March 6, 2007

Parenting Without Regrets

I’ve realized lately that my parenting skills are sorely lacking. My early diligence and consistency with my first two children have been AWOL for a good long time now and I’ve been seeing things in my children that I have learned to accept but just don’t like. Things like angry outbursts, disrespect, sassiness, put downs, impatience with each other, griping, nit picking, a ME attitude, and a host of other unpleasant attributes. I’ve noticed, but have just been so overwhelmed with how far off track we’ve become, that I just don’t have a clue where to step back in and gain control….much less how.

But God is faithful even when I’m not and our homeschool meeting last night was a seminar on relationships between parents and children and how to connect with their hearts. It was hosted by Barb Shelton an author and homeschool mom who has graduated three children from home. And they are just amazing people who happen to be friends of mine so I’ve actually seen the fruit of what she’s teaching. (I highly recommend checking out her articles on her website! In fact, TOS magazine did an article on her a few issues ago…you might have read it!)

What I got out of the night was this….I”M THE PROBLEM, NOT THEM! The things I’m seeing in my kids are exactly what I’ve taught them. (Aren’t they just SO smart?) I speak disrespectfully to them, I’m impatient, griping, nit picky, self centered….OUCH! Barb gave me the tools so I decided I was going to start fresh tomorrow. I went home and repented to God and started my day this morning with prayer and purpose.

My day began with plenty of opportunities to use my fresh attitude and within 30 minutes I was faced with 2 arguments, 1 moment of sassing, and a temper tantrum. . I spoke softly, kindly, wisely……Whew! I glided into the next room to address my husband, looked him straight in the eye and leaning over him, I said in a loud whisper, “THIS SELF CONTROL CRAP IS GONNA KILL ME!” Then I took a deep breathe, walked back in the room with the kids and pressed on.

I knew before I could do anymore correcting, I needed to privately repent to each one of them and THEN begin the retraining process. The opportunities presented themselves without any effort on my part and it was an amazing bonding time for each of us

Our Day Was Great!

It sure wasn’t without problems but every time, and I mean EVERY TIME an issue came up, we dealt with it. Nothing fell through the cracks or got ignored. It didn’t matter where we were. In fact we had a whining and screaming incident with my 3 year old in the car and I pulled over on the side of the road to deal with it. But the response from the kids was great. They loved having their calm talking mom back. And we actually all enjoyed each other for the first time in months. I was their mom but there were moments of friendship too!

This evening I’m looking back realizing that I ended my day with no regrets. Nothing I did today left me feeling ashamed of my actions. Did I do stuff wrong? Yes! Did they do stuff wrong? Oh yeah! But we were quick to seek forgiveness and deal with the heart of it all in a loving way. I know we still have lots of work to do and I’ll still have days when I want to just lose it, but relying on God to keep me focused and strong will help me to have more days like this……days where I can be a parent with no regrets.

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