Here is an example of bad parenting–my example! I have not felt great for a really long time it seems. It’s just been one thing and another. Being pregnant, then the ups and downs of thinking we were losing the baby, and then the miscarriage. Through all these things I knew that I needed to be careful because I am much more likely to be impatient and lose my temper with the kids in these circumstances.
I also recognized that the kids were going through some of these things with me. So I tried to be sensitive to them too. Recently, things with the kids have started to feel out of control. They have not been cooperating very well at all.
1. Reevaluate your parenting. That’s always a good time to reevaluate my parenting because I’m usually the problem! Hate that! Sometimes though, it’s hard to see what I am doing wrong right away. So I began watching myself, and no not in a mirror! Ha! I just began paying attention to my reactions.
I was trying so hard to be patient and kind with the kids. What did I need to change? And then it hit me. Yes, I was trying very hard to be patient and kind to them WHILE they were being naughty and doing things they knew they weren’t supposed to do. I was inadvertently tolerating their wrong behavior.
2. Expect obedience and be consistent. It was when one of my kids kept whining about doing her school work that I saw things clearly. It was literally the fifth time I (very patiently and kindly) reminded her not to whine about it. Hello! Esther, you are very patiently and kindly training them to whine! I know better than that. Really, I do. I was not expecting her to obey, and I was not being consistent in discipline!
3. Apologize and reiterate expectations and consequences. I stopped what I was doing, called my daughter over to me, and explained to her what I was doing wrong. “I have very patiently and kindly asked you to stop whining five times. Now I am right to be patient and kind, but I need to be patient and kind as I discipline you for whining and disobeying. It was wrong that there weren’t consequences the first time that you ignored me. So starting now I am still going to work very hard to be patient and kind while I discipline you for disobeying. Do you understand?” It’s amazing. She knew I was wrong. It was not news to her. She knew that she needed discipline, and you know what? She started behaving!
4. Pray with your child. I didn’t do this this time, but I should have. I should have prayed with her asking God’s forgiveness for my behavior and leading her in praying too. When I have prayed with her after a time like this it has been precious.
I found my patience and kindness rather sickening and kind of funny. I know that I need lots of work in that area, but doing it wrongly isn’t that helpful! Now if only I could remember everything I’m supposed to be doing all at the same time because I will probably be doing referring back here again today!