Author: Carey Nieuwhof

What Your Kids Want Most From You

A study of one thousand young people in 3rd through 12th grade asked kids and teens this question: If you were granted one wish that would change the way that your mother’s or  father’s work affects your life, what would that wish be? In a parallel study, more than 600 mothers and fathers were asked to guess what their childrens’ wish would be.  So, what do you think?  What would your kids want most from you? Most parents (56%) guessed that their children would wish for more time with them.  They were wrong. Only 10% of children made that wish about their mothers and 15.5% made that wish about their fathers. So what did kids actually want? Ready? Most children actually wished that their mothers (34%) and their fathers (27.5%) would be less stressed and tired. (Source: Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham).  Another study (source: The Price of Privilege by Madeline Levine) showed that the single most determining factor on how well adjusted a child turns out is the mother’s emotional health.  This finding was true whether the mother worked out of the house or stayed at home. Gulp. I’ve been on the work-too-much and I’m-too-stressed treadmill myself.  The irony is that you think you’re helping your kids get ahead by making sure they’re enrolled in every event and by working longer and harder to give them an advantage.  What if we’re actually doing...

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Strategic Parenting (How Not to Crash Your Car)

One of the challenges in navigating a discussion about parenting… there are so many issues.  How can you tackle them all? That’s why Reggie and I are so excited about sharing a strategy for parenting.  We’ll build the dialogue on this blog around five family values that we’ll talk about frequently – widen the circle, imagine the end, fight for the heart, create a rhythm and make it personal. We hope to be able to discuss every day practical issues within the context of these broader values. I hope these values might function like the advice my dad gave me when he was teaching me how to drive.  I remember the first time I actually drove down a country road as a teenager. I was nervous. First, I was driving an old ’69 Buick. Those things weren’t exactly nimble.  Second, I was, well, not exactly 16 yet. And third, I saw a ditch to my right and an oncoming car to my left.  My attention was divided between the dashboard, the pedals, the ditch and the car, and I was nervous.  I remember turning to my dad and saying “Dad, how can I possibly handle all these factors competing for my attention at once? How can I keep the car where it needs to be?” He said something to me I’ll never forget.  “Just look at the horizon Carey....

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What’s Your Biggest Challenge as a Parent?

There was a season when I thought it was getting the kids to sleep through the night. My wife Toni and I were so sleep deprived at one point I think we both actually thought we might be capable of murdering someone (mostly each other, because neither wanted to get up). At other points we thought it was getting the kids to eat their vegetables or stop biting strangers. At other times we’ve worried about spiritual outcomes. Sometimes it’s been the tension that parenting brought to our relationship – to the dynamic between the two of us. All of this seems a bit strange, because our kids weren’t terribly high maintenance. They were great (a lot of the time I was the high maintenance family member). But after doing this for just over eighteen years, I would have to say the biggest challenge is simply this: I’ve never done this before. I wish I had a plan from the start. And despite incredible advice, I really had no strategy. Even experience doesn’t teach you everything. As anyone who has had more than one child knows, no two behave the same way. The tactics that worked with child one can sometimes produce the opposite result in child two. Every day feels like a surprise to some extent. Do you feel the same way? If you had to say what the...

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