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Copyright © 2008, Jim Otremba, M.Div, M.S., LICSW and Maureen Otremba, M.A. You have permission to download one copy of this workbook per purchase. You do not have the right to duplicate this workbook; we need to buy diapers. Thank you and God bless you.


Preface Clinical examples are used in this workbook to instruct and illustrate. To protect confidentiality names, situations, and other details have been changed. This information is not meant to replace therapy, nor is it intended to diagnosis or treat any disorder. Psalm 127 has been the "business plan" for the mental health clinic that we own, as well as the "plan" for raising our family. This psalm powerfully reminds us that if our Lord does not build whatever we are building, all of our work is in vain. It tells us that our earlier rising and all the "hard work" we do will be in vain if our Lord is not the primary builder. Our prayer is that this material will be used by our Lord to build up your family. This concept came about because of a workshop we originally gave titled "The Daily Dozen of Christian Parenting." After giving a similar workshop at another church, a mother asked about making this material available in a workbook. We were humbled by this idea and prayed about it. In praying and thinking about a workbook we came up with another idea: using this material with Spirit 92.9 to create an income stream for the radio station. So we decided to give fifty percent of sales to Spirit 92.9, and we converted the workbook into digital files. Now parents can download or receive this material in the comfort of their own homes for the benefit of their families and the benefit of Spirit 92.9. If you like the information in this workbook please share the website: with other parents so they can learn about this great radio station. Acknowledgments: First we thank our Lord for trusting us to raise children in our society; what an ineffable gift it is to be a parent. Jim thanks the many families who have let him be a privileged guest in their lives as a licensed therapist since 1996; thank you for all your feedback. Jim also thanks his many wonderful Christian colleagues at The Center for Family Counseling, Inc. for their excellent feedback. We thank Tricia Theurer for her editing and expert advice. We thank Deb Huschle, general manager at Spirit 92.9 for her input into this project and allowing this workbook to be available to the listeners of the station. Thanks to Dawn Madsen for all her technical expertise and input; this material wouldn't be in this format if it weren't for her hard work and knowledge. We also thank Diana Madsen for her input, editing, prayer, and encouragement. We need your feedback: Please use the form at the end of this book to email us what you liked about this workbook, what you didn't like, how it helped your family, and any other comments that could help us make this, or future projects, better. Please submit your feedback to: [email protected] Please note that this email is only for submitting comments. Copyright information: Scriptures quoted from The Holy Bible, New Century Version®, copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Word Publishing, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.

Copyright © 2008, Jim Otremba, M.Div, M.S., LICSW and Maureen Otremba, M.A.

3 Table of Contents: How to use this workbook..........................................................................4 First Daily Dozen: Our identity as parents.............................................................................5 Second Daily Dozen: Our children's identity..............................................................................10 Third Daily Dozen: Some of what we need (our needs first)...........................................................12 Fourth Daily Dozen: Some of what our children need (possibly the most challenging chapter)...................18 Fifth Daily Dozen: Thanks be to God for leverages! (these are not bribes)........................................26 Sixth Daily Dozen: Learn and use good communication skills........................................................30 Seventh Daily Dozen: We are the parents; what does that mean to you?...............................................35 Eighth Daily Dozen: Don't buy society's lies.............................................................................41 Ninth Daily Dozen: Limit unproductive screen time.....................................................................51 Tenth Daily Dozen: Laugh, laugh, and laugh some more (then chuckle a little).....................................56 Eleventh Daily Dozen: Becoming parents and families who serve........................................................60 Twelfth Daily Dozen: Ask for guidance when you need it.................................................................64 Closing thoughts and request for feedback........................................................66 The authors of these daily dozen..................................................................69 Space for your thoughts on these daily dozen...............................................................71

Copyright © 2008, Jim Otremba, M.Div, M.S., LICSW and Maureen Otremba, M.A.


