How should you handle those unusual circumstances when your youngster is out of her element and as a result, is out of sorts? In this episode, we emphasize the importance of teaching children self-control even in those unusual settings, for the sake of their spiritual growth. Our personal experience at a recent family wedding showcases the value of discipline in challenging situations. Join us as we explore this topic and offer guidance for fostering self-control in children.


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Episode Transcript (click to open) {{UNEDITED}}

Hey friends, welcome back. It’s Carrie and Mindy with you again.
So glad to be here with you.

[0:49] Yep, we always enjoy knowing you’re on the other end of this recording. And by the way, some of you have reached out recently and said hello and told us a little bit about your story and how the podcast is helping you. We love receiving those emails. You can always send those to kary, C-A-R-E-Y, at And I always pass those along.
Mindy, she likes to read those.
Mindy Jensen And they’re so encouraging. Sometimes they keep us going. So we just thank you. We’re thankful for you and for God’s great work in you.
And we would love to meet you sometime.
Yeah, yeah, when you write tell us where you live because we do travel back and forth between two places that we live and if You’re on the way We would love to find a way to to make that happen Katharine – We would.
We’ve actually already done that with some listeners and it’s always such a blessing to meet y’all. It sure is.

Parenting Younger Children: The Importance of Training

[1:39] Today we want to talk about parenting younger children when you’re really in the thick of training.
Pete And let’s stop for a moment and define training. What do we mean by training? We’re not necessarily talking about telling them Bible stories and giving them faith-based lessons and those kind of things. We’re talking about the fundamental training of personality and behavior and moral guidelines and boundaries and all that kind of stuff.
Right. You know, many times, depends on when you actually start that training, but it’s, roughly around six months that you can start. And some of you parents out there have done that and are in the process of doing that, starting with your young children.

[2:19] Or maybe you have children who are beyond that, and you’re just kind of restarting.

[2:24] Maybe realizing you should have trained earlier and didn’t.
There’s hope in all scenarios, whether you’re starting with a clean slate, so to speak, week, or you’ve realized you need to backtrack and do things in a better way, God will be faithful to lead you in that. So, don’t be hopeless.
Petey That’s good. And let me say a word to those who are listening who maybe right now you have the feeling, oh, this is a toddler episode, my kids are teenagers.
I want to encourage you to hang on, because some of these principles are applicable across the board for parenting, and I think you’ll pick up some things that are helpful.
Yes, and God will be faithful to help you to know how to translate that for your teens.
Pete Yeah, absolutely.
Terri So, it’s the wise principle, the wise mindset we’re wanting to talk about. But we, just a little while ago, came back from a little family trip where there was a wedding in the family and Carrie and I and most of our children were able to make it. And so, we had an Airbnb home that we stayed in, all of us. It was actually kind of a small home, but we, it was fun of us all being there with our four children and one grandchild and two spouses. So, we had a pretty big crowd there. But this was the first time that our, daughter and her husband traveled with their one and a half year old son. And as I talked to her about it later after the trip was done, she was saying she had no idea it was going to be so hard.

Training Challenges During Traveling and Special Circumstances

[3:50] And she and her husband have started early with training and have, by God’s grace, done a very good job and he’s a sweet, very well-behaved one-and-a-half-year-old boy, although having the normal issues and things that they deal with, but he’s a very obedient boy.

[4:08] And so, I really enjoyed watching the whole trip because when they got there, they talked about how the plane ride was hard and how he was pretty fussy the whole time and he wouldn’t sleep like they thought he would. And so when they got there, we assumed that he would be be a little more excited to see Grammy and Grandpop and his aunties and uncles, and.
Of course, he had his times of being happy for us to be with him and play with him and that kind of thing.
But generally speaking, over the period of, I think it was a five-day trip, he was pretty fussy and clingy.
So this was not normal behavior for him. And I watched our daughter and her husband faithfully train him through the whole thing and found myself praying for them a lot, just knowing exactly what it’s like.
We’ve gone through those situations.
But I was very proud of how the Lord was leading them and how they were sticking to their standard of training him.
Because if you think of the situation, our grandson started out tired.
They had to get up really early for the flight, so he’s tired.
That sets him up for things to be hard.
It’s a long travel day and all these different scenarios of waiting in the car, being in the stroller.

[5:31] And then when he comes into the home that he’s going to stay in, it’s crowded with all this family when he’s just used to being with his mom most every day when his dad’s at work.

