Building a Strong Individual Relationship with Each Child
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Join Charlie and Kristina Matz as they navigate the journey of Biblical parenting. Go behind-the-scenes as they share Biblical insights from the front lines of parenting their five children.Listen on Apple Podcasts
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It’s really important to develop unique relationships with each of our children. Not only together, as mom and dad, but also individually, to form deep bonds that build trust and create opportunities for discipleship. It’s not necessarily an easy thing to do… life is full of commitments and time can be hard to come by. So what do we do now that we have five children?
Hey friends, before we get started, we wanted to note that this episode was in response to an email that we got from Roxie Jones.
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what does the Bible say about parenting? What wisdom can we gain from those who've gone before us? How can we aim to raise children into adults who repent and follow Christ? And honestly, what do we practically do when we wake up tomorrow? We're Charlie and Kristina Matz and we're on a journey to seek answers to those questions and more.
We have five kiddos. So we are always praying, I'm learning and growing and what God in the Bible have to say about raising these wonderful children. This is the behind the scenes of our life with children seeking to raise them in biblical wisdom, join us and together what's worked and confidently navigate the journey of biblical parenting.
It's really important to develop unique relationships with each of our children, not only together as mom and dad, but also individually to form deep bonds, to build trust, to create opportunities for discipleship. It's not necessarily an easy thing to do because life is full of commitments and time can be hard to come by. So what do we do now that we have five children? But first
one curious thing. So this week we wanted to share with you guys the curious thing. Just of our early cooking foibles. When we were married, most of them were me. I will say I was not anywhere near like a gourmet chef when we met block. Praise God for your opinion of that. I love that. Um, but one of the things I remember being super embarrassed when we went back home was the first time that after we were married that we went back to Charlie's home in Michigan and your dad and Annie are in the kitchen. Everyone's getting ready to make a meal. And so I want to be like the awesome new wife, you know, that everybody loves and like offered to help. And so I go in there and I'm like, Hey Amy, like how can I help make dinner? And she hands me a potato and a knife and she's like, why don't you peel the potatoes? But I had to ask her how I'd only ever seen a potato killer before. I didn't even know that you could peel a potato with a knife. Barely. Right? If I was crocodile Dundee, it's the Midwest. I mean you give someone a knife to do, to spell it with
it. So what was the second thing?
So the second thing is we lived, another one curious thing we should share at one point is that we lived in a trailer, my parents' side yard for a year and a half. When we were first married, we can go into that more later. But when we lived there, I love garlic. And so I was like, Oh, I'm going to like make this really yummy pasta dish. And so I made this amazing dish, which is like pasta, simple olive oil and garlic. Charlie starts eating it and like can understand why it tastes so horrible. And it was because I didn't know that you to like cook down broccoli or not. This is how bad I was. You had to like cook down garlic. And so I just pressed like four or five garlic cloves raw into this pasta and stirred it all around for Ste.
I couldn't even feel my tongue. It was like the whole mouth was numb, but the worst one is what I did. So we bought some pasta with Alfredo sauce and we were cooking it at home. I think Christina either had just had our first. And so I was in the kitchen, I was making, I was getting really frustrated and she didn't know how, why. And so, um, after the first batch of pasta, she sees me throw away the pan and start over. So I started again and I'm like, I don't understand sweetie. All of our pans are, are just are, are, are done prom away.
That'd be it. Like the nonstick stuff was coming off into our pasta sauce and was gonna like kill us, you know, poison.
But it was just the pepper sauce. So I almost threw away a second pan. Uh, but fortunately as she caught it before I threw it away and said, I think that's the pepper and the Alfredo sauce and not flex of know deadly metal. So you were so concerned for welfare and you didn't want to poison us. I was protective over my wife and our new son and I was not gonna let deadly pan poison get into our food. So
see what 13 years can do though. I mean, I can peel a potato even with a knife. I know what to do with garlic and you know, if there are pans away,
Hey, that's a great segue into how do we have deep relationships with each of our children?