How to use this workbook

To begin, I want you to know that as I have been typing, I have been praying for all parents who will read and use this workbook. Our families are literally under attack from many divisive powers and tendencies that are contrary to what Christ desires. Ideally, our families have been created to be "little churches" where our children hear and see the Gospel lived out on a daily basis. Of course, none of us is perfect, and living our Christian values in our families can be difficult. The material in this workbook has been created so that families may come to see the great power and hope of Christ and that old attitudes and actions that once worked against the family can actually be healed in the Spirit. We can learn new attitudes and actions that help our families become these little churches. The reason I focus on attitudes and actions is that these are measurable and changeable. It takes about 30 days for new actions and attitudes to take hold. My hope is that you will read this workbook for about fifteen minutes each day and allow your actions and attitudes to slowly be transformed. The first four dozen especially build on each other and I suggest you start at chapter one. Once you have the majority of these themes internalized and are living out the attitudes and actions of the first four dozen you can be more open to skipping around and seeing if the Lord wants you to work on a specific chapter. On page 71 is some space for you to write a sentence or two about what action you want to practice based on the chapter you read. Ideally, we want to be doing some of all of these daily dozen every day as parents, hence the name daily dozen (clever, huh?). However none of us are perfect parents and God knows that. We simply need to continue becoming more of who we are as a child of God (first chapter). The more we live in this great identity, the more we will do these daily dozen and much more as parents. If you purchased this as a downloaded product you may want to print out this workbook right now so that you have a hard copy in hand before you begin. Or, you could save it to your desktop as a PDF and print out the reflection pages only. You decide what is easiest. If you are going to use this with a spouse you have permission to print out two copies. We have included many interactive invitations and homework pages in this workbook, all geared toward revealing to us our great identity as children of God. As you begin this journey of transformation may God richly bless you and your family with a deeper understanding of who you are as a precious and powerful child of the King! May the Holy Spirit anoint you right now as you use this workbook, and may Christ, who remembers and redeems family life, bless your family with healing and transformation. Amen.

Copyright © 2008, Jim Otremba, M.Div, M.S., LICSW and Maureen Otremba, M.A.


First Daily Dozen: Our identity as parents.

"We are God's children" - Romans 8:16 In order to be the best parent we need to first be the best child (of God). With the many stressors that we encounter in our culture and the brokenness of our human condition, we can frequently lose focus and forget who we are as God's children. We can look to our work, our income, our clean home, or our relationships to give us an "identity." None of these is who we are, yet we fall into our culture's lie of associating ourselves with what we do. The Scripture is clear about our identity; we are no longer slaves, but children of God (Gal.4:7). I was talking to one client about his great identity, and he said "So what?" "Really, Jim," he continued, "What difference does it make if I am a child of God or not?" We explored that question and discussed how as a parent he wanted good things for his child, and so as children of God we have a Divine parent who wants good things for us! Moreover, this great identity means that we are never alone. If we are children of God, then that makes us brothers and sisters in the Lord, and it also makes us part of a Royal Family...we are royalty. This great identity also assures us that we have great power when we feel like we can't change our attitudes or actions. If we are children of the King, we have all the strength that comes with a royal family. So, when was the last time you reminded yourself about this powerful identity? I like to remind myself of this reality in the shower every morning. When I am conscious enough, my daily shower is a perfect time to remember my Baptism and who I am as a child of God. When do you remind yourself? Take a minute now to write out how you have done this in the past, and then take some time to write out how you will remind yourself of your great identity in the present and future. Here is what I have done in the past to remind me of my great identity:

Here is what I will try to do today and every day to remind me of my great identity as a child of God:

Copyright © 2008, Jim Otremba, M.Div, M.S., LICSW and Maureen Otremba, M.A.


If we believe we are truly children of God, this will have a deep impact on every aspect of our lives. Two specific areas I want to discuss in this chapter are self-talk and trust. Both of these can impact our parenting positively or negatively because they form our own concept as children of God. And how we see ourselves as children of God carries over into the parenting of our own children. Regarding self-talk as parents, we need to be careful how we talk to, and about, ourselves. We all talk to ourselves. But too many of us have developed the destructive habit of verbally or emotionally beating ourselves up with shame, and that is never from God. There is a difference between healthy guilt and shame. Healthy guilt tells me that I am a child of God, but that because I will make mistakes, I must confess them and I can be forgiven. Then, I can live more fully from my great identity as a child of God. Shame tries to tell me that I am unlovable and unforgivable, so therefore it is OK to verbally or emotionally berate myself. Do you verbally or emotionally beat yourself? Take some time right now to pray and think about that. If you do beat yourself up with shame or other lies, try to write the number of times you criticize yourself emotionally or verbally every day in order to reduce that number. If you want to use it, I have included a contract at the bottom of this page for you to sign. Again, it takes about 30 days to develop a new action or attitude so be gentle on yourself. If you use the contract take time to put the date on it because you can work on stopping this self-destructive behavior slowly. In a month you can come back to this page and see that you have learned new behaviors (telling yourself the truth of who you are as a child of God) instead of sending yourself any negative, shame-based lies. Today's Date:______________ I think I verbally or emotionally scold myself ___________ (fill in the number) times per day. With God's grace and the Holy Spirit to help me, I will try today to reduce this number by one. If needed I will wear a rubber-band around my wrist so if I catch myself starting to verbally or emotionally berate myself I will gently "snap" myself back into the truth of who I am as a child of God! Instead of focusing on these shame-based lies I will try to tell myself at least three Scripturally-based realities of who I am in Christ (You can find a list of some of these truths on page nine of this workbook). I will sign and date this pledge and try hard today and in the future to stop any negative lies I say or feel about myself. If I need to I will copy this contract and put it up on my mirror, fridge, or any place I will see daily. ___________________________________________________ Sign here please date

