As parents, Hubby and I are always asking for Grace in Parenting. We don’t know what we are doing most of the time and we often ask for forgiveness or simply look to each other, baffled, as to what to do next. Our boy is 5 1/2 now and exercising his own will and independence. Every day there is a new frustration. Today, I’m sharing a guest post with you from a dear friend, Brandi, who has found Grace in her most recent journey in this crazy life of parenting.
Is it just me or does the craziness of the days really get to you sometimes? Around here it’s arguing with siblings, not listening, children buried in the mud (really see the picture over there)! I find myself overwhelmed very easily with the small nuances of our home.
I want to write about this topic because I know there are other parents who have the same struggles that we have. We aren’t big spankers because it doesn’t produce effective results with our children. So what do you do to be the most effective parent you can while also teaching your children positive ways to interact and how to one day treat their own children?
A few of my friends and I meet once a week for a devotional and spend some time just talking about our struggles. I mentioned to these friends that I am a mom who yells and I hate that about myself. One friend shared the same struggle and then another, who has children my age, said she could count on her hands the times that she had yelled at her children. Really, I can’t even fathom a number of times I have yelled at my boys. It has become almost instinctual that if they do not do what is asked I yell so they know I mean business but it most often does not produce the kind of results I am hoping for either. Instead it breaks their spirit, damages our relationships with each other and causes me to feel like the worst mother ever at the end of the day when they are in their beds and I am recalling the events of our day. Seriously, as I am writing this, I go to check on my almost 3 year old because it is too quiet in his room. I find him flooding his bathroom by filling his dress shoes up with water and dumping it all over the floor and the counter top.
How do I respond in this situation for him to understand this is not OK and he can not do things like this?
Yelling wont get me anything. I sent him to his bed for his nap early.
After that weekly meeting, I began praying for the Lord to shape me and mold me into the best mom he wanted me to be and help me to find more effective ways to communicate with my children. This would also include a journey into why I act the way I do (a topic completely for another time). I did not mention this discussion with my husband or tell him what I had been praying about. Two days later while we were preparing our house for Easter dinner, my husband came to me and said “We have to stop yelling at our children”. The Lord had been convicting him of the very same thing and he felt that it was time to make a change. He leads me in so many ways and this was just one more example of him leading me as a godly husband which is one of the most amazing feelings!
Grace in Parenting
His first suggestion was that we have a “safe word”. For instance if he sees me getting frustrated or I see him getting frustrated to the point we might yell, we say a word to each other that means walk away, take a minute before you respond. He was clear to lay out the parameters for this word and that it must be something that neither of us finds offensive in the heat of the moment. He also knows me very well and said let’s go ahead and get this out now. If I say the word we come up with, don’t get mad at me, understand that it is needed in that moment. He had no suggestion of what the word should be, but I knew immediately. Grace. I felt that the word we needed to use was Grace because I feel that when we yell at our children we fail to extend the grace to them that is so amazingly extended to us by the Lord.
We also discussed the need to create a safe haven for our children that they are not getting any where else in this world. Our oldest struggles with being bullied at school and he comes home in tears many days because of what he has to deal with. Our home should be the place where no matter what he does he knows love and grace not yelling and feeling like he isn’t good enough. We also have the greatest responsibility of all to raise our boys to be great men for the Lord and to give them the tools to lead their wives and children as a godly husband and how can we do that if we are not demonstrating grace in our home.
We told our oldest what we had discussed and how we were going to make a effort every single day to not yell at them. I enlisted his help for me and asked him to keep a calender similar to what they do at school. If I have been good that day, I get a check but if I have yelled then I get an X. This child so full of love for his mother always wants to say that I am good but I explained to him that we have to address the days that we do not do our best so that we can continue to get better.
It has not been easy but the results were immediate and astonishing! Our home is over all a much calmer home. It may take me more than one try to get compliance by not yelling and simply using redirection but we saw the fruit of this change immediately in our family. The biggest thing for me was that at the end of the day I could go to bed and not feel like a failure as a mother or feel like the worst mother ever because yet again I yelled at my children. The guilt is gone, at least on the days when I don’t yell. But it has been a habit for me for so long that it will take some time to completely remove this habit from my life.
We are a family that wants to be about faith, fun and making memories. We want to instill the right values in our boys. We want to be the examples of what a godly father looks like, an example of the kind of godly woman they should seek for their lives and the best example of what a godly marriage looks like. We want only the best for them just as most parents do. This requires us to look at our own lives and ask the Lord to find the sins hidden deep in our hearts and bring them to light so that we can become a home where Grace Abounds always!
I challenge you to do the same. If you are a parent who struggles with yelling at your children begin to work on it. Communicate with your spouse or support system if you are a single parent. You will need accountability to stay on the right track. But the rewards of making this change in your life will be evident in your home and in your relationships with your children. Make your home a home where Grace Abounds and your children feel safe to make mistakes.
HI!! I am Brandi Harris! I am a work from home mom of two very silly but amazingly wonderful sons. I also work as an independent consultant with Premier Designs Jewelry which has allowed me to quit my full time job and be a full time mom and wife! My sweet husband and I will be celebrating 10 years of marriage this year.
I am the wife of a deacon. This is a very important role to me because I get to support my husband and serve him in so many ways. I believe that moms/wives should make serving their family a priority. I do not mean serving to their every whim, like get up and make me a sandwich, but true servant hood. Doing for them because I love them and out of my love flows my desire to serve them in the things they need. I want to fulfill my God given roles to the best of my ability.
I have a degree in communication that I am currently using within the organizations I volunteer. I serve at an after school program and I also serve on the board of directors for our local community center.
My hope and goal in writing is to share perspective with other stay at home and work from home moms. It is my desire to be able to speak truth into the lives of women, married or not, working or not, about life in general. About our struggles we endure as parents and wives, about how to have a servant’s heart when carrying for our families (that sometimes seem to not notice we’ve done anything at all) but again I say doing so with a servant’s heart. I hope that I can inspire other women to want more out of their marriages/relationships and relationships with their children and that I may be able to provide practical insight on how to do that. I can be reached on Facebook and you can also reach me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.