It can be hard work to grow as a parent. Especially when no matter how hard you try, things can still go haywire. Old patterns die hard, and it’s normal to fall into the default of huffing and puffing to get your own sense of control. But don’t lose heart! Here’s a simple strategy to keep learning and growing, and to help your child do the same – even when things blow up.
Positive growth can start by settling down, and remembering God’s grace for you. When the tension is high, take a break to let you and your child calm down. In that space, take some deep breaths, and remember that we’re all under grace. Then, go to your child with these three questions:
- On a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 is totally disrespectful, and 10 is totally respectful) how do you think I handled that situation?
- On the same scale, how do you think you handled that situation?
- Next time we have a conflict, I would like to __________ instead. What would you like to do differently next time?
Give your child space to answer honestly. Avoid defensiveness. Just listen and validate. Doing so will help both of you begin building new habits for staying calmer and more respectful.
And then, with empathy, you can say something like this: “You know me so well. You know that it’s tough for me to humble myself, and ask for feedback from you when we are not understanding one another. But I’m so invested in our relationship! All this hard work we are doing together to stay calm for one another is WORTH the effort to me. YOU are worth the effort!”
Frustrated by constant discipline challenges? Take 15 minutes to read our free ebook When Your Child Misbehaves – Four Strategies for Lasting Change.