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Setting Up Your Children for Success

The following is an excerpt from “Created to Connect: A Christian’s Guide to the Connected Child.” Created by Dr. Karyn Purvis with Michael and Amy Monroe, “Created to Connect” serves as a dynamic resource for those looking to draw helpful, encouraging parallels between the Christian faith and the foundational teachings of Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®).

Our God is purposeful. From before the beginning of time, he’s had an “overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone” (Ephesians 1:12, “The Message”). Even before Adam and Eve first sinned, God had a plan for our redemption. Throughout the Old Testament, we read of God’s preparation that would reveal, in the fullness of time, his plan for the redemption of this fallen world.

In every facet from creation forward, God has a plan, and he is always prepared and at work to accomplish it for his good pleasure. We see this in the beginning as God spoke creation into existence. My childhood pastor used to whimsically quip: “You don’t see God creating fish on the first day and saying, ‘Hey guys, if you will, just flop around on dry ground until the third or fourth day; I promise that I will get around to making water.’” No, even when we don’t see it or cannot understand it, we are assured that our God has a plan, and he will accomplish it.

Despite our best efforts, our children will make mistakes and wrong choices, which will certainly provide for great teaching moments; however, acknowledging this reality is far different from “allowing” them to fail or setting them up to do so simply to create a teaching moment. We must recognize that children [who have experienced trauma] are overwhelmed by a deep sense of shame and feel as if they are hopeless, worthless, and beyond help. They are keenly aware of their many failures and faults, have come to expect that they will fail, and believe that we expect the same. As a result, they often oblige by meeting their own low expectations. And considering that many of them experience deeply held feelings of rejection, inadequacy, and low self-worth, it is clear that our children need us to be consistently cheering for their success and setting them up to succeed as much as we possibly can. We need to understand that this is undoubtedly a significant responsibility of all parents of children [who have experienced trauma].

We believe this approach also clearly reflects the heart of God. In the book of James, we read that God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt us to do evil (James 1:13). Simply put, God never sets us up for moral failure even though he is not shy about using our failures and faults as teaching moments. With this in mind, it is important that parents avoid the trap of “lying in wait” for their children to fail in order to teach them a lesson. Our kids will stumble and fall frequently, thereby providing us with ample opportunities to correct, teach, and forgive. The truth is that we as parents will do the same, providing our Heavenly Father with no shortage of opportunities to correct, teach, and forgive us. Just as God does with his children, we need to proactively plan and prepare to help our children succeed, and we need to be sure to praise them when they do.

Excerpt from “Created to Connect: A Christian’s Guide to The Connected Child,” created by Dr. Karyn Purvis with Michael & Amy Monroe. Published by Empowered to Connect. Used by permission.

“Created to Connect” is a foundational piece of Show Hope’s Hope for the Journey Conference (previously the Empowered to Connect Conference). To experience the practical teaching and tools for a path to healing and hope for children and families impacted by adoption or foster care, learn more here.

Download a digital version of “Created to Connect” for free here.

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