As For Me and My House – Part 1

pictures of our family in the field

I have gotten so many e-mails and comments asking to give some tips and insight on how we are raising our five children. You are all so kind and your sweet comments are really touching. For those of you that care here we go!.

I am as down to earth as one can get, so what can I possibly have to offer? Absolutely nothing! I can only share what God has taught us over the years. I am in no way teaching, instructing, advising or anything of that nature. I am just humbly sharing what years of marriage have taught us. If what we have learned will be a blessing for at least one family in the slightest way, Thank You, Jesus. May Your name be Glorified.

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If only someone would understand how hard it is to clean up after toddlers. (Oh but if only I could conceive she replies, I would joyously clean up after my children.)

I am so mad and frustrated that he wrote on the walls. (If only my son’s paralyzed fingers could draw she replies, wiping the tears streaming down her face.)

Constantly changing two toddlers’ diapers is more than I can bear. (That mom in the slums of Mexico dreams of the day her hands will rest from washing cloth diapers, day after day.)

I cannot wait for you to hurry up and get married. (At a children’s hospital, a mother says “my dying daughter, oh my daughter, how I wish you would live to celebrate your 10th birthday”.)

Makes you think differently about your situation, doesn’t it?!

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If God came up to me physically and handed me a doll or any other gift and said cherish it, I will one day watch a video of how you treated this doll and what she will look like when I take her back.

Though this may be a farfetched example, I kind of see it this way. God gave us these precious gifts, our children to raise for His Kingdom and He will one day ask for an account of our lives together. Yes, we cannot be responsible for all of our children’s actions, they will begin to make “their” choices and mistakes but I do think helping them build a strong foundation in Christ is crucial.

A boy sitting

We are raising the next generation of Godly young women and men who will one day be leaders in our churches, husbands, wives and parents. It’s so important to instill in them Godly characters and principles at a young age.

I am a huge believer that God created us all extremely unique and everyone’s parenting style will be different. That said though, I do believe that there are some things we must all instill in our children from a very young age.

Before we even begin I know many will say parenting is soo hard. Yes, oh how I agree with you. But God opened up such a powerful truth to me. So often I would sit and spend hours telling God how hard it was to raise children. In A Mother’s Thought post, you can read how God revealed such a huge truth to me. When we rely on our wisdom, our strength, ourselves to raise children we are doomed for failure. We do not have what it takes to raise children, it’s when I surrender myself and raise my children through Christ only then I will have success. I no longer pray for hours and tell my God how hard it is. I tell my hardships how powerful and strong my God is.

respecting elders-

Children need to be taught to respect their elders. They cannot talk to someone older the way they talk to their friends.

My parents and my spouse’s parents gave us life. I think it’s so important to make sure our children respect and appreciate them. When it’s their birthday’s we have kiddos first thing in the morning call and wish them a happy birthday. During the holidays too, we have them call them. Easter, Christmas, Father’s Day etc. are all such important holidays and though they don’t say much, the grandparents are so touched (I hope when they become parents and have children they will all call us).

Waiting in the waiting room and there is no room to sit, I think it’s so beautiful that our boys know to get up and let someone older than them sit down.

being appreciative-

When I prepare a meal whether it’s to their liking or now there was work put in. We try to enforce the importance of being thankful after they finished their meal. Same when they are at someone’s house, they need to thank the host that prepared the meal they were served. My children are always helping me with the dinner preparation and we will thank them for their contribution. They will grow up knowing they need to be grateful and will do the same with their spouse (I truly pray they will).

