Lately, I’ve been reading a book called Boundaries, by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. For those unfamiliar with the book, it’s basically an extremely popular how-to guide on how to set boundaries as a Christian. In this blog post, I’m going to highlight some of the parenting advice given in the book.
Children should be allowed to have boundaries-Not allowing a child to say no “handicaps that child for life.” Children who aren’t ever allowed to say no, especially when they’re uncomfortable, end up basing their boundaries on what others want and expect from them.
Children learn boundaries in different stages-In between five and ten months, babies realize that they are different individuals from their mothers and begin to develop curiosity. During early toddlerhood, children take their first steps towards independence by practicing doing things on their own. Between eighteen months and three years, children begin to use the word no frequently because they have discovered that they are not all-powerful and can’t do everything themselves.
How parents SHOULDN’T handle boundaries-Townsend and Cloud write that parents shouldn’t withdraw in hurt or exhibit hostility when children set boundaries because children will then avoid setting them due to the negative reaction they receive. Similarly, setting too many or too few limits on one’s children will result in an adult who has dysfunctional ways of relating to the world around him or her. Inconsistent limits will confuse children. Inflicting trauma on children will cause massive wounds that will make setting boundaries impossible or close to impossible for children as adults.
Sometimes roles are reversed-Occasionally, the parent-child relationship will be turned upside-down, with the child looking after the parent instead of the other way around. The Bible does say that adult children should take care of their aging parents. However, adult children should take into account whether their elderly parents are actually in need, and how much resources can be allocated to them.
Set boundaries with children early on. The sooner children learn boundaries, the more time and practice they will have to set them.
Setting boundaries consists of both positive and negative boundaries-Positive discipline is taking the initiative to explain to children the positive effects that will follow having boundaries. Negative discipline is when children experience consequences for failing to stay within those boundaries (for example, losing electronic privileges for a day when they don’t go to bed on time).
Children have boundary needs for different reasons-Children need to have boundaries in order to protect themselves, take responsibility for their needs, have a sense of control and choice, delay gratification, and respect others’ limits.
Children need different kinds of boundary training at different ages-During their five months, infants should be able to form close attachments with their parents. Between five and ten months, babies should be encouraged to explore their surroundings, but always with the option of returning to the parent. Three to five year old children will start to become aware of their sex, so parents understand that children may become attached to the same-sex parent while competing with the opposite-sex parent. Children aged six to eleven should be guided in setting their own boundaries and practicing delayed gratification so they will internalize it. Eleven to eighteen year olds need parents who will allow them opportunities to set their own boundaries as much as possible to ensure that they will be able to make a smooth transition into adult life.
There are certain criteria that should be considered when parents are looking at forms of discipline-Whatever discipline model parents choose to use, the consequences should increase children’s sense of control and responsibility, be age appropriate, and be related to the seriousness of any infractions. Parents should also remember that boundaries are meant to use an internal motivation to produce self-induced consequences.
Parents should set technology boundaries with teens-Above all, Cloud advises, you should know your children if you want to set effective digital boundaries with them. Parents should trust their teenagers, but also expect them to prove themselves worthy of that trust. Lastly, know that while teens should be allowed to have digital privacy, parents are entitled to invade that privacy if they suspect that their teens are involved in something dangerous.
Reference:  Cloud, Henry and Townsend, John (1992, 2017).Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life (Updated and Expanded). Zondervan.
Coming up with ideas for a blog can be hard. You stare at a blank screen, and wonder what exactly to write about this time. You google ideas and then discard them. You look at a list of blog ideas you wrote two weeks ago and decide none of those ideas are very good. Then you have an epiphany and make the decision to write about what you’re going through at this very moment.
As you’ve probably already figured out, the story I’m telling is mine. I wasn’t sure what to write, but eventually an idea came to me, because I just kept thinking about it. Continuing even a simple task can be hard, especially when you feel as though all your creativity has run out. However, persistence is key to seeing things through.
