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Teaching Our Kids Self(ie) Control

Today’s post is by the ever-inspiring Kristen Welch of We Are THAT Family. She has a new book out titled, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World and it’s Fantastic! Enjoy!

I only did it to get a like.

I read this on a t-shirt at Target the other day.

I guess it’s supposed to be cute, the only problem is, in many cases, it’s true.

Our kids are growing up in a selfie society with technology in their back pocket, on their wrists, and just about every room in the house.

Media and technology are amazing tools. But when our children are just a click away from scary and damaging stuff, we have to be proactive in allowing them access.

Anything else is just simply irresponsible.

I’ve talked to moms who have 4th grade sons addicted to pornography and middle school girls who are suicidal because of hateful instagram feeds. We need to know what our kids are looking at–not so we can control everything they see, but so we can empower them to look away when they need to.

Here are some of our technology restrictions:

We get final say in what social media accounts our kids have, and we get to be their “friends” or follow whatever they sign up for.

We can read our kids’ texts if they give us reason to.

We don’t allow FaceTime or other video chatting, chat rooms, etc.

We won’t let our kids interact online with people they don’t know, whether it’s gaming or followers on Instagram we don’t know. Privacy settings on our accounts help control this.

We don’t allow apps to be deleted, so we can monitor what’s being downloaded.

We reserve the right to ask our kids to put their phones or media away at any time. After all, they are our phones that we are letting them use. I love what blog reader Kim Adam said: “I pay for it and that makes it MY phone. I am the parent and I will say when and where they can have it.”

We require our kids to pay part of a bill if it is associated with technology.

We don’t allow devices at the dinner table. And please, don’t walk and text.

Ultimately, it is ours and we are letting our child use it. We can and will take technology away if we need to.

We have a no-media day every week. When we first announced this several years ago, I wish I’d videotaped the response. At the time, it wasn’t funny. My kids flipped out—which proved the need for creating media-free hours. It took time and consistency, but they got used to it.

As far as social media and our kids go, we carefully consider each “new thing.” The problem I see with social media is that it creates an alternative world that offers an inflated view. We can easily distort reality and show only the edited or filtered parts of our lives. I’ve certainly succumbed to unhappiness after a hop into Facebook, so I get it. I’m a middle-aged woman who feels the pressure, and considering that kids are more impressionable and naïve than adults is exactly why we need to be careful and involved.

I have mostly been really proud of my kids’ choices, but they are human and we aren’t done raising them. I know they will make mistakes and learn from them. We’ve discovered many teachable moments by getting involved in what they are seeing or saying on the Internet.

social media conversation

Here are 10 Technology Guidelines to Teach Our Kids:

  1. Nothing is ever really private. Statuses and pictures can be shared and altered.
  2. Or permanently deleted. Everything is traceable. I read something really disturbing on Facebook the other day from an old friend, and when I went back to show my husband because I was alarmed, it had been deleted. But it definitely wasn’t forgotten.
  3. Some things are better said face-to-face (like apologies or confrontations). Social media makes it easier for us to be cowardly. We need to teach our kids the value of looking someone in the eye and making things right. Sure, it’s harder, but they won’t forget it.
  4. Remember there are real people with feelings behind every avatar. Lately, I’ve been on the receiving end of some harsh words. And sometimes I just want to remind the offenders that I’m a real person. I think it’s good to teach our kids that our (online) words can hurt.
  5. It’s okay to disagree with someone’s opinion, but kindness always wins. “If you are not kind on the Internet, then you’re not kind.” —Glennon Melton. It’s as simple as that.
  6. Don’t let negative comments to your pictures, statuses, or no likes at all change how you feel about yourself. This one is especially important to teach our girls. There’s this whole secret online code between mean girls, and we have to remind our daughters that who they are doesn’t change because of how people see them.
  7. It’s easier to attain a bad online reputation than a good one—so watch what you say. We’ve all probably done something online that we regretted. Our words follow us.
  8. Avoid drama. We all read and see things we don’t agree with, and I want my kids to use self-control and click off that page.
  9. Don’t ever mention your location. Predators don’t lure kids at the school bus nearly as much as they do online. Our children need to know the dangers of over sharing.
  10. Take a day of rest from social media. Recently, I asked my teen to take a break from social media. She wasn’t in trouble or doing anything wrong. I just noticed she was isolating herself and thought it would be healthy for her to take a couple of days off. Later, she thanked me.

