Today we're going to dive into the four stages of parenting and a very simple, practical way we can stay in love while parenting our kids. As any married couple with kids will tell you, it can be a real challenge!
Our foundation is in Exodus 33 where we see how God parented the Israelites and stayed connected with them at the same time.
Throughout the book we see the Four stages of parenting:
• 1) Babysitter - A babysitter says, “I’ve GOT you!”
• 2) Referee - A ref says, “I’ll PUNISH you.”
• 3) Coach - A coach says, “I’m FOR you.”
• 4) Teammate - A teammate says, “I’m WITH you.”
KEY: A spirit of HONOR moves our kids through the first three stages to become a teammate.
The teammate phase is where we truly get to KNOW the person.
PROBLEM - our kids often move backward through the stages when by their behavior. And that can threaten our marital bond if we're not careful. Therefore, the key to staying in love while parenting kids is to be on the same page in the same stage with our spouse.
STAYING IN LOVE WHILE PARENTING KIDS
By Jason & Tori Benham
So today we're talking about staying in love while parenting kids. Oh. Oh, Jesus takes my breath away and we could say parenting animals as well. Yeah, that's true. Our dog Rocky right now. I'm looking out our door and we've got these French. And, and, uh, I've got curtains pulled over the top, so he can't see us and he's sitting out guarding the door cause he has separation anxiety, separation, anxiety.
If towards that, boy, I'm telling you if Tori's not with him, he's not happy he wants, he wants Tori consistently. And you know what, yesterday he ended. Oh, my word, but our daughter Lundy, who is the activator, you know, your, your greatest weakness oftentimes is also your greatest strength. Oh my goodness.
She's our hard headed. Very, she can get stuff done. She can give us a run for her money, but she calls the vet herself. She's 11. Yeah. We are in a doctor's appointment yesterday. We get a phone call with Lindy, absolutely panicked. Rocky ADA sock. I'm going to call the vet right now. And so she I'm like, oh my goodness.
So I sent her the number, a text, her the number we're about to walk into this. Get out of the appointment. And she's like, okay, called the vet. You know, I get a text called the vet. They said that if she, if he doesn't, you know, do this, this and this, and we're going to have to bring him in, but we need to get this sock out so that we can, so we don't run the risk of this, this, and this happening.
So I'm going to go ahead and, and give him peroxide, which will make him throw it up so that we don't have to run the risk of dot, dot, dot. We get a text, he threw it up, gave him the peroxide, gave the products that he throws up all as well. She's an 11 year old, but we're talking about parenting kids. So that's the awesome part of a strong-willed child.
The hard part is when you're like Lundy, go do this. He's like, no, I have a better way of doing it. I'm like, this is your daughter, Tori, you handle this. Okay. So we're, we're talking about staying in the level of parenting kids. Um, but before we get into that, there is a very important thing that we have.
Jokes jokes, jokes, and everybody loves these. Okay. So this one is from one of your friends in high school, Becky Carr. she's so sweet. She sent me like a bunch of dad jokes. That's her so funny. Good job, Becky. And, okay, so here's the one from Becky? Um, I, I hate when my wife says, are you listening to me? It's such a random way to start a conversation.
You get it? Yes, clearly they weren't listening. That was great. Okay. And then I've got one right here. What do you call a detective who just solves cases accidentally? No clue. Sheer luck Combs. Okay, nice tour Chaisson is so not like getting their dad jokes. I know. I know, but they're funny, you know what a lot of people like these jokes.
Yeah. Okay. Are we ready to get into our podcast topic? Are you going to give us another one? Nope. We're ready to roll. We're ready to rock. Okay. Staying in love while parenting kids. And I know that I'm talking to people out there that don't have any problems with their kids. So you're nothing like us who has gotten into fights over how we're going to parent.
