I want to talk a little bit about what it means to be a place of peace for your child. 

Sometimes, in the trying moments,  we may feel the need to step away from the situation or our child so we can calm down. We certainly all need to just take some space from the crisis sometimes. But I want to remind you that we as parents are gifted not with our own inner peace, but with the peace that comes from abiding in Christ. 

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Jesus, while speaking with His disciples, spends a great deal of time explaining that the safe place for them is abiding in Him as their place of peace, ability, and safety because Jesus is abiding in the vital source of life in all its fullness–God himself. 

As parents, we do not take the place of Jesus, but we do build our model after Him and we see that He offers us a space within Himself that allows vulnerability and protection. 

When we understand abiding in Christ and live in this every day, we are able to be that place of peace for our children because we abide in Christ, and Christ abides in the Father. We are offering ourselves to be a link in the chain that helps connect our children with their creator. 

One does not simply bounce in and out of this abiding business. It is a conscious choice–a lifestyle. But it isn't quite as easy as giving you a checklist of things to mark off to make sure you're abiding in Him. How I wish it were that easy!

Ultimately, abiding in Christ is not about doing all the things, rather it is resting in our identity in Him. 
When we find our true identity in the One who created us, we are freed from misplacing our identity in the things that so quickly tempt us: how tidy our homes are, how obedient, how many Bible verses we have memorized, how much we accomplished around the house or for the Kingdom.

We do not have to strive for, work for, negotiate or argue for, defend, or take credit for Christ’s unconditional love for us. 
He is just as much at work in us when we’re dancing in praise to Him as when we’re dancing around toys on the floor. His faithfulness to us is just as steadfast when we read our Bible for an hour as it is when our Bibles sit in the car forgotten since last Sunday. His peace is available to us as reliably when our children are tucked snuggly in their beds and the house is quiet as it is when chaos ensues and screaming and crying and tantrums are the soundtrack to our days.

How I wish I could give you the indescribable gift of this freedom: abiding in Christ is about His faithfulness and goodness, not about how hard we’re holding on to Him. Jesus-Centered parenting, abiding in Christ is giving radical surrender to our weakness so that we can depend wholly on His strength. The world tells us to defend, hide, be ashamed of it, and deny our weakness. Jesus invites us to welcome our it as a sacred reminder to abide in Him and His strength.

To be sure, we can develop holy habits that remind us of Christ's faithfulness. But we must recognize that these habits are about being with Him, not about doing more or trying harder. 

Ultimately, as we abide in Christ we will begin to see evidence of His work in us:

The fruit of the Spirit: 
One of the evidences we are abiding in Christ is by bearing fruit–we are told what some of those fruits look like. I find that being familiar with something and putting those things into practice can be two totally different things. It may be a good idea to make a chart or write them out in a place where they are continually before your eyes as you a reminder of the work He is doing in you and through you. Yes, you may have to practice gentleness and peace many times over! But the work isn't yours to do alone! 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

Looking for opportunities to learn from Jesus:
How do we do this? Make time to spend with Jesus. For some people that looks like taking a chunk of time in the morning to soak in the word and be in prayer. For others in more busy seasons, it may simply be taking time to pause and bring the Lord into your day, or using the chromecast to put on a scripture playlist while you’re busy at home. Whatever the case may be, abiding in Christ looks like being drawn to spend time with Jesus and learn from Him how we can put His model Kingdom way of living into practice as a parent. 

 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29

Letting the Peace of God rule in your heart:
This is simple–stop striving for peace as though it’s something you can wrestle down. Remember who the Lord is and that He is always a non-anxious presence whom you can trust. Don’t let your mind be led down all sorts of rabbit trails. Practice, instead, letting the peace of God rule in your hearts. It’s not something to force. It is something to simply allow. It may take some practice, but if Jesus told us to, I can promise you it is worth it. 
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:15

Your unique story needs to be told in unique ways.
God is writing the beautiful story of you. The failures, conflicts, and struggles that arise in your story are part of what makes you unique. We know that the application of the scriptures we shared may very well look a little bit different for each of us, but ultimately, they will all point to Jesus. 

When we focus our energy on being peaceful, regulated, and steadfast we are able to bring those things–and Jesus– into every situation.

This abiding does not fail us because Jesus doesn’t fail us. Instead,  it brings peace to the chaos and our children are able to regulate and be at peace much more easily when we are doing just that. 


Do you want to know something that can really set me off as a dad? My children being disrespectful, disobedient, or rude to my wife. If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that my wife rarely needs me to defend her from the tiny people living with us. Mostly, she needs me to support her and help her during the stressful moments of parenting.

Let me tell you how that used to work out. So I’d be at work, working hard. Meanwhile, my wife is at home, tending to our little ones. Some days my wife loves being a work-at-home mom. This is not one of those days. My phone periodically buzzes with updates. She sounds increasingly frustrated and frazzled. She's trying hard not to take it out on the kids. I wish I could help her. Finally, my work day is done and I get to come home. By the time I get home, frankly, I'm a little bit peeved at my children. I walk in the door ready to lay down the law and defend my wife's honor.

I can't remember it ever working out particularly well. Mostly I just managed to add more chaos to an already chaotic day. Which meant I wasn't really the knight in shining armor I was hoping to be. Plus it wasn't doing my relationship with my children any favors. What kid is going to keep being excited that daddy is home when he often walks in door already frustrated with them?

