How Do You Handle Stress?

Posted by Doug Giese on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 @ 2:58 PM

When you think about your childhood years what did your parents model about handling stress and dealing with difficult feelings?  Your family of origin is the first place where you learned how to manage stress.  Think back to your childhood and contemplate how you were parented and how that influenced you. Strive to pinpoint areas that you could grow or improve.  The purpose is not to blame your parents for your behaviors but rather to chart a path of growth so you can be a better parent.  Remember, there is no perfect parent just a growing parent, and God can use our weakness to work out His plans for our kids.

Robert Karen in his book, Becoming Attached, said, “When it comes to parenting a lack of love is not the problem but a lack of knowing ourselves” pg. 379.  Being self-aware is very important!  We need to know how we are coming across to our kids.  If we are not aware of how our kids see us this can be detrimental to our parenting.  A child does not have the capacity to come to correct conclusions about their parents’ stress.  If left to draw their own conclusion about their parents’ stress, they will often conclude that something is wrong with them.

When you are stressed what do you do?  How well do you identify your feelings and emotions on the inside?  What words would best describe your feeling when you are stressed?  When growing up, were there feelings in your family that were not allowed?  Do you have difficulty when your child displays these feelings?  How you deal with stress is going to influence how you parent.  When you can put words to your feelings, then you have something tangible to express those thoughts to somebody.  How do your kids signal to you that they are stressed?

Managing stress and being self-aware are just two of several topics that Milan and Kay Yerkovich cover in their DVD series entitled: How We Love Our Kids.  Starting on Wednesday night (6:15 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.), February 6th through May 8th I will be facilitating the seminar, How We Love Our Kids. The seminar offers a unique approach to help you as a parent transform your kids by making specific changes in how you love.  You will identify which of the five love styles you have and learn specific ways you can grow.   Milan and Kay Yerkovich have also written a book entitled, How We Love Our Kids that you may purchase.  Please let me know if you are interested and I will order a book for you.  Your deadline to place an order is Thursday, February 7th.  Please call me (218-751-3699, ext. 15) if you want me to order a book and/or if you have any other questions!  Parents and grandparents are encouraged to attend.  I am really excited to offer this seminar.  I hope that you will be able to attend!


Posted by Doug Giese on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 @ 2:57 PM

Have you ever gotten halfway through a project and just wanted to give up?  What helped you to keep going?   As a parent have you thought, “If I struggle with wanting to give up, how can I teach my children the value of finishing a project that they’ve started?”  Deciding to finish what you’ve started takes determination.  This is a good time to be thinking about how to teach your child the value of determination.  During the month of January the elementary aged kids in Covenant Kids are learning about the topic of determination. Children need a lot of encouragement as they learn about concepts like determination, and you as parents are the primary teachers and encouragers.

It is very important to teach your children that it is worth finishing what you’ve started. Most children like companionship and resist doing projects alone.  Working together is a great way to teach a child the value of finishing a task.  Working alongside them will provide opportunities for you to praise them for their progress and build relationships with them at the same time.  Kids respond well to praise.   If you don’t have time to work beside your child, provide little incentives to motivate them to complete a certain chore.  Incentives can be as simple as a special treat or extra time playing their favorite computer game. Try your best to be creative with these incentives. All of us need timely incentives to keep us motivated.

Every child wants to please and make their parents proud.  How many times have you complimented your child and then proceeded to say, “But….”  But I wish you would have….  The word “but” conveys your dissatisfaction.  This is often what your child remembers, not your words of praise. Your child wants to please you and make you proud.The absence of praise can crush the spirit of your child.

Continue being a positive voice in the life of your child.  Work hard at encouraging them to stick to the task.  They will start to experience the joy of determination.  Your faithfulness in teaching your child determination will help him/her in so many different areas of life. Whether it is in small daily tasks of life like homework or chores or larger areas like relationships, determination is essential. Stick with it and watch as your child finds new ways to glorify God through determination.

Involvement Builds Strong Relationships

Posted by Doug Giese on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 @ 2:57 PM

Strong relationships are developed by becoming involved in the life of your teenager.


Kevin Huggins in his book, Parenting Adolescents makes this statement about the value of involvement with your teenager.  “Involvement with a teen, unlike a child, must be offered mostly on his terms, that is, mostly on his turf.  A parent must show interest in the things his teen is doing, thinking, and feeling.  He must enter his teen’s world and become a part of it, discuss with him the things that trouble and preoccupy him, communicating a desire to be with him as he experiences and decides how to live in his world.  This kind of involvement with a teen often requires parents to enter a world that is in many ways strange and unfamiliar to them, uncomfortable and perplexing to say the least.  But unconditional involvement always requires parents to take this kind of initiative.  Conditional involvement requires just the opposite.  It forces the teen to come into the parents’ world to find the involvement he longs for – and few adolescents are willing to do this for very long.                                                                                      Maintaining and deepening your relationship with your teen then, depends primarily on you and your teen, then, depends primarily on you and your initiatives to offer unconditional involvement, no matter what the cost.”