Copyright © 2008, Jim Otremba, M.Div, M.S., LICSW and Maureen Otremba, M.A.

7 Whereas self-talk can strengthen or weaken the realization of our identity, the ability to trust God in all aspects of parenting (and life) is a sign that we are secure in that identity. Becoming more of who we are as children of God is not just some neat idea in a parenting workbook; it is essential to our eternal salvation! In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus tells us that unless we receive the Kingdom of God like a child, we will never enter it (Mark 10:15). This is a very challenging idea for us adults because we sometimes forget what it is to be child-like, and instead we become more childish by being self-absorbed or trying to depend too much on our own strength. Thank the Lord that we have our own children to remind us that fundamentally a child-like heart trusts. When was the last time you acted more child-like by trusting that God will provide for your needs?

How can you replicate that idea in your life today?

Acquiring this child-like heart is essential and difficult. When the pressures of finances, relationships, work, life, or world situations weigh us down, it is good to remember that we are children of God. God calls us to trust in His divine mercy to transform our concerns and to help us to understand what we can and can't control. Take about five minutes to list all the worries that are in your heart right now (use the back if you need more space):

Next organize your worries into three separate categories: 1) Worries you can't control. 2) Worries you can directly control. 3) Worries you partially control.

For example, you may have "the economy" on your worry list. Consider: how much direct control do you have over the economy? Not much at all. Decide which others you do not control and cross them off your list. As you cross them off the list give yourself

Copyright © 2008, Jim Otremba, M.Div, M.S., LICSW and Maureen Otremba, M.A.

8 verbal permission to not worry about them today. Use the past tense to let these go: tell yourself "in the past I used to worry about you, but now I see that I have no direct control over you and so I will not worry about you today." Tell the worries in this category: "I need to save my energy for the next two categories, I don't have time for you any more." The more you tell yourself these messages the more you will slowly start believing it and thereby evict this entire category from your thoughts. It is easier said then done, but if it isn't said it won't get done. Now we need to develop a working plan for the second and third category (worries you directly control and worries you partially control). As Christians we know that I Peter chapter five tells us: "Give all your worries to him, because he cares for you" (I Peter 5:7). In order to give our worries to God, it is essential to understand who we are as children of the King. Because we are children of God we have dominion (through Christ and the Holy Spirit) over these worries in our lives. With this power in mind here are some ways that have helped other parents, and us "give" these categories to God. One can re-write them and safely burn them, journal them out and shred them, praying them out, talking them out, exercising them out (when you start to sweat think about harnessing the worry and using it up as "fuel" for your exercise). Select one that works for you and practice it today. If you decide to use the burning ritual (which many people appreciate) recognize the profound symbols of burning. When something burns there is a chemical reaction that takes place. The ash can never become paper again, it is forever changed. Moreover, ash can be used as a potential fertilizer. This is exactly what God desires to do with our worries and cares. God desires to turn them into a different substance, something that will help us instead of harm us. If you burn, watch the symbol and let the Holy Spirit heal as you let go of these worries. Which ideas covered in this chapter will help you the most? (Use the back if needed).

How can you use that idea today to help you let go of some of the parental worries that you used to carry? (Use the back if needed).

