4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown that Changed How I Parent

4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown that Changed How I Parent

4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown that Changed How I Parent

I love reading parenting books. They give me ideas and inspiration to help me be a better mother and raise my kiddos well. Each parenting book I read gives me more tools in my parenting toolbelt.  I just listened to probably my favorite parenting audiobook ever. Brene Brown’s audiobook “The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion & Connection” is a true gem. In this post, you’ll see four parenting tips from Brene Brown that will challenge and encourage you to level-up in your own parenting.

This audiobook doesn’t give you phrases to say to your kids or a step-by-step program. This book is different. There isn’t extra fluff added here and there.  Every word is noteworthy.  “The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion & Connection” challenged me to become a better example for my kids and equipped me with new parenting tool for my toolbelt.

4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown’s Book:

ONE

Shame versus Guilt:

Most of us know what shame and guilt are, yet I didn’t fully understand the difference when it comes to parenting. And I sure didn’t realize the different outcomes of shame versus guilt on children as they grow up.

Brene is a shame researcher. She distinguishes shame versus guilt in this way. Shame says I am bad and guilt says I made a bad choice. Do you see the difference? Shame-based parenting puts the negative behavior as who they are, while guilt-based parenting focuses on the behavior.

Shame-based parenting is what was the norm in past generations. It’s slowly becoming less popular as new parenting methods are becoming more prevalent.

What blew me away was the long-term effects of shame-based parenting. Those children who are raised with shame are more likely to be depressed, drop out of school, be involved in risky sexual behaviors, drugs, and alcohol. While children who were parented using guilt are more likely to graduate and be involved in less risky behaviors. This is a big deal and the biggest factor between the shame-driven versus guilt-driven kids is the way they are parented.

Obviously, Brene Brown recommends that we should parent using guilt, not shame.  She states, “I’m just going to say it: I’m pro-guilt. Guilt is good. Guilt helps us stay on track because it’s about our behavior. It occurs when we compare something we’ve done – or failed to do – with our personal values.”  This is what we want our children to experience- guilt, not shame.

TWO

Developmental Milestones to Look for:

 

Brene Brown talked about a study that was done in the 1960’s where they put 12-18 month children with their mothers in front of a mirror. They put rouge on the mother’s nose and watched what the children did. The children would look in the mirror and try to wipe off the rouge off of their own nose, not their mothers.

 

From this study, they determined that young children cannot distinguish themselves from their caregivers (attachment theory). But when children hit around the age of two, they are able to see themselves as separate from their parents. That’s why when you ask your two year old to come they run the other way.

 

Brene’s husband is a pediatrician and he wants to hear that the two year old is being a challenge. If a two year old isn’t being defiant and doing the opposite of what you ask them to do, he’d be concerned about their developmental stage.  What we see as frustrating behaviors are often times developmental milestones that should be celebrated.  

 

Since I have a two year old, this really resonated with me. It changed my perspective and gave me a better understanding about his behavior. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t give our children limits.  Brene says our job as parents are creating limits and boundaries and sticking to them.  My big takeaway was understanding why my child’s behavior is really a developmental milestone.

 

THREE

The Power of Play

Obviously playing together as a family is important, but I’ve never heard research that backed this up. A violence researcher studied case after case of people who are incarcerated because of violent behavior. He was trying to find a common factor from their childhood, and his conclusion was that there was a lack of play as children.

This research was really interesting to me and encouraged me to play more with my kids. Brene Brown wanted to put this into action in her own family, so she had a family meeting where each person talked about what activities they enjoy so much that they lose track of time and laugh to the point of tears. They were able to determine what they love as a family and they plan activities and vacations around those activities. I love this idea.

FOUR

Practicing Gratitude as a Family Tradition:

We live in an age where entitlement is a huge concern for our children.  Brene says the cure for entitlement is practicing gratitude. Her family makes this a practice when they eat dinner.  They say a prayer before the meal and then each family member says something they are grateful for that day.

She says that they have had deeper dinner conversations because of this technique.  Sometimes her kids reveal something that they are dealing with like ‘I’m thankful for my grandparents.’ Her child who said this had a friend who was dealing with a grandparent that just passed.  I’ve loved this idea and have started incorporating this gratitude practice into our dinner routine.