Well, I think it's important to note first that building relationships with our children won't just happen and we're going to get to some practical ways that we find time to do this at the end. But the truth is even if we only had one child and even when we only had one, this was something that really needed to be intentional. And I know this sounds really obvious. It does to me too, but for me I have found that if I don't personally remind myself of this simple truth, I will often overlook it. I have to truly purpose to continually get to know my children and the older they get, the more important becomes. I think it's easy to think that, you know, if we've done a great job investing in them in their early years, then we kind of have room to ease up as they get older and we rest on that foundation. But it's really not the case. We need that foundation. Of course, don't get me wrong, but we need to spend the rest of their life building upon that foundation rather than assuming that it's going to be enough. At its own on its own. I mean, when our kids are 15 and 16 years old, we don't want to be recalling what our relationship with like when they were four in order to know how to best serve and disciple them at the current age.
Yeah. It's so hard because I think we often have a hard time is thinking of or thinking of our children as more important than ourselves. So just like we should with everybody in our lives. So a lot of times we don't do the things we're not interested in, which a lot of times our kids are interested in things we're not necessarily interested in naturally. Um, you know, we've found that parenting is not unlike anything else that takes hard work and patience as you work towards longterm goals. You really have to have a plan. That's been my biggest thing is if I don't have a plan, it really doesn't end up turning into anything. Um, so much of what the Christian life and especially parenting boils down to is really knowing what to do and then forming a plan to do it. You know, so many times I've met people who struggle to have an effective quiet time in the Bible.
Um, when I dig in with them many times they don't know where to start, you know? And once they know where to start, they don't form an execute a plan. Where am I going to get up and sit? What time am I getting up? You know, what, what am I going to, you know, where's my coffee in the morning? All those things. You have to take any consideration form a plan, you know, and we're in a spiritual battle just like a real soldier, you know, we can't decide what to do when the bombs and the guns start going off. You have to decide before then and train ahead of time. Um, we need to plan ahead and be ready to work that plan. I've found very, I've personally found very little success in having a good relationship with each of my children. Without a plan. It never happens. I literally have a task in my, you know, to do list every week so that it pops up or it's on my calendar as a recurring event to go out and to spend time with my kids. And a lot of times it might sound to somebody like that's conjured up or that's dry, but I'm telling you, it's not the time I actually spend with them isn't, but I need a system in place in order to actually make sure I'm present and I'm showing up at a specific time.
Well, it's like when we plan a date night, right? Like we have to carve out that time and the time that we're together, it's not dry in any way. Like we're super fun and we have a blast together. You know?
It's just going to be your natural tendency to say like, well, that seems a little too forced, or maybe businesslike. It's like, well, if you're running the Christian life, you know hard, which you should be. You're going to have to schedule these types of things into a calendar or else it won't work.
Right. Agreed. It's also important to remember why we want to have intimate relationships with our kiddos in the first place and that is to disciple them. So yeah, we know that we need to form a plan, but ultimately we need to know why we're forming the plan in order to really stick with it and put in the work. It might be helpful to think about this first in terms of the relationships that we have as grownups. Each of us should have someone that is discipling us and even if it's not in a formal way, we need to have someone that we can look to strive after and seek counsel from as we live our Christian life. And I can guarantee that the person we trust to help guide us through our Christian life is someone that we know, someone that we trust and someone that we truly believe cares for us.
And so we have to aim to achieve these same goals with the relationships we have with our children. We need to truly get to know them as the unique little person that God has made them to be. And we need to grow a mutual relationship of trust with them by hearing their heart time and time and time again and responding with tenderness and seriousness, not ever making light of their childish concerns, but remembering they are children and we need to show them that we truly care by investing our time and attention into them, which means put the cell phones down. Don't be looking at the TV eyes on them. You know, as parents, we have been given a God ordained task of instructing our children according to his word. Ephesians six four is very clear about that and this instruction will be most effective if we take the time to invest in knowing our children so that they are going to take the time to actually hear the instruction that we're giving to them.
Our aim, I know this might offend some people, so bear bear with me. Our aim is not to be friends with our children. Now just I'm going to repeat, that's not our aim. Okay. Our aim, the thing we're aiming for is not friendship with our children. Our aim from a biblical standpoint is to train our children to respect and trust us as wise and trust trustworthy guides that are pointing them to Christ. However, from all the parents that we've talked to who are far ahead of us but have made it their aim to train and disciple their kids the way the bib, the Bible mandates, they tell us that you do have a friendship with your children when they're older. The adult relationship,
I know this isn't a great analogy, but it's like if you have a job that you're working, you don't work towards making more money, you work toward doing your job really well and as a result you'll make more money over time. And so poor analogy, but it's really the same concept. If you aim for discipling your children really well and biblically God is very kind to deliver that friendship. And um, we've experienced that already I think in certain pockets with our oldest couple, uh, our oldest two kids, uh, you know, obviously there's, there's, that's a growing experience, a growing thing over time, but already some sweet moments with that.
