I have been challenged as I see little behaviours happening that aren’t quite what I would like . How have they crept into our house? I have been confronted with the reality that every action I take as a parent has a consequence. Unfortunately, I am seeing the consequences of my actions in the behaviour of my children today.
If I change my mind when they offer the slightest argument – I am teaching them that my word doesn’t stand.
If I answer them when they whine – I am teaching them that whining works and that bad attitudes will be accepted.
If I give them choices all the time – I am teaching them that they can expect to be in control of everything.
If I let them have time-extensions on the computer – I am teaching them self-constraints aren’t important.
If I improve their artwork with what I think looks good – I am teaching them that their creative abilities are limited.
If I find their lost shoes for them – I am teaching them they don’t have to take personal responsibility for their possessions.
If I get their books (or hat, or shoes, or bag, or toy) – I am teaching them to be lazy.
If I clean up behind them – I am teaching them to be domestically blind.
If I let them play all day with no chores or responsibilities – then I am teaching them that someone else will look after them and they don’t have to work to eat.
If I let them decide when they feel like playing with others and when they want to be by themselves – I am teaching them that they can relate to others depending on their emotions.
If I keep all my struggles to myself – I am teaching them that life is perfect, without struggles.
Reflecting on myself as a Parent
When I have a hard cold look at the little things that I let happen, and match it up with the big attitudes I see in my kids – it is a bit of a jolt!
I must remember that whatever action I take, I am teaching my kids something. Am I happy with what I’m teaching them today?
I have found this thought process to be rather motivating – It puts the responsibility for parenting fair and square on my shoulders.
I am reminded of the tongue in cheek (at least I hope so) parenting quip: Do what I say, not what I do. Obviously this is not good advice – and yet something I think we hope that it may be true!! Our kids eyes are on us – they see us for what we are – and though we can aim to be true to our values, when we fall short – they are still watching – so lets deal with that properly too – lets start over whenever we make a mistake and show them how humility, forgiveness, mercy and grace looks.
To be consistent is probably one of the biggest challenges that mums face. So much comes at us that at times we just drop the bundle – and that is okay – it isn’t that we are to be 100% without a doubt consistent – I think that is an impossible standard to set ourselves. But we can be characterised by being consistent. We can be characterised by responding instead of reacting. We can be characterised by seeing the heart issue instead of just the behaviour. We can be characterised by carrying through any consequences we give. We can be characterised by keeping our word.
So often our parenting makes us look at our children’s behaviour – but today I learnt that it is really about my behaviour. How am I going at being the parent I want to be? How ’bout you?
I don’t want to make you feel bad about your parenting but unless we can have an honest look at the things we are doing, and how they are affecting our kids we cannot grow as parents, we cannot grow as people. This in itself is a good lesson to show our children – how we acknowledge failings, and how we grow beyond them.
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Hi Belinda. I just wanted to “stop in” and say hello. I have been getting your email newsletter for some time now, and I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate your effort. I feel like I always gain some kind of new outlook that I didn’t have before in regards to just about everything you write about. I am a relatively new homeschooler, this will be officially my second year. I have three little boys (7, 5, and 18months!) I find it very challenging sometimes to keep my patience. I absolutely love this last newsletter you sent out. It truly spoke to me when I read it. Thank you for taking the time to share your wisdom!
Oops! I typed in the wrong website address in my last comment… (it’s been a long day!)
Thanks so much for this. I feel lately, like I am pulling my hair out, trying to discipline and teach my kids. It is especially hard with my two oldest boys ages 9 and 7. They are testing the limits constantly and I am trying so hard to not give in to manipulations. The problem is a negative parenting rut. Everything feels sooooo heavy. Any tips for consequence overload?
This is so true- children learn what they live. Quite convicting as well. Thanks for sharing! You have been a great inspiration for me!