  

Brene Brown‘s audiobook “The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion & Connection” is full of so many wonderful parenting ideas.  This isn’t a book you’ll just want to skim- every word is powerful! I listened to this audiobook three times, it’s that good! Plus, it’s only two hours long.  

I recommend listening to this audiobook with your spouse. It will give you valuable information and great talking points to help you both approach your parenting together. So if you’re looking for a refresher in your parenting or a good dose of encouragement, I’d highly recommend Brene’s book.  

Feeling Judged as a Parent?

Feeling Judged as a Parent?

Feeling Judged as a Parent?

I’m calling all you perfect parents out there, those with Ph.D.’s and parenting expert titles. If you have children that listen the first time you ask, who eat all the food on their plate, and who never have a tantrum, please do share your insights with us.

But for the rest of us out there, parenting can be a struggle of figuring out what works and what doesn’t. And once you think you’ve got your parenting methods down, your child changes. And let’s not forget about adding more children into the mix with different temperaments and personalities. Our kids are constantly changing, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that we can struggle parenting a moving target.

I’m not a parenting expert by any means, but I do try to be the best parent I can be. I think most parents would admit that they are trying to raise their kids to the best of their abilities. (I’m not referring to parents who are neglecting and abusing their children.) Yet, why do so many parents (including myself) feel like the way we are raising our kids isn’t good enough?  Most of us are feeling judged as a parent.

Parenting is challenging as is, and then the way we parent is often judged by othersThere are so many labels out there making parenting even tougher waters to navigate. Am I too much of a helicopter mom? Or am I a tiger mom? Maybe I’m just a #badmom and the list goes on and on. Labeling just divides us and creates parenting shame.  

Brene Brown says, “Ironically, parenting is a shame and judgment minefield precisely because most of us are wading through uncertainty and self-doubt when it comes to raising our children.” Isn’t that so true!  My mother-in-law always says parenting isn’t for wimps, and I can wholeheartedly agree with her.

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling opposition in the way I raise my own kids. As parents, we have so many decisions to make for our children. Should we vaccinate? Circumcise or not? Breastfeed or formula feed? Sleep-train or not? Spank? Do time outs? What about sleepovers? Give screen-time or not? Eat organic food? Y’all this list is endless.

As parents we make decisions on behalf of our children all of the time- it’s our job. And that makes this parenting gig tricky. Often times our parenting decisions are different than the decisions our family and friends would choose. It’s easy to feel personally attacked when we see others parenting different than us, especially if they comment on the subject.

I’m not immune to those unpleasant comments that stop you in your tracks and make you feel like you’re a #badmom. I’ve had people confront me on hard issues like vaccinating my kids, circumcision, and so much more. Yes, I didn’t enjoy those conversations. At times, I second guessed our decisions that we were so adamant about.

But most of those conversations came from people who care about my kids. I doubt that they wanted to make me feel like a #badmom, they said what they said because they care. That being said, it’s hard to not take those comments personally. It feels like you’re being told you’re doing a bad job at parenting, and no one wants to hear that.

I don’t want to neglect the fact that sometimes we do need to change our parenting approach. If someone says something about how you parent that you don’t agree with, try not to take offense. There may be validity to what is being said.  If that’s the case, change what you’re doing.

We all should be teachable in every area of our lives. So, if someone has a helpful comment, use it. Our kids change so quickly, so we need to be open to changing our tactics. But if their comments aren’t valid or line up with what you and your spouse believe is best for your child, keep doing what you are doing and try not to get offended by it.

So How Do We Stop Feeling Judged as a Parent?

The sad reality is that I’m guilty of fueling this judgment fire myself. I used to have such strong convictions about sleep training to the point that I thought every parent should sleep-train. Hands down, the book “Babywise” helped me navigate the early years of my children’s lives. I thrived on the routine of the plan. Instead of feeling completely clueless when it came to parenting and what my infant needed, I felt confident in what to do. If you haven’t guessed, I love routines and schedules. Knowing when my kids napped gave me the freedom to plan my day.