Faith is one area where persistence is key. As Revelation 14:12 says, “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.”(NIV)
There are many stories in the Bible of ordinary men and men used by God for great things. God orchestrated the journeys of these unlikely heroes, but they were the ones who followed Him by taking one small step at a time.
Whatever faith issue you’re wrestling with or task you’re struggling to complete, God is behind you. Just remember, a small step is also a giant leap of faith.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Psalm 32:8 (NIV)
If you read New Beginnings blog posts regularly, you may remember that I blogged a couple years ago about what it was like to intern and be a Resident Supervisor at New Beginnings. Now that I’m back in the same position a couple years later, I would like to explain what I’ve learned from New Beginnings in the past, and what I hope to learn in the future.
When I first started out at New Beginnings, I was a writing and editing intern, which meant I did everything from writing blog posts and generating idea content for our social media profiles to creating a marketing strategy report for Brianne (our executive director) and creating brochures to help solicit donations from our donor base. When a position for Resident Supervisor opened up, I eagerly applied. I was a resident supervisor for fourteen months, which meant I watched over the building and residents when the day staff weren’t present. Now I’m back to working as a resident supervisor after taking nine months off to do a service year. This time, I’ll be helping with grant writing and administrative work. Without further ado, here’s a list of things I’ve learned.
A spirit of volunteerism and generosity
Volunteers are the lifeblood of New Beginnings, taking care of various tasks to help enrich the lives of our residents. With so many people who are willing to donate their time, talents, or money to New Beginnings, it’s amazing that there’s anything left for me to do.
At an organization from New Beginnings, this can be anything from learning how to answer the phone to cutting out thank you cards for donors. I actually should be doing the latter right now, but I’m writing this blog post instead.
How hard it is to be a single mom
Everyone knows that there are hardships connected with being a single parent, but witnessing them firsthand gives me a lot of respect for the moms who enter our program to make a positive change in the lives of themselves and their babies.
How to create volunteer projects
During my first internship at New Beginnings, I was also serving as an officer in a couple of clubs on my college campus. Having New Beginnings only a couple blocks away from my college provided an easy outlet for club service projects.
How to mediate conflict
With four moms and their babies living under the same roof, there’s bound to be conflict at some point. As a resident supervisor, I’ve had to step in and mediate disputes on occasions. Managing conflict may not be fun, but it produces some extraordinary interpersonal skills.
If interning at New Beginnings has given me the opportunity to do one thing, it’s writing. I’ve written brochures, blog posts, Facebook and Twitter posts, and will soon be helping with writing grants.
There you have it. New Beginnings is a cool place to work and intern. It’s been a great trip so far.
Let's be honest - I love eating. I love food and can't live without it. Both of my parents love to cook and they cooked so much during my childhood that their love for cooking got passed down to me. I'm 24 years old and I try to cook every time I can. My mother once told me that if I keep eating the way that I do that I am going to be as big as a house. She might be right!
Over the years, I have noticed that everyone cooks differently. My mom loves to make beans, meatloaf, potato salad, and dressing (my personal favorite). My pops is from New Orleans so he tends to make southern foods like potato soup, smothered ribs, and red-eyed gravy. His red-eyed gravy is my favorite, and I could eat it every day (just kidding)!
I think I get most of my cooking skills from my mom. I still need practice when it comes to trying to cook like my dad. It seems like I always forget something! My parents are both really difficult to get recipes from (you know, family secrets). My favorite simple foods to make are shrimp, hot wings, baked potatoes, and if I am really hungry I make salad with garlic bread to go with it. My second favorite food to make is tacos and nachos.
does this post make you hungry like me?
I would love to hear what you like to cook! If you post your recipe, maybe I will give it a try.
The sunshine has arrived. It’s time to break out those flip-flops and sunscreen… and then what? With restless little ones, it’s hard to always keep them occupied enough that they don’t drive you mad.
