17 Jul, 2012

Having the Right Response as a Parent

Our family just returned from a 1,600+ mile road trip from Minnesota to Ohio to visit family. 16 hours of togetherness with 2 adults, 3 kids and a dog in a cramped car has a tendency to bring out the best and the worst in you. We laughed together and made lots of memories along the way, but there were times on this trip where my kids were driving me crazy to the point where I felt like we were driving in a 70 mph pressure cooker.

When my children are behaving disrespectfully and disobediently, my quick, natural reaction is to overreact. I can feel my face turning red and my blood beginning to boil. My patience flies out the window and harsh words spring from my lips.

We live in a culture that celebrates self-expression.

Say what you feel.

Speak your mind.

Here’s the problem though. When I respond to my children out of anger and frustration (or good, old-fashioned freaking out), I typically do more harm than good. My sharp responses ultimately build a wall between myself and my children.

God has been showing me lately that I need to focus on having the right response with my children. Michelle Duggar is a wonderful role model for me in this area. In her book, “A Love that Multiplies”, she writes:

I (Michelle) am far from perfect. Like our children, I don’t always have the behavior I know I should have as a godly mother. But my goal is to discipline constantly, correct lovingly, and then reassure the child that everything is forgiven so he or she doesn’t have to carry around guilt for that disobedience  (p. 174)…

When I deal with our children with a loving response, even though they have misbehaved, I’m strengthening my relationship with them while also strengthening their relationship with God, whose Word lays out the concepts of self-control, discipline, correction, and forgiveness. (p. 175)

In the coming months, my goal is to work on having the right response to my children by:

1. Waiting an extra few moments before speaking.

2. Using a soft voice when correcting.

3. Giving my children my full attention when I’m correcting them so we can take the few extra minutes to work all the way through the situation to forgiveness.

4. Speaking strong words of encouragement to build them up. Calling out the good in them, rather than just the bad. (Michelle recommends saying 10 good things for every 1 correction. That’s a lot!)

5. Paying attention to the gift of the moment. Children are a gift. God has given us this time together. This very breath is from Him. I want my thoughts and words to be acceptable to God. (Psalm 19:14)

God does not give rights but imparts responsibilities- response-abilities– inviting us to respond to his love-gifts. Ann Voskamp

I have the ability through Christ to respond in a  way that will be effective and glorify God.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

 

Please take a moment to share:

How do you personally remember to have the right response with your kids?

What does “the right response” look like for you?

 

 

 

So, what do you think?