“Love him through this, and be patient.”
Those are the words God whispered to me ever so gently in the midst of a frustrating parenting moment. It stopped me in my tracks, because it was a 180 turn from the direction I was going.
Parenting is one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done. Can I get an amen? It’s also one of the most rewarding, but it takes patience, hard work, and above all, love.
Those times when frustration creeps in usually means I’ve made it about me. Love makes it about my kids. Love is choosing the highest good for them while I lay my emotions about the situation aside for a moment. Did I mention it’s hard work?
Now let’s talk discipline.
Everyone has a different style when it comes to discipline. Different methods work for different kids, but the driving force of love is the constant companion that speaks volumes. Love creates security, and in the midst of challenging discipline moments, kids need to feel that security. They need to know they are loved even in the midst of discipline.
There are 3 questions I ask myself when I need to bring discipline to a situation and make sure I do it in love:
1. What’s the tone of my voice? This is a huge indicator on where my frustration level is at and if the words coming out of my mouth are coated with love.
2. What is my expectation in this exact moment? Many times the reason frustration bubbles to the surface is because my expectation level is not met. There are so many times I’ve had to remind myself of the age and maturity level of my kids and compare that with my expectation of how they’re handling the discipline. That doesn’t mean that they get away with things, but it simply helps me to put my expectation levels in check.
3. What words can I speak that are going to help them grow and mature? God has entrusted me with these beautiful little people, and I want to raise them up with godly character. If love is choosing the highest good, then it’s also helping our kids grow, at a steady pace, into mature men and women.
Recently, my husband and I had a talk with our 11-year old son about some areas in his life that needed change, particularly his attitude and the way he treats his sister. We talked about growth and maturity. Through tears, he said, “But it’s so hard. Can’t you make it [growing up and maturing] any easier?” Unfortunately, we can’t, but we can love him through it, and be patient in the process. . . just as God is patient with us.
We love, because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:19
God is so patient and loving toward us when it comes to helping us grow in our walk with Him. As parents, we must do the same with our kids. We must walk in love.
What’s the best parenting advice you’ve ever received to help you navigate this most important job and do it with love? How do you discipline kids in love?