It’s Just a Phase!

 How many times have you thought, “It’s just a phase!” or, maybe, “Please, let this just be a phase!”? Maybe your infant thinks 3:00am is great mommy-me time. Or, your preschooler asks “Why?” so many times your brain hurts. Maybe, your nine-year-old son tells so many groan-worthy jokes you could publish your own joke book. Or, your middle-school daughter rolls her eyes so often you wonder if it really is possible for them to get stuck!

We tend to talk about phases negatively, as if they’re something we hope to get through as quickly as possible. In their book, It’s Just a Phase So Don’t Miss It, Reggie Joiner and Kristen Ivy define a phase this way:

Phase: A time frame in a kid’s life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their future.

 Each phase has its own significant relationships, present realities and distinctive opportunities. Let me encourage you to begin to think about phases positively. Picture how you can leverage each of the above phases to influence your child.

  • When you’re up in the middle of the night, take time to pray over your child. Tell Bible stories or remind them of the big truths of Scripture (God loves them, God loves them, God can do anything, etc.) This works while you’re sitting in the bathroom during that all-consuming potty-training phase, too!
  • Be thankful your preschooler actually wants your opinion. That may not will not always be the case! Use your many conversations to pass along your beliefs and worldviews in an age appropriate way. Leverage that inquisitiveness!
  • Applaud your joke-telling nine-year-old for having a big heart that likes to make people laugh. Brainstorm together about other ways he can use his big heart to make people smile and show them Jesus.
  • And the eye-roller? Step back and determine what’s really up with her. Maybe she doesn’t feel heard. Maybe she thinks you’re out-of-touch with reality. Maybe she just wants her own way. Respond appropriately when disrespect is involved, but don’t forget she’s still yours to influence. Sometime, when she’s not rolling her eyes, take her out for a coffee date (just the two of you). Discuss her hopes and dreams for the future. Gently remind her that the way she treats people, including her family, will have a huge impact on her future and her witness for Christ. Your focused attention will matter, even if she doesn’t act like it.

They typical child has around 936 weeks between birth and high school graduation. That’s a lot of phases! My oldest child just left for college this fall. Let me assure you the days (or phases) may seem long, but the years really do go by way too fast. I am going to begin a series of posts covering different phases in your child’s life (birth-18) and how you can leverage those phases to influence your child and their walk with Christ. Stay tuned!