Author Archive | Nicole Hudson

Sibling Rivalry Solutions

I’ve been blessed to be the mother of children with strong personalities.  I know many moms can relate!  Some days the kids get along great, but other times it seems like they argue almost constantly!  And it drives me cRaZy.  If I only knew what fighting children did to a mother, I would have been a much better child.  But deep down, I’m grateful they’re so strong.  Strong-willed children can turn into leaders with steadfast convictions if we help them learn to channel their strength for good.

Why the contention?

Sibling rivalry is natural for kids.  We believe children are innocent through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, but “when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts”.  It’s true that children can be delightful, loving, and sweet, but they can also be petty, selfish, and demanding.  And it’s up to us as adults to teach them a better way.

I am so passionate about this.  My greatest desire right now is to have peace in our home.  In fact, for every Christmas or Birthday or Mother’s Day gift- when the kids ask me what I want, each time I say, “PEACE.”  My 4-year old misunderstood me, he recently said, “Mommy, for mudders day, “I’m gonna give yew peas.”  So cute.  But that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind!

When we allow contention in our homes, it negates everything we try to do as mothers.  We work so hard to create a warm and loving atmosphere.  We try to keep our homes clean and orderly and pleasant for those we love.  We try to teach our children good values and principles.  But if the spirit of the Lord is not present- what’s the point of any of it?  Without the spirit, our teaching does very little.  The Holy Spirit is the great teacher.  The Holy Spirit carries truth to their hearts.  The Holy Spirit is what helps them develop their own testimony, the very thing they will need most as we send them off into the world.

What to do about it?  

Thankfully we’ve been blessed with the ultimate parent how-to guide.  The scriptures have the answers to all our parenting questions.  The Lord created our children.  He knows them better than we do and He knows how to help us reach them.  But it’s up to us to turn to Him and ask for guidance, and recognize we can’t do this alone.  He will lead us to the answers that He’s already given us in His word.  There are thousands of parenting books out there- and many are wonderful.  But the information often seems to change based on the latest study and contradicts itself.  Thankfully, we have access to a timeless parenting manual… and the author is God, Himself.  What a tremendous blessing!

I’d like to offer a few suggestions here based on the scriptures and experience (usually learned the hard way ;))

 

This does not work:

Lecturing/Nagging–  It belittles our children, sends the message that they can’t think for themselves, and it rarely reaches their hearts.  Basically- it’s ineffective.
And, ye afathersbprovoke not your cchildren to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

This can also provoke children to feelings of anger and defensiveness.  But when we nurture them in the ways of the Lord and gently teach them- it allows the spirit to speak the truth to their hearts.

Yelling– The scriptures teach that a soft answer turneth away wrath.  (Proverbs 15:1)  It’s hard to supress our own anger and frustration with our children- especially when they are disobedient and bickering.  But we are the adults, right?  They are looking to us to be the example.  I find that I must prepare myself each day spiritually- and take the time to be at peace within before my kids wake up.  That might include prayer and scripture study, uplifting music, exercise, or whatever I need to do to be the stable and calm mother my kids deserve.

Stepping in/ Being the judge–  As we try to determine who was the offender and who was right during an argument, it only seems to create jealousy and blaming and more rivalry among our children.  I think it’s best to allow them the opportunity to work things out.  If we step in every time to solve all their problems, they’ll never learn how to get along without us.

Punishments– only causes more friction in the home and often resentment toward the parent.

 

These methods WORK:  (Kids still have their choice, but these principles will set them up for the best chance of success:)

Example– As much as I’d love to leave this one off the list, I know how important this is.  When I’m stressed out or have a short temper, my children feel the tension and they often react accordingly.  It’s actually a little intimidating to realize how much influence our attitude can have on them.  But we can choose to be a role model of positivity and love, despite our moods or circumstances.

Prevention:  When our family is consistently praying together, studying scriptures, and holding regular FHE (family home evening) there is much more peace in our home and our kids are much more likely to get along.  I know these practices foster unity among us, and increase the spirit of reverence in our home.

Another practical tip about prevention- We need to be aware of when and what our kids argue about, and try to find ways around it.  For example, we used to have plates for the kids in all different colors.  For some reason everyone wanted the green one.  (Don’t ask me why)  And they would argue over it almost every time we had dinner.  I got sick of it, so I gave those away and bought all white bowls.  Also each kid has an assigned seats, and their own day to say the prayer, etc.  We can look for simple solutions to prevent contention in our homes before it happens.

Look for the Good!-  It’s so important to catch our kids getting along with each other.  Notice it- and reinforce that behavior with praise, affection, and other forms of positive reinforcement.