One way to be involved with your teenager is to engage him/her in conversation related to the topics that are being discussed in youth group.


On Wednesday night, January 9 Pastor Jim introduced to all the students a new series on identity.  He shared with the students about the loud voice that comes from the world about identity.  Pastor Jim said that the world is shouting that you can find your identity in sports, friends, success, athletics, wealth, clothing style, etc….  These claims are not true!   Pastor Jim also talked about the soft voice which is the truth from God’s word.  He encouraged students to listen to that voice.   A book mark on identity was created by Student Life and was given to each teen that had attended youth group.  I would strongly encourage you to pick up a book mark for yourself at the information center.  This would be a great tool you could use to create conversation with your teen.  Share with him/her some of the pressures you experience related to the worlds voice about identity.  You could also look up some of the passages provided on the book mark and share together each of your thoughts.


Part of parenting is to help your teenager enjoy and trust the person of Christ.  Colossians 1:28-29 says, “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect [mature] in Christ.  To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.”

Taking the initiative to get involved in the life of your teen is so important!  Remember that God is always with you! 

Parenting On Empty

Posted by Doug Giese on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 @ 2:56 PM

Do you remember those times when you have been traveling to a certain destination, caught up in conversation with your traveling companions and forgot to check your gas gauge?  For whatever reason your eye glanced down to the gas gauge and you were in an immediate panic.  The gauge was on empty and you didn’t know how far it was to the next gas station.  When the gas runs out, the car stops running.

I wonder how often that happens to us as parents?  We get so caught up in the constant demand of parenting that we are oblivious to the need to fill our personal tanks.  No one can function properly as a parent on an empty tank.  Every person needs to take time for themselves to refill their mental, emotional, physical and spiritual tank.  Parenting on empty just doesn’t work.  Some of the symptoms of your tank being on empty are: overreacting to your child, a quick temper, lack of consistency, giving up, exhaustion, tension with others, children running wild and out of control in the home, quick to tears, panic, critiquing, and criticizing other parents.  Is your tank on empty?  Parenting is a 24/7 responsibility.  Plan specific times during each week to be alone to remember we serve a God who is able to identify with your struggles and give you strength. These are some suggestions of how you can fill your tank: Go on a walk and pray, read a book, go by yourself to buy groceries, go to a gym or fitness center and exercise, spend time in the Word and talk to a person who is a stage ahead of you as a parent and seek their encouragement.  These are just a few things you can do to refill your tank.  Refueling is so important!  Your children are God’s precious gifts to you.  They deserve your best.

Hebrews 12:2-3 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

What Matters Most!

Posted by Doug Giese on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 @ 2:56 PM

Are you exhausted from all the preparations to make Christmas special for your family?  It is so easy to become preoccupied with all the details connected with this time of year, gifts to buy, concerts to attend, sporting events, house cleaning and decorations, meals to prepare and the list can go on and on. I want to encourage you as you anticipate coming together as a family with a reminder from Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof in their book, Parenting Beyond Our Capacity.  They wrote, “We just need to be reminded that what we give to our children or what we do for our children is not as important as what we leave in them.”  Isn’t it interesting how quickly we can be distracted from what matters most?  On the top of your list this Christmas allow time to think about what you want to leave in the heart of your child.  Who do you want your child to become?  If you want to pass on a legacy to the next generation, it has to be transferred relationally.   Make sure as you spend time together around the table eating that favorite meal, while you watch the wood burn in the fireplace share your favorite stories, while opening your gifts around the Christmas tree make sure to take time to share with your family the reason God sent His son.  Talk about God’s love and how much you love those you are spending time with this Christmas.  Take time to ask God to do what only He can do, transform hearts.  This is what matters most!  I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!    Pastor Doug

They Will Never Forget

Posted by Doug Giese on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 @ 2:55 PM

When I was four years old (a preschooler), that was 51 years ago, I remember going over to my Grandma Sallen’s home to visit during the Christmas holidays.  Grandma Sallen lived in the same town I grew up in, Appleton, Minnesota.  I got to see Grandma at least once a week.  I always looked forward to going to Grandma’s house.   One thing I will always remember is being hugged and kissed by Grandma every time I’d see her. Grandma always wore an apron around her waist.  Her cheeks were often rosy red from the heat given off by the oven.  Her house was filled with the aroma of homemade goodies. Grandma’s cookie jar was filled with my favorite homemade cookies (chocolate chip).  As a preschooler every experience was exciting! The taste of homemade pie, the smells of grandma’s kitchen, the Christmas decorations placed in the same spots around her house every year and in the background I could hear Christmas music playing on the record player.  I would sit on Grandma’s lap as she read to me the Christmas story and from other favorite books.

