I Have Changed!

A recent email seemed worth sharing (with permission) as this week’s tip. Consider what you might learn from this inspiring excerpt:

Since our coaching session, things have been going really well with Justin!!! What an absolute joy he has been!  I could write several pages about all of the great things that have taken place with him, with me, with his dad, and in our home. But I want to focus on what I think is the most important thing that has happened:

I have changed!

I’ve learned to calm down and practice what I preach for both boys.  I actually used to do this all the time. But I lost my way. I don’t know if it is because it became so intense with Justin that I just had a breakdown, or if I just let my emotions get the best of me. But, now I am back to taking deep breaths and telling myself 3 things when the house is crazy or Justin is throwing a tantrum:

1. God gave me this precious child and trusted me to raise and love him.

2. He will remember and learn from HOW I RESPOND to various situations.

3. One day, I am going to really miss these innocent days of him being a little boy.

Here’s how it happened. Ironically enough, right after we spoke, I really had a bad spell of 2 days where all I did was yell, yell, yell. I have never been a yeller. So my boys were really shocked when I went through this and acted so “mean.” I was completely ashamed of myself, and it did not seem fair enough to them to just say “I’m sorry for the way I have acted.” So I gathered everyone (my husband included) and I told them the following:

“Mommy has been acting really bad lately, I have been yelling, and having adult temper tantrums. This is not an okay way for grown-ups to act.  I am really ashamed of myself and my heart hurts that I treated the three people I love the most this way and with such disrespect.  I am really, really sorry.  I am going to try really hard to not act that way again. What I want you to remember about this is that sometimes in a family, each of us will go through hard times, but we can forgive one another and support one another. Thank you all for loving me so much, even when I was yelling and acting mean. I love you all so very much and am so thankful to God for our family.”

I thought a “public” apology was important because after the tough 3-4 months we’ve had with Justin, by the end I was doing exactly what I was trying to teach him not to do.  I wanted to publicly apologize to my family also because it held me more accountable to avoid any future adult tantrums.

It is counterintuitive to think that confessing our weakness is the way to gain our children’s respect. But clearly, when parents make the change from “yeller” to apologizer, they win the hearts and respect of their children. Give it a try!

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