My son did not want to leave the house to do anything because he wanted to stay on his Ipad. He whined and complained and for the most part I kept going back and forth with him. When he reluctantly and slowly (speed of a sloth) got into the bathroom to finally get ready he asked me to bring him his clothes. I was so frustrated at this point that all I wanted to say was that he should go get it himself, but something told me to simply love him even more – despite him not being at his best. And so I brought him his clothes, and then he asked for shampoo, and so I brought him that. Then his body soap, and so I brought him that, and then a towel, and so I brought him that. Each time I stayed quiet and showed him grace and affection. And then it happened; he broke. He looked at me with watery eyes, smiled nervously, hugged me and apologized.
As I reflected on that moment I realized that I’ve been parenting a lot like that. Some people didn’t (don’t) understand but when my daughter used to have tantrums I’d hug her and/or caress her hair and quietly tell her it was going to be okay. Would she get what she wanted? No. What I did do was provide her the safe space of my arms and reassurance that whatever she was feeling was OK and that I loved her just as much during her meltdown.
You see, teaching and discipline doesn’t always have to be stern. We don’t always have to have the last word or prove our point or nag or be in total control of a tough situation with our kids. Instead let’s assess each moment carefully, let’s pray for discernment and let’s be more prudent with our reactions. We can let our pride go, become quieter, and simply show more love.