I don’t mean only meals but being thankful for everything. If they get a ride somewhere, someone holds the door for them, a party they go to and so on, being thankful is such a beautiful act.

helping others-

When we are out and about I always tell our boys to look for ways to be of help to someone. When shopping at a grocery store and an elderly couple is unloading groceries, or a mother with little ones, go over and unload for them. We were in the check-out line at Target. It was around the holidays and extremely busy. There was a young mom, she had an infant in her hand and perhaps and 18 months old sleeping in the cart. She was struggling to unload everything. Men and women stood of all ages staring at her, as she with difficulty, tried to get everything onto the belt. I had our 9-year-old go and help her unload. She was fighting tears of gratitude and the onlookers were stunned. I am not saying this because he was such a great kid (NOT AT ALL) but the importance of raising children who at a young age will be alert to their surrounding and if they can help, they should. If we continue to do this frequently it will not be a chore or something they could do, it will be something they DO without giving it a second thought.

modesty-

I think teaching my daughters modesty from a young age is vital. Many of you may think we are a little “too” strict (or nuts, haha) but since she was about 3 she is not allowed to change if her brothers are in the room. Sometimes I am in the room and she is changing and the door begins to open and she will cover herself with her innocent hands and say don’t come in I’m changing. Maybe I am being “too much” but I am a huge believer that modesty is really important in a Christian’s life, especially ladies. I want her to know from a young age and way before her teen years that there is a certain dress code for a proper and Christian young lady. What the world wears we cannot wear, what the world deems okay is not okay for us. I want them her to know she is really beautiful when she dresses modest and it pleases the Lord. That being attractive is not when you walk by and every guy in the room turns his head because you are showing them so much to enjoy but because Christ loves illuminates through her. His love is shown through her actions and kind words.

My daughter loves to sit on my vanity and watch me as I do my hair to go somewhere, absolutely loves it. As I was dressing to go out with some friends I put on my dress shirt and didn’t quite button it all the way. I got distracted and as I look at her, her eyes were so round and innocent starting at me. I asked her what happened and she was like mom don’t you have any more buttons? As I finished buttoning the last few buttons my heart swelled with so much pride because she gets it!

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electronics-

When I was researching the effects electronics have on children I was blown away by the statistics:

The average American between the ages of 8 and 18 spends more than seven hours a day, reported one study. Some of the effects were risky behavior, mood problems and poor social skills.

Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine reports: The more time teenagers spend using a computer or watching TV, the weaker their emotional bonds with their parents. Screen time can make a kid obese and too much screen use also interferes with sleeping habits.

Researchers at Queen’s University in Canada found that youths with the highest level of computer use (more than three to four hours a day) were 50% more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as drinking, smoking, drug use, and sexual issues than kids with minimal amounts.

As I read these statistics, a Christian mother who was given these children to raise for the Kingdom of God; my heart aches at the thought that I have huge responsibility. A responsibility not to tell my children that a tablet, computer, or a TV is wrong but through Christ to help them see and that it’s not necessary and the HUGE impact it will have on their lives. I want my children to know that everything they do now will effect what kind of future they will have. I want them to know they are to be set apart from the world. Satan tries to make every game, show or anything else so addictive and interesting. We as parents through Christ need to show them the truth behind those lies.

When we were growing up none of us had cell phones, tablets and most of us no television or computers. We got creative with the way we spent our time. I truly believe electronics is Satan’s number one tactic to destroy lives today. Toddlers, children, teens, young adults and even elders fall to this deception. People spend hours day after day in front of a computer, table or phone, oblivious to the damage it is causing. When our older boys were a bit younger they both had DSs. They played here and there and we didn’t really notice any problems. Eventually both of their DSs broke and that was the end to that story. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I began to notice our children liked to spend more and more time in front of a computer game. Yes, they were really innocent like basketball or soccer, but the fact of the matter is A LOT of time was spent on it and it was becoming unhealthy. The amount of time they spent there began to bother something really deep within me. We began praying and there was a big change in the way electronics were used in our home.

We put a limit on their “electronics”: 30 minutes during the week day, 1 hour on Fri and Sat and absolutely no electronics on Sunday; Sunday is the Lord’s day. They can have their electronics after their homework and chores are done. I don’t think we have yet had a week where they used all of their minutes: they just don’t have the time. It was SOOO HARD to go to this system, let me tell you!!. I doubted myself so many times and just wanted to break down and let them do whatever but I knew this was something God really put on our hearts. They put the timer on in the kitchen for the 30 minutes. When the buzzer goes off; whatever they are doing gets turned off, if they go over their time they lose the following day’s minutes.