Closing Prayer: All faithful Father, you gave Christ power over the difficulties in His life, and Jesus gives us power through His Holy Spirit today. May that same Spirit anoint us so that we can become more of who we are as Your precious and powerful children. Awaken within us the attitudes and actions that we need to change today in order to have a more blessed family and so create the little church that You desire. We ask this through Christ our Lord and in the power of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Copyright © 2008, Jim Otremba, M.Div, M.S., LICSW and Maureen Otremba, M.A.


Scriptural truths about who I am

Read these every day. Choose at least three of them to memorize. When you start to tell yourself any negative messages, stop them with the rubber-band if needed (no welts, just a gentle reminder), and start telling yourself at least three of these truths instead. If the Spirit moves you feel free to write these out and tape them to your mirror, fridge, cell phone, etc. so you will read it every day. If none of these is helpful, feel free to do your own Bible search for different phrases to help you discover how much God loves you.

+ "We are God's children" (Romans 8:16). + "The Father has loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we really are his children" (I John 3:1). + "Don't be afraid, because I have saved you. I have called you by name, and you are mine" (Isaiah 43:1). + "No one will be able to defeat you all your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forget you" (Joshua 1:5). + "Like babies you will be nursed and held in my arms and bounced on my knees. I will comfort you as a mother comforts her child" (Isaiah 66:12-13). + "I leave you peace; my peace I give you...So don't let your hearts be troubled or afraid" (John 14:27).

Copyright © 2008, Jim Otremba, M.Div, M.S., LICSW and Maureen Otremba, M.A.


The authors of these daily dozen...

Jim and Maureen Otremba have been married since 1995. They have both been stay-at-home parents (part-time) since 1999. Jim is the owner of the Center for Family Counseling, Inc. in St. Cloud, MN where he provides Christian counseling. Read more about the group of Christian therapists he works with at: Jim also provides Christian coaching through He holds a Master of Divinity degree from St. John's University and a Master's in Applied Psychology from St. Cloud State University. He is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in Minnesota. Maureen works at their church in out-reach ministry. She holds a Master's in Theology from St. John's University and has an extensive background in teaching children, offering workshops, and adult faith formation. She loves working with families and watching the Holy Spirit bring healing and peace. Over the last decade they have enjoyed offering many workshops for churches, ministers, and other groups. See the next page for a partial list of those workshops.

Copyright © 2008, Jim Otremba, M.Div, M.S., LICSW and Maureen Otremba, M.A.

11 Available workshops by Jim and Maureen Otremba: Earthly Perfect Harmony ­ Enhancing Marital Love The Daily Dozen of Christian Parenting The Daily Dozen of Managing Stress and Anxiety The Daily Dozen of Christian Dating Guidelines for Those Married Fewer than Five Years Champion Sports and Marriage: Profound Lessons Learned and Applied If your church or group has a particular workshop in mind, or would like to do an overnight retreat for marriage enrichment, they are always open to discussing specific needs. Jim can be reached at The Center for Family Counseling, Inc. at: (320) 253-3540. What others have said of their material: "...most practical and helpful in making immediate improvements within our marriage." "Thank you for your ministry ­ I'll be watching for your book and waiting for additional seminars." "I love learning concrete ways to deal with stress and anxiety." "Every couple came away with an enriched understanding of the spiritual aspect of our married life." "We really enjoyed the passion and enthusiasm of your presentation. You both are very versed on the subject matter and your commitment to each other and to your faith was uplifting." "I really enjoyed the `Daily Dozen' of stress ­ a much needed topic. Very practical advice and easy to apply." "Foundational intimacies...has been something I've been thinking about and wanting to talk about with my spouse for years, and now finally have." "It was well worth our time to participate. I'm sure it has opened up discussion and actions for us that will be very helpful to us in continuing to grow our relationship." "I thought it was really good and practical information that a person could take and use." "The effective merging of physiology and Christianity...For effective and applied Christian living this was very good." "The talks on forgiveness were enlightening. I had not yet forgiven myself for a slight to my wife ­ although she had forgiven me..."

"I like the therapy perspective ­ it is nice to know that problems in marriage can be resolved and not just eat away or split up the marriage."

Copyright © 2008, Jim Otremba, M.Div, M.S., LICSW and Maureen Otremba, M.A.


We hope that you enjoyed, and found useful, the first chapter of the Daily Dozen of Christian Parenting. To download the complete workbook and accompanying video option, please return to the Daily Dozen Main Page.

Copyright © 2008, Jim Otremba, M.Div, M.S., LICSW and Maureen Otremba, M.A.


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