Yeah, I think it's, it's easy to look ahead for me and to see, okay, as our relationship maintains and grows, I can see how this child is going to be a sweet friend when they're older. Right. But I mean Charlie and I, even, especially with one of our kiddos with me, I have to be really careful to remind them because they try to cross a barrier because of their love and affection for me. But I even have to remind them like I am not your friend. I am first your mom.
And because of their maturity, they're very mature so they can hang in a conversation that's very friendly. Now hang with us, we're going to get some very practical tips on how to carve out more time with your kids. They were getting real philosophical and real kind of foundationally biblical here and why in the why. And then we're going to get to the watt in a second. But first a quick note as it relates to correction or discipline, often we hear parents talk about the importance of knowing your children well as it relates to correction. But I'd like to just throw a little bit of caution out to all of us as it relates to the correction of our children. To use the specifics of their personality as an opportunity to lean in rather than let up again, just use their personalities and opportunity to lean in rather than let up.
And what I mean is the Bible is clear when it comes to the necessity and blessing of discipline. Scripture makes clear that we discipline out of love and the love that we have for our children as a reflection of the Lord's discipline of us as he, as his beloved children, you know, and Hebrews 12, we learn about that. So regardless of who our children uniquely are, one might be, you know, um, I don't know, a lot more calm naturally. Another might be a little less patient naturally. So regardless of who our children uniquely are, we are commanded with each of them to uphold a biblical discipline with all of the patients and love that is required of us in the patients pages of scripture. However, because our children are unique, we will find that they will have unique temptations and sin struggles. This is where we need to lean in.
We cannot overlook a people pleasing child simply because they're often, you know, quote unquote good in love. We need to help them to see that pride motivates much of their behavior and that pride is sinful and we don't do this with accusation, but with thought provoking questions that get them to discover the whole heart of their own motives. A child who is more prone to a hot temper should be continually encouraged to slow, be slow to speak, and quick to listen and to avoid sending in their anger. I'm referencing James one 19. Uh, by knowing our children more intimately, we can learn how to best disciple them and consistently discipline them. I hope that makes sense. Their uniqueness is an opportunity to navigate nuance, their discipline not to let up and let an excuse sin,
right? We don't ever want to say, well, this child doesn't respond well to a specific kind of biblical directive for correction. We want to trust that God's word is true and we're looking to him, not our children, to dictate that. You know,
we'll get into some practical like tips, some tidbits and quick fire round. Let's do that. Yeah.
Ooh, tidbits and tips. All right, so what does this look like for me as the mom? So here are some ways that I spend one on one time with the kids. Um, okay. So I include them in meal prep or cooking. So my kids love to help me and this not only allows one on one time, but it also is teaching them a valuable life skill in the process. But I will warn to plan ahead so that there is no temptation to be impatient because things will inevitably take longer. So if you only have like your normal time to make a meal, don't try to like throw the five-year-old in there with you to do it cause you're going to get frustrated and rush them along. Like plan an extra 30 to 40 minutes and bring them along. Then
plus they'll know how to peel a potato Sunday when they [inaudible].
Yes, my mom was still embarrassed when she heard that story of her. All right. Hey also play board games or card games with the kids. So all of them have different favorites but they all love to play games. And so a lot of times what I can do is when my younger ones are napping, then I'll sit down and play a more advanced game with the older kids. Sometimes it's the both of my oldest, but sometimes also like I'll just, you know, while one's maybe doing quiet reading or finishing up a project, I'll take the other one aside and just the two of us will play. I also started recently doing book clubs and this came from actually something I heard, um, a mom far ahead of me just share about the love of books with her kids. And so basically what I do is my, my two readers, um, I pick a book and you know, I'm reading those books with, you know, I read one book with Evie and one book with David and then when the book is done or when we get halfway through, whatever, we sit down together, we discuss the book and it's been really fun and it's brought about a lot of really good questions and we try to make it special.
