Parenting is one of the most, if not the most, amazing things. Nothing has brought me more joy, more excitement, more fulfillment, more purpose, more love. Also, nothing has brought me more confusion, more doubt, more anxiety, more tears, more questions, more pain if you will…. and I am just in the beginning years of this process. I hear a lot of people say that no one told them it was going to be this hard. That isn’t true for me. I was warned. I was told. But still, nothing could have prepared me. Nothing could have warned me quite enough. It is so painfully and beautifully hard.
One of the areas that is a constant struggle for me is figuring out the appropriate discipline methods and consequences for situations. Each child is so different, therefore so are the ways that disciplining them the best for them will be, therefore even if you have it figured out for your first child, good luck with your second! Also, if you have it totally figured out for your first, hit me up… I still haven’t gotten it figured out and she is almost 8.
Charlie, my oldest, is the guinea pig here. Every family has one…it is your oldest. They didn’t ask for the job but they were blessed with it by being your firstborn.
Like a lot of other parents, I had a lot of ideas and parenting methods figured out before I ever had kids. I was a really great parent, in fact, and then I had kids and that got shattered.
Somewhere I have gone for help in these areas, is parenting books. I love reading all sorts of books, and parenting books are probably my favorite right now with the season I am in. Loving Our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk is one that I love and have read a couple of times, and I am currently going to a class at my church where we are going through the DVD series on it.
My ultimate goal and desire is to have a great heart to heart connection with my kids. I want kids who are obedient, respectful, happy, make good choices and all the rest of the typical great desires we have for our kids. But ultimately… I don’t have control over all of that. I do have control over cultivating my relationship with my kids. Sometimes the relationship gets lost in the woes of discipline, and trying to raise obedient, compliant kids. The first time I read through this book my eyes were opened to this and many more things. I don’t want to raise compliant kids who listen because they are supposed to, or out of fear of punishment. I want to raise kids that listen out of respect for their relationship with me, because they care about my heart. This is no easy task though. Because in the middle of trying times, which happen to be daily in my house, my kids push my buttons and frustrate me, and my first response is NOT one of connection and love every time. Sometimes it is one out of that frustration that I am feeling.
How do you ensure that you are responding out of love, and out of the desire to cultivate your heart to heart connection with your kids? How do you keep yourself from responding out of the hurt and frustration, or down right anger you sometimes feel when your kids disrespect and disobey you or each other? If you think I am going to provide you with the cure-all, the sure way to make sure you never respond out of that, but only out of love… then you are sorely wrong! I don’t have all the answers, and I couldn’t even pretend to. I am still figuring all of this out, and am sure that I will never come to the place of complete knowledge on these things. It is a journey and a process. But some things I am doing to try to ensure my focus is on cultivating that heart to heart connection with my kids is to be honest with them. To tell them that it hurts my heart when they disrespect me, it hurts my heart when they talk to me like ____ or when they say ____ or when they act like _____. (You can fill in the blank with anything that is relevant to you.) And I apologize when I mess up. Honestly.. I have to apologize to my kids almost as much as they have to apologize to each other. I personally think that is a great way to show them we care, and we are trying to do what is best, but we aren’t perfect and don’t always get things right. It also serves as a real life example of the right way to respond when they mess up.
I also started using an app called HiFutureSelf. This may seem incredibly silly to some, but this app allows you to set up text reminders. You set a date and time, and make it recurring how ever often you want it to be recurring, and you will get what appears like a text with whatever message you have put in it. I use this to remind myself of things throughout the day that I don’t always think about in the heat of the moment. And one of those things I don’t always remember in the heat of the moment is the appropriate way to respond to my kids when they do something disrespectful.
What do you do to remind yourself? What are some tips you have picked up along the way?
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.