Here are some helpful and handy activities you can use for your kids this summer that won’t break the bank and offer giggles for both child and parent.
tin foil river
What you need: Storage bin, water or other substance, toys to play with, soap, and or food coloring.
This is best used outside but can be used inside on rainy days as well. Just keep towels handy because substances will spill! For this activity a plastic storage bin works fine. The bigger it is the more it can hold. You may also be able to find water tables online that are purposefully designed for this and work well holding sand as well. Fill your bin with a substance of your choice. You can use water, sand, flour… ect. Just remember, if you are working with younger kids or toddlers they will most likely try things with their mouths too. When working with water, try adding soap for bubbles or food coloring to change the color of the water. Measuring cups, measuring spoons, toy cars, plastic animals, toy boats and rubber duckies are always fun options to add as well.
What you need: Clipboard, Checklist, Shoes
Take a checklist with you that your child can check off. Maybe add pictures if they are not at reading level and pick objects for them to find along the way. (Dog, cat, bunny, car, building, park, lake, flower… ect.)
shaving cream paint
whipped cream dip
What you need: Whipped cream, food coloring, and fruit.
Whipped cream can be used in the same way as the idea above, but you can also have fun using it as a fruit dip. Cut up some delicious watermelon, apples, or even banana. It’s delicious and fun for you and the kids.
A classic activity that requires only two things. Chalk and a surface. Let your child’s imagination run wild.
diy race car track
HAVE FUN & BE SAFE THIS SUMMER!!
Have you ever wondered why New Beginnings is important from a research perspective? This blog provides the facts!
New Beginnings: A Home for Mothers is important for Milwaukee because its focus on helping single mothers to develop the skills needed to find good jobs, learn parenting skills, and grow in their faith will benefit both their children as well as the community. In Milwaukee, about three quarters of all families in poverty are headed by single parents, and the risk of poverty is nearly twice as large for families headed by a single mother than those headed by a single father. Nearly ninety-two percent of the families in Milwaukee County who were earning less than $20,000 a year were single parents. (Quinn & Pawasarat, 2012) Not only are single mothers more likely to be poor, but also their children who grow up in poverty are at a much greater risk of being poor as adults as well, as well as being more likely to drop out of high school and less likely to find good jobs (Williams & Hegewisch, 2011). The population that New Beginnings serves tends to face financial challenges that affect future generations’ ability to obtain a higher level of education and to find self-sustaining jobs, which contributes to the continuation of poverty in the Milwaukee area.
One reason why single mothers often struggle with poverty is because they tend to work in lower-paying occupations, such as in food service, child care centers, hospitals, discount stores, and department stores (Quinn & Pawasarat, 2012). Many of these kinds of jobs, which do not require much education, do not provide the wages necessary to support the single mothers and their families. This suggests that further education and job preparation would have the potential to lift single mothers and their children out of poverty by preparing them for a wider variety of careers. New Beginnings provides the opportunity for mothers to further their education and improve their job options so that they are better able to provide for their families. This benefits Milwaukee because the opportunity for further education will allow the residents of Milwaukee to escape poverty and better give back to the community, utilizing their talents to advance Milwaukee economically and as a whole.
Single mothers in general tend to have less social support than married mothers have. A study has found that single mothers had less emotional support and less support in their parental roles than married mothers had. Moreover, they experienced a greater number of stressful life events than married mothers experienced. Increased parenting support predicted better interaction between mothers and their children for single mothers. (Weinraub & Wolf, 1982) Increased social support could help those served by New Beginnings to better deal with stressful life events and to form better relationships with their children. Mothers who have more social support also tend to have more positive attitudes, and their children’s behavior is also better (Özbey, 2013). Social support is less common among single mothers than among married mothers, yet it is beneficial in promoting better parental interaction, better attitudes, and improved outcomes for the children. New Beginnings provides that social support for single mothers in order to help these families to succeed.