We don’t have a TV so that isn’t something we filter but if they ever want to watch something I read reviews and skim through whatever they want to see to make sure what we are building and instilling won’t be compromised. What they play, watch is in the living room within ear shot of my spouse or I. If they are in their rooms and something inappropriate comes up they aren’t strong enough Christians yet to “flee” and turn away like Joseph did. It can damage them; therefore, they will play in the living room where we hear them.

Having said all of that I myself must lead by example. If I am constantly on my tablet or the computer or constantly checking social media how can I expect something different from my children? I must start with me.

I may not know many of you but I pray these words touch your heart. If your children spend a lot of time on whatever form of electronic prayerfully consider taking this issue to the thrown of God like we did. We wanted change in our family and as we prayed God showed us how to minimize and control the situation.

Is it always “PERFECT”? No. But if this is where we strive to be and we slack off a bit it’s still SO MUCH better than not having ANY guideline. Even if you say I cannot do 30 minutes, then start with 1 hour and pray, pray and pray for God to intervene.

We have seen a huge change in our children. Now instead of electronics they are creative with their time. They build “forts” in the living room, they read, they draw, they place hide and seek, we play Bible trivia, they interact with each other or are outside playing sports. We also love board games. In my Shop I posted some of our favorite board games that we all play together.

This post is so much longer than I thought it would be, so I will post the second part in the next few days it will be on creative parenting.

{P.S. English is a second language for me. We speak Russian at home, I read a Russian Bible and think in Russian so please do not mind my terrible grammar. This is something I am educating myself on but it’s a very slow process, haha.}

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What do you think? I would love to hear your ideas and parenting style!!.. =)

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24 Comments

  1. Valiya, You cannot imagine how powerful this is and I am very greatful for it. You say it was hard to change with the electronic, can I ask how you tell your kids?.

    1. Olenka,
      Our children never spent exceedingly amount of time on electronics. When I was researching this topic and saw kids spend two hours and up on electronics every single day it’s just so so scary. I have a really, really, really close relationship with my children. Especially the boys. So after praying about this for a while I just sat the boys down and really talk to them. Even if there just building Lego’s on the computer. It’s still such a waste of time. I didn’t want to tell them “well you guys need to be on there 30 minutes and this is our new rule, question closed”. I wanted to help them get to the root of how valuable time is. I wanted them to see that time spend on their is so precious and if they will see it with their eyes/heart it will have so much more effect than me just telling them you cannot play basketball on the computer today because I said so. I hope that made sense.

  2. May GOD BLESS YOU SISTER AMEN AND TO GOD BE THE GLORY AND PRAISE !!:)) wow this is really powerful wow amazing things to teach my kids in the future with GODS help and wow the beginning with the toddler thing really touched my heart wow ! Because sometimes GOD forgive me I complain I only have one toddler who is 19 months and one infant who is 5 months and boy the messes I sometimes get wow but praise GOD I’m so thankful I have them they make life so much intresting and soo much better, my husband and I totally agree with the electronics they just suck kids in and yes we parents need to be a good example I catch my self sometimes being on my phone way too much looking at recipies or even texting or Pinterest and that’s no excuse because kids they see everything like Hawks so I try to limit that myself and when there down for a nap and I have some time I go on, may GOD give us wisdom
    How to teach our children because this world is so perverse ! And if they have a relationship with GOD HE can teach them what I cant and open their eyes .. Sometimes I know from my life parents can say the same thing again and again but until GOD opens your eyes then it clicks ! And modesty wow that is SOOO true from your age to teach our daughters that ! We don’t have any girls yet but if GOD wills one day one day 🙂 and also teaching kids how to help out if they see something’s wow and respecting elder those things are soo important thank you sister for sharing I really appreciate this !

    1. Svetochka, Thank you so much for your beautiful comment. It was so touching to read and very encouraging, I appreciate it and you are doing a great job mama. Your kiddos are blessed to have you!

