Monday, September 27, 2010

How to Help an Angry Mom, part three *Guest Post*

Part One
Part Two

I was blessed a couple years back to find a friend online who has a gift for parenting. (Seriously, she's not just good; she's gifted!) And it's a gift that she willingly shares with anyone who asks! Jenny currently has five gorgeous children whom she home schools. She and her husband, Roddy, have invested their lives in training their children. This spring, their family of seven will grow to a family of eleven - yes, eleven!!! Jenny is expecting blessings #6, 7, and 8 (not in her womb, but in her heart - their three daughter will be coming home from Ethiopia in the winter/ spring). Blessing #9 is also on the way, and is expected to make an appearance in April - this one is coming the traditional way, bringing Jenny the need for extra rest and eventually providing her with an attractive waddle.

For moms who struggle with anger, one of the feelings that overwhelms us is the sense of us and our children being "out of control." Getting it back under control takes some hard work, but it is work worth doing! If you are an angry mom, ask God to give you the energy and focus to try something new (trust me, these methods actually take less energy than yelling). If you are married to an angry mom, ask the Lord for the wisdom to begin this new thing in a way that will encourage and inspire your wife to follow suit.

I have been the recipient of Jenny's personalized advice for my family situation numerous times. If you do what she says, things will begin to change - I promise!

I was sitting on a transportation system at an amusement park not too long ago when the mom next to us angrily say to her son, “You have not obeyed me all day! I’ve had it! In fact, you haven’t listened to me in six years!” And she went on to inform him that he was going to start obeying right then.

What this mom didn’t know is that she was the one who taught her son not to obey. We’ve all done it. But we don’t even know it.

There are so many things that contribute to Mother Anger…fatigue, busyness, disorganization, hormones, isolation, pride, wrong expectations…the list is lengthy. But when it comes to the area of discipline, I think the biggest frustration is uncertainty. “What is the right thing to do?”

And if you are a follower of Jesus, you know you can’t just accept any old parenting philosophy. We know that our children have been entrusted to us by God.

I don’t know about you, but I want to please my Maker. I want to parent biblically. And I know that my God is not a God of confusion but of peace (I Cor 14:33). But you see, the world has bombarded us with messages that tell us the Word is not sufficient to answer all our questions. We need the “experts” to tell us what is best for our children. And those experts have left us in confusion and turmoil. We are frustrated and our children are frustrating

Personally, I think the One who made us and our children is the One we need to tell us how to parent. That said, what does God say and how do we apply it practically, daily?

And how did the frustrated mom at the amusement park accidentally teach her son to disobey? More than likely through inconsistency, lack of training (on her son’s part) and criticism.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother...
~Ephesians 6:1-2

Did you notice this verse does not exclude two year olds or strong-willed children?

You know it’s frustrating to have to repeat yourself over and over again. Do we really have to count (1…2…3), threaten, bribe or yell to have our children obey us? Can we speak calmly and sweetly and expect our children to obey the first time? The answer is yes.

In our home obedience must be done Cheerfully, Right Away, All the Way and No Matter What. Anything else is considered disobedience. When our children obey in this way, they are honoring us and will be blessed by God. I want this for my children.

The consequence for disobedience for children under 10, is a calm, private spanking (Prov 29:15).

Example) When you ask your child to do something and they don’t do it with a good attitude, right away, thoroughly and without excuse or comment, all you do is say (calmly), “Bobby, meet me in your room, please.” Don’t have a conversation at this point.

When you get to the room, you might say, “Did I ask you to put away your toys?” Bobby answers, “Yes.” Mom says, “Did you obey cheerfully (or whichever applies)?” Bobby says, “No.” Mom asks, “So what has to happen?” Bobby says, “I need a spanking.”

Spanking is about restoration, not alienation or abuse. Hug your child. Pray with him or her. Then teach them how to apologize specifically…”I’m sorry, Mom, for not obeying cheerfully.” Forgive him and make sure you both have a good attitude before leaving the room. Then, go back to your originally places and ask Bobby to clean up his toys again.

For children older than 10, there needs to be a consequence that relates to the disobedience. If you have told your child a time warning, “Five more minutes of computer time,” but when it comes time to get off, she argues, stalls, or huffs and puffs, the consequence could be missing her next computer time.

Important: No consequence should be extreme or about pay back. Three weeks off the computer would be extreme. Always watch your motive.

Consistency is key! If we ignore disobedience some of the time and discipline for it other times, our children will be confused and will always hope for the time you won’t bring a consequence. Discipline becomes more about the mood mom is in than about the fact that God has called children to obey and honor and has called parents to train them up (Eph 6:4).

And how much better to take care of an issue the first time, before we’re frustrated from repeating, threatening, etc. Having the mindset that nothing else is more important than training your children and dropping whatever we’re doing to take care of them will have eternal rewards.

So, discipline is obviously important but...
No amount of discipline will make up for a lack of training!

...more about child training from Jenny coming soon...

In my post Sort of ObedienceI mentioned that my children seldom obey me the first time I ask them to do something. I do believe we will be printing off a poster (as a reminder for the kids and ourselves) that quotes, "Cheerfully, Right Away, All the Way, and No Matter What!" Thanks Jenny - as always, you have inspired me to change my inconsistent ways. I can't wait to learn about training our children!

1 comment:

  1. Okay, so where was Jenny when I was parenting? I needed a Jenny!

    I firmly support everything Jenny has written as Biblical and true - however, many of us are not Jennys. The wonderful news is that in spite of ourselves, our God is a faithful, forgiving and loving God. I am delighted and frequently in awe of how God has worked in my daughter's life - in spite of less than Biblical parenting.

    Thank you God for the Jenny's in our lives who can show us the right way - and thank you God for loving and meeting us right where we are today.