Right. Yeah. That's not us. It's totally not us. Uh, we've had our fair share about that. Oh my goodness. I think some of our biggest arguments in marriage have been over. I mean, one time Tory got mad at me for throwing a sweet potato at tray. I mean, he deserved it and she, she stood up and looked right in my face and pointed outside and say, get out of my house.
I'm like, come on. He's fine. It's a sweet potato. I probably shouldn't be killing really big trouble for that hell. Come on. He deserved, don't worry. I took care of things. Yeah. This was, this was a long time ago, Laurie, to take care of things. She put her foot down. Yeah. Like we're not going to throw things and that's, that's where I put my foot down.
Yeah, totally. I became her kid that day. Well, fortunately that was a good while ago. And I've matured since then. I mean, at least that was at least two or three days ago.
Okay. So what I want to do though, is I want to look at the book of Exodus because Exodus is a book on relationship. So Exodus 33 and 34. Um, and relationship, as you all know, from reading our book, you've all read the book. I know this, uh, relationship is the state of being connected or bound you're in relationship.
My pinky finger is in relationship to my. Right. It's it's connected. So there's a relationship there. When you get disconnected, you need to remember, you need to remember what it is that you like about each other. And so when it comes to parenting kids, we can learn a lot from Exodus because we see God parenting the children of Israel and God parenting.
The children of Israel shows. I pattern. And, and, and I remember reading through this, this was years ago and I read through Exodus 33 and 34, and I saw four stages of parenting. And I've since applied this with our own kids and talking about parenting kids in context of marriage, uh, staying in love while parenting kids is all about being on the same page and knowing which stage you're in for parenting and not jumping from one stage to the next and not one person.
When one spouse being in one stage of parenting while the other spouses in the other, because if you're not on the same page, you guys are going to destroy each other. So let me, let me give you the four stages and then we'll go look at each one of them. Okay. So stage one babysitter. Okay. The babysitter is that's where, where you, you basically are just babysitting your kids to protect them, to make sure that they don't.
Uh, babysitter says I've got you. Okay. That's stage one. Okay. Stage two referee. This is when you're outlining the rules for your kids. Do this. Don't do this. If. Do what you're not supposed to do, you're going to get punished. So a referee says, I'll punish you. So the babysitter stage says, I've got you. I'm going to protect you.
Right? The stage to the referee says, well, I'm going to punish you if you don't do what's right. And stay inside the boundaries. Stage three is coach a coach is, is the person who's now moved outside of referee stage and is wanting to help their kids win the game. You want to win the game? So a coach says, I'm for you, right?
Like you can do this. I'm for you. You already know the rules staying inside the rules. I don't have to babysit you. I'm for you. So that's the coach stage for his teammate. Teammate says I'm with you. Teammate says we're in this together. I'm not here to tell you what. You already know how to win the game.
You already know the rules and you already know that you don't need a babysitter. Right? Here's the problem. If it's not a problem here, here's the key. If our kids can honor us at each stage, they can move to the next stage. Right? So if the kid honors you as the babysitter, if they honor you as the referee, if they honor you as the coach, then they can move from one stage to the next.
Now it takes. You know, you're really not teammates with your kid until I I'm. I'm finally teammates with my son, Trey, who's now out of the house. Right. You know, hoping to be teammates with my other two daughters and Jake as well, but they're going to have to honor me and Tori as babysitter, referee and coach, you know, right now we're in coach states with all of our kids.
Thank God. But the problem is, is that when a kid who's at coach stage, which let's say 16, Like, Hey man, I've already outlined the rules to you of life. You know that you need to honor those rules. Um, and I'm here for you and I want to help you win. Now don't put me back in that stage where I have to be a referee.
Don't go staying out past curfew, not calling me and telling me where you're at and coming home. You know, tipsy or whatever, don't do that because then you're putting me back in referee stage and I don't want to blow the whistle. That's not what I want to do. But the problem with couples is if the dad is in referee stage and the mom is like teammate stage with your 14 year old, you guys are going to destroy each other.