Needless to say, my love of sleep training got out of hand. Because the Babywise method helped me so much, I thought I should start preaching about it as if it were gospel. I earnestly wanted others to reap the benefits I experienced, yet I’m pretty sure it didn’t come across that way. Looking back in my own life, I’m guessing that most people who push their philosophy or parenting techniques on others is doing it out of helpfulness, even if it doesn’t come across like it.

I began to notice that I started to look down on parents who didn’t have their kids on a schedule. My mind couldn’t fathom that kind of existence. Honestly, just thinking about the lack of routine stresses me out. Then I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t in the majority. Most parents don’t set eight timers on their phone to remind them when their child should be awake and go to bed. Many parents would probably cringe at the rigidness in sleep training. Nonetheless, I would tell every expectant mom all about how amazing Babywise was as I touted its praise.

Then my thinking shifted. I started having real conversations with moms who didn’t parent like me, and guess what? They are doing a fabulous job and they are trying their best. Just because the sleep-scheduling method I used worked well for me and my children, doesn’t mean that every child birthed into this world should be practicing the Babywise method.

It was a reality check for me. My narrow view shouldn’t be the only way, and could you imagine every parent parenting the same way? Goodness, our society would be so boring and predictable! I’ve started to recognize and correct myself when I start going down judgment ally. It’s a nasty journey that harms others and myself.

 

I love this quote by Brene Brown about parenting judgment. She says, “If I feel good about my parenting, I have no interest in judging other people’s choices. If I feel good about my body, I don’t go around making fun of other people’s weight or appearance. We’re hard on each other because we’re using each other as a launching pad out of our own perceived deficiency.” Brene’s conclusion to the whole mom-shaming debacle is that we cast judgments on others because we aren’t comfortable or confident in the way we are parenting.

If you are feeling judged by the way you parent or feeling like you’re not good enough for the job, I want you to cling onto this. The truth in the matter is that God chose you, yes YOU to be the parent of your children. There is a reason your children are yours. God has equipped you to make those decisions for your children. Instead of playing the comparison game with all the other parents you see, lean into the fact that you are your child’s parent for a reason.

I truly believe that we need to stop viewing other parenting techniques and methods as the enemy that needs to be battled or debated to death. Instead of feeling like we have to have impenetrable armor and our parenting methods as our weapons, what if we became vulnerable and walked alongside other parents? What if we talked openly about our struggles without fear of feeling like a failing parent? Could you imagine having that kind of support even from parents who parent differently than you?

 

There is no Holy Grail parenting book or method that has all of the answers. Let’s stop viewing the way we parent as a competition. All parents struggle. We have good moments, and we have ones that we aren’t proud of. The thing is, we all are trying to raise our kids well, yet we see so many different ways to parent. It’s so easy to judge others who parent differently than we do and often times we feel like we are on the receiving end of judgment from other moms.  Check out my post all about mommy judgment here

So let’s quit labeling our parenting and feeling guilty for being a bad parent. What if instead of viewing other parenting ideas as competition, we gained insight from other perspectives? We need to focus on raising little humans that will be a positive influence on the world. We are the example our children see. So let’s stop the name-calling, judgments, and rude comments.  Let’s come alongside other parents as we are raising the next generation.

Stop the Mommy Judgment Cycle

Stop the Mommy Judgment Cycle

Stop the Mommy Judgment Cycle

Motherhood feels like a rat race of being crazy busy with taking care of children, keeping a clean house, working, running errands, transporting kids where they need to go and the list goes on and on. There never seems to be a break.

There are so many societal and personal expectations of being mothers that makes us feel like we are never enough. How often do we see #badmom or #momfails? We see the highlight reels of other moms on Facebook and Instagram and we don’t feel like we add up. This fuels the mommy judgment cycle.

There’s so much judgment in the motherhood world from breastfeeding to formula, discipline methods and so much more. It’s insane. Motherhood is hard and feeling judged and inadequate doesn’t help.

