Archive for October 2014

Want a tip that can positively impact your child’s behavior and self-image?

Almost everyone parents with “self-fulfilling prophecies,” even those unaware of it.
It can be a powerful positive or negative force in your child’s life
has the potential to dramatically change your child’s behavior and self-image….
for good or for bad

What exactly is a self-fulfilling prophecy, what are some examples, and how can parents use it for good?

Selffulfilling prophecy is defined as any expectation, positive or negative, about a situation or event that affects an individual behavior in such a manner that it causes that expectation to be . 

This happens to be my favorite thing I learned about in a Child Psychology class at Texas A&M.
I think you’ll see why when you read about the impact it can have.

Examples by Age:
Early Childhood Example:
Scenario –
You are at the door with your little one, Sam, getting ready to leave a fun party.
You say to the parent next to you, “Sam always throws a fit when we leave parties!” (NEGATIVE example)

Stop and think about what your child just heard you say.  You basically told him how to act!
If he hadn’t planned on having a fit this time, he likely will now because you have just set up a prophecy for him to fulfill.

How to positively change your child’s behavior –
You know your munchkin has tendency to have a fit when you leave fun places.  You’ve even vented about it with your friends (out of the range of your child’s hearing!)  You decide that in the future, you are going to use the self-fulfilling prophecy to your advantage.

You decide to say, “Sam, we are going to leave in a couple of minutes.  When it’s time to go, I know you will make a good choice and not argue or complain!” (POSITIVE example)  (Incidentally, that’s a reference to Philippians 2:14 in the 15 Fabulous Verses to Memorize free download that can help you parent with Scripture on the go.  That same list is in the back of your copy of Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments.)

By the way, I’ve toooootally been there, dragging my “precious little angel” out of somewhere while he/she was kicking and screaming from under my arm.
Fun times, aren’t they?!
That’s why I enjoyed employing techniques like the self-fulfilling prophecy.
It may not work every time, but I can guarantee it cuts down on the negative behavior.

Grade School/Tween/Teen Example:
Scenario –
You or your child’s teacher says “Your homework is always late!  You can’t get it together!” (NEGATIVE example)

Stop and think about what your student just heard you say.  Is it likely that it motivated her to do better or deflated her self-image further?

How to positively change your child’s behavior –
You know your child’s grades are suffering because homework isn’t getting turned in on time.  You ask her to sit down with you for a snack at the table.
You say,
“I’m so proud of the # grader you’ve grown into!  I know you can do this homework and get it turned in on time.  What do you think we can do to help you accomplish that?” (POSITIVE example)
Then, you and your child develop and plan with appropriate rewards and consequences to help her positively and successfully accomplish this responsibility.    Related verses, discussion questions, and take action ideas for the topic of “Responsibility” can be found in Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments.


 Think back, are you guilty (like me!) of negative examples of the self-fulfilling prophecy?
Are you excited about seeing the flip-side that the positive versions of self-fulfilling prophecy can have?


Comments Off on Want a tip that can positively impact your child’s behavior and self-image?   Posted In:     |    Written By: Kara Durbin
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Want 2 meaningful Halloween tradition ideas for your family?

Your family’s pumpkin carving can turn into a meaningful and memorable lesson!
We are  fans of Liz Curtis Higg’s book, The Pumpkin Patch Parable.


This is written for preschool through early elementary and has great Biblical analogies for the whole pumpkin growing and carving processes!  These principles have stuck with us beyond those ages as we continue to discuss them during our annual carvings.

Quick Pumpkin Craft Instructions, left to right:
Toilet Paper Pumpkin – Cut orange felt and wrap a roll of toilet paper, stuffing the edges in the top.  Roll a piece of brown paper and stuff in for the stem.  Wrap a green pipe cleaner around a pencil to make a curly-q.   Attach the following verse.

You are the light of the world…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:14a, 16b

Paper Plate Pumpkin –  Paint a paper plate orange.  Glue raffia bow, pumpkin seeds, and green paper leaf that says, “Thank you God for….”

Paper Bag Pumpkin –  Stuff a brown paper bag with crumpled newspaper, paint 3/4 orange and 1/4 green or leave it brown.  Tie green curly ribbon to create the tendrils and attach a green paper leaf with the child’s name on it. 

“What other time do friends, neighbors, and strangers knock on your door and ask for a treat?!”  I wish I could remember who I heard say that years ago because I would thank him or her for the impression it made on me.  What could be a better treat than the “Good News?!”

My family makes the most of this opportunity by having tracts mixed in with the candy bag.  American Tract Society has a number of fun Halloween themed, child-friendly tracts available for ordering.

Because we are out trick-or-treating with our own children on Halloween night, we are not at home to pass out the treats.  So, every year we decorate a brown grocery bag, fill it with candy and tracts, and leave it on the porch along with a note instructing the trick or treaters to only take 2-3 things.