[5:42] And so there’s a lot of overwhelm, I’m sure, that was going on in his little body.
Many times we have heard parents talk about situations like this, and they give the excuse, well, this is going on, they’re extra tired, they’re getting a little bit sick, they have with a runny nose or they’re just overwhelmed with people, they would throw out all of these true real situations, and they would say, so therefore I allowed my child to do X, Y, Z, or I did not concern myself with having them take their normal nap times or eating as they should or just the normal training, they just let fall by the wayside.
Because of an extraordinary situation of some kind.
In our case, it was a trip and all the myriad things involved in that that were different for the little boy, but it could be as significant as, you know, their friends came over for a play date and it’s not an ideal circumstance in which to discipline your kid, so you don’t discipline your kid or whatever.
Right, yes. So, these kinds of things will happen all throughout our days as we train our children. That’s right.
And our goal is to seek God’s wisdom and discernment.

[6:59] Each individual situation to know when should we be slack on our training, or when should we have an exception in this scenario, or when should we continue with the training. And generally speaking, looking back at our experience in raising our kids, there were definite times that we let off on a discipline, or we allowed something that we wouldn’t normally allow, because we felt like it it was wise to do so in that time.
But there are also many times when we continued with normal schedule and routine and discipline situations.

[7:35] For example, our daughter and her husband in this whole scenario with our grandson being very clingy and cranky much of the time, he was not wanting to go to his dad.
He was only wanting his mom.
Which is unusual. Right. He normally would go to his dad gladly because he hasn’t seen him all day or whatever.
Right, and I noticed how our daughter and son-in-law were actually taking him away and disciplining him, for not wanting to go to his dad.
Like her daughter would give her son to her husband, to the dad, and, no, you need to stay with your dad.
And they even spanked him a little swat.
No, you stay with daddy, you need to be happy.
Mommy needs to go do this.
You be happy with daddy. And so I noticed that they’re sticking with that rule.
They kept his schedule with his naps, with his eating, things like that.
And they weren’t in any way, don’t think that they’re being rigid and like a hard general of the army, not at all being that way at all.
But in the significant areas of his little routine, they made sure they kept it.
They made sure they put him down to bed the right time, most every time.
Sometimes it didn’t work out that way.

[8:52] When he would throw little fits, because he just wasn’t happy when he wakes up from his nap.
They would discipline him on that after trying to get him to be happy. And what I noticed was, at the end of our time, their discipline with him did not wind him up to where he was this out of control kid, like it was overkill, maybe.
Pete Yeah, yeah. He wasn’t wound too tight from all of their discipline.
What was happening to his little spirit was he was being humbled.
His will was being broken. And even though he tended towards crankiness, by the end of the time together, if mommy or daddy would correct him, he might cry a little bit, then he would stop and he would obey.
And so, just to kind of clarify the scenario for you, it was a pretty hard, busy time for our daughter and son-in-law.
Pete Yeah, yeah. And my daughter told me after the fact, she said, I had no idea it was gonna be so hard and that I would have to be training him, disciplining him on wanting to be with his dad.
It was just a lot. She said, but I was just thanking the Lord for his faithfulness and how he helped me.
I even started crying, mom, because God was so good, is what our daughter said.
She said, because on their flight home, they ended up having to stay in the airport, for five hours until their flight came.

Successful Training Leads to a Content and Well-Behaved Child

[10:13] And she said he was so sweet and happy and content. He would sleep in his stroller and was enjoying being with his mom and dad and the different things that they found to entertain him while they were waiting.
He was great on the flight home.
And she said, I know that it was because how we stuck with our training on the few days before that.
We didn’t allow his feelings that came up because of the unusual circumstances.
We didn’t allow those feelings to control him.
We controlled him with discipline and made him obey. And so that was why he was self-controlled and such a blessing on the trip home.
Yeah, I think that is a totally accurate assessment that she had.
That’s what I observed and that’s what I would eventually expect the outcome to be, maybe not as quickly, but it did happen that way in this case.
I want to speak real quickly to the person who’s listening or heard that whole scenario about him not wanting to go to his dad and they disciplined him and made him go and told him, no, you need to go with your dad.

The Importance of Teaching Self-Control to Children

[11:15] You may be feeling, I don’t wanna be that hard with my child.
I wanna be sensitive to how they feel. I don’t wanna make them go here or there.
I wanna challenge you to check that.
What’s behind that? Is it a fear of being the bad guy in this situation?
Being the disciplinarian, do you have a fear of that?
Or are you thinking that your child’s emotion and feeling in the moment is the most important thing?
I think that’s most likely the case whenever I see this going on.
What I want to challenge you to think about is your job as a parent is to equip your child to deal with the world and life as it is.
The world and life are full of inconveniences, full of things that are out of the ordinary, full of things we have to flex and modify and learn to deal with.
And for a one and a half year old little boy, being in a new context with all these people and a schedule that’s out of whack and a two hour time change we didn’t talk about as well, is part of that in his world.
And for him not to want to go to his dad because he’s clingy and wants to be with mom, maybe that feels more comforting to him and a better environment in his little mind.