  3. What a wonderful and inspiring message. I was really blessed by it and the electronics really spoke to my heart. My kids are little but I already see this is a problem, it just breaks my heart to see it like this. Thank you, this is something I need to pray about and first fir myself because you right our kids do everything like us, this will be hard. :[..

    1. Sanja, Thank you for stopping by and I am SOO HUMBLED that you were somehow touched through this post. Thank you, Thank you and Praise God!. Yes, it will be hard in the beginning but you will do great.

  4. Thank you for posting this, I was in tears reading it. I have 3 children under 5 and its not easy but God is helping us! I think you are a great mother and I absolutely love your blog. God bless you and your beautiful family.

    1. Valentina, You are so kind, Thank You. I have 3 under 5 too plus 10 and 11, I totally understand you. I am sure you would agree that the blessings and joy children bring outweigh the difficulties.

  5. Valentina, Thank you so much for this post. There are so many good points for me to take my kids really young. This is all maybe easier to do when you come from a Christian family, thats not where I come from. Praise God I am Christian now but still very new to all of this. Please post more like these posts, we Ukrainians need a Christian blogger. For a future idea I would really want to hear how you find time for your Bible reading? Many many blessings on your really beautiful family and everything that you really are wanting now I hope your children will be this way all there lifes. Blessings sister!.

    1. Sonya, Wow Praise God for your conversion. My husband’s parents are not believers so I totally understand you. I am learning too so there is not too much I can share but if God will put something on my heart and I feel there is a need for it I will definitely share it and THANK YOU so much for the encouragement. Your last sentence is just so genuine. You are right though, i have no idea what my children will present to me in 5 years. My husband and I pray DAILY that the fruit they bring forth will be one that will be pleasing to God but I don’t know what our future holds but but I do know who hold the future and all we can do as Christian parent’s is pray and trust the rest into God’s hand.

  6. Valya, thanks for the post and God’s blessings to your family. We have similar structure for computer usage in our family. It works realy good. Now they don’t even ask for electronics on Sundays which is great.
    Do you have any system that you use to learn Bible with your kids? We do read Bible almost everynight together. We do more chapter by chapter thing but I am looking for something more theme oriented and kids friendly. Thanks.

    1. Tanechka,
      I am so so happy to hear we have similar structure, praise God! Honestly, we are doing what you are doing as well and it’s not every night. Our children attend a wonderful Christian school and they have a Bible class four days out of the week so a lot of times we will just go over what was taught there or like you, just read one Chapter or two before we pray in the evening. Friday nights and Saturdays are our days for deep conversations and it’s a lot of times not as much reading so many chapters of the Bible but really trying to help them understand what we believe and why. Like our last conversation was about prayer. We have our children each take a turn praying aloud and one of our sons really hasn’t grown much in his prayers, it’s almost repetitive which means he isn’t giving it much thought. So my spouse and I have really been working on him that prayer needs to consist of Thanks, then bringing glory to God, any requests and thank you again. Psalms are filled with wonderful ways David glorified God then we take that vocabulary and have them learn to use it. A lot of time we treat God like a personal servant, I want this, I need this, Bless this and don’t forget the Amen in the end which translate “to be so, meaning don’t forget this is how it needs go be Lord.
      Now during the summer when there is no school that is a totally different story. We have “Bible reading” every morning and it’s fantastic. This summer we will be focusing on the the Life of Jesus and the Miracles that he did. I am really excited because this is something I have been working on for a while. As we get closer to summer like in the end of May I will post everything for anyone who cares to do this. I am not sure if you do anything during the summer but I find that my children really really enjoy this. We are not rushed, we aren’t in a hurry and it’s phenomenal. I will post quizzes, games and different ideas to get the point across for all ages because we have different age in our home as well.

  7. Thank you for standing up for what is right and taking time out to share with us. I was so blessed and encouraged by this post. Can I ask you though, do your kids have their own gadgets or is it yours they use.? My daughter is 9 and all of her friends have one and she wants one too. In my heart I know she should not. Thank you so much in advance. Wishing you and ur beautiful family all of God’s blessing.