Furthermore, New Beginnings’ emphasis on promoting the spiritual development of the residents is beneficial to Milwaukee because religious faith has a protective effect against behavior problems and leads to higher academic achievement. Religion has been shown to be a factor in increasing resilience especially for those who are from higher-risk families. Adolescent mothers who were more involved in church received more education, and had higher self-esteem and less depression than those who were not as involved in church. In addition, studies have shown that adolescents who grow up in areas that are high in poverty stay more on track academically if they attend church regularly. (Kim, McCullough, & Cicchetti, 2009) Because parents’ faith tends to have an effect on children’s faith when they grow up, both mothers and children are more likely to be able to overcome life challenges and have higher resilience because of New Beginnings’ promotion of the spiritual development of its residents.
In summary, New Beginnings: A Home for Mothers is beneficial for the community of Milwaukee as a whole because it provides for the spiritual, educational, economic, and emotional development of single mothers and their children. This allows these families to be more likely to escape poverty, more resilient, more physically and psychologically healthy, and able to give back to the community of Milwaukee and use their various abilities to be productive citizens of Milwaukee. The benefits of a program such as New Beginnings do not solely affect the mothers who immediately receive the benefits of the program; instead, the effects of New Beginnings can carry on into the future and leave a lasting impact on future generations.
Kim, J., McCullough, M. E., & Cicchetti, D. (2009). Parents’ and children’s religiosity and child
behavioral adjustment among maltreated and nonmaltreated children. Journal of Child
and Family Studies, 18(5). doi:10.1007/s10826-009-9262-1
Özbey, S. (2013). Effects of parents’ marital adjustment and perceived social support on
preschool children’s social skills. Educational Research International, 1(2). Retrieved
Quinn, L. M., & Pawasarat, J. (2012). Income changes during the recession for “working poor”
single parent families in central city Milwaukee.Retrieved from
Shaw, B. A., Krause, N., Chatters, L. M., Connell, C. M., & Ingersoll-Dayton, B. (2004).
Emotional support from parents early in life, aging, and health. Psychology and Aging,
19(1). Retrieved from http://alysonkay.com/pdf/emotional_support_from_parents.pdf
Williams, C., & Hegewisch, A. (2011). Women, poverty, and economic insecurity in Wisconsin
and the Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis MSA.Retrieved from
Weinraub, M., & Wolf, B. M. (1982). Effects of stress and social supports on mother-child
interactions in single and two-parent families. Retrieved from
Hello, my name is Julie and I have had my share of moving around a lot from place to place. This last time, I lost my place altogether. It wouldn't have been so bad, but I was pregnant with my son. For a little bit, I was bouncing from friend's house to friend's house. I was looking for resources and help.
I prayed, and I had not done that in a very long time. It felt great! I prayed that the last resource number I had, would answer my prayers. I called and God answered my prayers!! I talked to the lady and she asked if I had tried any places in Wisconsin. I told her that I had not yet but was willing to try. She gave me the email and the number for New Beginnings.
I moved in on May 25th, 2018. A burden was lifted off my shoulders that day.
Since I have been here at New Beginnings, I have had my son, George. I have started school again, which I never thought I could do. I have also grown in my faith. I have been fixing myself for the better and making a great life for myself and my children.
It is nice to know that we have a roof over our heads and I don't have to stress so much about how to survive from one day to the next. Since being here at New Beginnings, I have learned not to dwell on things I can not change and to change the things that I should. I am also proud to say that I have finished my first semester in school and am working on my second semester.
None of this could be possible without all of the supporters and donors that the New Beginnings Family has.
Thank you so much for a better future!
God Bless, Julie & George
Julie has been a resident at New Beginnings since May 25th, 2018. She is continuing her education to make the best new beginning for herself and her children. Baby George was born on July 12th, 2018 and has been baptized into the Lord's family of believers.
If our pasts are filled with parental figures who did not behave in our best interests, loved ones who abused our right to a safe childhood, or other events which we were too young and impressionable to properly process, your ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) score will most likely be extremely high.
