Hey beautiful friends, I’ve been on a ministry trip so today I’m excited to share a#throwbackTuesday. This post hit a nerve back then, and trying to figure out the right thing to do when your child messes up is still a topic that many of us wrestle with. ~ Suzie
So, your child makes a mistake. Or maybe it’s not a mistake at all, but on purpose. Maybe it feels like your child is never going to get it.
What do we do?
How do we address repeated mess ups without yelling or losing control?
Factor in the fact they’re a work in progress
Years ago I read several studies that stated that a child’s brain is still maturing until their early twenties. It shed light on why our child(ren) sometimes seemed like such a work in progress. . . because they are.
Impulse control isn’t in place yet. They aren’t as mature as they will be six months from now, or six years from now.
You and I are continually shaping and encouraging our children as they grow into their true selves.
Factor in their age. Don’t expect them to be adults or know how to do it right the first time.
Is this a mistake or this on purpose?
Is it a mistake?
Then it’s an opportunity for you to show them or teach a life lesson. It might take more than once. It might take a really long time. Children make mistakes.
Hey, we make mistakes.
Give your child what you would want
if when you make a mistake.
Let them take responsibility. Clean up the mess. Let them learn how to offer a sincere apology. They learn as they take responsibility for their mistake, but offer grace, and lots of it.
What if it’s on purpose?
Ask these questions:
- Is this something that was done out of anger or spite?
- Was it intentionally destructive or hurtful to someone else or to something?
- Did you tell them no and they did it, hoping that you wouldn’t notice?
That’s different from a mistake. The consequences are more serious. It’s saying “if you do this, this consequence will happen every single time” and then you follow through.
Can I tell you something? This is hard work on your part. It’s easier to just clean up for them. It’s easier to yell. It’s easier to remind them of how “bad” they are. Yet none of these help them grow.
Exit left stage
Leave the drama out of it. Don’t get caught up in the emotions of the moment. Some of the most intense and damaging battles in our families involve words.
We engage in arguments to nowhere. We hammer them with words until they shut us out. We want the last word. We want them to admit that they get it, even when it’s clear they don’t. We resort to using labels that mark their heart.
“Wordfare” can cause deep rifts between you and your child. It has the potential to create issues and anger that have nothing to do with the actual problem.
She’s mad. You’re mad. Acknowledge that. Then let her know that you love her. Let her know that you believe in her.Tell her what the consequences are.
Then follow through.
Pray for your child. Pray for you. (He’s listening. He knows this isn’t always easy, because He’s watching us grow too.)
Hitting, screaming, and grounding for weeks aren’t reasonable. They’re damaging. I wish I could say that I never yelled. I wish I could say that I never responded in anger.
There were times that my response showed that I was a work in progress, too.
What I learned is that discipline isn’t about punishment, but teaching. It’s not about emotions, but a mixture of responsibility and hope for redemption.
Being reasonable means that once the consequences are fulfilled, everybody gets to move forward. You refuse to hold this one action over your child’s head until they are grown.
It gives room for trust to re-emerge in the relationship.
Find your child doing something right. Somewhere in those messups are some really good things, and they can get lost when your child makes mistakes. Words of encouragement go a long way.
Know your child. Know your family. There’s no such thing as formulaic parenting.
If you didn’t always have the best example of how to be a parent, The Mom I Want to Be might be a powerful resource for you and your family.
I’m proud of you, moms. I love what you do. May I pray for you today?
Father, thank you for this mom who is reading this today. There are days when we just don’t know what to do and we need your wisdom. You promise to give that wisdom generously. Will you pour it out? Show this mom how to mix grace and teaching as her child grows into the incredible man or woman he or she will one day be.
In your powerful name, Jesus, amen.