The parents have to be in the same stage. They have to be in the same page. Right. So you're not ready to be teammates with your kids until they're. Now, and I'm just learning this. So I'm going up and Tori and I are going off of, I'm not here to give you parenting advice. I'm going off of what my parents did, what Tori's parents did, you know, and what, and what little we're learning to have.
Certainly not perfect. I don't, I don't think you could be teammates with your kid until they're 18 90, 20, you know, and then you can be teammate until then your coach, you know, hopefully you don't have to stay referee for too long if you ref them enough, you know, as, as, uh, Who said this, but when they're younger, you give them limited, you know, opportunities and options when they're younger, right.
Less options. Yes. So when they're older, they'll have more options, but if you give them too many options, when they're young, Then when they're older, you have to give them limited options. It's like you're going backwards. And then they feel all hemmed in and all that kind of stuff. So none of us are perfect.
I mean, I've screwed up. Tori screwed up, shoot. Our parents screwed up. That's our parents are the reason why we're screwed up. Just kidding. I can't stand that when people blame their parents for all their struggles in life. My dad didn't do that. My mom did. Well, listen, all you have to do is be a parent and realize your parents.
Weren't perfect. Yeah. I think the longer we're parents, the more we really appreciate our parents and we definitely didn't always agree with a lot of things, but now we're like, okay, I get it. You did the best that you could with what you had. And this is, this is no joke. This is hard stuff. Yeah. And that's the, the key is a spirit of honor for our kids.
If our kids honor. In each of those phases, they can move seamlessly through them. Now we do know they will jump in and out that there's, there's a time when your 17 year old may do something so stupid that they jumped from you being a coach, to you being a referee, having to blow the whistle. And at some point, if they're still not good, you're gonna have to be their babysitter.
And that is a terrible place for a parent to be. But here's the key. Both spouses have to be in that together. Right? You can't have dads. Needing to blow the whistle on somebody and mom trying to be coach and teammate at the same time, because then the kid will gravitate toward mom and away from dad. And the next thing you know, there's a rift between the two of you, right?
If somebody has to blow the whistle, the other spouse has to be in it with them. And, and if there's one spouse that keeps blowing the whistle on your 16 year old, who's doing their best and they keep blowing the whistle, trying to do this rule. Rather than being a coach, trying to help them win in life.
Right. And, and the other parents like, look, we maybe, maybe we're being too hard on them. Like both parents have to then move and elevate to the coach state. So that's the key to staying. While parenting kids is being in the same stage on the same page together with each other. Right. And we talked about this, you know, I think on one of the first podcasts and in our book and it's, it really was a aha aha moment for us when we were doing CrossFit.
And at the end of the workout, you know, we had been on the same. We had one a watt together the previous week. And so we had this taste of victory previously and we're like, oh, we, we actually can win this together. We've experienced victory together. So we, we can do it again. We had that hope that was, you know, alive in us that it could happen again.
And we went at. Um, that team walked together on that Saturday with a real strategy to win. Yeah. And we were, you know, kind of upset with each other throughout the workout because it was so intense. It was like, like we took it very seriously. He wasn't listening to me. Yeah. It, it was, it was actually an intense workout.
We wasn't like we were having like so much fun. It was hard. We were yelling at each other and, uh, getting through the workout. As we move towards victory together, it didn't really matter how intense that workout was in the end. The, we had, we had to come out victorious and at the end of it, we were connected.
Um, we were more bonded together and we're like, that was awesome. Like we wanted to do it again. Right. And it was kind of an aha moment that when, when you're on the same team, And you're strategizing together for a victory. It changes everything. It changes the way that you see everything. So it's not about, it's not this competition on who can do what better it's oh, you're actually better at this.
So you do that because I want to win and I, you can do this. So I want you to do that because we're looking at it like, how can we win? And so that's what changed everything for us. Um, as far as the way that we viewed marriage, it was like, why don't we do that in life? Why do we, why, why, how have we somehow figured out how to win a CrossFit wad together, but not, not learned how to win at home.