Evie loves to set up the whole tea thing and we have tea and David just wants like, you know, a sugary drink and chips. He doesn't usually get to eat. So, um, with our five-year-old, she loves when I sit down and just teach and have like, you know, learning time. And so it's, that's going back to finding out what they love and that's something that's a blessing to her. So I can sit down with her and have one on one time where we're doing puzzles together, we're coloring something or we're counting or whatever. Um, and she loves that now because I homeschool, I absolutely realized that I have more time during the day to facilitate some of these things. Um, but even if the are in school and both parents are working, the same activities can take place. They can happen on the weekends or even one night every other week, even just once a month if that's all your schedule allows. These are just ideas. You don't have to do them all. Um, you know, we want to just be consistent and we want to be present. Those two things will make a far greater impact than trying to squeeze in a bunch of one on one time that is just rushed and interrupted.
So for me, uh, what does this look like as dad was a lot of the same stuff can be done, right? I mean, I love a good tee time. Um, so for me the big one is breakfast or lunch dates. Um, taking my kids out, you know, there's something special with my boys, obviously there. Um, but even with my girls, teaching them that rhythm of even spending time and when I go out being a gentleman and doing things that, you know, they should expect in a young man someday, you know, uh, we're, we just got recently back into the rhythm after getting out of it with the baby and everything. So it's been good to get out. And you know, little tip there too, if you have the ability just budgeted in, you know, make it as a part of your budget so you don't feel like it's a, it's a nuisance. Again, it's like planning ahead with the cooking. You never want it to feel like it's a burden. You want it to feel like it's planned. Cause the kids will pick up on that. They know when it's like, all right, well just let's go. You know, just to check it off my list. No, I mean they, they want to spend intimate time with dad, so I need to be available in that way and it needs to be a priority even in my body language.
Does it have to be like some fancy expensive thing each time or can you make it real simple, like just a shake or French fries?
Uh, yeah, exactly. Just something simple. I mean, it, it's, it can be something fancy once in awhile to celebrate something, but I mean, it could be just literally buying them a juice at a coffee shop and sitting there or doing, buying nothing, right. Just going for a walk along the river somewhere or something. So, um, I think mixing it up is good to not create an expectation that like every time dad takes me out, it's, it's a lot more fun than when mom takes me on. Dad buys me French fries. So
yeah, I would appreciate that. [inaudible]
so chess, um, you know, my, my oldest loves chess and so does our second oldest now. So, um, you know, it's fun because, uh, it's hard for them to win and it's really a huge deal if they do special late nights. So once in awhile we'll actually let our oldest, maybe the oldest to stay up and have like a special, you know, time with either one of us, especially if one of us is out meeting with someone from the church or something like that. Um, books especially obviously dad, you know, five-year-old two year old, they're going to come up and sit in your lap and want to have you read them a book. Um, I'll admit this is really hard for me. I'm not naturally like a read a book to some. I love books myself, but I don't like reading books to my kids if I'm honest and just, Hey, transparency.
Um, so it, yeah, all these things, they're not all easy to do. They take sacrifice. And honestly, the biggest sacrifice for me is reading books. Our little kids, um, car rides. I mean, honestly, sometimes it take my kids out to go to the gas station and pump gas and come back home. They, they, it matters and we forget what that's like as a kid. Right? So if you're sitting here going, I have no budget. I have no ability to take my kids out to get French fries. I have barely any time, you know, throw them in the car. When you run an errand and, and leave everybody else at home. If you have the ability to have a spouse stay home or whatever, it'll go a long way. Just having that conversation in the car, turning on their favorite music or whatever it might be.
Um, get active with them, you know, sports, working out, running, whatever. This is important too, because for us, because we don't do a lot of sports as a family, we're so busy with so many things and there's just, you know, sports are big, big, um, investment nowadays. And, you know, wherever you stand on that, uh, it's, it's an opportunity though to do it with your kids. If all they ever do, in my opinion, is play sports without you, there's your, we're, we're missing an opportunity. So I think if we sit with them in trials, this is a big one. Um, the other night, one of our kids was having a hard time with, um, with, you know, just having, he was overwhelmed. Um, so I just sat with them and comforted them and I, and it was interesting how that happened, right as we were preparing to do this episode because it really made me realize that it's kind of like that car ride.
