I want to talk to the parent who wants almost nothing more than to just get this "parenting thing" right.
It's not like we wake up each morning and say, today I am going to scream at my kids, be short tempered, or even bring work frustration or exhaustion home and not engage with the family.
No! You long to be the best parent you can be for our kids.…...but let's face it, more often than many of us would like to admit, our "not so great" reactions are repeated.
My screaming and yelling at my kids was starting to take a toll on my family. Each night, after I had given all of myself to the people at PFP, I would come home and it would not take much for my shortened fuse to fizzle down the rest of the way and blow up like a grenade.
Can you relate?
Inevitably, each night would end in me yelling at the kids. They would yell back at me and say, "All you ever do is scream and yell. Do we ever do anything right?"
I have to admit, they were right. I hated evenings at my house because all I ever did was scream and yell. This reflects my reactive personality style. I’m an extrovert :-)
Maybe your “style” is to go internal. To shut down, to disengage. Regardless, you must ask yourself, “Is my reaction resulting in building up or tearing down?
I wanted to be better so I dove deep into podcasts, devotionals, books, and anything else I could get my hands on to help me to stop yelling and to become more positively influential in my kids life.
I will say, with A LOT of intentionality, my relationship with my boys has developed into something I am SO proud of, SO grateful for. Just last weekend, my oldest son shared with me that I “sharpen his iron”.
Wow. Rewind a couple years ago, I never dreamed that I would hear those words!
I do not consider myself a parent that "has arrived", but I have learned a few lessons along my journey.
1. It's never too late!
No matter how old your kids are, it's never too late to change course or direction.
As parents we make mistakes. It's how you handle the mistake that will be remembered by your children. Your kids need to hear these 5 powerful words from you, not just others:
"I'm sorry, please forgive me".
I don't know about you but I want my kids to say someday that they learned how to apologize from ME opposed to someone else.
They learn rawness, realness, and humility when they see it.
2. You are your children's biggest role model in life
I had the privilege of listening to Drew Brees speak and he said something that resonated with me that I will never forget,
"Your kids do not hear anything you say but watch everything you do."
If I didn't choose to start changing my parenting approach, then I was inevitably going to pass my worst parts of parenting off to my children.
That was a scary thought!
On a happier note; Know that your good traits are also passed down :-)
3. Before you Blow up Listen Up
I desperately needed more patience and understanding. I was never seeking to understand my children. I just immediately yelled.
Here is a piece of scripture that I have learned and read daily: "It takes wisdom to have a good family, and it takes understanding to make it strong." Proverbs 24:3
Seek First to Understand Before being Understood.
One of my first devotionals taught me this: Iron fists chisel stony hearts, but graceful hands shape responsive hearts.
4. Create lasting memories with your kids
When my boys were younger we would never spend New Years Eve with them.
My parents would always watch the boys so we could go out with friends. It dawned on me a few years ago that I truly only really had my boys for 18 years.
I knew as they got older that they may not want to spend New Years with their parents. I wanted to change that. Each year the boys now look forward to getting dressed up and going to a nice dinner and counting down with their parents.
Just the other night the boys were reminiscing about our different ski trips that we have taken together, just the three of us. We laughed and re-lived each memory.
You know what Kyle said after that conversation?
He said that one day he wants to snowboard in the Alps and he wants me to go with him. These are the memories, the moments we want to capture. Things come and go, but memories last a lifetime.
It's never too late to grow into the parent you always wanted to be.
I know that there will always be areas that I need improving on, or situations that I know I could handle better.
Do not beat yourself up. You can't change yesterday, but you can get better today.
In this together,