Grrrr! Ruff! Ruff!

March 17, 2011

"And now a word to you fathers. Don't make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord." Ephesians 6:4

Raise your hand if you've ever corrected your child and he/she has gotten VERY angry with you. Go ahead. No one is looking. Be honest, now. {I'm sitting here with my hands HIGH above my head, waving them frantically back and fort. My kids think I'm having a seizure and one of them just called 9-1-1!}

How do you discipline your kids without making them angry~ at least some of the time?

discipline- to train by instruction and exercise; to bring a state of order and obedience by training and control; to punish or penalize in order to train and control

The theme here seems to be "train and control". Who likes that? This is the part of parenting that I really don't like at all. My personality is naturally "ruff" on the outside. It's one of the few things that I've inherited from my dear old dad. Why couldn't I have gotten height instead of bark? Oh well. C'est la Vie!

I have a child who is so much like me when I was a young 'un that it is scary! She can work her Momma! I have to struggle to be strong and stand my ground with her. This is exactly where the devil attacks me. He knows my insecurities in this area and he chips pounds away at it with a chisel jackhammer! He knows how to hit me where it hurts. Appearances can be very deceiving. Tough outside, raw inside. Yep. That's me.

Freddie says, "You're the parent. Don't banter with her. Say what you have to, then the discussion is OVER. The End." But no. There is a crack there. I don't want my child to feel unloved or unheard. I want my child to understand that Mom's not just being mean punishing for the sake of being mean punishing. So, I give her several opportunities to plead her case be disrespectful to me. And then, I take it with me somewhere private where I can let it eat at me and destroy my confidence even more.

I have two problems the way I see it. 1) I allow my child to dictate and debate with me over her discipline. In doing so, the door is opened to use every tactic known to man to prove oneself righteous! 2) I've got this terrible, disrespectful bark that is very difficult to control. It's in the DNA. I completely understand that both of these problems are deep seeded. Woven into the fabric of our human existence. Survival skills. And we have some Mad Survival Skills! But, we can change! We can grow.

I've been working on "bridling my tongue" lately. It feels really good to be in a familiar situation that, in the past, has always gone very badly, and I can focus on breathing and carefully choosing my words, putting pride in my back pocket, tucking my tail neatly between my legs, and responding in a different way to get the results I've always wanted.  I just need to practice doing that with my child.  Respect. Something I've not been very good at. Especially when it comes to my kids. My dad would CONSTANTLY tell us that "little people are made to be seen, not heard". It would drive me crazy. And yet, somehow, I've managed to pack an overnight bag and tuck those words into one of the pockets to pull out whenever it's convenient. Please understand, I do NOT believe those words at all! I think my kids are amazing with some of the most significant insight and ideas. How can someone so little be so smart? (And, for the record, I have NEVER uttered those words to my kids- and I NEVER will!)

It's just really hard to get them to see the "bigger picture". After all, at the end of the day, I'm raising adults, not children. Right now, they are still invincible. They don't know the dangers that lurk around each corner, waiting to shred them to pieces. They cannot see what elements are important for good character. They still have a hard time overcoming sinful instincts. It's my job to drive them around and chart the course; making sure they wear their seat belts and keep their arms and legs safely inside the vehicle at all times! And when they test the rules, and they will- hence the creation of Aflac, instead of freaking out and barking at them, I need to force a gentler approach. Bridle my tongue. And if that doesn't work, there's always dear old Dad to the rescue!

So. What am I going to do? Well. (1) I am going to try the whisper technique with her. Instead of yelling, or even speaking in a normal decibel, I am going to call her close to me and whisper to her. That way there is no mistake that she is NOT being yelled at AND it forces her to pay attention so that she can hear me. No walls go up and she actually comes in closer. No defense retaliation needed. And, (2) I am going to remind myself to PRAY. "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done." Philippians 4:6

"Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God." Philippians 2:5-6

"For you have been called to live in freedom- not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love." Galatians 5:13

1 comment:

Marty said...

Thanks, Dana.
This could have been my post, to a T.
Thanks for writing it.