I’m so sorry you haven’t heard much from us as we have entered summer. I have filled my once school-focused mind with so many other activities and ideas. We just got done doing an Olympic-themed vacation Bible school for our church and have been attending to some other “non-urgent, but important” things I’ve been catching up on, like reading!
But like most of you, I think I have come up against something that you all are probably dealing with…the…children…are…home…all…day!
The problem I’m dealing with today, is not them, their boredom or busyness, fits or fighting, or messes and mayhem, but *my* reactions to them.
I think I need a time out sometimes. For some reason, I have been quick to let my temper rise and lose control. I just get upset and spew things like “what were you thinking?!” and “I can’t believe how disgusting this room is!” and “you better change that attitude!!” It isn’t that their behavior doesn’t need to be dealt with, but that I am not dealing with the issues well myself.
I am reading a book about leadership right now and it has struck a cord with me. To be a good leader, the book notes, you must “model the way”. Ouch. My losing control in angry words is NOT modeling the way! In order to model the way, the book suggests you must “clarify your values”. Whether it is providing good customer service, providing a good value, or saving the world, leaders need to know *why* they want to go where they are going…where they are leading their team. Once they clarify their values for themselves, they can better show them as an example to their followers.
I have never really thought of parenting as “leadership”, but it truly is. As a parent-leader, I must clarify my values too. I need to know what I value the most so I can know what I want most for my children and what qualities I most want them to have. I want them to have a good attitude and work ethic. Christian values like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control are key. So the question is, am I modeling those things for them?
Not always! What can I do to improve my leadership in these areas, my ability to model them?
Choose Your Battles
Sometimes I find myself getting upset about things that are not important. If I check the situation against my real values, I will be able to decide if a particular incident is worth my being bothered. Is the child exhibiting sinful, selfish behaviors that need to be addressed, or are they just being annoying and need redirecting?
We just can’t do it without the help of the Holy Spirit. I know I gain much more self-control when I draw near to God. I can do that in slowing down my pace and taking time to pray. I need to trust Him with my wants and needs and with my children.
Take a Time Out
Sometimes I just need to take a break away. If I find my temperature rising inexplicably, perhaps I need to give myself a time out. I can even use that time out to pray! I can go into my room and ask God for help in self-control and patience.
Think it Through
I may need to respond to a situation, but I should not “react” to the situation. I need to take time to think it through before I speak. What is causing the problem? Who is really at fault? What were the expectations? Is this a teachable moment? If I think some of these questions through before responding, I will have much more success.
Give Consequences in Love
When a situation is out of control and based in selfish behaviors, I need to do something. Yelling is not a consequence, so I must come up with something that will naturally teach a lesson that they will remember. I can even empathize with them while giving them a consequence if I am truly doing it in love. “I’m sorry that you have to suffer through this.” “I don’t like having to give you this consequence, but I want you to learn.” Consequences help them begin to remember and take responsibility for themselves.
So, if you are having a hard time in the summer months like other parents I’ve talked to, give these ideas a try. Leave a comment if you have any summer parenting ideas for us! I’m sure we can all use a little help!