Teach them to apply the Gospel of Jesus Christ-   This is not the same as preaching.  We can help them understand the effect of their behavior on others.  We can teach them about Christ and His life of love and sacrifice.  We can teach them about repentance, and the importance of prayer.  One idea is to pray with our children- individually.  Recently, the kids were fighting over a toy, and one of them lashed out and was really upset.  So I took him to another room to pray.  Just him and me.  I asked him to offer the prayer- he didn’t want to, but I waited on my knees until he offered it.  Finally, his heart softened, he repented, and love and unity was restored in our home.

Love and Serve one another-

But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another. (Mosiah 4:15.)

One idea to break up an argument- a friend told me when they started quarreling, their parents made them hold hands and sing a song about love and family.  She said they couldn’t help but laugh- and it immediately dispelled the negativity and helped them feel close again.  Love that!  Here’s another idea- Give them all cut-out hearts and have them do a chore, or write a note, or any kind act of service for someone in the family and leave the heart behind as a token of their love.

Since no success in life can compensate for failure in the home, this cause is noble and of greatest importance.  There will be times we mess it all up.  There will be moments we feel like failures.  But thankfully we know that we only truly fail when we stop trying.  So mommas, keep on trying.  Keep on striving for peace and harmony in the home.  It will be worth our every effort.

 

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7 principles that can restore your marriage

20My husband and I recently went through a trying season in our marriage. I’m willingly transparent and open about this for one reason… if sharing these thoughts will encourage even ONE person to keep on fighting for their marriage, then it would have served it’s purpose. I’m so glad we didn’t give up on each other, because we have emerged stronger and our marriage is happier now than ever.

7 principles that can restore your marriage

  1. Here’s an interesting fact I learned in a family studies class in college.  They surveyed couples that rated their marriage as unhappy and followed up with these couples after 5 years.  Turns out 85% of unhappy couples bounced back!  After the 5 year period, they rated their marriage as happy or very happy.  Not all marriages work out of course, but when things get rocky, it’s good to remember the odds and keep the hope alive.
  2. I’ve learned to shift my perspective and see relationships as a “total package” deal.  The weakness of your partner is the price you pay for all their strengths. When you marry them, you marry ALL of them… the good and the bad. The known and the unknown. The past, the present AND the future. Here’s what I realized… dealing with my husband’s weaknesses is simply the cost to have such an overall ROCKIN man. Besides… he puts up with all my nonsense too!
  3. There is a force of darkness hell bent on destroying marriages because the deepest source of joy in this life comes from these precious family relationships. One day we realized we had to stop fighting each other and instead fight against the real enemy. Because the truth is, when your partner loses, you lose too. Placing blame in marriage is like saying, “your side of the boat is sinking.”
  4. What you focus on expands!!  I was teaching kids at church about gratitude once, so I asked them to look around the room for 1 minute and try to find as many yellow things as they could.  Then I told them to close their eyes and asked them to repeat to me everything in the room that was purple.  They couldn’t do it.  Not one single thing.  When we become so focused on one bad habit or weakness, we miss out on all the beauty there in plain sight. So when we choose to magnify the good, that’s what we’ll see!
  5. We can’t change or control anyone. Only God has that power.  All we can do is to be an example and be their best friend.  That will do more to help people improve than anything else we could say or do.
  6. Love is simply a choice. Stephen R. Covey once said, “Love is a verb. Love the feeling is a fruit of love the verb.” If you feel you’re falling “out of love” that just means you need to serve each other, sacrifice for each other, listen to each other- really listen. If we both wake up every day and ask ourselves, “What can I do today to make life easier for my best friend” we simply can’t fail.
  7. Most of all, I’ve learned to rely on the Lord and trust Him. Many counselors have noted that they’ve never seen a couple in serious marital trouble who were still praying together daily. There is true power in seeking Lord’s help to restore the love and light in our marriages. Jesus Christ is the ultimate healer. He not only heals our bodies but our relationships too. He can and He WILL breathe life into our marriages if we ask Him in faith.

These are 7 principles that healed and restored our marriage.Happy and free woman facing the sun.

What principles have you lived by to help heal your marriage?

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The first and greatest commandment

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:38-39)

Blessings of Keeping a Journal

Today I read through a journal I’ve kept over the last few years and noticed something that really made an impact on me. I marked each day I had prayed and studied the scriptures and noticed the periods in my life that I had done these things consistently were the times I wrote about deep contentment and serenity.  My marriage was rock solid, and I seemed to have more patience with the kids.  It’s not that my life was free of trials during these times, but I seemed to have a greater resolve and strength to get through those trials – a strength beyond my own.