When you spend time with people that you’re convinced love you, those are moments you will never forget.  Take time to spend with your preschooler.  Make sure they know you love them.  Make connections with family members and friends who will love on your children too.  Those will be the moments your child will never forget.  During the Christmas season as you travel around town or wherever you go, look for things that will be good reminders of the true meaning of Christmas.  When you see that nativity scene in someone’s yard stop, explain the story of Jesus to your child.  When you are opening your gifts around the Christmas tree remind your child of the greatest gift of all, Jesus!  Explain to your child why Jesus is so special.  Moments when Jesus is at the center, modeled by your love, these are the moments your child will never forget.

Spending Time Together

Posted by Doug Giese on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 @ 2:52 PM

Being a parent can be really overwhelming!  There are so many things to do and such little time to get everything done.  There are some things on your “to do” list that are optional and other things that are not.  As you make decisions each day what will and won’t be a priority, spending time with your children needs to be on the priority list.  Parents need to be intentional about scheduling time to spend with their child/ren.  When you are not intentional about spending time with your child/ren the business of life will consume any opportunity to connect with your child.   

Reggie Joiner in his book, “Think Orange” has identified five different times of the day that are natural opportunities to have meaningful connection with your child. 

Morning time: This is a time to speak words of encouragement to your child. 

Drive time: This is a great time to have informal dialogue. 

Meal time:  Eating together can be a great time to have fun conversations.  Conversations that involve confrontation or conflict resolution should be done at a different time and in a different setting than around the table.  Time around the table should be something to look forward to.  Some of my favorite memories as a child were times spent laughing and sharing stories around the kitchen table.   

Hang time (when you sit at home):  This is a perfect time to share stories and create memories.  Years ago Jan and I took our kids on a trip to the Black Hills.  This trip was a favorite!  On the Sunday afternoon following the Black Hills trip I invited my 4 kids to join me in the sandbox to recreate our trip in the sand.  We had a blast!   Hang time is a great time to create memories. 

Bed time:  I looked forward to this time with my kids.  I would make up stories and do pretend.  Lots of giggling and wiggling took place at bed time.  Periodically my wife had to remind me that the goal of tucking the kids into bed was to help them relax so they could fall to sleep and not get them all wound up.  Some of the greatest conversations with my kids took place at bed time.  Bed time can be a great opportunity to let your child know that you love them and that you really care.  My kids liked when dad tucked them into bed because most of the time it meant that they got to stay awake a little bit longer. 

Spending time with your kids needs to be a top priority.   You will never regret spending more time with your kids!

Partnering Together

Posted by Doug Giese on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 @ 2:51 PM

When I think about family partnering with you as a parent seems so natural.   I am a parent of 4 children, but my parenting looks different now.  My 4 children are grown married adults.  Three of my children have children of their own.  Yes, I am “grandpa” or “papa” depending on which grandchild you ask.  Being a grandparent is way too much fun!  I get to play in the sandbox, make sandcastles and play with those big Tonka Toys.  I know that parenting and/or being a grandparent/parent is not all about playing in the sandbox.

God has given us these special gifts (our children) for a season, and parenting is a huge responsibility filled with joys, tears and fears.   My desire is to come alongside you as a parent in your efforts to help your children grow spiritually.  I want to do everything I can to encourage and help you on this journey as a parent.

This partnership with you is a cooperative effort of the child, student and family life ministries; they are all working together to provide the entire family with opportunities to grow relationally and spiritually.  This blog is just another way we can partner together on the journey of parenting.

In the parenting class, held on Wednesday nights, I asked parents to share with each other one joy of being a parent and one fear they have as a parent.  Listed below are some of the joys and fears that were shared:


  • Playing with my kids
  • Being their “super hero”
  • Time spent with my kids
  • Watching them grow up
  • I enjoy their unique personalities
  • I like it when they talk to me
  • Seeing them grow spiritually
  • When I see their potential intellectually
  • Being involved in their lives
  • Teaching them how to do stuff
  • Laughing with my kids and hearing what they have to say when I tuck them into bed at night!


  • Pointing them towards Jesus
  • No longer viewed as their “super hero”
  • I don’t want to fail
  • My child is now in middle school
  • Not being able to give them everything they need
  • Change
  • Are my kids going to love Jesus?
  • What if they lie to me?

I want to encourage you to make your own list of joys and fears as a parent.  When you are finished making that list, take some time to thank God for the joys, and ask God for wisdom and strength as you deal with your fears.  I want to encourage you to memorize Proverbs 3:5-6; “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.”   

Parenting is a privilege and a challenge.  We need God every step of the way!

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Doug Giese

Associate Pastor
Marriage & Family




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