I don’t think that I am alone in experiencing judgment from other moms. I’ve been told that I have nursed for too long, I didn’t rock my babies long enough, I don’t discipline my kids right and the list goes on. These moms probably didn’t have the intention to make me feel like I wasn’t mothering well, but it did.

It’s human nature that those negative comments are so much easier to recall than the positive ones. It’s so easy to follow the herd and judge.  I’ve had to work on being more open-minded.

I love researching as much as I can about each stage of parenting I am in. This isn’t a bad thing, but it can make it easy for me to judge other moms who have a different parenting philosophy than I do. When I feel that mommy judgment is creeping up, I have to change the inner dialogue that goes through my mind.

So how do we stop this mommy judgment cycle?

This quote by Frank Outlaw has helped me evaluate my own thoughts. “Watch your thoughts; for they become words. Watch your words; for they become actions. Watch your actions; for they become habits. Watch your habits; for they become character. Watch your character for it will become your destiny.” Ah, I love that. We have to pay attention to our thoughts because they ultimately change our destiny.

Personally, I am working on speaking words of life to myself and everyone I am around. I often think of encouraging words, but I started to realize that I seldomly say them (especially to other women). I am challenging myself to say the positive things that I am thinking and to discover the root of the negative thoughts.

Instead of judging other moms, we need to support each other on this journey. It isn’t a competition. What if we said words of encouragement to the mom who is struggling with her crying kids at the grocery store? How much would you brighten her day?

How can we put the competition aside and support moms? Join me on the journey of changing our mindset by taking my 5-day challenge. Click the link below…

Featured Image by joel herzog on Unsplash

How I Gained Time & Energy Back as a Busy Mom

How I Gained Time & Energy Back as a Busy Mom

How I Gained Time & Energy Back as a Busy Mom

Have you ever been at a place in life where you looked around and wondered how did I ever get to this point?  I had that realization while I was nursing my son a little over two years ago.  My life seemed like a blur, an endless parade of duties.  It was like I was juggling eighteen balls in the air and if I got sidetracked everything would come tumbling down.  I had as much energy as a battery-operated toy that starts to sound funny right before the batteries die. Days flew by and my time seemed to disappear with nothing to show for it.

I put so much pressure on myself to be an amazing mom, prepare healthy meals, keep a clean and tidy house, volunteer at church, and the list goes on.  But I knew I wasn’t measuring up.  Dirty dishes lived in my sink and loads of laundry were always needing to be folded and put away.  Walking across the living room floor was like walking through a mine field of toys, shoes, and who knows what.  

All my time seemed to be spent on cleaning and it seemed like a new mess would magically reappear right before my eyes. Was I wasting my time?  I longed to play with my kids and do more than just the mundane tasks.

I started to play a mental rewind of my life.  Why was I spending more time keeping my home clean than being present and interacting with my children?  Am I doing something wrong?  Does everyone struggle with this or am I alone?  What I owned was taking up all my time and energy.  I wanted my time and energy to be focused on my family and what I truly care about.  How did my priorities get so twisted? 

Looking Back:

When I looked back at my life, I started to pay attention to how much stuff I actually have and my ability to maintain it.  I realized that I’ve never been tidy.  I never made my bed, and I couldn’t even keep my house clean before having kids.  Rewinding even further back, my roommates in college put all of my water glasses that I left around the house in my bed once.  They were so tired of finding cups everywhere.  I was so oblivious to my mess that I had no idea that I was frustrating my friends.  Needless to say, I can’t put all the blame on my kids for our messy house, I’m a large part of the equation.  

Fast forward to married life, the first home my husband and I bought in 2010 was a giant undertaking. Inviting guests over was the only motivation for me to have a clean home.  Once our friends left, the house turned quickly back into a mess and the sink filled with dirty dishes in a blink of an eye.  The five bedrooms for the two of us seemed empty when we moved in, and so it became our job to fill them. The accumulation of more and more was happening at lightning speed without us even noticing. My home wouldn’t be featured on “Hoarders,” but what I owned was weighing me down. And when we found out I was pregnant, we had to ‘make room’ for our daughter. Instead of decluttering, we just rearranged our stuff from one room to the other. 

