When our kids are frustrated, do we give them room to be human, or do we always try to force a smile?
My daughter was grumpy yesterday morning. Grumpy as grumpy can be. But, as we were trying to pull her out of the mood, encouraging her to replace the attitude with a better one, I thought about how my husband and I have our days too. And sometimes we just need a little space.
It can be difficult when our kids act like this when there seems to be no reason for it. But don’t we all have those days where we don’t feel ourselves and are just struggling some? If someone were to constantly get on us for that, it would be exhausting.
I don’t want my kids to feel like they have to fake it. To hide how they’re really feeling from us, and to project an “all is good” attitude, when they’re not feeling that way. I’m not saying to be okay with ungrateful hearts and sour attitudes – we do need to teach our kids that to have joy and gratefulness is a choice, and that the Lord calls us to it.
But, Jesus also cried, and was mad, and was filled with joy – he felt all the emotions because he was God and human at the same time. As humans, we just need to express ourselves sometimes, without it needing to be constantly filtered.
I do not want to take away their space for being human and being real.
Sometimes when we give our kids a few moments to gather themselves, they recover, and sometimes they retreat to their rooms. My daughter retreated to her room with glassy eyes. I knew she didn’t need a speech, but needed me to just come alongside her. So, I went into her room, sat on her bed, put my arm around her, looked into her eyes, and told her I loved her so much.
She broke down in tears, telling me how much she missed my dad (“Papa T” to her), who went to be with the Lord just two months ago. As my dad would always say, life is like a roller coaster – it will go up and down, but it will come up again. The ups and downs are just a part of life.
Whether our kids’ moods are up and down for a reason or no reason at all (aren’t ours at times?), sometimes they just need us to come alongside them, give them a hug, and tell them that we love them.
I’m not always very good at discerning between the two, but Lord, would you give each of us wisdom to know what our kids need and how to best love and lead them since you have entrusted them to us and since we love them dearly? Thank you, Lord. We love you. In Jesus’ Name, amen.