I started a new parenting study with some other moms this morning. We are doing "Value-Packed Parenting" by Kevin Leman. So far, so good. I really enjoy reading his books and I think his advice is fantastic.
The chapter revolved around the verse from Proverbs 22:6 - "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
I have heard this verse a million times - and I always focus on the old part. If I set the groundwork now, they will be okay when they are old. I guess I don't give them enough credit in the short-term. ha.
But Dr. Leman picked this verse apart and one of the words he focused on was 'up'. He reminded us that the verse doesn't say - "train your child down" and yet so many of us do.
"How many times do I have to tell you...."
"That's it, you're grounded."
"I am sick of this attitude!"
I wish I could say that I never speak like this to my kids, but I am guilty. In the heat of the moment, I say things I regret. There literally are some days, though, where I have said the same things a million times over.... It is exhausting some days for sure!
His point was well taken. It's about relationships. Not about nagging or getting frustrated or throwing insults. If I want my kids to WANT to hang out with me later in life, I've got to build the relationship now. I've got to treat my kids in the way I expect them to behave - and they will. Or so he says :)
So instead of "how many times have I told you to put your toys away", I should be their cheerleader and switch my attitude to: "I know you have done a great job putting your toys away before. I can't wait to see you do a good job again today!" And then really praise their good efforts and good choices.
Sounds so simple. Like one of those things I knew I'd get right as a parent - before I was a parent. But being a parent is more exhausting than I ever thought. I might have a positive attitude the first 20 times, but 21 breaks me down. Some days the 3rd time breaks me down.
But it does all come back to me. The kids are watching my attitude. My self control. My kindness. My efforts and choices.
Look out new attitude, here I come. Hopefully that attitude will stick around - even for the 30th time.