We received this story from “Shelly”, who was able to communicate love in misbehavior and saw it bear fruit with her 8 year-old-son…
This morning my son Garrett was getting into his grumpy, yelling, the-world-is-against-me mode. I asked him, “It seems like you’re not feeling very loved right now. Is that what you are trying to communicate to me?” He yelled, “YES!”
I said, “I am messing up if I’m communicating I don’t love you – because what I want to say is that I love both you AND your brother in the midst of your hard time. Can you tell me how I could better communicate love to you?” He said he’d think about it. He returned later in a better frame of mind, and told me that it was just his own discouragement and nothing I was doing.
If Shelly had tried to get Garrett to see that his attitude was the problem, he probably would have resisted and accused her back. It was her “kindness that lead him toward repentance” (Romans 2:4). No longer was he unfairly venting his discouragement by yelling at his family, but he was insightful and honest about his feelings (something many adults don’t accomplish).
So the next time your child is struggling, how could you connect in a way that expresses unconditional love, or ask what your child needs in order to to be reminded of your love?
Frustrated by constant discipline challenges? Take 15 minutes to read our free ebook 4 Messages All Children Long to Hear: A Discipline That Connects Overview.