Tuesday 3 March 2015

Parenting with Grace

The terrible twosome laughing together for once!

As I undertook the mundane (but quite enjoyable to me) tasks of tidying the kid's bedrooms and changing my bed the other morning I listened to a podcast from the God Centered Mom. I've been subscribed to this channel for a while but not really listened before but after the podcasts, I listened to today I'll be back and I'd say check it out if Godly parenting is your kind of thing.

More and more as I grow as a Christian I've been thinking about how I shine my light and demonstrate Gods love to all those I meet. Of course, this needs to start with me - being kind and forgiving of myself and then with those closest to me. None of them is perfect so I must not expect that from them and when I speak tenderly to my husband even though he may have annoyed me or lovingly to my children even though they may be screaming at each other I'm doing the right thing and emulating Christ.

Let me assure you it is not at all easy to be as Jesus was. He was the son of God made into man and sent here to experience our world, he was perfect and wholesome. I am broken and flawed but I have given my life to him and now I am dead to my old selfish ways and Jesus lives in me, I just need to let him and not fight it.

There are so many gifts that God gives us and we keep on receiving them day by day. Grace is something really special though, it is what God extends to us when we do not deserve it. Nothing I do will make God love me more and nothing I do will mean that he loves me any less. I do not have to work for his love, it is truly unconditional, just like all parental love should be - he is my Heavenly Father after all. In the same way, grace is for sure one of the biggest gifts I can give to my children, they know I love them and I've told them before that sometimes I don't like their behaviour or action but I'll always keep on loving them but I think they need to see (and hear) it more.

Extending grace is a choice, it is an action that I must take. When Miss M is willful and blatantly disobeys me, parenting with grace means I do not shout at her 'that is terrible behaviour, how dare you?' When I parent with grace I talk to her in a calm voice, explaining why I'm upset and asking her to acknowledge her behaviour and give me an example of how she could behave differently next time.

When JJ shouts rudely at his sisters to 'get out his room', parenting with grace means I calmly ask him to come to me and we talk about his frustrations and how he came across to his sisters, rather than me shouting up the stairs and taking his iPad away. Wouldn't I just be doing the same thing? It doesn't make it acceptable just because I'm the parent.

Making our kids feel bad won't make them want to be good

On the podcast today they talked a little about parenting by shame and Jennie said she used to say to her kids 'what kind of person does something like this?' And her heart broke as her 10-year-old son told her 'well I guess someone like me Mom'. Boy would that wake you up to your own shortcomings as you realise we are all that kind of person, as we all fall short and sin at times.

I have to say it had never even occurred to me that my kids might feel shame from my words. I've always tried to be careful to separate the behaviour from the child, so it is the behaviour that is unacceptable but I now see there is, even more, I can do. When I hold my anger and respond to the situation with grace they can see a way through and they see an example I want them to follow.

Please don't think this will be easy for me, I can be a right shouty mama, so I need to put a lot of work in to ensure that I respond to all difficult situations with a reasonable and loving response. Actually, that was another thing that jumped out at me from the podcast today, Jennie expects there to always be the two R's in a parenting situation. The children must be respectful and she will always be reasonable and actually, I reckon that should work both ways too, as when we show our children we respect them they will want to offer it back.

This parenting lark is not easy at all, there are so many ways we can mess up but I figure I could not be following a better example than that set by God so I have a great tutor.

Wish me luck as I endeavour to change my ways...

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