Maybe you have one, or a few, strong-willed, SUPER energetic, sometimes exhausting kids under your roof…
Coming from a mom of three kids, two of which are all of the above descriptions… if you are trying your absolute hardest (yep, to the point of absolute, total, and complete exhaustion), to teach and correct your children the best way you know how… then you are in fact, a great mom.
This morning, after coming down from the platform when worship was finished, I slumped into that grey, padded chair and I thought to myself, ‘These people think we have it all together. We walk in here with our Sunday best on, hair done, and a fake smile across our faces, and they have NO CLUE the gates of hell that have unleashed on us the last two days.’
I did my best to listen to the preaching and be encouraged by it — all while listening to my Jackson share all the pictures he drew for me.
And I struggled and shushed him many times. Mostly because he had already been in trouble that morning.
And finally, I gave him two minutes of my time. He quietly whispered to me what each picture was and what he saw in each of them. After I gave him that little bit of time, he continued to sit and draw. Every few minutes, he would pop up and share with me his take on the message being taught.
When I thought he was being a distraction, he was actually using his mind, while listening to all that was being said. He then turned to me and said, ‘Mom, Jesus could’ve called the angels down and He didn’t. I think that’s just crazy.’
Sometimes, as parents, we get these tiny little gems of hope in the middle of the fire.
The last two days have not been our best. And so often, we place VERY unrealistic expectations on our children that we don’t even live up to.
We expect them to sit and be quiet for three hours while in service.
We expect them to not question anything they’re told and to ‘just do it.’
We tell them to do something and not complain about it.
We expect them to just ‘get over it’, when people hurt their feelings.
Sometimes, we expect perfection from these little humans who were not made perfect.
I don’t even live up to that. If parenting has taught me anything, it’s been to examine, and re-examine, my expectations. Not just for myself. We’re actually pretty good at that. But, for those around me.
When we place these unrealistic expectations on people, that most times they DON’T EVEN KNOW EXIST, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment and heartache. And in my home… angry kids.
Here’s my small, probably insignificant parenting advice….
Kids are not adults. They’re not perfect. And despite what we think, they have to be taught how to manage things like feelings and emotions.
They have to be taught how to communicate in the midst of their anger, hurt, and frustration. And guess what? I still struggle to manage these very things.
Despite what we may think, anger does not diffuse anger. It fuels it.
So, mommies and daddies… take my advice today and give yourself, your kids, and those around you a little bit of grace. And when you’re listening to your kiddos respond in these emotions, listen to simply hear them. Just like us, they don’t always need a response. Sometimes they just need an ear.
This piece originally appeared on Facebook, published with permission.