So instead I changed what I do. I walk in the door and it's a clean slate. I try to spend a few minutes with each child, just re-connecting with them. My wife meanwhile, may have retreated behind a locked door to get a little alone time. Some days it's a re-set, and we have a wonderful evening together as a family. Some days it's a blip and we still have a hard day. But I've learned to father in the present, not trying to fix what's already in the past.


Whenever we ask, "what is your number one parenting trigger?" there is always a resounding response that whining definitely ranks pretty high up there. Why is whining so triggering, anyway? And what can you do about it? Here are a few tips + sample scripts to help you transform your whining trigger.

  • You were shamed, silenced, or ignored when you whined as a child, your subconscious brain may associate whining with neglect or emotional abuse.

  • You perceive whining to be a character flaw, sin, or grab for attention, or misbehavior instead of the developmentally normal communication that it is.

  • You genuinely desire for your child to be happy, and when they whine you feel insufficient as a parent because they clearly are not happy.

  • You feel out of control when your child whines, and that causes you to feel anxious and stressed.
  1. UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE - Research indicates that whining, just like crying, is simply a way for young children to communicate sadness, distress, or disappointment. Whining peaks between 2 and 4 years of age, just when a child is starting to become verbal, but has not yet acquired the vocabulary to express their feelings. Beyond the age of 4 whining is still a natural response to strong emotions and children may whine when they are overwhelmed, anxious, tired, hungry, or experiencing dysregulation.

  2. RECOGNIZE THAT YOUR FEELINGS ARE TIED TO THE PAST, NOT THE PRESENT -  Dr. Laura Markham of Aha! Parenting describes a trigger as "anything you experience in the present moment that activates a feeling from the past." When you feel triggered by whining, it is an activation of a wound or internalized belief from your childhood. You can determine the specific feelings it brings up, but common ones are feeling disrespected, unheard, unimportant, etc. What happens when a child feels unimportant or disrespected? They feel angry and defensive. Chances
    are, those are the same feelings you experience when you're triggered now.

  3. PLAN AND PRACTICE A NEW RESPONSE TO WHINING - Whatever your current reaction to  
    merely a program that your brain accesses automatically. You can write a new program for your brain, and with time and practice it will become your new response. The more you practice the new response, the more your brain will automatically access that new program when you hear whining. Try writing a few scripts to rehearse in the shower, the car, or as you fall asleep at night. And don't worry, your child will give you real-time practice opportunities as well!
These responses are meant to guide you as you find the right response for your family. Sample scripts can be incredibly helpful, but remember that you and your child have a unique relationship with unique needs. If these don't fit your personality, or if your child doesn't respond well, switch it up and find what works for you!

"It sounds like you're having a tough time right now. What's up?"
It seems like you're feeling whiny and sad, is that right? Do you need to cuddle or have a good cry? I'm right here to hold you.
I can tell you really want to be heard. Your words are important to me and it is hard for me to understand you. Why don't you use your regular voice? It helps me understand you better.
It sounds like you're feeling upset or overwhelmed, is that right? I have enough calm to share with you. Let's take a break and talk about this in a bit.
Can you whisper that in my ear?
Struggling to get control of your own parenting triggers? Our Transform Your Parenting Triggers can help you understand what's going on beneath the surface, discover regulating strategies that will help you stay and return to calm, and help you create new, gracious responses to common struggles. Learn more here.


When we're triggered by our child's behavior, it is so easy for us to forget to remain present. Remaining present is important for us as parents because it allows us to fully feel, process, and learn from our parenting triggers. And it is important for our children because it reinforces connection and models healthy coping skills.

The thing is, sometimes (for me: oftentimes), we don't even recognize that we aren't fully present! When we start to become dysregulated, we may physically be with our child, but emotionally and mentally we're distant and unavilable

  • You distract yourself or dissociate (example: scrolling your phone with no purpose)
  • You think "My child will always act this way."
  • You worry about how this will affect your later plans.
  • You avoid your child when you're triggered (longer than it takes for you to reclaim your calm).
  • You count down the minutes until nap time/Dad or Mom gets home/bedtime.
These signals are just that: signals. Counting down the minutes until nap time is a signal that you're struggling to remain present. Scrolling your phone is a signal that you're having a hard time being fully present. When you notice these signals, you don't have to beat yourself up! You can recognize the struggle and be patient and compassionate with yourself as you work to come back to this moment.

  • Put your phone away and out of reach.
  • Ask, "What does my child need in this moment?"
  • Ask "What do I need in this moment?"
  • Connect with your child in ways that will help calm you both.
  • Breathe slowly, pausing to notice how your stomach, chest, and lungs feel as you breathe in and out
  • "This is not an emergency, I am safe, my child is safe."
  • "Peace begins with me."
  • "I have everything I need for this moment."
  • "Love is patient and kind. I am patient and kind with myself and my child."
  • "Our love is stronger than our struggle."
  • "Holy Spirit, you are welcome here."
  • "A gentle answer turns away wrath." 
right click (or tap and hold) any image to save as a lock screen or wallpaper on your phone

And here's why you want to do this hard work: because this moment is fleeting! While it may be hard, overwhelming, messy, and unpleasant, it's a part of YOUR story - don't miss it!

These books helped me cultivate peace and learn to regulate my own emotions when triggered by specific behaviors.