I don’t know about you, but I seem to do my best parenting after the fact. Maybe you can relate; so let me explain.
- I give my kid freedom he isn’t ready for it and then I don’t know how to take the freedom away without a fight.
- I don’t think about the potential consequences of a given situation because I don’t know what I don’t know, and then my ‘yes’ in that circumstance equates to a ‘yes’ in the next situation in my child’s mind resulting in conflict.
- The consequence I issue brings more grief and frustration to me because all I get is whining and push back from my teen.
- Sometimes the consequences for my child put me in a situation of having to always monitor making me a slave to the consequence I created.
- My teen has a way of manipulating things in a way that force me to say ‘yes’ when I should be saying ‘no’.
- I enforce a family rule just because one kid needs it and it is easier to deal with everyone rather than just dealing with this particular kid’s issue.
- My kid breaks so many rules where I have to issue consequences that my child will be grounded until they are 25.
If you are like me, sometimes when the conflict gets to be too much and the heat is on, it is easier to disband with the consequence or not worry about the potential negative outcome of a behavior because parenting just becomes too difficult. Sometimes our main focus in the weariness of it all becomes peace — and peace can be achieved if we choose to look away.
But is peace always a good thing? If our kids are out doing their own thing and we are doing ours, there may be peace but is there relationship? It may be easier, but who will they become? What will be their moral foundation?
I want to encourage you not to take the easy way out. Parenting is hard, parenting is messy, and sometimes parenting needs a reset.
What are your parenting goals? Kids with good behavior? Kids who can think in tough situations? Kids with a moral compass? Kids who love God and others? Kids who can succeed at life? Kids who will want to have a relationship with their parents when they are adults? Kids who won’t have a lot of baggage to carry into adulthood?
The reason I ask you about your goals is so you can focus on the majors. You know, those areas that will really impact our kids’ future. Putting all our energy in making sure we correct every little issue we see in our kids’ behavior will create more conflict than we can possibly handle.
In other words, as parents we can’t close our eyes to things our kids need to learn but we also shouldn’t focus on all the issues we see from our kid. Our lives are a journey. They can’t learn everything at one time or they’ll be discouraged and give up.
So how do we handle things when we’ve created a situation where our current consequences are creating more problems? This is a time when you my need a reset.
- How important is it that this kid needs to learn this lesson?
- Will it impact his future as an adult?
- Is there need for a reset?
- What exactly is the problem?
- Is this consequence creating more conflict in our home?
- Are the consequences escalating such that my kid keeps getting into more and more trouble?
Instigating a reset with our kids always starts with an apology. This is where you admit that you don’t always get it right in parenting. Let your child know where you messed up and ask for their forgiveness. Let them know you are on the same team–you both want the same thing–their freedom.
Let your teen know that changing or resetting the consequence means the goal is the same — to help them become better adults. Freedom and adulthood go hand in hand. Learning consequences in the structure of your home will be a lot easier than learning them in real life situations out in the real world.
Remember that parenting isn’t a battleground (I win/you lose/you will do what I say or else). It is a place where both of you are working toward the same goal–a partnership to freedom. It is important to remember that as parents we do have authority over our children, however, if we can establish a win/win mentality then conflict will decrease as a result of the partnership. We need to major in the majors and let the little things slide that don’t necessarily have significance. We need to see our job as parents is to put wind under our children’s wings along with giving them opportunity to fail. Parenting with wanting to control the little things will increase conflict and negate the partnership.
Institute the new consequence. After apologizing, explaining the reason for the reset, and establishing the partnership with your teen, be sure to issue the new consequence. Our teens need to see that we have their best interest at heart. We want them to be mature adults who understand consequences of wrongful actions. Forgetting about the infraction or letting them off the hook doesn’t right the wrong and won’t allow them to learn the lesson you are trying to teach.
Parenting is full of do-overs. After all, parenting is a growth process as well. Take the time to do a reset as many times as is necessary.
2 Chronicles 1:10
Give me wisdom and knowledge so that I may lead these people.
Whether we realize it or not, as parents, wisdom comes from our mistakes, from God, and from watching other people get it right. It isn’t an easy road. But if we will humble ourselves God will be faithful to complete the work in us and our children.
“Let go…and let God”,
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