Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Parenting FAIL

One of the areas I want to be very successful with is my role as a parent.  I want to be a Christlike example.  I want them to see a man that protects them, provides, loves on them, and guides them.  Part of guidance is correction and correction sometimes brings discipline.  We try to be a house that rewards or motivates good behavior rather than one that solely focuses on and punishes for negative behavior.  I've always been better motivated by gold medals than I am German Shepherds.  In either case the person will run toward a goal.  But who wants to be chased down the path or fear getting bit on the backside?

The twins have entered into a stage where our techniques are a bit less effective.  They are exerting more independence and daring to disobey us or cop an attitude more-so than in times past.  The two biggest hot buttons for me is disrespect and bad attitude.  I don't much care if they forget to do chores or leave toys downstairs, or plead to stay up past bedtime.  These things do require us to get involved but there is no risk of me getting hot under the collar.  But tell me "no" right after I instruct you to do something and the blood pressure begins to rise.  Do exactly what I just told you to stop doing, right after I told you to stop doing it and my temple starts to bulge.  Speak to me or mom with a sassy tone and Houston we have problems.

Normally even in those cases, I keep myself under decent control but punishments are handed out.  But this morning I blew it.  The twins were arguing about what field trips they were taking this year.  I asked them to stop and told my son that he was being rude with his tone toward his sister and told my daughter that I was pretty sure her brother was right.  But either way...stop arguing and lets move on.  Then my daughter jabs one more time and claims to her brother that she knows she is right.  Michael immediately responds with aggravated protest and they are right back at it.


Yes, I yelled pretty near what I believe to be the top of my lungs.  And it was effective.  They stopped arguing immediately but the tears began streaming.  EPIC FAIL.  What a louse and a wretch I am.  I may have been justified in my frustration and in correcting their behavior.  But I am not justified by the method.  Any possibly leg I had to stand on in correcting them was hypocritically destroyed by my own hand.  So I pulled over into a parking lot, calmly talked with them, apologized for my behavior, and gave them hugs.  I am not sure I even came close to making it up to them.  All I really proved is that I am a bigger 7 year old.  That I need just as much correction and grace as they do...if not a bit more.


Pony and Petey said...

Ok, I don't know if you'll accept these words as having any worth since I'm not a "real" parent but here's what I'm thinking:

We have numerous Biblical examples of where God has had to yell "STOP IT!!" at the top of His lungs when His children or people in general have not obeyed His gentle voice and ignored His firm voice...disobeyed His very clear voice warning them of dire consequences ahead of continued disobedience.

I won't even start listing the ones in the OT because they're are just so many and I'm sure you know them already.

In the NT, Ananias and Sapphira come to mind...struck dead for lying. Blinding Paul to get his attention...humbling Peter in a most painful way...all of these because the person would not listen/obey/humble themselves during the "warning" stage so God acted strongly and what could be viewed as harshly if you forget that He's perfectly holy, loving and JUST.

Anyhow, I guess what I'm trying to tell you is that there will be times when your correction might startle your kids and it might seem harsh to them but you are doing it out of love to prevent further, more serious disobedience down the line.

And a word of encouragement to take corrective action early on...way before their bickering drives you to the edge. As soon as you see or hear a wrong, undesired behavior clearly state your boundaries for obedience, clearly state the consequences for THEM CHOOSING the wrong behavior and then STICK TO YOUR GUNS! Don't let little bickers and jabs and meanness slide without intervening or they will all become big bickers, jabs and meanness!

And I know how crazily tough this is to follow through with but I also know your heart is devoted to doing your Daddy-job to the best of your ability. And you are not doing it solely under your power but with God's power and ability and love as your foundation!

And I will be praying for you = )

Jim said...

Thanks Pony. Your advice is always appreciated and qualifications have been thoroughly checked and long since approved of. I do believe that the Holy Spirit convicted me of error in judgement on this one but I am trying not to let the enemy capitalize on an already guilty conscience. I've never minded being firm, strict, and even harsh when the situation called for it. I think I even surprised myself with this one though. And I forget how scary a six foot one daddy with a booming voice must seem to seven year olds. Suffice it to say, I rang the bell and can't undo it. And there will be times ahead of us when warnings are ignored and escalation of parental action will be necessary. I just need to not go from zero to sixty so quickly.