Right. And, and it was like this kind of aha moment for us. We're like, okay, let's actually apply some of those, those things that we learned to CrossFit. And apply them to the way that we parent at home. And it was like, okay, we're on the same team. We're moving towards the same goal. We both have. What is our goal?
We want, we want our kids to know Jesus. We want, um, we want connection with our kids. We want family unity. We have all these common goals together. Why in the world, would I be so focused on your weaknesses in this moment? I need to be focused on what is Jason Good at? What am I, how do we come together and strategize this thing and get on, get on the same page, get on the same team so we can win.
And, um, and so I, I think that that's that mindset going in is so important because it's so easy to get, to get super emotional, to get a. Hyper-focused on the things that are bothering you and annoying you about your spouse and the way they're handling the situation. And, but when we can shift and be like, oh, you know what, we can win this.
We've done. We won this before. You know, like, like we in CrossFit, it's like, wait, this is actually possible. We've we've experienced victory before, so we can do it again, you know, and like, okay, let's move towards it. Yeah. I love that because another thing. W w being on the same page with your spouse in front of your kids, when it does come to time for discipline at the only time one should stand against the other is when, when it's a safety issue, like Tori yelling at me when I picked up the sweet potato and I'm like, oh, why did I just throw that at tray?
You know, I didn't throw it hard at him. You threw it across the aisle was upset, but anyway, protecting me, I don't care. I'm just airing it all out there. But you know, in that moment, Okay. That's enough. Yeah, don't do that boundary crossed. That's not good, but other than that, uh, in all honesty, you know, Tori and I had this conversation back when we first started having kids.
Uh, I was, I said, okay, so tour, here's the deal. When it comes to the discipline of our kids, I'll take point on that. So I'll alleviate that pressure from you. Let me take point on that. And I really do believe that's the dad's job. Dad's job is to run point. So mom doesn't have to run point on the hard discipline, right.
You know, if mom has to run point on the hard discipline and dad sits back passively. Then you run the risk of having domineering mom, which she doesn't want to be in that position. And domineering mom syndrome is domineering. Any parent syndrome is bad, bad, bad for the kids, but you just don't want to put mom in that situation.
So dads, you got to step up, don't be passive when it comes to the discipline aspect of it. But if you both are on the same page with that, then it really does alleviate. Pressure from mom or pressure from dad, you know, whichever direction you guys choose to go. But I do think it is a dad's role to step up and be the leader when it comes to that type of discipline.
And the reason why I say that is going back to exit a 33, how I started when God was bringing the children out of Egypt and he was bringing them into the promised land. So here God is like, he's the ultimate. Like, I want you to come and be with me and I want to be in your presence. I'm the ultimate teammate.
He's the ultimate coach, you know? Right. Here's the principles for how you're going to win in life. But the Israelites kept moving him back into babysitter and referee, you know, like there's our four stages right there. You know, the backdrop Moses goes up onto the mountain to get the 10 commandments because God is now going to give them the referee.
Here are the rules that you're going to need to stay inside of. He comes back down and they had made a golden calf. So they needed a babysitter when they were up on the mountain and God wasn't going to be their babysitter in that moment, he just let them do their own thing. So they needed a babysitter.
Moses comes down as a referee saying, okay, now I'm going to give you some rules and I'm going to show you how to do this. But instantly he has to go back into babysitter mode, you know, and he gets upset and, and, and grinds that, uh, calf down into, into powder and makes people. I can, well, good, good. What a good leader drink it suckers.
So, but then in verse 33, God says, okay, here's the deal. I'm going to let you guys go to the promised land, but I'm not going to go with you because I can't, I cannot handle this. I want to be your teammate. You keep making me babysitter and referee and then Moses intercedes in verse 12 through 13 of Exodus 33 and says, uh, and in verse one through three, excuse me.
