldest son is a stud when it comes to practical jokes. He always wins and everyone else looses. THAT CHANGED! One night he was taking his “beauty bath”, music going and eyes closed. Kylie and Tifton (my other kiddos) and I found a frog outside, snuck in the bathroom and threw it on him while he was in the bath! IT WAS AWESOME! He screamed, yelled and climbed the walls. Parents, you will connect with your kid’s hearts if you learn to play and joke with them.
- PRAY OVER THEM: Every morning I have the honor of taking my kids to school. I use this as a time to pray over and with them. I pray that God would give them courage, eyes to see the unloved at school and spiritual influence.
- LONG WINDED DISCIPLINE: The joke around Team Sprad’s home is don’t let dad discipline us, he talks way too much! Go to mom, she just gets it over with. Here is the process I typically use when disciplining my kiddos… 1) Listen to their heart. 2) Give them a chance to explain. 3) Speak truth and correct wrong thinking. 4) Share “how” you will discipline them. 5) Love and pray with them. Yes, you read that right. It’s a five step process.
- GIVE PERMISSION: My wife and I have given our kids permission to lovingly and respectfully come and talk to us when we are out of line. This one can be tough to swallow, but the reality is that parents do step out of line.
- TURN OVER YOUR PHONE: I have a tendency to be on my phone all the time! I check email, facebook, twitter and run EpicParent all from my phone. Parents, we must have CELL FREE ZONES! I encourage all parents to declare a weekly time when they will not be on their cell phone, and they hand it over to their kiddos just to make sure.