 

Through a big move into a smaller home in a new city, we were forced to let go of quite a bit of what we owned. Downsizing was AMAZING for us! I can’t recommend it enough. To read all about that transition and the benefits of downsizing, read “3 Benefits of Downsizing Your Home Even if You Have a Family.”  But even a smaller house didn’t keep me from keeping more than I should’ve.

I still struggled keeping my smaller home clean and tidy, but it was so much more manageable than our larger first home because it was almost half the size.  But after having my second child, I dealt with pretty bad postpartum depression. I never experienced it with my daughter, so I was completely taken aback.   

I was so frustrated with myself. My house was in utter chaos and I had absolutely no motivation to do anything about it.  I felt like I was absolutely failing as a mom and a wife. So many women out there have way more kids than me and a put together house, what was wrong with me? Maybe those fictitious super women are only on television, but I just didn’t understand how no one warned me about this.

Going from zero to one child was a smooth transition for us, but from one to two was harder for me than I ever imagined. To read the whole story, check out my article, “Motherhood’s Dirty Little Secret: Postpartum Depression.”

This was my breaking point.  You could call it my point of self discovery all while nursing my son.  This is when I asked the question how did I ever get to this point?  And that led to a transformation I would’ve never expected. 

The Transformation:

ONE

Desperate for Change

To be frank, I had had enough. I was sick of being miserable. I longed to fully enjoy those early months of my son’s life, but I was so exhausted that they became a blur. A drastic change was necessary. I needed to tackle what was driving me crazy, and one of my biggest stressors was the state of my house. I couldn’t be present with my kids, because I was working so hard picking up after them, doing laundry and the dishes. Looking back, I wish I would have slowed down and listened to my body and followed what I longed for: those sweet newborn snuggles.

After finally getting more sleep and a whole slew of other things, the postpartum depression started to lift. The depression was a mental battle of unmet expectations and unrealistic assumptions of what I should be doing. I wish I would have been brave and spoke up to my friends, family, and church that I so desperately needed help. Normally I’m the one who helps others, not the other way around. I was too proud to admit that I needed a village to help me out.

TWO

The Breakthrough

Thus my research adventure began. I had read Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Art of Decluttering” in 2014 when it came out. I knew about Minimalism and dabbled in it. Deep down, I knew that I need to do a serious purge of what I owned. My husband flew out of town for work, giving me more time in the evenings to tackle our stuff. So, this time I listened to the audio version of Marie Kondo’s book while I decluttered my home. If you want to read all about what “Marie Kondo Taught Me” click here. Then I listened to more books on decluttering through the free Hoopla App from my library while I purged.

 

The extra motivation I got from listening to the books was insane. I truly believe that decluttering is addicting. Seriously. You get a taste of freedom and you want more of it. Until I started to really assess what I owned, I never realized how much my possessions were impacting me. Once I did my first purge of my home, I felt lighter and freer. If I could rewind time, I would have decluttered like crazy ten years ago.

 

Even though the decluttering took some time, that time spent paid dividens.  I had so much more energy because I wasn’t spending all my time cleaning my stuff.  When you have less stuff to clean and maintain, you have more time.

 

THREE

Creating New Habits and Routines

I had less to clean and maintain, but I was missing a crucial element. I needed to create habits and routines to manage what I own. My bad habits were making me work more than I needed all while keeping me frustrated.

The little researcher in me turned to books, blogs, and podcasts for the secret remedy to my ailing home. At the time, I would have never in a million years thought I would ever write the articles: “5 Steps to a Tidy Kitchen” or “4 Tweaks to a Clutter-Free Home.” But ya know what, I did and I’m pretty proud of myself for taking some needed drastic changes. Just by adding simple new routines into my life like making my bed, I felt more accomplished and my home looked better. By adding some good routines in, I spend less time cleaning giving me more time to focus on what I want to do.

FOUR

The Big Aha Moment

One of the biggest takeaways from all my research was that clutter attracts clutter. I wish I could remember where I heard this from, but man, this phrase changed my life. Once I cleared the clutter from my bathroom sinks, they rarely get cluttered. But when I have an area with clutter, it breeds more clutter. This was my big aha moment. It gave me more motivation to not have clutter anywhere.

