My sister and I are accountability partners. That means if there is something I must be held accountable for, she will hold me accountable and vice versa. We make sure we are holding each other accountable to achieving our goals. We both agree that one thing we want to work on is how we react to our children’s negative behavior. I can admit I was one of those mamas who would completely lose it when the children would behave in a way that would get under my skin, irk my nerves, or just embarrass me. I’m sure I’m not alone. And we have all been there; the moment you give a warning or make a threat and the behavior just keeps escalating until you finally blow your top. You may use words or actions that your calm alter ego would never use, but they deserve it right. Didn’t you give them an opportunity to change their behavior? Haven’t you told them time and time again to watch it, yet they did none of that. In fact, it appears that they always do the opposite and they do it on purpose.
Anissa has a habit of looking up fidgets on Tiktok, it’s one of her favorite pastimes. Once she finds one she likes she will show me a billion times and then ask if I can buy it. At first, I started with “We’ll see, but did you clean your room?” When she comes back, I’ll ask hey, did that room get clean yet? The third time I’ll follow her to her room and see that it’s not clean, point out the areas that need work, give her a time limit to get it done. By this time I have completely forgotten about her ask and now I’m just annoyed the room isn’t clean.
Anissa, being the smart girl that she is, will spend about 10 minutes moving the same pile of clothes around then eventually put them in another corner of the room and prance to wherever I am to ask about the fidget again. I head to her room only to discover the pile of clothes not put away, but instead, put in another junk pile in the corner. As I am about to inform her that I’ve discovered her process, she asks again and then BOOM, I flip. Why do you keep asking me for stuff if you can’t do what I ask? I am keeping it PG for y’all.
I continue with, “why should I buy you anything, do you deserve it?”. You have a roof over your head and clothes on your back. Don’t ask for anything else! I have a complete list but you get the gist. After turning completely red I look down at her. Her wide eyes were filled with tears and fear, but that didn’t change my behavior. I stormed off into the bathroom; the one place I think is private for me, but it’s not. As I look into the mirror I don’t recognize myself. My mouth is distorted, I’m red, sweating and I can feel the steam of anger coming off of me. As I look closer I get a little scared. “Lord forgive me for my anger but she asked for it, she didn’t do what I asked, all these kids do is take, take, take!” This is my prayer as I try to justify my anger. I know I don’t really mean it, but why not ask for forgiveness anyway?
CONVICTED! As I was calming my nerves I heard the words grace, mercy, and reflection. God grants me grace for all of my mistakes, even the ones I tend to repeat. He shows me mercy, because let’s face it, His wrath could be mighty and swift but instead, He offers gentle correction. Reflection, if I want people to see God in me, shouldn’t I try to see it in others. Would I talk to God the way I just talked to Anissa? Isn’t she a child of God as much as I? Could I have handled the situation differently and possibly achieve my desired result had I shown her grace and mercy. Now don’t get me wrong, children should obey their parents and follow the rules, but how often has God given you rules and told you what to do and you have gone your way. How many times has He had to gently correct you?
Now, whenever I correct the kid’s behavior I try to see God in them first. I am a work in progress so if you see me flip know my sight was blurred. Nonetheless, I make it a practice to be slow to anger and to talk to my children as if I can physically see God in them. Let’s face it, our kids’ are going to do things we don’t like, things that irritate us, and things that will need correction. It is up to us to show them the love of Christ even in correction. Do you get angry quickly when your kid’s disobey? How do you handle it?