As a parent, I’m a yeller. Not by choice, but a quality I inherited from both of my parents. I always told myself when I had children, I wouldn’t do that, because I know how yelling made me feel, but it just happened. What’s interesting is even while I’m fussing my body will tell me to “calm down.” My voice cracks or I start coughing or just feel tired. But the yelling happens again.
Lately, there has been a lot of hostility within our home. The three of us have noticed it, but we didn’t know exactly how to fix it, and my patience was too thin to sit down and talk about it. So, things escalated.
During service today, we went up for prayer, and as usual, this woman of God hit every nail on the head with her prayer, and I didn’t say a word! This is another way I know that God is real! She prayed for our relationship as mother and daughters, our communication, our intentions and interactions with one another. She even spoke words to the girls that just brought me to tears. I’m tearing up now just thinking about it. Y’all God is real, and He is good!
When we left, we had an errand to run, but we didn’t get out of the car. We sat and talked. And I did something I know some mothers before myself wouldn’t dare do with their young children. I explained, apologized, and asked for their forgiveness. I explained my reasoning. Why it’s important that they take care of their chores, Why it seems like I’m so hard on them and why I created the process that I created for our home. I gave them an opportunity to speak and share their feelings, understandings, and misconceptions. And I learned that my methods weren’t effective because they felt like they were bad kids, or that I didn’t want to be around them anymore. They were emotionally breaking down and that showed in their actions, but I saw it as unexplainable defiance.
I’m learning that it’s of the utmost importance to allow children to express themselves freely without concern of being in trouble if what they say doesn’t please you. Our charge as parents is to raise them to be successful (whatever successful looks like to them) adults. Not to simply follow orders from those before them, but to help them understand the reason certain things are important and why they should make them habits and to think for themselves. It’s important to allow them to gather their thoughts and not feel pressured that they’re not talking fast enough, or they aren’t eloquent in their speech. They are children and may not know exactly what they are feeling, so it may take some additional effort on your part, or probing to help them better explain, but it’s necessary.
I had to tell them, because they may not have grasped, this is my first rodeo. I haven’t been a parent before, and I haven’t had the responsibility of raising pre-teens. What’s even a little more challenging is I’m a single mom, so I get to be the disciplinarian and the nurturer. My girls are twins and have very different personalities, so learning what I can say to one, and what I shouldn’t say to the other also has its challenges. On top of balancing responsibilities that span outside of the home. And I’m not going to always do things right, but I’m willing to learn.
We even talked about their punishments and how they prefer to receive constructive criticism. And we came to some agreements. The goal is to have a harmonious home. This should be our family’s place of solitude and peace, and as of late it has been the exact opposite, but at the end of the day, we love each other. We want each other to grow and be the best they can be, so we’re willing to work on it.
I’m making a commitment to meditate on Ephesians 6:4 NLT
“Fathers (and mothers), do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”
I want my children to grow up and be great people. I want them to want to call and visit me while they’re away. I want them to bring my grandchildren to see me. I want them to consider me a friend as they grow older. This won’t happen if my anger or control push them away. A change needs to occur in all of us, and I believe today was a springboard to an even more amazing relationship. We bind poor maternal relationships in the name of Jesus! Amen!