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Blended Families often seek Encouragement, Hope, Motivation and Insight. Join us here each week for practical & powerful ways to rise up & defeat those challenges that can weaken, damage or destroy your family.
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010


THREE MINUTES A DAY = A "Listener" For a Lifetime
Make The Time.  Invest The Time.  Bless  The Time.

How often do parents hear or say.... "My kids just don't listen to me!"
Or kids thinking 'parents just don't understand!'.   Both sides are right at times.  We all fall short.  That's why God created family.  To give us the opportunity to build together a safe and secure place where God shares His steadfast message that 'His mercies are new every morning'.  (Lamentations 3 : 21-23) 

I was blessed to coach all of our six children in youth basketball, except one who was extra talented in debate and speaking so that was her passion we supported.  She WAS successful pushing around up her younger brothers - lovingly - on the basketball court in our backyard.  I smile as I think our boys would deny such an allegation of her basketball prowess.  I believe regularly the girls beat the boys in pickup games.

In basketball, most young players don't easily dribble with their weak hand (for a righthander, their left hand).  It takes practice and more practice.  I'd coach my teams to dribble, dribble, dribble with their weak hand, so the get 'good' at being able to use both hands successfully.  To have it become second nature to their game.


Learning to communicate as a Family member also takes practice, practice practice... especially in stepfamily scenarios.
  Make a point to seek out three brief minutes each and every day to share the clear message of caring and interest in a child's life.  Three (3) minutes.  Try to make it a habit - like dribbling with off hand - of INVESTING THREE MINUTES to gain a lifetime relationship.  You may miss a day, or two, but create a conscience effort to BONDING in your new Family and watch the results.
For years child psychologists have shared a wise piece of wisdom about communicating with a child.  The tip, is often forgotten and unused by parents, so it's worth repeating here.   EQUALIZE the height level and create eye contact from a level that makes a child feel most trusting. 
Come down to their eye level.   This automatically creates the 'caring' appeal to a child.  This very simple physical movement that can be a GIANT COMMUNICATOR for a more caring RELATIONSHIP.  And in blended families, relationships come before the enforcement of rules.  Especially for the non-biological parent. 

Social scientists study interpersonal communication. Their expert studies state that regarding actual interpersonal communication 'less than 10% in the clarity of the message comes from the 'WORDS' themselves.  Around 40% comes from our 'TONE OF VOICE'. Foremost, the most impactful form, over 50% of our true interpersonal communication is 'FACIAL EXPRESSION and BODY LANGUAGE.'
In stepfamilies this can be GIANT.  Pay attention here.  Remember this.  A 'brief gentle scolding' to a biological child is often just that, a 'brief gentle scolding'.  That child KNOWS your love deeply, from the first hour you held them after birth.  A 'brief gentle scolding' to a stepchild might be viewed internally to them as a 'giant scolding'.  They don't have the 'history' with you.  Remember this.  Just be aware of it.  It's not just your 'words'.  Check your own body language and tone.  Know it communicates 90% or more of your message.  We're not saying a scolding might not be appropriate.  Just remember that 'relationship' must come first before the ability to scold, for lasting success.

Remember...we can learn as much in life from our slips ups as we can our victories.   So if you stumble... make it a learning experience.

I believe those esteemed 'social scientists' who studied communications unknowingly may have gleaned their concepts and lead from the MANUAL for Life, the HOLY BIBLE.  Scripture, as always, shares WISDOM for the ages in James 1 : 19-20
'...let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.' 
In other words, LISTEN more.  HEAR your child's and your spouse's HEART. LISTEN for the HEART...not the words.  SEE their COUNTENANCE and what it saying, and not just react to a potential smirk or eye roll.  Speak only after you 'understand' their deep hurts, joys and thoughts.  Be clear not to jump to 'wrath' (upset, comments, judgement, etc) as that is not what God would advise.

As you work yourself into the routine of 'three minutes a day' keep it upbeat, positive and casual, especially at first.  Some sample idea questions to ask the first few efforts into your LISTENING time.  You don't have to ask them all at once.  Be casual and comfortable.  You're investing in a RELATIONSHIP.  It will take time and PRACTICE.   Consider questions like...
1)  Tell me what you think our family is doing well in your eyes?
2)  Tell me something we could do next week to hang out together?
3)  What areas in our new family 'pinch' your heart a little?


Even LEBRON JAMES had to practice what didn't come natural.  So to be a championship level parent...practice championship communications.

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Want your BLENDED FAMILY STOCK to go up!  If you know of someone in the WICHITA KS area, share with them about the Saturday May 1st BLENDED FAMILY WORKSHOP.  The host church is Believers Tabernacle in Wichita.  A wonderful family oriented and friendly place.
Send your friends or family in the Wichita area to http://www.thebondedfamily.com/ and click on the Wichita conference.  Julie Ziglar Norman, daughter of ZIG ZIGLAR, J.J. Jasper, American Family Radio DJ and Comedian are just two of the super lineup of speakers.   Over 125 years of stepfamily experience we have compiled for this day.


1 comment:

Ma. Gladys Perez-Nejudne said...

Very rich post. I totally agree with the listening part. Most pitfalls in blending-families are caused by people who want to be listened to but does not want to listen themselves.