Sunday, August 14, 2016

Connected Families Overview

My family has been blessed by the ministry of Connected Families, founded by Jim and Lynne Jackson, two committed Christ-following parents of challenging children who have since grown up into dynamic healthy adults.

Jim and Lynne Jackson developed their parenting framework through their own experiences at home and also as they served in professional and ministry roles as therapists and mentors to challenging children and teens.

Before going through the Connected Families online course, my husband and I had a lot of conflict in our marriage about parenting approaches.  As Adam put it, "Not only were we not on the same page, we weren't even in the same book."

We got so much out of the course materials and noticed an immediate difference in the level of stress and chaos in our family relationships.  A few months later we jumped at the opportunity to attend a two day live workshop a few hours from our home so we could meet Jim and Lynne in person and also renew and deepen our understanding of this transformative philosophy.

The Connected Families framework is built sending children four messages through how we handle discipline situations:

  • You are SAFE with me
Stay connected to God through prayer and take a step back to become aware of what's going on in one's heart, soul and mind in order to be purposeful and peaceful rather than reactive in approaching the situation at hand.  
  • You are LOVED no matter what
Use a kind voice, connect physically, and listen with empathy to show truly unconditional love to children at the moment when they may seem and probably feel least deserving.
  • You are CALLED and CAPABLE 
Encourage rather than exasperate the misbehaving child by explicitly pointing out the God-given skill that they demonstrated in their misbehavior, what Jim and Lynne call the "gift gone awry," and consistently call them to and give them opportunities to use that capability for God's good purposes.
  • You are RESPONSIBLE for your actions
When consequences are needed, make them constructive and learning oriented, mirroring God's variety of techniques used to correct individuals in the Bible, such as a do over, a loss of privilege or the opportunity to make restitution.   

In the coming weeks, I plan to share some stories of this framework in action in our family.

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