And he says, all right. Um, if, if I, if you don't go, ah, I'm not going to go. Like, I want your presence more than anything. And that really touched the heart of the Lord. And the Lord ended up telling him, you know, uh, in the rest of Exodus 33, If you, if you want me that bad, I'll, I'll go. Right. And I just love that because God was saying I was babysitter.
I was referee. I want to be your coach and your teammate, but you keep putting me back into those other stages. But because I love you, I'm going to go with you anyway. And that's in verse 14, the key to the teammate phase is full presence. Right? It's being fully present with each other, no matter the location or.
You're fully present and that's where God was. And he's basically saying, I'll go into the promised land with you as your teammate, but please do not make me have to go back to babysitting and, and refereeing. And as we know, throughout the rest of the hill Testament, all we see are the Israelites, putting God back into babysitter and referee mode, whereas having to blow the whistle, he's having a punish him.
And we don't want that. So when we look at that story and we think. What we have to do as spouses and how we're going to stay in love while parenting kids. The key is to know the four stages. You know, when we look at Xs 33 babysitter, referee, coach teammate, figure out which stage we're in with each of our kids.
Cause it's in different stages. And then agreeing with your spouse, that you'll both be in that stage together. You do not want dad blowing a whistle while mom is trying to be a teammate. Yeah. And kids are very, very sensitive to, to like sensing disunity between mom and dad. Like I know our kids are super sensitive to that.
Like they can tell if. Not in agreement with you even before I recognize I'm not in agreement with you. Like they can tell by your facial expression and by your tone. And, um, it's just, it's, it's so important that. Are on the same team and that we're on the same page because our kids are watching and they're very sensitive to that.
And they want to know that mom and dad are in agreement with one another. And that they're, you know, there's, there's a confidence that they gain in knowing that we're together on, on things. I think it just brings kind of this confusion to them when they're sensing, wait, they, mom and dad don't agree. I can't really trust.
Who am I, what side do I take? What w you know, it's, it kind of breeds this, um, this insecurity in them that we have to really protect them from that's exactly right. So hopefully this helps you. Um, it's definitely helped me as I've thought through these four stages babysitter referee, coach teammate babysitter says, I've got you.
Referee says, I'll punish you. Coach says I'm for you. And a teammate says I'm with you. We all want to be teammates with our. Just don't start it too soon and definitely do not be on a different page than your spouse. And if you do that, stay on the same page in the same stage, you'll stay in love while parenting kids.
I like it. Okay. Um, what'd you rather, are you ready for what you're asking me? Would you rather, okay. Would you rather wear melted Carmel as sunscreen or sticky, hot fudge as lotion? Well, I don't understand the difference. Sunscreen and lotion are the same thing, right? Belted Carmel as sunscreen. Okay. So you're going out to the beach, right?
Right. And you need to protect yourself. So you're going to put melted caramel. Got it. Or are you going to, or do you use sticky, hot fudge as lotion? You're going on a date and you got to put the lotion on. Because it's melted. Maybe it'll slide off easy and I could just go jump in the ocean. Okay. Yeah. I'm totally in disagreement with that one because that's disgust.
That's so sticky. You're about to go to the beach and you have, Carmel is way more sticky than hot fudge. What hot fudge is thinner. It is. Yes. Well, I didn't know that. Yeah. And hot fudge, the culinary expert, like you outgoing with hot flashes lotion. Speaking of you should start posting more like of your.
Stuff onto Jason and Tory socials. See Tori is an Italian and she cooks like a based and I, her she's got to start doing more of that stuff. Don't you have some, some of those posts in the past of all the culinary stuff, it's just not second nature to always have the camera going. Oh yeah, that's true.
Yeah. We're trying to get out of that and don't, don't want to be in that phase, but still, I think there's some ladies that would love to see what. Okay. We'll try that. Okay. So it's caramel for me. Hot floods for you. All right. All right. Thanks for hanging out with us. See you guys next week.