Many of you know that I’m a counselor. There are many positives to being a counselor but one of the negatives is that at times one feels the pressure to have it all together, especially my own family life and kids. Unfortunately, I don’t have all the answers for others, nor for my own family. I’m constantly searching for wisdom from the Bible, from books and the internet because I don’t have all the answers.
Though you may read this last statement and think, duh. It’s actually a huge realization for me to not only know it in my head but accept it in my heart that I don’t have all the answers. I can’t change everyone that I counsel. I can’t change hearts. But I can pray for them. I can share truth with those who cross my path. I can share His love and grace. In this field, and as a mother it’s important that I realize my limits.
Let me give you a sneak peek of what can happen at any given moment in my home. This summer I have had my share of tantrums, whining and sibling rivalry with 3 boys under the age of 10. See for yourself:
I’m working at my desk, I look over the banister and the kids are playing wonderfully. My youngest is on the potty. Literally in a matter of a few minutes my boys went from being content in each others company to suddenly they couldn’t stand each other.
Yelling. Screaming. Crying. Hitting.
The two year old decides to wash his hands and plug the sink up with paper so the water overflows onto the floor. Needless to say, he’s having a grand time, splashing in the water. So much overflowed it created a nice little indoor pool for him. First, I deal with the “indoor pool” in my guest bathroom and my 2 year old. While I am doing this I try to raise my voice over my bickering kids who still don’t hear me. Meanwhile, the dog runs inside and splashes all over the water. The boys bickering quickly turns into hitting and crying.
Needless to say, I desperately began my search for new strategies to help ME learn how empathize with my kids, help my kids grow from these situations and conflict. I want to get to the heart of the issue and help my children grow in character from their tantrums and fights not just referee fights and hand out consequences.
In my search I stumbled upon these words: FREE. Parenting. E-book. After reading the description I knew I had nailed it. It was exactly what I was looking for and it’s FREE: The Discipline That Connects by Jim and Lynne Jackson and this is the main message behind the book that I am currently fond of:
4 Powerful Messages Your Kids Long to Hear
1. “You are safe.” Let our kids know that we are for them not against them.
2. “You are loved.” Kids feel fully loved only when we express love in “the good, the neutral and the ugly” of family life.
3. “You are God’s workmanship.” This one really stood out to me because I had never thought of bringing out our kids unique capabilities in the midst of disciplining in the way that they share. For example, figure out what is the gift behind your child’s whining and acknowledge it before you do anything else.
4. “You are responsible.” Kids feel responsible when we help them understand the impact of their behavior and hold them accountable to find a solution.
Remember what I shared above that I wanted to change in my parenting style? Below is part of the description for the book. It’s exactly what I was looking for.
- Be an emotionally safe parent
- Communicate love no matter what to your children
- Teach your kids life-long values instead of just quick-fixing their behavior
When I finally got around to reading it, I couldn’t put it down. I loved their approach it’s so practical and sound from a psychological and theological standpoint. The book is full of insightful and practical ideas on how to communicate love and respect to your child, how to instill values and grace. For example, one of the things I walked away with is the, Four Powerful Messages our Kids Long to Hear that I shared above. “When kids grow to believe these messages are true, their hearts are much more open to their parents teaching and discipline.” ~ Discipline that Connects
The book walks you through the 4 Powerful Messages and it gives practical ways to apply this in your parenting. It’s only 36 pages but it’s powerful. I just requested to receive their other books and I can’t wait to dive in. I desperately desire to transform my bad habit parenting strategies that I wish I didn’t gravitate to, in the midst of the battles.
I am amazed at how I still choose some of the not so healthy parenting habits that I grew up with over the truth and wisdom that I know in my heart and share with clients. This is where prayer comes in to my parenting, “Help me Lord, step out of my bad habits and embrace what I know in my head and heart to be true. Give me wisdom and discernment in knowing how to reach each of my children.” Though I am very thankful that my kids aren’t always as the mentioned above and that I don’t always gravitate towards the bad parenting habits.
Some articles you will enjoy:
How a Pipe Cleaner Can Stop Your Child’s Meltdowns – I loved this practical object lesson to help kids grasp meltdowns.