MAN! it’s hot! We hit 100 degrees this weekend, here in Western Arkansas, right on the Oklahoma border, in the wild, wild western town of Fort Smith, where “Hangin’ Judge Parker” kept the law with a vicious posse of US Marshalls and gallows he kept busy all year long.
Speaking of hanging outlaws, what are your plans for your stepkids this summer? You know, hot weather just brings out the outlaw in bored kids. Just compare the attitudes of folks who live near the equator and those who live ‘way up in Canada! When it’s hot, tempers are more prone to flare.
So it’s not unusual for stepfamilies to report more temper tantrums – from both the kids and the adults! A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how to keep yourself from losing it this summer. But this post talks more about helping your kids to be less of a trial to you. (So, see, it’s still about you!)
Here are a couple of things you can do to keep the tempers a little more under control. I’ll offer mine here, and I hope you’ll not be too selfish to offer your ideas with other stepfamilies (hint hint!).
First and most important is for you to keep your sense of humor and keep things in perspective. Go to bed every night and wake up every morning praying for an extra dose of patience to guide, rather than shove your kids and stepkids through the coming day. If you think praying for patience with your kids doesn’t work, clearly you haven’t tried it (and applied it)! That’s all that got us through Jennifer’s teen years!
Yes, Judge Parker hung (hanged?) hundreds of outlaws in his days on the bench. But that fearsome old man also exercised a lit of mercy and prayer for the criminals brought before him. He was known to give bad guys a second or even third chance to prove themselves too good for hangin’. And these were some cast iron hard cases! So you can allow yourself some kindness, too.
Next suggestion is to keep ’em busy. Bored kids are much more likely to dream up ways to torture you than are busy kids. You used to hear a lot, “idle hands are the devil’s tools.” And though we don’t hear that said much anymore, it still rings true. If you’re feeling stuck for fresh ideas, here are a couple of good web sources for you:
• 200+ Ideas for Summer Fun
• Kids’ Turn Central
• Teen Jobs and Working Teens
And finally, it’s always a great idea to use the summer daze to get your kids more involved in their faith. Take advantage of the many Vacation Bible School programs in your town. Besides giving you an entire morning (Praise God!) free of your little darlings, VBS can begin instilling in them a sense of respect for you and for your religion. AND churches usually stagger their VBS programs so they don’t all fall on the same week, so you can often enroll your kiddos in more than one program for summer.
That’s all my suggestions for now – I’m not going to do ALL your work for you! Now you pass is on by commenting with your own ideas, or even your own summer situations. Remember, we’re a community. We can make our burden lighter if we share.
God bless y’all!
Bob Collins, STEPcoach