Available Now

-excerpt from Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead To Life’s Ultimate Yes

Kristen Welch blogs at wearethatfamily.com where she shares about parenting, marriage and inspirational encouragement. Her family founded Mercy House, a non-profit that empowers impoverished and oppressed women around the world. Kristen is an author and her newest book Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World is now available!

There are affiliate links in this post. Read my disclosure policy here.

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A Night to Breathe UPDATE (Event Postponed)

Well. Apparently the East coast is about to have a full on Snowpocalypse.

Which is kinda fun if people are safe (Sledding! Hot chocolate! Little Women!), but it just so happens that the impending snow will land on the Night to Breathe weekend. Therefore, Amy and I have decided to postpone the event and will instead host it on March 19th (Mark your calendars!).

We have sent out an email to all the attendees, but I’m trying to cover my basis with this post because we wouldn’t want anyone showing up and wondering where we all are! If you have any questions about the date, please email me.

In the meantime…

Happy grocery shopping and stock piling!

Love, SM

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The Truth About the Dark Days


I looked at my iPod. Which playlist should I pick to listen to while I wash my dishes.

My eyes went back and forth between my “Cleaning” playlist and my “Rend Collective” praise music list. I decided on the praise because it’s been a dark day.

I propped my iPod up on my kitchen window, pressed play, and as the words came out, something in me opened up.

I turned around, slid down to the floor on my knees and cried.

I think I’m in a bit of a depression.

And depression is this weird thing that you can’t really explain or give reason for. It just is.

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me…” Psalm 42:5

I get this way from time to time, it’s just a darkness, and it seems to be a rhythm of my life, and I know it will lift. But it’s been a few weeks of struggling to do basic tasks, and I finally had to admit to myself that I’m in it. And I function. I’m kind of a functioning depressive, or so I told my friend this morning. I can be mostly okay, but in my home, going about the hours, everything is a mountain.

I had a class in college and I remember the professor telling us once that when you find yourself in a depressed place, that everything feels hard, and to just do something small as you can. Maybe you can just make the bed. Do that.

My small thing, right now, is writing this to you, because there is something in the writing that helps. Something about vulnerability and honesty that allows the process to take its course.

So here I am telling you that I’m depressed. But I’m also hopeful because God is with me, and He knows all of my heart and every bit of my soul, and He will be kind and tender with me through this. I’ve been here before.

So today, I’m going to be gentle with myself, and I’m going to slowly do my dishes, and I’m going to keep on knowing that I’m not alone.

I’m not going to believe the voice of the enemy and I’m not going to condemn myself. I am free, and I trust the healing in the heaviness.

If you are struggling with a dark day or days, hang in there. Be gentle with yourself. Listen to truth not accusation. You are loved, you are not a failure, you are going to be okay.

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5

“…whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.” 1 John 3:20

“…the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

“In my failures You won’t walk out
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea”

My Lighthouse, Rend Collective

Much love to you today,


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Motherhood is Easy and Instinctive (and other myths moms believe)

Today is a guest post from Ruth Schwenk. She and her co-author Karen Ehman have penned a much-needed resource for moms called Hoodwinked. Today Ruth shares some wonderful encouragement from their new book. Enjoy!

We had tried about everything.




Nothing seemed to be registering, at least for lasting change.

“Tell me about her,” my friend continued.

I (Ruth) shared with her a little about my child’s personality and what she liked and disliked. I shared our history and some of the stories that would help her understand our parent-child relationship a little better.

My friend looked at me and said, “Well, she just needs to know you empathize with her.”

“Empathize with her?” I said.

“Yes. She needs to know you hear her, understand her, and feel what she feels before you teach her.”

I sat there for a moment, not knowing what to say at this uncomplicated answer to what I had been trying to figure out for months. This was a lightbulb moment for me.

“You mean everyone isn’t just like me?” Hello, Ruth! I had been so focused on how I felt that I never even stopped to consider our differences and how my child was feeling.

