This post is about how to build family connections that last a lifetime. We all want that, don’t we? I have an amazing book to share with you today that details how to do just that, written by my dear friend, Lori Wildenberg who is a gifted writer and also a licensed parent and family educator. I have written about other parenting books she has authored here and here, because my gosh, they are all full of so much wisdom and encouragement, I believe every faithful parent needs to read them.
“A Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections” is one more parenting book you must add to your reading list if you want to grow and nourish your family relationships in strong, adaptive, supportive, and respectful ways. Lori has addressed the most common parenting goal of pushing our kids toward independence and identified insights I never considered that result in detachment, isolation, and disconnect within the familial ties. Instead, she offers us a new refreshing parenting goal that will create an “Interdependent Family” which you will learn a great deal about in her latest book.
“Interdependent Parenting” still encourages and teaches our kids to be responsible and accountable, however, the goal is not separation but instead having our kids seeking encouragement, assistance, and connection from the family throughout their lives.
“Most moms and dads want to have a relationship with their adult children, one that includes leaning on each other and celebrating together. A natural result of independence, however, is separation. Once we realize what independence really is, most of us don’t want it.
What we really want is to raise responsible people- those who care for others, answer for their own conduct, fulfill obligations, keep promises, and are accountable for actions, words, and choices.”
She clarifies that the goal is not to enable our kids toward dependency, but instead, create a loving family environment that supports relationships that can sustain and build endurance throughout their lives. Life will get messy and it will also be an extraordinary journey and as parents, we want to encourage, empower, and support our kids through it all. When we push our kids to be independent, this results in a disconnection, as they believe they are on their own, so they must manage life apart from us and learn not to rely on us. This consequently sends a message of isolation and detachment- both of which neither the parent nor the child wants.
This book unpacks all the different challenges every family will encounter and identifies the common parenting pitfalls and consequences that result from them. Lori outlines many new approaches we can use with parenting our kids instead, applying this interdependency approach to building a strong family foundation that resembles the Biblical church body. God designed us as relational human beings, and the family unit is the most intimate bond He created for us to enjoy and embrace. Why not nourish it and cultivate a strong foundation that remains for a lifetime?
In reading her book, my perspective has completely changed and my parenting goals have shifted toward interdependent relationship building instead of the common parenting goal of independence because I see how it will build strong connections I want to last with my kids through a lifetime. I want our family unit to keep the emotional and spiritual bonds that tie us together, even when my kids leave home!
I want my kids to know they can call on their parents and we will be there for them, because if they know they are loved and supported, if they are taught the values of being independent but know they have a family foundation that still remains with them as they encounter obstacles and challenges and triumphs, they will know they are loved and celebrated and supported always.
I love how Lori describes it in her book:
“If we weave family relationships like a web they will be strong and stretchy. They will be able to withstand adversity and recover from it. The components of peacemaking, appreciating unique qualities, acknowledging imperfection, being honest, having a sense of humor, and a willingness to be open are six strands looped together to create a healthy interdependent environment. When family relationships are strong and stretchy, robust and flexible, resilient and pliable, they will be interdependent relationships that last a lifetime.”
We are all created for connection, for relationships, and God designed the family for the most beautiful and fruitful bond of all. Of course, we want our kids to move on to lead happy and productive lives, but don’t we also want them to stay connected intimately with us, their parents? Don’t we want the closeness of our family unit to stay intact, despite the distance? I know I do.
I earmarked so many pages, full of great detail on how raising an interdependent family looks along with identifying all the challenges and classic parenting techniques that need to be changed into a more interdependent approach.
Here are just a few important areas of parenting Lori tackles:
- Five different types of connections that family members experience.
- Healthy and productive ways to bond with your kids.
- How to engage and resolve conflicts.
- How to help your kids grow a conscience.
- Rights vs needs and how to address them with your kids.
- How to endure adversity with your children.
- The difference between parenting independent kids and having an interdependent family.
- How God views family ties and biblical accounts that support the interdependent approach.
- An outlined Declaration of Interdependence to follow as a family.
- Various personal parenting stories that reflect many of the insights shared in the book.
After reading “A Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections”, I am relieved that I don’t have to push my kids away, but rather I can continue to teach them the values and skills needed to live a happy, productive, and faith-filled life right alongside me. I can nourish connections within our family unit that will withstand adversity and strengthen our relationships through each kid’s triumphs and struggles as they go forward building their own path and purpose with their own God-given gifts. That is the family I want to create, nourish, and experience. I’m guessing you might want that too.
If so, you can purchase “Messy Parenting” HERE on Amazon today!
*I was blessed with a copy of this book to offer you my honest review.*