Make time for the Lord

Prayer and scripture study are gospel basics that I KNOW I need to do. But the challenge is in the DOING and doing it consistently and doing it right. Admittedly, I’ve done it all wrong too often. There are days when I’m completely sleep deprived. I’ve been up with an infant or a sick child, so I wake up with just enough time to scramble to get myself and everyone else ready. So in other words, I make time for everyone… except the Lord.  The rush of the day begins, and I have every intention of praying and reading scriptures during the day, but sometimes, somehow I get distracted or pulled in so many directions that it just doesn’t happen.  “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:4) My intentions are good but I just don’t always have the discipline to follow through.  But the truth is…  “If you can’t find time to pray or read scriptures, you’re busier than God ever intended you to be.” -Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

Communicate with Him more sincerely

Another mistake I’ve made is to be too casual with prayer and use “vain repetitions”. Or I’ll start a prayer, and allow my mind to wander off onto something else, or on occasion, if it’s a bedtime prayer, I’ve even fallen asleep in the middle of it. Although I believe the Lord is pleased with any sincere effort we make to communicate with Him, I think He expects more from us. He asks us to be sincere and penitent. Thankfully, He is eternally patient and kind with me and with all of His children. He wants to bless us! And He already knows what we need but we must ask Him in prayer. I love this quote from the Bible dictionary, “The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them.” and ” … your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” (Matthew 6:8).

I think as mothers in particular, we have a great need to renew ourselves spiritually each day. As much as I adore my children and LOVE what I do, motherhood and homemaking can be exhausting. So we especially need to draw upon the power of God so we can best serve our families. To let Him pour his love into us, so we can pour it into our loved ones.  They deserve nothing less than a balanced wife and mother who has made time to commune with the Lord.

Make God your priority

So I made a decision to be more consistent in prayer and it has been a great blessing in my life. Sometimes all it takes is ONE small choice, we just have to make up our minds, and choose to put Him first. The change came about as I asked myself, what is the single MOST important thing in my life? And the answer came, it is truly my relationship with God and my love for Him. So who then should get first priority in my life? Not my husband, not my kids, not even myself… God should! So I decided the very first thing in the morning– every morning– my knees will hit the floor, to show my love and devotion to Him each day. It’s a simple ritual, but it makes a tremendous difference in my life.

I know there is power in prayer. When I sincerely pour out my heart to Him… I literally feel the burdens lift. Sometimes the problems remain, but I can let go of the negative and worrisome thoughts, and choose to be happy and trust in the Lord.

I even put a pillow down beside my bed, as a symbol and a reminder of my desire to keep the first and great commandment.  It is now a permanent fixture beside our bed.

“Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can” Pres. Benson declared. “He willJesus Christ Knocking deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life” (Teachings, p. 361).

He truly does make more out of us than we could ever make of ourselves. And that is what I noticed in my journal I discovered me without Him… and me with Him. And I definitely prefer the latter! And I think my family does too. 🙂

So we have a choice. We can choose to go it alone in life, relying on our own strength, our own intellect, and our own abilities, or we can trust in Him to walk us through this life and compensate for what we lack. He wants to bless us and fulfill the petitions of our hearts but we must take the initiative and let him in.

What do you do to make God a priority and improve your communication with him?

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You are enough

Unrealistic beauty expectations

Could I just have a moment to vent about what society is doing to women? I have such strong convictions about this and have to share or I might just burst!!

Last night, I flipped through a beauty/fashion magazine for the first time in many years, and I just felt this overwhelming hollow sadness. Sadness not just for myself, but for my mother, my daughters, and every girl and woman in our society. We wonder why so many girls have body-image issues, low self-esteem and eating disorders? It occurred to me… the under”lying” LIE that each and every page is selling is that we’re not enough. No matter how hard we try and no matter how much we buy, we’ll never be enough.

The ultimate goal of advertisers (and the adversary) is to get us to keep consuming the latest fashion trend, makeup product, wrinkle cream, plastic surgery procedure, etc., and to continually strive to become this standard of beauty which is simply unattainable… because it’s not even REAL. These images are airbrushed and distorted, and yet girls see them everywhere and accept them as reality. It burns an image into our minds of what we should look like, and we jump on the hamster wheel of trying to keep up, but we’ll always fall short. Even if we come close to “ideal”… it doesn’t last and it can all be taken from us in an instant.

The magazine featured a professional manicurist boasting that she treats her nails with oils 10 times each day and recommends the same for ultimate nail care. I’m sorry… but what a colossal waste of TIME. Looking back on our lives will we wish we had spent more time in the salon?? I don’t think so!! We’re not taking our perfect manicures, breast implants, hair extensions or chiseled abs with us ladies!! You know what I think?? I think it’s all one BIG FAT distraction. Distraction designed to keep us from pursuing what we’re really here on this earth for. Distraction to distance us from God. True happiness will never come from achieving the perfect body, perfect hair, etc. It’s vapid. It’s vain. It’s an illusion!!! It keeps us trapped in this insatiable cycle of consuming and becoming so consumed with OURSELVES that we forget to lose ourselves in the service of others; the true source of joy.

