My youngest child argued with me during breakfast this morning. Then he argued with me during math. He disobeyed me in a straight-to-my-face sort of way this afternoon and then threw a fit over the consequences. And through it all, by the grace of God, I stayed calm, kind, and consistent.
Thank you, Jesus. That’s no small thing.
To tell you the truth, I used to meltdown each time one of my kids melted down. I’d whine and complain each time they whined and complained, thinking that my whining and complaining would help them to stop whining and complaining. Each time they’d act like little monsters I’d turn into a great big MOM-STER. It never worked of course, and God has been so kind as to show me why: I couldn’t help them when I was acting just like them!
My yelling never worked. My crying never helped. Only when I behaved could I help them stop misbehaving. That’s why staying calm is so important to me now, especially when they are out of control. As soon as we throw a fit because they’re throwing fits, we rob our children of the very best teachable moments. We immediately make that moment about our wrong behavior... so that neither of us can focus on theirs. What a sad shame it is to not be able to deal with their ugly words and actions because we’ve gone and thrown our own ugly all over the whole situation!
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a lesson in permissive parenting. We’re not letting them get away with their uglies, we’re just staying beautiful as we parent them. They might have snot running down their bright-red faces, but we don’t! We don’t have to contort our own faces, with nostrils flaring and spittle flying. We’re staying calm, kind, and consistent. No, this isn’t about permissive parenting, this is about actual parenting.
When we lose our tempers we cease parenting and join them in their childishness.
Whether you have a kid who melts down in a puddle of tears, whining and complaining all day long or a willful child who struts around like the boss, disregarding your rules and slamming doors, you have a job to do today and so do I.
WE MUST KEEP ON PARENTING.
Throwing in the towel isn’t an option. Throwing down a slew of blaming and shaming words isn’t an option either. They need us to stay committed (calm, kind, consistent, and committed) as we keep on parenting.
Were you tempted to give up (for just a moment) today? Or did you lose control and let your ugly out all over them? Oh, sister, I am so sorry. That must have been hard on you all.
While I do believe God’s Word, promising us that His mercies are new and waiting for us tomorrow morning, we have to make a better plan about what we’re going to do with those new mercies when we wake up. We can’t pick them up and then do the same old stuff we did today. We need to make some better plans about how we are going to help our kids with their sins… without sinning ourselves.
Ask God for His help. More of His patience, less of your impatience. More of His kindness, less of your short-tempered exasperated sighs, Don’t give in and yell at them because they yelled first. You keep parenting, lovingly, consistently with God’s help. His Holy Spirit is there to whisper in your ear, convict you in your spirit, and inspire you with creative consequences. He will show you what a long-suffering parent looks like if you keep your eyes on Him.
Oh, sweet mama, today I’m feeling all the feels too... but I refuse to let those feelings fuel wrong behavior in me because they’re behaving wrong. I know that gentle and respectful responses are always better when I’m teaching them to be gentle and respectful. It makes so much sense. It’s so simple and yet… so hard. But with God’s help, it is possible. Absolutely possible.
Though our children are childish, we don’t have to be. We get to be moms. What a privilege it is. This means when they act like little monsters (and sometimes they will) we don’t get to act like Mom-sters.
Who’s with me?
Need more help with staying calm and kind? Check out our book TRIGGERS: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses
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