If I just sit with them and I hold their hand and I talk to them and I bring them back to scripture. I, I remember as a kid some of, some of the memories I have with my parents or when they did those things more so than, you know, a fancy lunch or a dinner or something. So one final thought, I'm finding it more and more important to embrace the casual or the mundane with my kids. Trying to create perfect moments to be with each child is a really losing strategy because you end up waiting forever to find that perfect moment. And it never comes when all your, it's like the classic movie, right? Where the dad is spending all of his hours at the office trying to pay for, you know, the kids' future. And the kid's like, I just wanted you to add, you know, I think that we live that out and micro cosms all the time. Um, so I need to find a way to incorporate corporate them into my everyday stuff. Hey, come out and help me do the yard work or you know, help me build this thing or whatever it might be. Instead of waiting for this perfect moment to hang out with my kids, they should be incorporated into my everyday life.
Yes. Can I touch on something that you said and ask you a quick question? You said on a car ride you sometimes can choose to put their favorite music on. Are there like a constraints on that? Like what if your kid's favorite music is dr Dre? Yeah. Well first of all there's a bigger issue. Maybe that's another podcast. If I just wanted to make sure that like everyone who's listening like kind of knows where you would stand on that. Absolutely. I love how you do that. That's great.
Um, yeah, absolutely. It's um, I mean it goes along with everything else that we talk about. There's, uh, it probably is another thing to touch on another podcast, but, you know, our kids don't have autonomy over what they listened to and watch. Um, I'm a huge believer in, you know, not giving them cell phones, not giving them things that, uh, they have a portal into sin very accessibly. And there's a point where like, there's a conversation to have about what age and how to do that and everything, but I think, you know, we'll let our kids, you know, grab an iPad or grab a tablet or something and throw on our Spotify account and listen to specific playlists that we already have. So yeah, when they get into the car, if, first of all, they don't get to demand what they get to do. This isn't like, you know, special date time where they get to, it's not like I'm like fantasy day for kids where they get to choose like everything they want.
It's a conversation, you know, there's a request with a polite, you know, request from them of what do they, you know, K can we listen to that one please. You know, and then we'll have a conversation about it. Um, but yeah, it's always in our house there. There's a very strong guidance from Christina and I and in honestly there's always been bad choices, but man, the accessibility to it now and I mean even just getting on Spotify with our kids, they can easily find things that aren't appropriate even in audio. So, um, we need to be monitoring that very carefully and just guiding them like everything else that we're talking about. Yeah. Yeah.
Thank you for that clarification. My love. Oh, you're welcome. Okay. Well friends, we will leave you with this if you're having a hard time thinking about all of this. We just want to encourage you to start small. Perhaps you're listening right now and you're thinking, I don't even have enough time to take a shower or get the housework done. Let me tell you as a mom, I totally get that. Okay. If we're parents in general, we have all known this feeling. I feel like moms know the, I didn't get to shower feeling more though. Um, praise God. You dads get to share more often and we probably part of God's perfect design. Uh, we've all lived in these seasons and so we want to encourage you to just start with 15 minutes and let it mostly be listening because trust me, it will not be difficult for your kids to fill 15 minutes of sharing with you.
Each of our kids has things that interest them. You may share the same interests sometimes. Sometimes you might be totally annoyed by it. The goal is to find what interests them. I'll be honest, like I'm not a fan of video games and our son very rarely gets to play them. It's a special privilege he earns and I really don't want to hear about it like ever if I'm honest. But you know what? I have heard so much about these small snippets of time he gets on them because he is, he loves it. He loves building his little worlds and, and doing whatever. Um, so that's thing, you know, find what interests, what interests them, whatever it is. Maybe it's drawing or a book they read or a hobby. Maybe it is the video game or some movie or television show, whatever it is. Sometimes even just pull them aside and ask them about it.
Like that's been fun when I've gotten to do that with our oldest and ask them about the thing that he's always desperate to tell me about, but I don't always have all the attention in that moment to hear it. They're going to be so excited when we show a genuine interest in the thing that they love so much and I think you would be amazed at what just 15 minutes of listening does to the relationship that you have with your child. Even if only you can only do this once a week or once every other week when you start, the impact will absolutely be noticeable.
Absolutely couldn't agree more. We want to thank you for joining us on this week's episode of the bear and squirrel podcast. The awesome music you hear was created by Luke peach and let me tell ya, he's a pH. We recorded this episode and our special little home studio and Meridian, Idaho, come back next week, or whenever we put out the next episode to hear more about our very real life on this incredible journey of biblical Parenthood.
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