Isn’t it easy to want to yell when our kids misbehave and don’t listen – when that last straw is broken and we’re at the end of our rope?
But hostility just makes things worse, strains our relationships with our kids, & leaves us with oozing guilt.
Consequences with calmness work far more powerfully.
When we played basketball yesterday, my daughter said something in a rude tone to me.
I’m not okay with disrespect and I had already corrected her earlier, so I calmly sent her to her room for 10 minutes. Sometimes I snap back instead, but I strive to speak with grace and react calmly. When I don’t, I apologize.
She tried to get out of it and explained why she spoke that way, and I told her it was not okay, and repeated what she needed to do.
It diffused the situation, I relaxed, and she came back with a kinder tone.
Just before the basketball game began, my son let his other sister provoke him and continued overreacting and responding with anger toward her.
Sure, these emotions are normal and there’s no way to raise perfect kids who don’t fight, but if I can direct them toward better responses that reflect Jesus, I’m going to.
Instead of creating more chaos with a heightened reaction from me, I calmly sent him to his room.
After that, we read through Ecclesiastes 7:9 together, “Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit for anger resides in the lap of fools.”
We talked about how every human struggles with this, including me.
But that when we ask the Lord to help us with it, he will.
Finally, my kids and I were all outside together to play that b-ball game I wasn’t sure would ever happen.
While the game was delayed by “interruption” and “inconvenience”, that’s what parenting is – stopping in those moments to raise our kids and directing them in ordinary circumstances.
When we let repeated misbehavior slide, it becomes more of the norm and ends up being more difficult on all of us.
Calmly giving consequences reminds our kids who is leading, that we won’t wither to bumps in the road (making them feel secure), and that we are committed to showing them the better way because we love them.
We all need grace and sometimes reminders are just what our kids need or they might need to work it out on their own without our involvement, but if rude tones or strife are becoming the norm, consequences with calmness can make a big difference.
Lord, when we’re at our wits end with our kids and want to react with yelling and fits of anger, please lead us with calmness and grace instead. Give us your wisdom to know how to parent our kids, connect with their hearts, and lead them to you. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.