I know it seems so simple. But for me it was a tremendous discovery. Up until this time I had never taken into consideration that my children were not like me. Their personalities are all different, and they look at life situations different than me. Everyday life looks different through their eyes than it looks through mine.

We view a situation in two different ways, and instead of faulting my child for that, I need to understand her in order to reach her.  Now I’ll admit it … it’s not easy. Not one bit. It takes every ounce of my being not to burst out laughing at a situation that I find rather humorous, yet she finds tragic. Or feel sympathetic when a situation looks more black and white to me. She is much more of a “feeler” than me. Now of course there has to be a balance, and you have to help your child learn how to handle her personality in light of how God wants us to live, but you can’t help her do that if you aren’t viewing life through her lens. You won’t be able to understand where she is coming from to help her in her journey of growth.

Right now as I sit here at my desk writing, my eye catches a large framed picture. On the picture matting all around the photo are the written words, “I love you, Mom. You’re the best mom ever. Best friends. Bella + Mom = Best Friends.” The framed picture is from my oldest daughter. The child I “just couldn’t figure out.”

I am so thankful that my friend spoke that truth into my life a few years ago. Her wise words changed the way I parented my daughter and helped me embrace our relationship. I had to intentionally (and still do) make an effort to work hard at understanding her. Some children are more outgoing, talkative, and personable. Others are quieter, more reserved, thinking cautiously and calculating everything. These differences are not weaknesses. The goal of recognizing differences is to help our children grow into the unique people God intended for them to be. We need to help them discover that their gifts, personalities, and interests are all a part of his plan and his story.

It has been so incredible to watch God knit my heart and Bella’s together.

I wouldn’t trade all that hard work for anything.

*Taken as an excerpt from the book with slight alteration for blog length from “Myth #9: I Have to Do It All Right, or My Child Will Turn Out Wrong”

My good friend Karen Ehman and I are absolutely thrilled to share a resource that we believe is a game-changer for moms: Hoodwinked: Ten Myths Moms Believe & Why We All Need to Knock It Off!

We have had ENOUGH of the misconceptions of motherhood!

Myths such as: “The way I mother is the right (and only) way,” “Motherhood is natural, easy, and instinctive,” or “My child’s bad choice means I’m a bad mom.” These myths leave moms hoodwinked and sometimes even heartbroken.

Hoodwinked Cover 2

In our straightforward yet encouraging “we’ve been there” style, we enable mothers to

  • Identify the ten myths of motherhood
  • Replace the lies with the truth of what God says
  • Forge healthy, supportive relationships with other moms of all ages and stages
  • Confidently embrace the calling of motherhood as they care for their families in their own unique way

Ultimately, Hoodwinked equips mothers to stop searching for the secret and develop and embrace their relationships instead- with their kids, other mothers, and most importantly, with God.

You can grab your copy of Hoodwinked today HERE:


Barnes & Noble


Love, SM

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One of the Smartest Business Women I Know

Yesterday, my friend Crystal’s book, Money Making Mom, came out.

And you all have to know, that I esteem her so highly and I couldn’t recommend her or her work more. She is absolutely brilliant at business, particularly online business. She is genuine, lovely, and a gift to all us moms out there who want to earn an income from home.



If you are looking for ridiculously practical ideas, tips, and inside info on how to make an income from home, you MUST get a copy of Money Making Mom. Crystal knows her stuff like no one I have ever met before. She is always surprising me with her capacity for learning and implementing what she’s learned. And what’s more, she is one of the most generous people I have ever met.

To get your hands on her new book, just head HERE or click the book image above. You won’t regret it. Here’s what Crystal herself has to say about the book:

Money-Making Mom is not a book about about making money as a blogger or even just about making money online. Instead, it’s a hands-on manual to help you discover your passions and talents and turn those into a profitable business — whether online or offline.

Woven through the pages is my heart to inspire women to uncover their gifts, use their gifts, and make a difference in this world! Because you have a story. You have a message. You have gifts and talents. And the world needs your story, your message, your gifts and your talents!”

What are you waiting for? Get yourself a copy!

Love, SM

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