FIVE

The Result

My home isn’t perfect, but perfection isn’t what I’m going for. Amazingly, my house is more tidy and put together with less work, ah- that’s the power of Minimalism and some good routines.

I don’t believe any home is completely purged in one fell-swoop. Decluttering is a process. It goes in waves. My ability to let more go increases every time I purge my home. I’m currently in a challenge to declutter everyday for a month. And I can still find enough to declutter. I’m learning that less is more. Less stuff equals more time, less cleaning, and more money in my wallet. And I’m down for that!!

So if you’re struggling with keeping up your house, there’s hope. That’s the truth. If I can break my bad habits and live with less, so can you. If you’re thinking, oh you just don’t understand, I’m in a different boat than you. Let me tell you a quick story.  Someone came over to my house and told me that they were putting off having kids for a while because they saw what it did to my house, and they weren’t ready for that. If that’s not a kick in the pants, I don’t know what is. Ouch! But, that isn’t my story anymore. I hope my house isn’t so messy that it alters someone elses future plans!

I’d just want to encourage you that if you feel overwhelmed by your stuff, do something about it. Take drastic measures, so you can experience drastic results. Coral a support team to keep you accountable, learn what you need to, and don’t get caught up in perfectionism. You can do this!

Is Fear Holding You Back?

Is Fear Holding You Back?

Is Fear Holding You Back?

I didn’t realize until lately how fearful I truly am. Do you ever feel like you know yourself so well and then something happens and you figure out something new about yourself?  Our own perceptions of ourselves are probably skewed. Maybe most people knew I was living in fear, and I was out in la-la land.

To be honest, I discovered that I was so fearful once I felt like I needed to start my own website and write inspiring content to encourage moms.  I don’t think I would have done it if I didn’t feel like God was wanting me to. It’s scary being real and vulnerable with the cyber world. What are people going to think or say?  But the most frightening part is when the people I know see what I’m creating. What will they think of what I write?  Will they think of me differently?

If you haven’t guessed, I’m a people-pleaser by nature. Being a people-pleaser comes with a lot of benefits, but wedged in there are some major flaws.  I care about what others think and sometimes so much so that I won’t be bold or daring. I can be paralyzed by fear, and give up before I even begin. But I don’t want to live like that anymore.  I want to sieze the day (carpe diem) and live life to the fullest.

I can’t make a positive impact on the world if I am comfortable. My comfort zone is not where I want to stay.  

I want to climb over that zone and be challenged to grow, and boy do I have a lot of growing to do. Writing posts and putting myself “out there” isn’t comfortable for me.  I’ve never been one to be the center of attention.

One of our families values is being brave. We created a family mission statement based on what values we want to describe our family.  

To be honest, most of my life I haven’t been very brave. I play it safe. I’ve never broken a bone or played a sport. When I was growing up, we were taught to use the cost-benefit analysis for any big or risky decision.  

I’m now trying to live without fear and be brave. I want my children to be brave and overcome their fears, so I better practice what I preach.

Identity Shift:

In the past, my identity was shaped by what others said to me and how I viewed myself.  I’m in the process of God rewriting my identity. His perception of me is what matters, not how others see me.  Fear isn’t going to be a descriptor of me anymore.  

Each morning I wait for Him to speak a phrase of how He sees me in my planner. It is my practical reminder that I can look at throughout the day. God knows me better than I know myself, and my identity shouldn’t be wrapped up in how the world sees me.

The next fear I’m going to tackle is to be on video.  Yeah, that is super scary. I don’t like seeing myself on video, let alone posting it and sharing it with the world.  But I know that my message is important and needs to be shared, even if it is terrifying in the process.

So please give me some grace as I step out of my comfort zone. I don’t want fear to rule my life or cheat me out of the good things in store for me.  I’m sure that facing my fears head on will make me grow in new ways and give fear a smaller foothold in my life.

Are you struggling with fear too? Is fear holding you back? What can you do today to push fear off to the wayside and be brave? I’d love to hear your comments below.