    1. Viktoriya, Praise God you have been encouraged, my heart is filled with happiness. My boys are almost same age and so I know what you mean. Almost all of their friends own personal gadgets and they too used to ask for them all the time too.
      last year, my brother gave my oldest son his old mini tablet and he had it for a few months and that is where I saw this unhealthy attraction to want to get on the tablet. After I sat with our children and explained what it does to them, how much it effects them and was so honest and open; he himself gave up the tablet. They can use my tablet if they need to and he doesn’t need an ipad, ipod, tablet or anything else to call his own. I just prayed a lot that before talking to them that God himself would speak through me to their hearts and they themselves would not have a desire for it. There is so much power in prayer, like in my situation I would say pray, pray and pray and when you feel you are ready to talk God will present a time for you to sit down with her lovingly explain to her. I am not an expert so not sure if this is good advice but this is what worked for our family.
      On the other hand I have friends who think it’s really healthy that their kid’s have their own gadgets and they learn to use it and be responsible. They say it works for their family so maybe I am just too old school.

  8. All of these points are so very true. I love your parenting style; you have set a great example for your kids and for other families. I have one daughter who is almost 2 and I already see her being influenced by everything around her. May God bless your family!!

    1. Katy:
      Thank you for your sweet comments. Yes, totally agree with you, kiddos soak their surroundings up like sponge. What a fun age you have, it’s so much easier with one. Enjoy her, time flies!.

  9. Valya, Thank you for sharing your heart and your family structure with us. A lot has resonated with my heart, and I saw where my family needs work. I would gladly appreciated your chore sheet. I am looking forward to your new posts regarding family and family structure. I also noticed from reading comments that people want to know how and when do you find time to do your daily Bible readings and personal prayer time. Thank you for your time.

    1. Tanusha, Thank you for such a sweet comment and I am so humbled you were able to find something for yourself in the post. Chore sheet sent and the Bible reading is seriously my everything and I will cover all the details in Part 3 which is coming next week.

  10. Thank you Valentina for sharing your thoughts. I was so happy to read your post. Me and my husband are expecting our first born and all this information is helpful. Valentina I agree with every word, and I think myself that if I read Bible for 15 min a day and read something online for hours, that’s wrong. Our tablets, TV’s and computers can be the door to hell. I like the 30 min rule not only for my kid but for myself ))) Oh that’s not gonna be easy! I am a stronger believer that if I am not showing my kids a good example, I can say things over and over again it won’t work. Sorry for my English, 6 years in US. Thank you thank you and God bless you and your family!

    1. Annechka! Oh congrats on the baby. Your life will change drastically, enjoy spoiling your hubby in the meantime, it gets much harder to balivat muja after baby comes, they like to take over life. I am not sure what you are talking about, your English is “Zamechatelniy”, and feel free to comment in Russian/Ukrainian, I understand both. You are absolutely right, self discipline is very hard. Totally agree with u, I must “live” what I preach or else my words will have no power. Especially with our kids and spouse, they will never be fooled but sometimes its easier to say it than do it.. Blessings on a healthy delivery and may your child bring you guys so much joy.

  11. I love how everything you say and write shows the wisdom God is giving you. I know you pray about this blog and all that you write in it and it is very noticable God is leading you in every step of the way. I think its time for u to write a book and publish it!!! seriously!!!
    What i would really love to know is if you have a russian transcript of this. We have so much family that would love to read something like this! And my mom for sure. If you do it would be so great! But dont worry if not. You have enough work at home raising your children and having a life with your husband. And writing in this blog helping all of us! Thanks for all you do!

    1. Nastyush. Thank you for your wonderful comment. I have had several people ask about translation in Russian and a few people volunteering to do so. I honestly am not sure where that all will go and how that will play out. If that is something that is pleasing to God, it will happen.

  12. A true Proverbs 31 woman. Your children will call you blessed. Thank you for these beautiful posts like such. Thank you for humbling yourself to speak of such things. You are truly an encouragement. God Bless your family. <3

    1. You’re so kind, Narine.
      I’m so glad what God is teaching me has been a blessing to you as well. Thanks for visiting our online home.