Today’s guest post is from Carla Link. Carla and her husband, Joey have worked with an international parenting ministry for over 20 years. Joey is a pastor and Carla’s degree is in social work. Together they bring a unique blend of practical teaching to parents. Their book, Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave? is available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and at www.parentingmadepractical.com, where you can find out more about the Link’s teaching ministry.
You yelled at your kids again, and you are now kicking yourself for it.
You disciplined your kids when you were angry and as a result, you were too hard on them.
You wonder if your expectations are unfair.
Your daughter told you she hates you.
Welcome to the club. There isn’t a parent alive who has not been through this at one time or another. So, what can you do about it?
Did you know your kids can be disobedient because of you? Ouch. As painful as this is to hear, it is certainly the truth. If you consistently discipline your kids while you are yelling at them, you are not disciplining them, you are punishing them. Kids who are punished do not learn to deal with their own sin because they are distracted by your anger.
What’s the difference between punishment and discipline? The definition of the word “punish” is, “To deal with harshly, roughly.” The definition for “discipline” is, “Teaching or training which corrects, molds, and strengthens.”
That is quite a difference.
When you cannot get your anger and frustration under control before dealing with your kids, you are in sin. When you correct them, all they get out of it is the fact they made you angry. Where is the teaching and training in this? How do you turn this around with a child you consistently are harsh with? How do you open up their hearts again so they will listen to you?
The key to turn children who are angry and rebellious (because of your sin) around is for you to apologize to them.
Your goal when you apologize needs to be the same as what you expect of your children when they disobey you, and that is to restore the relationship. So what do you need to do to restore your relationship with your child when you have offended him?
When your child forgives you, he typically has a very soft heart towards you as he does not like being estranged from you.
Here are three steps to take when you blow it as a parent:
Step 1: Do a U-Turn– Repentance is when you recognize you have done something wrong and your need to confess it. When in I was growing up, we learned ‘to repent’ was to make a U-turn. You turn around and go the other direction. Start the apology by telling your child you know your anger is wrong and why it is wrong.
Step 2: Ask for Forgiveness– As for forgiveness from God and from your child. Jesus gave us the example of forgiveness by dying on the cross for us. When He did this, He gave us the opportunity to come to Him and make our relationship right by confessing our sin and asking Him to forgive us. Forgiveness is a gift Christ gave us for all of eternity if we ask for it by accepting Him as our Lord and Savior. Forgiveness is a gift the one we offended gives us, especially if we ask for it.
“If we confess our sin he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9
Step 3: Reconnect – In simple terms, restoration means you make right your wrong. You give back what you took away. How do you make right the wrong your angry heart did in the eyes of your child? Let your child know how much you love him, and that you will work on not getting angry when he disobeys. Then go through the scenario again, teaching and training him how to do the right thing the next time he is confronted with the same choice.
1) Give yourself a time-out to calm down.
2) Take a few deep breaths and pray and ask God for His wisdom to deal with this child.
3) After your child apologizes for his/her disobedience, he/she gets their correction. This is discipline the way God meant it to be.
What about you? Have you ever thought of the difference between apologizing and actually asking for forgiveness? Have you tried apologizing to your kids and asking for forgiveness when you blow it? How do they express their feelings towards you when you do?