Yeah, I wrote that. I meant it too. I’m thinking through some serious considerations at the moment. I’ve also stumbled across a few elements other parents are facing that have me pontificating how I would handle those situations myself. Some are darned heavy lifts to boot.
In my own case, I have a daughter that is willful and strong around the house and those she’s comfortable with, but shy and tad skittish around others. In school and regular settings she seeks to please. Her grades are tip top, and her instructors are pleased with her performance. This applies to her studies, AWANAs, piano lessons, taekwondo, and so on. But… She tends to be something akin to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at home. You can encounter the sweet girl that is helpful, skipping through the house as she zips from room to room, or the kid that has you asking why the cosmos has chosen you to test, at any given time.
Do all children drive their parents batty? I have thought long and hard about the discussions I’ve had with other parents much further down the path than my wife and I. Sure, we’ve seen eye rolling from others, and the occasional, “you have no idea,” but I can’t say we were well prepared for this kind of discord.
I suppose, just like with all things, I should be turning to the Word for answers. Proverbs 22:6 isn’t lost on me of course. However, Ephesians 6:1-3 is sounding pretty good right now as well. Too bad it isn’t that simple. It might be for some, but hasn’t proven to be so with us yet.
The man candidating for our Lead Pastor position weighs in.
I figured it wouldn’t hurt to call up my new buddy, Josh, and ask him his thoughts. In my usual semi-confrontational style, I called him up and led with, “Where do I read about how to handle my kids when they piss me off? I assume that’s in there somewhere, right?” I got a chuckle out of him at least. He didn’t hesitate though, and walked me headlong into the idea that patience is required at every turn. Thanks Josh. I think you have a calling for pastoral work. 😉
When I’m frustrated the most, I tend to offer punishment that is tainted with my reactivity. That reactivity is coupled with anger. This brings me to not only prepare for how I’m going to respond with patience, but also causes me to have some punishments or responses ‘canned’ and ready to go. It sounds as if I’m ready to pounce doesn’t it? The truth is otherwise. If I tell my daughter in conversation that “X” is going to be her punishment when she does “Y” then she has been given a copy of the rule book in essence. There should be no surprise when “Y” is awarded. Additionally, it helps me levy a punishment that isn’t too light or harsh.
I have a tendency to want to stop the blubbering, crying, or calamity that so often accompanies her dust ups. If I am patient and she knows the consequences for her actions, I have to believe this will eventually improve. The key aspect being follow through. It is a really lousy idea to apply a punishment, then back off. Thus, thought is necessary to precede judgement. I don’t do this well enough yet. I need to work on it, no question. Thus, prayer to make sure I discipline in alignment with His teaching, and the study of patience and implementation so I can avoid coming down on my daughter out of pure anger.
Be salt and light my friends. I beg you.