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Life's Q&A: How do you blend parenting styles that are different?

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How do you blend parenting styles that are different?

Actually, this is a typical challenge in any family, not just stepfamilies – and for a variety of good reasons. Here are several principles I think are especially important in this life-long growing process.

a. Accept and embrace your differences. 

Men and women are different by God’s design.  Are you ready for this?  Dads think like…men; Moms think like…women!  Isn’t it funny how easily surprised we are by this little “discovery” in family life?  Despite cultural pressure to persuade us otherwise, God actually made us different on purpose, and the sooner we embrace this little fact of life, the better off our families will be. 

For example, rather than getting frustrated with each other because one parent is more permissive,while the other is more restrictive, come together (regularly) to discuss ways you might strike abalance between parenting styles.  In our family, I tend to be the one who is tougher, with higher expectations, while my wife is the gentler, and the more gracious of this “Dynamic Duo”.  The truth is sometimes our kids need “toughness”, and other times, they need grace, so we are learning to appreciate our differences and allow each other the freedom to be who God made us to be.

Part of how we embrace our differences is by becoming intentional about what we call “face time” with each other.  That’s when she’s on one end of the couch, and I’m on the other.  On average, it’s about once a week, and this is when we share, listen, plan and pray concerning the needs of our children.  If we didn’t do this, our natural differences would confuse our kids, and drive us apart.  By facing each other on a regular basis, we avoid sending “mixed messages” to our kids.

b. Be unified. 

One of the most common challenges stepfamilies face is divided loyalties.  Obviously, it is going to be natural for each person in this “new” family to give their primary allegiance to those with whom they share a biological connection.  Aside from biology, the simple reason for this is that the parent/child relationship preceded the marriage.  It is critical, however, for the husband and wife to remain unifiedin their parenting plan, without neglecting their child in the process.  Although it’s natural for parents to feel protective of their own children, they won’t be doing their kids any favors if they begin to undermine their new spouse.  If this marriage is going to last, it must be top priority, and this must bereassuringly communicated and demonstrated to all the children in this family.

c. Be realistic. 

The truth is, most people are unprepared for the transition of blending two families, and thus, unrealistic in their expectations.  It’s helpful to keep in mind that stepfamilies are born out of loss.  This means, that there very well may be, especially for the children, a prolonged season of sadness, grief, and even anger.  The reason for this is because when parents remarry, it is yet another loss for the child – at least in their understanding of things.  That parent, who is now experiencing the joy of a newfound love, is often blinded by how threatened this can make their child feel.  After all, that child is now losing, at least to some degree, the attention of their only remaining parent. 

It is common, but often puzzling, for these “seasons” of emotional distress to come and go.  Often a child will seem to be okay, even excited about the new relationship…until the marriage actually takes place.  All of sudden (it seems) they become antagonistic toward their new stepmom or dad, causing confusion for everyone.  This is natural, because, until that point, secretly, the child is holding out hope that their mom and dad just might get back together.  It’s unrealistic for parents trying to blend two families to expect their children not to go through some significant emotional struggles. 

The point is, sometimes the challenges that you face may not have as much to do with your different parenting styles, as is does unrealistic expectations.  Anytime we drift away from God’s original design, we should expect a natural and necessary process of grieving and adjustment.  Be patient.  Some experts say that this process, depending on a variety of different factors, may take 5-7 years.  Each person, along with their unique personality, perspective, and past are, in a sense, “tossed” together into this new mixture called a “stepfamily”.  Without some patience and flexibility on everyone’s part, there will be a very real temptation to lose hope and give up. 

Note: None of this means that your stepfamily is destined to fail, or that you and your children cannot heal, grow, and move forward in life experiencing God’s blessing.  It just means that you need to berealistic about how long it will take to form healthy new relationships of trust.

d. Be open. 

Because of past hurts and failures, both parents and children in a stepfamily will have a tendency to be guarded, even fearful, especially in the beginning of this new family arrangement.  As a result, honest, open, and loving communication will be another one of the great challenges in family life.  Parents must take the lead in this area as well, demonstrating gentleness, courage, and humility toward the other family members.  Be patient in the process, but vigilant as well.  Good communication is paramount if stepfamilies are to succeed.  Remember, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).

