And not just in the trenches of gross and dirty (like my nephew spilling milk all over my sister’s car, including his current favorite stuffed animal) but also in the daily questioning of how the choices you’ve made in your parenting style is working as you try to raise a decent human being. I, like you, am right there. In the gross and mundane life of littles but breaking out into a new realm of a child that can understand more than basic boundaries and trying to figure out how the best way to parent this stage.
But I’m getting ahead of myself a little. I need to be honest about me. I’m not perfect. (Shocking I know) But seriously, I’m not – and thankfully God has decided to show me how not perfect I am and meet me in this place of brokenness.
I have a control problem.
Recent studies in Judges and about Lent (and a class for our fostering license) have caused a microscope to be directed at me and I haven’t liked what I’ve seen. Specifically relating to some aspects of how I parent my kids.
See, when you want to be in control and that control is taken from you and or faced with 5 year old stubborn, for example, you yell. And it’s never the straight to the point logical yell. It’s the over the top, I’ve started and I’m going to finish this, I’m in charge and you’ll listen to me or else yell. The problem with this yell is it doesn’t do anything but relieve (for about 5 secs) the anger and frustration of not being in control.
Because after this yell you look at your child and you see their countenance fall and you feel the guilt of crushing their little heart a little and then…then you feel horrible. Then you feel guilty. But although you’ve reached guilty your still holding on to that control.
The scenario above has happened too many times in my house. And in those studies I’ve mentioned of Judges and Lent God showed me how wrong I was. And that although my flex is to respond that way I don’t have to anymore. And that control I long to squeeze tightly to my chest, doesn’t belong to me either.
The day I realized I was a sinner and gave my life to Jesus was the day control was given to Him. Technically it was always His; But that was the moment the old ways of my life were no longer a part of me and I was a new creation in Him.
It took until a few weeks ago for me to realize that new creation doesn’t have to yell. That yelling wasn’t just “who I was” and therefore my cross to bare. It was another piece of my life I needed to release to Him.
So recently – I’ve stopped yelling. I’m having to re-train my brain to stop and use the tools given before communicating with my kids. Tools like counting to 3 before responding, being sure to actually talk and listen to them, to get to their level by sitting next to them or kneeling down, and more but you get the picture. I’m not 100% successful but I’ve been able to stop myself in the middle of yelling and take a break so that I can return to a calm state before dealing with the kids.
How can I expect them to respond rationally and logically if I’m not doing that either?!
The hard part of all this is my kids have learned to ignore mom until she yells and to yell at each other, so they are being re-trained too. To communicate their anger, frustration, sadness. And to learn their own ways of finding their calm state before continuing the conversation. Or to come and get mom or dad if their try at working it out hasn’t worked.
I want my kids to grow up responsible, kind, caring, willing to stick up for others, with integrity, and so on human beings. But if I crush the little parts that can grow into those characteristics I’m not doing it right. And now that my oldest is 6, he’s old enough to start thinking of the “why” he did whatever he did from the heart aspect. And yelling at him leaves no room for communication. Just makes him defensive and closed off. The same thing it would do to an adult. This is what needs to change.
It’s a process. And it’s tough. Now that I’ve been shown this fault of mine I can’t ignore it. Their face when I started to yell is etched in my brain and is what I see when I feel my anger rising. So I keep at it. I pray daily for God’s guidance and help. Each day is a new day. And with every new day of a this new mom, my kids can become the little humans they are intended to be. Learning the tools as kids I’m learning at 31.