Although a tough childhood can severely affect our ability to make close relationships, getting to know God is a relationship that has endless rewards and is a great place to start if you feel you’re in a pattern self induced isolation. God gives us strength and can help us shed our angry exteriors and allow us to see the world as a place of possibilities and not just an obstacle course of hardships. Once God changes our outlook, the wounds of our past will in time heal, and in the place of these wounds, scars will form which show our strength, perseverance and just how far you’ve come.
If you would like to take the test for yourself or share it with some one you love, click the button below.
Emily Fossick is a former marketing intern that spent some at New Beginnings. She is a student at UWM and was always willing to help out and provide some excellent insight.
Those who sit in the pews during church services seem to have an easy job. They show up, listen while the pastor does all the grunt work and afterwards they might enjoy a snack and connect with some community members. Attending church is not a show, it’s a chance to challenge and fully engage with your faith, to ensure that our trusted leaders are doing their jobs correctly. As Martin Luther preached “A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it."
If I’m a Lutheran, why can’t I take communion at all Lutheran Churches?
Communion is designed by God to be taken with one’s chosen church community. The Bible explains a group expresses a oneness when it communes together just like there is one loaf. Individuals are to learn the Bible and check out whom they commune with and not all Lutheran churches are the same.
At what age should someone start taking communion?
There is not a definite Biblical age where communion should be taken. Different churches decide different processes one must go through in order to take communion, but there is no solid answer. Biblically, one must be able to understand what communion is as they take it. Pastor Steinberg told us a story about a man living with dementia who could not understand the communion process sometimes while other times he could. This man was only given communion during the periods where he could fully understand why he was taking communion.
Can I give my child more than two godparents?
Absolutely, godparents are not mentioned in the Bible once. The origins of godparents stems back to early Christianity when persecution was common, and followers of Christ had to keep their church services secret. When a new member wished to join they would not be taken to the secret church service location right away. Instead, a “godparent” would tutor the hopeful member on scripture for a number of months until that new person could be trusted. Once the new member was deemed trustworthy, their tutor would vouch for them in front of their church as the new member's godparent. Because godparents are more or less a nice tradition now, it's okay to create your own guidelines for choosing the godparents of your child, weather that be 4 godmothers and no godfathers or simply one godfather, it’s completely up to you. Pastor Steinberg did note that godparents are not legally recognized, for this reason he highly recommends making a will to make sure that your children are left in good hands in the event of your passing.
Many thanks to Pastor Steinberg for taking the time to answer our questions, pushing us to stay curious and making us more knowledgeable followers of God.
Group Night is held at New Beginnings. Every Thursday, we meet as a group to discuss important life skills and educational topics. Discussions are led by community volunteers and can cover a broad range of topics.
The experience of becoming a first-time mother has put a lot of things into perspective for me. It amazes me how our bodies react to the baby growing inside us: morning sickness (that name is so deceiving), sore boobs, bleeding gums, stuffy nose, headaches, itchy legs, utter exhaustion, and so much more. I really had no idea how difficult it could be! With symptoms like these it would be so difficult not to have the support of someone you love. My husband has been my rock through this experience: he has taken on extra chores around the house (including emptying the litter box *I was thrilled to give that up*), cooked for me, listened to me complain, and helped me when I felt sick. The fact that many of the mothers that come to New Beginnings do not have support from anyone when they call us breaks my heart now more than ever.
Please continue to pray for all mothers that they may find the support they need both in Jesus and through friends and family. For those of you who currently support expecting or new moms, on behalf of all mothers I would like to say THANK YOU! You are a blessing.
Brianne Hansen is the Executive Director at New Beginnings. She grew up in Marshall, WI and graduated from Lakeside Lutheran High School. Brianne has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from UW-Milwaukee and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology. In her free time, she enjoys singing, camping, spending time with her dog (Bella) and cats (Mufasa & Jasmine), and going on adventures with her husband, Daniel.