Balance is Best!

Don’t get me wrong. Attention to hygiene and physical appearance is obviously important. There are spiritual benefits to mastering the body through proper nutrition and fitness. It’s all about balance, and our society has taken it all to the extreme. When our hearts become set on these things, when we neglect more important spiritual things in the pursuit of it, when we feel less than enough because we’ll never measure up to the images of “perfection” all around us, it becomes a real problem. Not just for us, but for those who are depending on us to lead them to the truth. The lie leaves us insecure, but the truth reassures us we’re secure in Christ. The lie yells: “You need more!! You’re NOT ENOUGH as you are!! You will never be enough!!” The truth whispers: “You ARE enough. You have always been enough. You are His. You are bought with a price and you are now priceless. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Call to action

I’m not a fan of venting unless there’s a call to action attached to it. So here’s a call to action for myself, and anyone who cares to join me. Our daughters need the women in their lives to stand in stark opposition to the crushing tidal wave of lies they’re getting from our culture. They need women who refuse to buy into the lie. Women who are willing to take a stand for the truth and teach them about the value of DEEP and lasting beauty. To demonstrate the virtues of modesty, humility, and dignity in dress and appearance. And to show them by example that their true VALUE has NOTHING to do with how they look. That means less time in front of a mirror, and more time in front of a book. Less time shopping, and more time serving. Less money consuming, and more money contributing. I want to be that kind of woman. I can do better!! Let’s do better together. Our daughters deserve nothing less.

It’s your body and your journey.

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5 Quick Solutions for Busy Moms

1. Delegating in the home

Busy Moms delegate kids to do listsI once learned in a leadership class that “people support what they help create.” I believe this to be a true principle, but I realized we weren’t applying it very well in our family, so I decided to put it to the test. I often felt that if you want something done right, you might as well just do it yourself. It’s almost easier that way!  But that approach to motherhood was denying my children opportunities for growth and creating feelings of overwhelm and busy mom burnout. Total lose-lose. My job as a mom isn’t to take over and run the family show. My job is to guide my children to become the best versions of themselves.

So I started applying this leadership principle in the home. I took a step back and delegated more by allowing the kids to take a more active role in family duties. They help teach lessons, they share devotionals, they do their own laundry, they help prepare meals, and now they actually do it WELL because they feel a sense of ownership of these things.  And we finally have a checklist that actually works. I can’t even count how many charts and reward systems I’ve created for these kids over the years, and none of them withstood the test of time.
But this time, the kids collaborated together and created one themselves. They’re responsible to give themselves check marks and report back each day. And they love it! The jobs actually get done without any nagging which makes all of us happy. They’re more invested in the process because they took an active role in creating it. So applied our family, I’ve found this principle holds true… people tend to support what they help create.

Busy Moms Remember the important things in life.2. Teaching moments on the go

Busy Moms!!  Do you ever feel like you’re not getting enough time to teach children?  This little solution has been a total lifesaver.  Try putting scriptures or meaningful quotes on index cards to make the most of travel time.  When we’re driving to and from school, the kids take turns choosing a card and we discuss the scripture and share our thoughts and feelings about the doctrine. This has been a simple but powerful way to use time wisely.  We can connect on a spiritual level and teach life’s most valuable truths.

253.  Cultivating Gratitude

Kids complaining too much?  Have a family goal to come up with 100, or 1000 things to be grateful for!  Put it up in a prominent place in the home to be consistently reminded of your goal.  Next time they complain, help them shift their perspective and reflect instead on their blessings by adding 10 things to the list.  This simple technique can help cultivate more gratitude in the home.

14.  One-on-one time

Do you have more than one child?  Do you ever feel you’re not getting enough one-on-one time with each of them?  Try allowing each kid their own “night to stay up”.  On their special night of the week, they get to stay up later for some quality time together.  One idea is to set the timer for 30 minutes and let them choose an activity. They may want to read aloud, do an art project, tell stories, play a game, or just cuddle and talk.  It has been such a great way to ensure they’re regularly getting individualized attention.

345. The Gem Jar

Looking for a positive reinforcement technique that works?   When it comes to our children’s behavior, it’s so easy to focus on the negative.  But studies have shown reinforcing good behavior is the best way to help children improve.  This is what we call our Gem Jar. The kids earn these for good behavior, and if they fill it up, we go on a family outing.  We all try to notice and emphasize the good in each other.  The best part about this is it’s a team effort!  When we fill up the family jar, we celebrate together as a family.  Rewards might include: a special camping trip, an family movie night, a pizza party, a night to stay up past bedtime, a game night, a family service project, etc.  Anything that is especially “rewarding” for your family.

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