Transform Your Motherhood Through Prayer Journaling

Transform Your Motherhood Through Prayer Journaling

Transform Your Motherhood Through Prayer Journaling

by

I struggled with reading my Bible and praying for my kids consistently until I started prayer journaling.

The excuses kept piling up in my mind.  I was too busy with all the motherhood duties and if I’m honest, I didn’t want to wake up early to do it either. I wasn’t making devotion time and prayer a priority even though, I wanted it to be.  

My intention was to pray specifics for my children, for their future spouses, for their future and so much more, but I struggled with making it happen. My prayer life for my children drastically changed after I read the book “Praying Circles around Your Children” by Mark Batterson.

Batterson talks about how specific prayers prayed for us by our parents, grandparents, relatives, etc. has brought us to where we are today. This book convicted me to become more intentional in my prayer life and gave me practical ideas to pray consistently for my kids.

My biggest takeaway from “Praying Circles around Your Children” was to journal prayers in a Bible specifically for each child. This Bible will eventually be a graduation gift or a wedding gift for my children. I absolutely LOVE this idea. I had no idea that this could literally change my personal walk with God and help me be a better parent.

When I start my mornings reading the Bible and praying for my kids, I find that I treat them better. I am kinder and more understanding.

Grounding myself in God’s Word and praying through the Bible changes my mindset. My day goes so much better. I can’t recommend prayer journaling enough.

This is how I journal for my kids. You can adapt this to fit your lifestyle.

Prayer Journaling in 5 Easy Steps

ONE

Buy a Journaling Bible

I bought a journaling Bible for each of my kids. If you have several kids, don’t be overwhelmed by needing to fill multiple Bibles. You will get to it and it will give you more of an incentive to be consistently reading and writing in the Bible.

There are so many different journaling Bibles to choose from. I prefer the single-column journaling Bibles instead of the lines being on the bottom of the page. I like that my prayers line up with the chapter I am reading.

Choose a durable Bible cover like leather or a hardcover so it will last. If you have multiple kids, choose different designed Bibles to make it more personal for them and less confusing for you.

Don’t forget to choose a translation that you will want to be reading for years. I chose the ESV (English Standard Version) because I really enjoy it.

TWO

Ask God What Book(s) of the Bible to Read

Once you have the Bible, it is time to start. Choose which child’s Bible you would like to start with. I pray and ask God what book of the Bible I should read for that particular child.

I usually read and journal in my child’s Bible for about a month or two and then switch.  I read at least one book of the Bible or multiple shorter books and then I switch to my other child’s Bible.  My goal is to read the entirety of each of my kid’s Bibles before they graduate or get married.

THREE

Date Each Prayer Entry

I start by writing the date in the Bible. By simply adding the date, I have become more accountable and consistent in reading my Bible.  I don’t want my kids to see that I read a chapter and then read the next chapter a few weeks later.

This is a keepsake, so I like to add important events like a birthdays, deaths, etc. I normally write something about that before I start reading the passage.

FOUR

Underline What Jumps out at You

After I date the journal entry in my Bible, I then read one to two chapters a day. You could read whatever amount you would like.

I underline anything that stands out to me as I go. What you underline will be referred to when writing out the prayer. 

FIVE

Write out the Prayer 

I then write a prayer praying out the Bible verses I read for my child. I refer back to what I underlined. By doing this, I am praying specifics I would have never prayed normally for my kids.

To give you an example, when I was reading Ruth I was praying that my daughter would have a great relationship with her future mother-in-law. I would have never thought to pray for my 3-year-old daughter’s future mother-in-law. That is what is so amazing about this journaling process.

I can’t tell you enough how beneficial this prayer journaling has been for me spiritually and as a mother. I want to be a woman of prayer and I want my kids to see me reading my Bible. I want to lead them by example. This process accomplishes both of those desires.

Each of the Bible’s I have for my kids is truly precious. They are some of my most valued belongings. I love this prayer journaling concept. I would like to eventually have a journaling Bible for my husband. How different would a marriage be if you prayed every morning for your husband!! I also want to continue this tradition with my future grandchildren.

If you are struggling with being consistent in your prayer life and reading the Bible, try this. Prayer journaling can be transformational for your kids and you.

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