Your son whines again when he doesn’t get exactly what he wants. Your daughter takes her sister’s toy and hits her over the head with it, right in front of you. Your toddler says “no!” and throws a tantrum when it’s time to go.
Just like every other time, you handle it with perfect calmness and reason. The halo over your head gleams.
You sometimes blow it with your kids. Your actions provoke them to anger or discourage them. You are harsh with your words or voice. You roll your eyes and sigh. You loose your cool.
I’ve been there. I often AM there.
We are imperfect mothers parenting imperfect kids. The goal is not perfection. The goal is a genuine walk with Jesus, with our children following close by to see how it’s done.
So, what does an earnest Jesus follower do when they blow it with their kids?
Prepare Your Heart
Start praying. Pray for self-control and the grace to be a gentle, joyful mom. Pray for clarity and wisdom when things do go wrong and for His Spirit to guide your words and your actions.
Calm Down and Step Back
This is the hardest part, really. Decide on a phrase or word ahead of time you can focus on in these situations:
“STOP!” “Calm down.” “Step back.”
Take a wide look at what just happened and breathe a prayer for help.
Acknowledge Their Part
I always call my child out on their sin, but I choose not to enforce the normal consequences when I have reacted inappropriately. This helps me keep the focus on getting both of us back on the right path and restoring the relationship.
“Johnny, you know we don’t lie in our family. It hurts you and the person you’re lying to.”
Acknowledge Your Part
Do not approach the conversation this way: “I know I yelled but you know you’re not supposed to lie!!!” Because now it’s very much implied that they are somehow responsible for your sin. They’re not.
This is why I choose to acknowledge their part FIRST and then talk about my part. Then we can both apologize and ask forgiveness.
“Johnny, you know we don’t lie in our family. It hurts you and the person you’re lying to. But it was wrong for me to yell at you. We don’t talk to each other that way and I want to be more patient and gentle with you. I’m sorry. Will you please forgive me?”
Turn to Jesus Together
Approach the throne of Grace together! Let them see your walk with Christ and invite them to walk beside you in it. Depending on their age, your child may pray themselves as well. You can walk them through the steps of confessing, repenting, and asking forgiveness.
“Lord, please forgive me for acting out in my anger toward Johnny. Help me to be patient, kind and to have self-control with my actions when I am upset. Please help Johnny to always be truthful and to grow into a godly man of integrity. Thank you for your grace and for the privilege of being Johnny’s Mom.”
Need help with Obedience Training? Download the Peaceful Home: Lesson in Obedience.
Practice a Better Way
Talk about God’s ways when it comes to how you both handled the situation. Then practice it! This may seem awkward at first but you’ll get used to it.
Don’t skip this step! It will solidify things for you and your child and help you both make better choices next time.
“OK Johnny. When you lied to me I should have calmly talked to you about lying and the consequences. Let’s practice… That was better, right? But we know that you shouldn’t have lied at all. So tell me what you should have done when I asked you who made the mess in the bathroom.”
Tie Heart Strings
Do something positive together that will reach your child’s heart. Play a game together. Snuggle. Read a book. Go for a walk. Tell knock knock jokes. Tell them funny stories about when they were a baby. Help them clean up the mess in the bathroom.
You Can Do This!
This is the process I go through when I blow it. It takes time and patience and energy, which are things us moms don’t have a lot of! But these lessons will make a huge impact in your child’s life. Take the time to pour yourself into these interactions when they arise. The blessings for both of you will be evident!
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