My daughter who is 7, has been having random bouts of defiance recently. My normally flexible, compassionate, servant oriented, happy girl has turned into a raging, argumentative, entitled teenager! HOLY COW she is ONLY 7, where is this coming from?!
So after a long day of some creative parenting, that may or may not have had the desired result, I sat her down and talked about her behavior that day. We talked about why she made the choices she did, and what she could do next time. She didn’t contribute much to the conversation, as she is not one to communicate her feelings, much to her mother’s frustration! But when we started reviewing Ephesians 6:1-4 about obedience to our parents, she was quite fascinated with verse 4: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” In fact when my husband walked in, she asked that I read it to him also! I believe that she took it as the Bible saying parents need to stop overwhelming their children with rules and discipline!
We talked about how discipline is important, just like the rest of verse 4 points out. But what she helped me gained from that verse is the fact that we as parents sometimes go beyond training with discipline, and instead break their spirit into compliance!
My 7 year old, has an amazing glaze that comes over her eyes when I sometimes take steps past training and into the demoralizing zone! She starts to turn inward and has a “I’ve checked out” stare. This visual cue has helped me take a step back from my conversation and reevaluate my motives and goals! This experience has also prompted me to seek forgiveness from my kids. How important it is for us as parents to admit that we did something wrong, and ask for their forgiveness. Kids know when parents go too far! When it isn’t addressed or reconciliation isn’t sought kids feel victimized without validation for their feelings, leading to resentment and potential bitterness.
What does discipline look like for you and your teen? Are you so desperate to get them to obey that you are too strict or too forceful? Do you notice that they shut down every time you take a certain tone or discuss a certain topic? How can you change the way you discipline? How can you “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord”? And is there an area where you need to seek forgiveness from them? Be mindful this week of steps you take for training, discipline and seeking forgiveness for wrongs you have made, you might find it can open up a new door of communication with your teen!
My beautiful, compassionate, lil mommy, wanna be teen, 7 year old!