[12:30] But you as a parent have to be above that and your wisdom and say, no, the better thing for him

Equipping Children to Deal with Life’s Challenges

[12:35] and the better thing for all of us is for him to learn to go to his dad in a circumstance like this, because I, as the mom, can’t always be the one to manage him.
He’s got to learn to be flexible, just like we do.
And you may think, well, there’s plenty of time for learning that as he gets older and blah, blah, blah.
I don’t want to do that to my one and a half year old.
Well, again, I challenge you on that.

[12:58] I love that. I’m so glad you described it that way, because what is so important that we need to think about as parents is that we’re building on foundations.
So the foundation they built with their one and a half year old is going to make their times with their two year old to be so much better.
The same kid as a two year old, right, the same child as a two year old.
And that was what our daughter was saying is, she knew it wouldn’t have been that easy for them in training their son if they hadn’t been doing that since six months.

[13:28] So the beautiful thing is that our little grand boy is learning self-control, and they are making him learn it through discipline and love and provision and comfort and discipline and love and provision and comfort and discipline.
Pete Yeah, it’s one of many tools. Right. It’s a beautiful thing, and think about the fruits of the Spirit. The last one that is mentioned is self-control. Don’t we want our children to express all the fruits of the Spirit?
Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness.
Pete Kindness. Terri Kindness, gentleness, and then self-control. But they’re not going to know or be able to or be capable of expressing any of those fruits if they have not learned self-control.
And so they are doing a great service to their son by making him, at this young age, act the way he needs to act.

[14:29] And as he grows older, they’re going to be through their conversation and through their example, will be helping him to see how to be in his mind and to learn what it’s like to be like Jesus and to obey Jesus. So, at this young age, the actual training and the quote-unquote controlling of your child to do what is right is crucial in training their heart in the future.
And I think you’re also helping that child learn, both through the doing and through the example, how to manage their own thinking and their own emotion.
Because in this unusual circumstance that he found himself in, he’s feeling emotional, he’s not wanting to do this or that.
But your requirement of his obedience, in a kind way, there was nothing overbearing that we witnessed is helping him recognize, even though one and a half year old can’t articulate it this way, it’s helping him recognize, I can handle this.

[15:30] I can do the right thing. I can manage and wrangle my emotion. I can.
And of course, none of it happened instantly and it’s going to be months and months and months of building. But it’s like you said, the foundation that you’re building now sets you up for building a structure of obedience in the life later.
And so it’s really a training of not only the behavior itself, but the mindset and the emotion and all the things that go into the behavior.
So as a parent, I think we hear this conversation a lot where we give our kids excuse. They’re tired.
So it’s okay that they mistreated their sibling. They’re hungry.
So it’s okay that they threw a fit.

[16:11] Their feelings were hurt by their best friend. So it’s okay for them to go in the room and slam the door and, you know, things, whatever.
I’m just trying to think of scenarios of what might happen.
But we need to be always asking what behavior and mindset would God want my child to have at this time.

[16:28] So show me, Lord, how to help them get to that place. So that needs to be our mindset as a parent, and then we go for it.
We lead them to have the behavior and mindset of God, to know what God thinks of them, not to excuse them.
We’re already so tempted to excuse our thoughts and behavior in life all the time.

[16:53] I mean, I know I do it with myself. I feel this way, so I’m just going to go have a piece of chocolate cake.
I mean, it’s not wrong to have chocolate cake, but what if I just had one an hour ago?
So I shouldn’t excuse myself to have a second one if I shouldn’t.
So we want to help our children to develop this self-control of the mind, starting at the young age.

[17:16] So, friends, thank you for, again, for listening, for sharing the episodes.
We know that many of you do that.
Tell me that you do. So, we’re grateful. And Mindy, why don’t you close us up with a prayer?
Mindy Kaling Okay. Dear Lord, thank you so much for your wisdom, and thank you for your care and love that you have for our children. I just ask for Carrie and I and for all those parents out there who are listening that you will open their hearts to your heart and desire for their children, and that you will guide us all with your discernment and wisdom that comes from heaven, and give us clear direction in those times when there’s outside circumstances that could very well be the excuse to not train our child as we would normally train them. I, just pray that you will give us clarity and also determination to keep faithful in training our children, and not allow them to grow up thinking that it’s okay for them to give in to their flesh, their sinful temptations, just because of an excuse.

[18:26] I just pray, Lord, that you’ll help us to teach our children that right, self-controlled, way to live. and we love you and we believe you.


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