Parenting kids in a pressure-cooker world

Deacon Dana Nearmyer is the lead consultant for the archdiocesan office of evangelization and Catholic formation of youth

by Deacon Dana Nearmyer

Timeout is a method of disciplining a child when his or her decision-making is less than stellar.

It is a widely used technique and far more sophisticated than the methods that my sibling and I were raised with. After I put one of my kids in timeout several times in one day, I wondered to myself, “Is this working? And where do I think this child is going to draw wisdom from after multiple sessions in the same spot without much enlightenment?”

I was really frustrated, and so I began to pray. At that point, it hit me. Timeout to sit quietly was OK, but wasn’t it a better idea for us to pray about our decision-making, rather than reenact a mini cold war.

Our new version of timeout involves asking the Lord to give us a heart like his. Our lives are infinitely more peaceful, and our kids learn to seek Christ’s wisdom in the rough patches.

Parenting is exhausting and so much of it is trial and error. I read a book called “Hurt 2.0” by Chap Clark that has taken much of the guesswork out of parenting for me. Clark is coming to town on Jan. 18 at St. James Academy in Lenexa at 7 p.m. for all who are interested. He will also speak on Jan. 19 at the chancery offices to youth ministers, directors of religious education, family life directors, deacons, Sisters and priests. There is no charge for either event.

“Hurt 2.0” reveals the overpressurized world that our kids are navigating. It pulls back the cover on the hidden world of peer-to-peer counseling that teens and preteens retreat to when the adult community appears to abandon them.

This is really a critical read when achievement in academics, athletics and music/theater are valued so highly by adults. External accomplishments are admirable and important as part of being well-rounded. But we as Catholics know that our spirituality and interior life are even more important.

As I read “Hurt 2.0,” I learned that a portion of my daily routine was sending my kids the opposite message that I was intending to send. I was really challenged by the book and changed several of my habits and rituals after exploring with my kids what they were taking away from my parenting.

I am so grateful for “Hurt 2.0.” I recommend the book to parents frequently; I teach the book at Benedictine College. I use the book in my home and am thrilled to have Chap Clark coming to Kansas City to share his findings and encourage families to embrace the precious moments that slip by all too quickly. Please join us.

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