I’m sure we all have days when our kids get a little cranky, causing a household disturbance of the peace. During the madness, it can be all too easy to forget those occasions when we are the ones who wake up on the wrong side of the bed.
Wouldn’t it be great to be a perfect parent? Heck, I’d settle for being a perfect anything. However, it seems I was born human. This means I make mistakes, I fall down, and I mess up more often than I would like to. What characterizes us is how we respond to our own failures. Are we going to be wallow in self-pity or live in denial of our mistakes? Perhaps there is a better way.
Stop! – This isn’t always the easiest first step – in fact, just recognizing we’re the problem is the biggest hurtle – but it is essential. When we find ourselves in a place where we ought not to be, we need to stop right where we are. Before we can do more damage, we need to close our mouths, cease all movement, and put the situation on hold.
Breathe & Pray – Don’t even bother thinking, thought at this point is useless; we’re being emotional and irrational. What we need to be doing is taking a moment to gain Spiritual perspective. Find a quiet place (leave the room if you must) to just breathe slowly and pray. Instead of relying on our own wisdom, we need to be asking for Godly wisdom and guidance to help us resolve the issue.
Ask for Forgiveness – If we’ve stepped out-of-bounds, whether verbally or otherwise, we need to ask forgiveness of our children. It is essential they see our humility and willingness to accept our mistakes. They need to know we aren’t perfect or think we’re perfect; they need to see our humility and be given the opportunity to extend grace.
Deal with the Issue – Only after we’ve gotten our heads and emotions under control should we move forward with the main problem at hand. If it is a parenting concern, our children will better understand this is the consequence of their own actions and not the ramblings of an angry parent. If this is some other household issue, our children will see us work through difficulties rationally and with wisdom. We should never try working through problems when our heads and hearts are in the wrong place; we increase the likelihood of making greater error and hurting those around us.
Tie Strings – I am really huge on this. What does ‘tying strings’ mean? It means when all is said and done, we restore any broken relationships with our children. Saying we’re sorry is only the first step, we need to make sure our bond is secure. We need to spend quality time with our kids, bringing back the unity in our home.
Learn the Lesson – What happens if we failed to stop in the middle of our tirade? Suppose we forgot to pray before moving forward; does this mean all hope is lost? Of course not! We should take each situation as a learning experience. If we didn’t recognize the moment when we should have stopped our yelling, we try better next time and set up boundaries for ourselves. If we forgot to pray, we ask God to prompt us in this act.
Our children learn not only from our good example, but how we respond to our failure. It is just as important for them to see humility in us, repentance and a willingness to improve, as it is for them to see success. While we’d all like to be perfect, the fact is we’re not. Maybe it’s time our children saw our humanity and understood that adults make mistakes, too.
Time to Chime In: Do you find it hard to ask forgiveness of your children?