Who knows whether or not they all abide by “take 2-3 things” note, but we figure whoever gets the tracts are the ones meant to have them.  My kids love prepping the bag and then together we pray over the bag that God would use the tracts to help the recipients learn more about Him and salvation through Jesus.

Have another  idea for bringing God’s Word into Halloween?  Please share!
I know Halloween can be controversial among Christians.  Let’s not get into that debate here, please.  🙂


Comments Off on Want 2 meaningful Halloween tradition ideas for your family?   Posted In:     |    Written By: Kara Durbin
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Are you your child’s cheerleader? Does he/she know that?

The guy who does my hair, Jerry, is a wonderful daddy to his daughter and son.  I always enjoy hearing stories of how he interacts with his kids because I often learn something.

A phrase that stuck with me is that he tells them that he is their cheerleader in life

More importantly, he backs up these words…
Think of the positive building up that occurs when he notices his daughter diligently work on math homework that she has been struggling with and says to her, “It’s so cool to watch you knock out that math that I know is challenging!  I am so very proud of you and love seeing you tackle that!”

That is a moment that could have easily been overlooked or missed.  However, he is conscious of the need our kids have for this kind of affirmation as they plug away at life. 

I want to be sure that my kids know that I’m rooting for them and on their side!  Don’t you?

This verse speaks way beyond simply cheerleading.
But since I often use verses on encouragement, I thought this one was a good change and reminder.

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.  Ephesians 6:4

Speaking of “training and instruction of the Lord,”  remember that these cheerleading moments are fabulous times to pull topical Scripture into encouraging your child in a positive way!
…Another reason to keep Parenting with Scripture: a Topical Guide for Teachable Moments handy!


Are you your child’s cheerleader?  Does he or she know that?

Comments Off on Are you your child’s cheerleader? Does he/she know that?   Posted In:     |    Written By: Kara Durbin
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How to use Scripture in POSITIVE Teachable Moments

We never want Scripture to be used only or even primarily when we need to instruct our kids about something they’ve done wrong.  No!  So, how can Scripture be incorporated into positive teachable moments?

Here are three examples across the age spectrum to help you see how easy it is!

Early Childhood –
It’s time for the family to leave the swimming pool.  Sam loves the water and often does not want to get out.  You are semi shocked when this often obstinate and stubborn child cooperates immediately!  You praise him right away, but remind yourself follow up later with Scripture.

At dinner, you pull out your Bible and Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments  and flip through until you spot the applicable topic of Obedience.  Once there, you skim through the verses and find Ephesians 6:1-3.  You read them from the Bible so your child has the visual that this wisdom is coming from God, not some lady named Kara Durbin!

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  Ephesians 6:1
You compliment your child in front of the rest of the family for making a super choice at the pool earlier that day, just like the Bible says.

You may wish to go further in the discussion by adding in verses 2-3.
“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”  Ephesians 6:2-3
“Did it ‘go well’ when you made the great choice to obey when we said it was time to leave?” you ask.
“Yes!” you affirm.
“Our whole family was blessed by you making a good choice to obey Daddy because we could all leave our fun pool time with a happy family!”

Your family has been under the strain of your husband’s long work hours in his effort to help keep the company afloat.  One Saturday, you pray through the day with the kids that the computers will cooperate so their IT (Information Technology) Manager daddy can come home and play and rest.  By evening, it’s obvious that he won’t be home before the kids go to bed.  Discouraged, you walk into the kitchen and find this note at the kitchen table where your husband normally sets his things down when he comes in.


“Wow, Kalli, you just encouraged me so much with your sweet note to Daddy!  I know it will bring a smile to his weary face when he comes in later!  Thank you for encouraging us and building us up like the Bible says!”  (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

This verse is from the topic of “Encouragement” in Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments.  It’s one I’ve found we use so often that it’s also included in my free download of 15 Fabulous Verses to Memorize.  Knowing some of these key Scriptures by heart will allow you to make ready use of them any time a teachable moment pops up!

Tweens/Teens –
You may remember my post from a few weeks ago titled, Ask your kids, “What would you do if your teacher made a mistake & gave you a false higher grade?”   Read through for a real life example of what it looks like to make use of a teachable moment and positively parent with Scripture on the concepts of CHARACTER, INTEGRITY, CHOICES, and EXAMPLE.

We want Scripture to be seen as the blessing that it is.  God loves us and knows what’s best for us.
Keeping your eyes open for opportunities of catching your child in the act of living out God’s Word helps him/her see the fruitful reward of following our Creator’s wisdom!


Are you up for asking God to help you be on the lookout? 
I promise you and your family will be blessed by
positive parenting with Scripture! 

Comments Off on How to use Scripture in POSITIVE Teachable Moments   Posted In:     |    Written By: Kara Durbin
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