I stumbled across this gem of a image on Facebook this weekend….. I swear it was like cosmic timing.
Does anyone else see the irony in this ‘teach through love’ image the internet sent to all of us parents….. Cause what I got out of it was a WHOLE bunch of ‘Disconnecting Words’ that heaped shame, blame, judgement, and guilt on me. This would have been a much more helpful ‘observation’ you internet guru’s…. “I see how hard you are working, mom. I see that you already weigh every word you’re saying to your kids, terrified that you’re breaking their spirit being too harsh, or enabling disrespect and dishonor in being too soft. I’m sorry I can’t be there to help you, but go ahead and try again, you’re doing a great job.”
I would have LOVED to see which ‘connecting’ methods they would have chosen to navigate my Saturday night.
How’s THIS for an observation…
Wow, Logan, you just peed ALL over the bathroom, after you were supposed to be in bed and asleep for over an hour. I can see this was not an ‘accidental miss’ as there are definite loops of urine across the shower curtain which is a direct 90 degree turn from the toilet, as well as an intentional amount at the bottom of the waste basket next to the toilet, and copious amounts puddling on the floor as well.
Or maybe this would have been better parenting….. “Logan, I can see that you are a very creative boy, and I can see how painting mommies bathroom with your urine sounds fun, but can we stick to crayons on paper next time?”
Surely when they discovered that Caleb had scrawled his name in bright red pen across the running board on his eye level top bunk, they would have elected to applaud his penmanship, rather than addressing the more pressing issue that HE WROTE ON HIS BED, the bed that his mother had spent 2 full weekends sanding down and painting so they would look nice in their room?!?
No. There were not a whole lot of ‘connecting words’ in our house on Saturday night, there was some yelling, and some ‘scary eyed silence’. However, I’m totally ok with that. I think the bigger connection any two people can EVER make, is that neither one of us will ever be perfect, and we still love each other completely in spite of that. That’s not a lesson we’re going to learn over night, and its not one that using the ‘perfect words’ will facilitate, but its one that I believe they’ll pick up as we apologize and learn from our mistakes, and help them walk through apologizing and learning from theirs.
I don’t see a problem with demand’s from a parent to a child, within context, or with stating an obvious observation that they DO need to learn how to listen, and control themselves. If more of our culture was learning how to listen and CONTROL themselves rather than giving themselves over to whatever felt good in the moment, and believing everything THEY had to say was the only important information in a room, things would likely look substantially different. “One more time and you’re going to time out”, teaches there are boundaries in your child’s life, and that there are consequences for the choices they make.
I get that it takes all kinds to make the world go round, and so if some people want to employ the tactics above in raising their kids. Great. Do what works for you. However, teaching your children how to deal with shame, guilt, judgement, giving them opportunities to practice forgiveness, and extend grace are lessons that need to be learned as well….. So rather than kicking yourself for not being able to find the right words the next time you can only feel white hot rage at the choices your kids made, realize that maybe your ‘connection’ moment is still coming when you regain your composure ;)!
Besides…. Highlighting the choices they made were wrong, allows the opportunity for them to learn how to make it right…. and I mean, if we’re all being honest one of the upsides of kids (after making it through the LONG years where they make more of a mess than they can help clean up) is the ability to delegate chores to them!