You have good desires for your kids. You probably want them to learn neatness, diligence in homework, good eating patterns, and all sorts of other helpful habits.
But if you are anxious as you try to help them learn better habits, that anxiety often makes it harder for everyone, and your kids are more likely to reject your efforts.
Renee shared her anxiety about her four-year-old:
As my young son Brayden struggled with feeding aversion and high anxiety, I grew increasingly anxious about his future: will he ever eat normally, go to teenaged pizza parties? What about dating? Will he go to college? My fear of serious social and emotional problems in his future overshadowed my joy for his toddler and preschool years. I began to label any lack of progress as my personal failure as a mother. With every bite of food that he did not take, I dug him into a silent hole.
What a powerful, relatable statement! In our worry, we can project our child’s current struggles into a disastrous future. With their every failure, we dig the hole deeper. Subtle but powerful negative messages flow from our tone, expression, body language and words. After coaching with Lynne, Renee realized the hurtful impact of her anxiety on herself and her son and wanted to embrace a faith-filled perspective:
I began to focus on the fact that God has a plan for Brayden (and our whole family). Brayden’s personal traits and even his struggles can be used the glory of God’s kingdom. We talked with Brayden about all of us bringing our anxiety to the Lord as we worked together to tackle our family’s challenges.
My focus was no longer on failure and anxiety but on the gifts God has for Brayden’s future. This radically changed my perspective and my tone with him – I truly feel as though a weight has been lifted! And I can tell that Brayden feels ‘lighter’ and ‘brighter’ and less anxious as well. When I’m tempted with anxiety, I fall back on the these truths and rest in the peace they give.
When this mom was able to view her child as a part of God’s purposes, she was able to release her anxious worries and truly help herself and her son shed the weight of his issues. Are you anxiously predicting a dismal future based on your child’s current struggle? How could you replace those unhelpful thoughts with a perspective of faith and hope? In the end, energy about our children’s futures is much more helpful when it’s directed toward the big picture of God’s purpose and plan for their lives.
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