Monday, May 6, 2013

Anger, Sin, Patience, and Parenting

Separating myself from the everyday stresses of life this past weekend was really important.  It was gorgeous.  Peaceful. Serene. Tranquil.  There was also plenty of laughter with friends and some hysterical moments that won't soon be forgotten.

And I came back renewed and refreshed and ready to face a challenge that needs to be faced.

We are struggling with Teagan.  She has wild mood swings that can make parenting very challenging.  And the very unfortunate part is that as the stress of life and parenting has increased, my patience and good choices have decreased.  I yell.  I get frustrated.  I even scream sometimes.

I lose my temper and it makes the situation worse.

I try different things to get through to her - grounding from TV, taking away toys.  It makes the situation worse.

As I packed for my weekend getaway, at the last second, I grabbed a book off my shelf that I haven't looked at in a couple of years.

The Only Three Discipline Strategies You Will Ever Need: Essential Tools for Busy Parents

by Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller

I didn't get around to reading it.  Instead, I completely separated from the stresses of home and focused just on letting go.  So when I came back home and was quickly reminded of the challenges, I picked up the book and scanned it and was reminded that I need to do better.

And since that realization, more and more reminders are coming.  God has stepped in and needs me to be a better mother.

I receive daily devotions.  I have signed up for about 3 or 4 but ony read one every day (Upper Room).  Today, I decided to read one that I haven't read in months.  Encouragement for Today.  It was kind of scary how it seemed to be written just for me.

When anger takes the lead, I can go from mild-mannered mother to micromanaging mama in three seconds flat to try and make my family "get with the program—and PRONTO!"

Rushing to anger in an attempt to micromanage can lead to hurt feelings, crumpled spirits and fractured relationships in need of repair. Of course we should expect our children to do as they are asked, to perform their chores or remember their school responsibilities.

But, when they don't—because they are kids and like us, not perfect—how will we chose to behave? Do we choose to be like Jesus who would respond appropriately and with self-control or like a wild woman who somehow thinks yelling is effective although it has never, ever worked in the past.

This lead me to sign up for the devotional author's challenge - Pause Before You Pounce.  I immediately received the Day One email.

But my kids just couldn't seem to get with the program and so? It made me get angry.
Later, after the shoes were straightened and some even put away in the house, I felt God tap me on the heart prompting me to apologize to my kids. I fought with Him for a while, arguing that the kids were the ones who should be apologizing to me for not doing as they'd been asked.
It was then that I felt God clearly say, "Mind your own sin, mom."
Ouch! Yes, my kids disregarding an instruction isn't right. Children should obey their parents. (Ephesians 6:1) But, when they don't? Well, I couldn't recall a single verse that then grants parents the right to holler and scream.

Mind your own sin.  Those are big words.  And a great reminder - I can't control Teagan or force her to make specific choices.  But I can and must control my own behavior and own my personal choices.

From these 2 emails and from my heart, I had 3 Bible verses staying with me.  I've made up some little signs to post around my house to help the grown ups remember...

And I am remembering the main lessons from the Moorman/Haller book.  To focus on naming the behavior and explaining, simply, why the behavior isn't ok in our family.  To explain things in terms of opportunity and responsibility.  To maintain my commitment to being the parent I want to be and the parent she needs me to be.


1 comment:

C. Beth said...

What a great reminder, Liz. I'll check out that devotional.