Finally, I do recommend and excellent resource entitled, The Smart Stepfamily, by Ron Deal.  You should also check out their website:

About the Author

Jon Sanné is a Presenter for the National Center for Biblical Parenting, and the Family Life Pastor at Calvary Chapel in Olympia, WA, where he has served for the past 16 years.  He believes that the family is God’s training ground for both parents and children as they learn and grow together in everyday life.  Although there is no such thing as a perfect parent, Jon will share how you can be asuccessful one!

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GodCalling: "The Ache of Love"

God Calling



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The Ache of Love                   

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Use My unlimited stores for your needs and those of others.  Seek My wonderful truths and you shall find.

There may come times when you sit in silence, when it seems as if you were left alone. Then, I command you to remember I have spoken to you.

You will have the consciousness of My Presence when you hear no voice. Abide in that Presence. "I am the light of the world," but sometimes in tender pity, I withhold too glaring a light, lest, in its dazzling brightness, you should miss your daily path and work.

Not until Heaven is reached, do souls sit and drink in the ecstasy of God's revelation to His Own. At the moment you are pilgrims and need only your daily marching orders, and strength and guidance for the day.

Oh! Listen to My Voice, eagerly, joyfully. Never crowd it out. I have no rival claimants and if men seek the babble of the world, then I withdraw.

Life has hurt you. Only scarred lives can really save.

You cannot escape the discipline. It is the hallmark of discipleship. My children, trust Me always. Never rebel.

The trust given to Me today, takes away the ache of rejection of My love, that I suffered on earth, and have suffered through the ages. "I died for you, My children, and could ye treat Me so?"

And the sheep follow him; for they know his voice. John 10:4

blessings to you and yours this day and always ...

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Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 1:24-25

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TheDailyWay: A Life Filled with Praise

A Life Filled with Praise

Posted: 11 Jan 2011 12:00 AM PST

We all have a choice—either we put God first or we put ourselves first. If we choose the latter, then we will not have successful prayer lives. To live successful Christian lives, we need to learn to praise God no matter how we feel. It is a life filled with praise that establishes the foundation of prayer. The key to hallowing the name of God is praise.

The apostle Paul knew the value of praise. In the book of Acts, Paul and Silas were arrested in Philippi for preaching the Gospel. Beaten and bleeding, they were still singing praises to the Lord. The result of their praise was an earthquake that shook the city and opened the prison gate. Even the prison warden wanted to know Christ.

Do you feel that God is not responding to you? Try praising Him. Praise is powerful and can change your outlook. Ask yourself if you are a person of praise or whether you have yielded to thoughts of doubt and negative thinking. You certainly can learn to praise God! How you act and talk is a reflection of the character of Christ within you. Regardless of your situation, praise comes as an overflow of His joy.

Practice praising the Lord by telling Him that you surrender to His power and authority, that you desire to place Him first in your life, and that you want to obey His Word. To honor and to uplift the name of the Lord brings delight to our heavenly Father.

Do you feel as if you are in a spiritual desert? Develop a life of praise by praising the Lord each day, regardless of how you feel or what you are experiencing. Can you praise God in the midst of pain and despair like Paul and Silas did? When you praise the name of God, you will feel the joy of the Lord!

Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! (Psalm 66:20).

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GregLaurie: "Practical Philip" Jan 11th

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Daily Devotion with Greg Laurie


Practical Philip

The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, "Follow Me."
— John 1:43

The interesting thing about Philip, one of the Twelve, is that he was personally reached by Jesus himself. While Philip brought Nathanael to Jesus, and Andrew brought Peter to Jesus, no one brought Philip to Jesus. Instead, Jesus came right to him. John's Gospel tells us, "The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, 'Follow Me' " (John 1:43). Normally God reaches people through people, but this was an exception to the rule.

We don't know a lot about Philip. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke give us no details about him. All the vignettes of Philip appear in the Gospel of John. But from that Gospel, we discover that he was a completely different kind of person than Peter, Andrew, James, or John. He is often paired with Nathanael (also known as Bartholomew), whom he brought to Jesus.

It also would appear from John's account of the Feeding of the Five Thousand that Philip may have been in charge of the supplies and food, the road manager of sorts. He was the kind of guy who was practical, always thinking about the bottom line. And on this occasion, Jesus, trying to stretch Philip's faith, posed a question to him as the crowd gathered: "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" (John 6:5). Philip responded, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little" (verse 7). Philip didn't do so well on that test. He wasn't the first to have the most faith, but he was a follower of Jesus who was used by God.

And according to church history, Philip laid his life down for Christ, being stoned to death after reaching many with the gospel.

Greg Laurie [Signature]

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