We've all said it at some point, or at least seen it on a romantic comedy chick flick... But if we're really honest it's often the exact opposite of how we feel.
If only my children would stop running inside, quit fighting with each other, not talk back, keep their room tidy, mind their manners, stay in their own bed at night etc...
The truth is we often place unrealistic expectations on our children to be perfect, yes we need to teach them right from wrong, discipline them when it is needed. But I have often found myself frustrated with my boys when they have made unwise, at times hurtful, choices. The truth is that our children do and will make mistakes... we all make mistakes... yes that includes you and I too!
So what do we do? Do we just give up and let our children run riot through our homes and lives? Well, I certainly hope not!
Lately I have been challenged that my frustration with my children's behaviour is less about them and more about me. No matter what they are doing I can choose how I respond. Do I choose to respond with love, grace, wisdom and maturity? Or out of frustration, annoyance and sometime lack of sleep!
Simply put, we need to be consistent with our children and how we choose discipline them. How we are responding to them in those make or break moments? Are we responding or reacting? We can't control our children's every decision, they have to be responsible for their own actions. Truthfully, the only person who we can fully control is ourselves.
Thankfully we're not on our own in this :) I love all the wisdom that God has made freely available to us through his word, the Bible. In Proverbs 15:1 it says "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a hard words stirs up anger".
I could give you countless examples of how I have responded to various incidences with my children, sometimes responding well, sometimes not so well... but the truth is I'm sure you've got your own little movie reel of past events going through your head right now.
One thing I do know, is that when I calmly respond to my children it shows them that it is their mistake or bad behaviour that I am displeased with and not them personally. It models to them how to stay in control of your emotions & it also shows them that you, the parent, are in control of the situation.
Simple questions I try to ask myself:
When I remind them that we are to be kind and patient with one another, is the way I am speaking kind and patient?
When I instruct them not to raise their voices at one another, am I raising my voice?
Is the way in which I am responding to them building towards a solution or just adding to the problem?
In asking myself these questions I have come to realise that often the source of my struggle comes down to just this... It's not you, it's me. And thankfully therefore the solution can be found with me also.