Looking into all of our children’s sweet newborn faces, I never dreamed parenting would be this hard.
Sadly, there are no reliable 10 steps to perfect parenting.
Neither are there 10 steps resulting in the most well adjusted, well behaved child every single time.
The only predictable things about parenting are,
- each child is different,
- each season will bring a new challenge and
- each parent needs to be mature enough to model proper responsible adulthood
I seem to fail at that last one from time to time.
One of the most convicting things about my parenting journey so far, is that sometimes the things I tell my kids teach me more about life than it does them.
The first time I said the following things, they got my children’s attention, but more impressively they got my attention.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as calling yourself out.
For instance, one wintery day, I went outside to gather the eggs from our small flock. When I returned 5 minutes later, all three children were running races through the house, had the whole toy box dumped out, emptied a bag of cheese puffs on the floor, had thrown every blanket we own into a massive pile and were jumping into it from halfway up the stairs. “This is our leaf pile!” one hollered. Another was filling the tub with plans to go swimming. The youngest, 1 ½ then, had opened the dryer and was throwing clean underwear all over the house. Some landed on top of the fridge, another hung on the deer antlers and another on the ceiling fan.
Five minutes. I was in shock.
This is what I blurted out. “It is called self control and we are going to practice it!!”
***Lesson I learned: Sometimes I may or may not feel like doing something. Self control isn’t about doing what I feel like doing. Its about doing what I don’t want to do because it’s the right thing to do.
I need to remain clear minded and self controlled, having a purposeful mindset, being thought up, planned up and prayed up so I will not react or respond in inappropriate ways.
[bctt tweet=”Its called self control and we are going to practice it! #momlessons “]
We have girls.
Just a side note here – Notice how that was one whole sentence. One complete thought. In a paragraph all by itself. If you have girls, you understand!
They have very sweet ways and ideals, but they can come with a whole lot of drama. Some tend to have little pity parties when things don’t quite go the way they want.
One of ours started getting very in touch with her ‘feelings’. She pulled out the feelings card when there were no hurt feelings involved. Like falling off her bike, she was more worried about her ‘feelings’ than her bloody knees, elbow and cheek. I’d ask her to set the table or put her boots away properly…. “that hurts my feelings, mom.”
After a few times of that, I cupped her sweet little face in my hands and said, “Honey, life isn’t all about how you feel.”
Yes, she responded with “that hurts my feelings”.
I said, “Sometimes the way you feel isn’t the way you should act.”
***Lesson I learned: Life isn’t all about how I feel. << FACT
[bctt tweet=”Life isn’t all about how I feel. #fact #momlessons “]
Growing our daughters into young ladies who will be respectful to their future husbands is important to us.
We also have a son. Growing him into a respectable young man who treats women kindly is also important to us.
All of them must learn to respect some kind of leadership in their future, be it an employer, teacher, government, or simply respecting people in general.
One day, the girls repeatedly spoke meanly to one another. In exasperation I said, “WE do NOT speak meanly to others or about others. It is called disrespect and we are not participating in it.”
***Lesson I learned: Sometimes my words hold hints of mild disrespect. It’s still disrespect.
[bctt tweet=”Its called disrespect and we are not participating in it! #momlessons “]
My latest favorite thing to say to my children is “That is not acceptable behavior.”
This gets said to just about every kind of offense, from sassing, to hitting, to pity parties.
***Lesson I learned: Sometimes my own responses and attitudes are simply not acceptable behavior.
[bctt tweet=”That is not acceptable behavior! #momlessons “]
Now, regarding my children’s growth from these things…
Do they still tear the house up? Yes, but now they know what self control is.
Do they still try to manipulate me by pulling the ‘feelings’ card? Occasionally, but now they can discern between feelings and facts a bit better.
Do they still treat each other disrespectfully? Sometimes, but now they can call each other out on it. And me, sometimes. I need that.
Have they started saying “That is not acceptable behavior?” Yes. I like that they can judge proper behavior.
The way I see it is, my kids are going to be adults longer than they are children. So in order to raise adults to live in an adult world, I must introduce them to some mature adult ways of thinking, if I dare expect them to become well adjusted adults, who actually behave like adults.
Is my parenting flawless? Nope.
Is your parenting flawless? Probably!
The most common sense advice I can think of to consistently model responsible adult behavior myself, admit when I’m wrong, encourage them excessively, pray my knees to calluses and trust God to do greater things in them than I could ever hope to.
[bctt tweet=”1. Model mature adult behavior 2. Admit when I’m wrong 3. Encourage them 4. Pray my knees to calluses #momlessons “]
What have you said to your kids that has taught you a thing or two?
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